Tips & Tricks from the Experts
Courtesy of OLFA®
What could be more relaxing and exciting than picking up a new craft project? Not much. Except, maybe, discovering an ingenious idea, or “hack,” you can use to make a technique easier, storage simpler or cleanup faster. So, no time to waste. We’ve uncovered 10 clever craft hacks to make the most of your DIY time.
at your Fingertips
To keep your
OLFA® Rotary Cutters
, fabric shears, seam
rippers and even screwdrivers within easy reach, use magnetic knife racks in
your craft space. These are available at places like IKEA and online at
Amazon. The racks come in a variety of widths and sizes and can be easily
mounted to the side of a worktable, bookcase or the wall. Another idea is to
string ribbon through the handles of a pair of
OLFA® 5″ Precision Smooth Edge Scissors
can tie or hang them near your work station, or even string the ribbon
around your neck (like a lanyard), reducing the likelihood that you’ll
misplace this frequently used tool.
avoid excessive wear, don’t cut repeatedly in the exact same spot. When your
mat becomes nicked and worn in the area you use for cutting, flip it around
and use the opposite side or end. Using a clean, unmarked surface will
double the life of your mat AND your blades. You can also use the back of
your mat. And remember, don't leave your mat sitting in the hot sun, in a
hot car, or put it near a heating source. Your mat will become warped and
will be useless and dangerous for cutting.
Never a Dull Blade
There really is no
good way to sharpen the blade of a rotary cutter, other than to replace it
with a new one. But that doesn’t mean you have to throw dull blades away.
Keep them safely tucked away in a resealable plastic container and use them for cutting scrap paper, wallpaper, cardboard or
other projects that don’t require the precision of a brand-new blade.
Keep it clean
How do you handle accidental ink marks or glue spots on your OLFA acrylic ruler
? Reach for the isopropyl alcohol
(also known as rubbing alcohol) and use a cotton ball to remove the marks.
If your OLFA® Double-Sided Rotary Mat
on it, apply a bit of diluted dishwashing soap or nonabrasive cleaner.
If you’ve ever
sprinkled glitter on a scrapbooking page or used it to add shine to a
birthday card, you know that stuff gets everywhere. To make your work area
spotless after a glittery project is done, pull out an adhesive lint roller
and swipe it over the surface a couple of times. Done!
To stop skeins of yarn from
tangling as you knit or crochet, place the yarn in a bowl with a binder clip
attached to the top. Run the yarn through the folded back open metal clamps
at the top of the clip—those clamps will guide the yarn and minimize knots.
You can also put a ball of yarn in an empty teapot and thread the strand
through the spout. Genius!
Styrofoam for Stamping
Want to make
your own stamp on the cheap? Skip the run to an art or craft store—instead,
cut a piece of white plastic foam from a container that holds leftovers from
a restaurant. Use a pencil to draw your design, then trace over it again,
using pressure in order to create indentations in the foam. Press onto an
inkpad or use a small roller to apply paint or ink to your stamp. Place
paper on top and press evenly to transfer your design.
If you have a small
rectangular bin with holes in the sides and a pair of thin dowels, your days
of untangling spools of ribbon are over! Simply slide the end of a dowel
through a hole on one narrow end of the bin, place spools of ribbon on the
dowel, then place the other end of the dowel through the matching hole on
the opposite side of the bin. Take each spool and thread the ribbon through
the nearest hole on the long side. Repeat with the other dowel and ribbons.
Put a Fork in it
To make uniform yarn
pom-poms, grab a fork from your utensil drawer and wrap yarn around the
tines. Pull the yarn bundle off the fork and tightly tie a short piece of
yarn around the middle. Snip the loops and fluff the ends.
triangles—created by sewing the long, angled sides of two 90° triangles of
fabric in contrasting colors or patterns together to make a square—are a
standard in quilting. To make them quickly, place two squares of fabric (one
of each color or pattern) right sides together and sew a 1/4″ seam around
all sides, leaving no gaps in the stitching. Using a ruler and rotary
cutter, cut diagonally from corner to corner. Repeat in the opposite
direction to create four triangles. Open and press your newly minted
half-square triangles—pieced in half the time!