Top 5 Ways to Use an OLFA® Rotary Cutter
The question isn’t "what can you do with a rotary cutter?"—it’s more like
"what can’t you do with one?"
This versatile tool can handle just about
anything. Essentially a rotating razor blade with a protective safety guard
attached to an easy-to-grip handle, the rotary cutter works well on a
variety of materials, including fabric, paper and leather. When used with a
cutting form or straight ruler and a cutting mat, it takes on both curves
and straight-line cuts with precision and can slice through multiple layers
of material in a single swipe. And, unlike scissors, you don’t need to
purchase a special right-handed or left-handed version, since the cutter
converts to either easily.
Rotary cutters are available in a variety of
sizes and styles to meet your comfort and crafting needs, like the many
models in OLFA’s line of Rotary Cutters. You’ll find Original Rotary Cutters
in several sizes, ergonomic versions, such as the 45mm Deluxe Handle Rotary
designed to reduce hand and wrist fatigue, as well as
Quick-Change Rotary Cutters
with a simple blade-release mechanism that makes
replacing a dull blade super easy.
There are even decorative-edge blades
like the Stainless Steel Scallop Blade (SCB45-1)
that produce a scalloped
pattern when cutting. It’s no wonder that experienced artists and beginning
DIYers identify the rotary cutter as a must-have craft device. Here are the
top 5 ways crafters are using this go-to crafting tool:
Back in 1979, the first rotary cutter was introduced by OLFA, and it
revolutionized sewing, making fabric cutting safer, quicker and more
precise. Today, sewing enthusiasts continue to depend upon the rotary cutter
because of its accuracy and speed. It can handle any type of fabric without
causing shifting or distortion in pattern lines, which can occur with
scissors. Plus, the rotary cutter rolls right through slippery or stretchy
fabrics like silk, satin and knits more smoothly than ordinary sewing
shears, which can hack at the material and leave behind jagged edges.
Medium-size versions, like the 28mm Straight Handle Rotary Cutter
are perfect for making straight and curved cuts for clothing. For
cutting into curves, tight corners and trimming seams, the Original 18mm
Rotary Cutter (RTY-4)
works best. It’s more maneuverable than its larger
Want to keep material from raveling before you get a chance
to sew it? Or finish non-woven fabric like synthetic fleece to make a pretty
lap throw? Outfit your rotary cutter with the OLFA 45mm Pinking Rotary Blade
and cut away. The blade does the same job as pinking shears in
half the time.
You can even add seam allowances to patterns that lack
them. After pinning the pattern on your fabric, place both on the OLFA
36″ Self-Healing Rotary Mat (RM-MG).
Align a ruler so it is 1/4″ beyond the
pattern line, run your rotary cutter along your ruler—and voilà, you have a
1/4″ seam allowance!
Nothing can turn out the numerous strips and blocks needed for patchwork
patterns faster than a 45mm rotary cutter! In a couple of quick swipes, you
can prepare pieces for all kinds of patterns, including nine-patch designs,
log cabin quilts and more. Smaller cutters, like the OLFA 18mm Rotary Cutter
(RTY-4) and 28mm Rotary Cutter (RTY-1/G)
, are sized right for petite shapes
like the kinds found in appliqué designs. The pint-size blades on these
tools slide easily along tight corners and sharp curves, allowing you to
cleanly cut shapes in no time flat.
Does your quilt pattern include
circles or half-circles? No problem! The OLFA Rotary Circle Cutter (CMP-3)
is up to the task. This model features an 18mm blade that will smoothly cut
clean circles with just the twist of your wrist.
3. UPCYCLING CLOTHING
Repurposing old or worn clothing is all the rage these days—and a rotary
cutter makes modifying store-bought garments super simple. If you want to
transform a pair of old jeans into a high-low skirt or a handy tote bag,
turn to the OLFA Original 60mm Rotary Cutter (RTY-3/G
) to cut out the shapes
before sewing. Or use the OLFA Deluxe 45mm Rotary Cutter (RTY-2/DX)
across the chest, just below the armholes, of a colorful knit T-shirt in
order to fashion an infinity scarf. Slice narrow strips on one edge to
create fringe, then add knots or beads or knot, and you’ve created a
one-of-a-kind accessory. You can even re-size a too-tight knit top by using
the 45mm rotary cutter to slice up the sides, then sewing a panel of lace or
contrasting material to the edges in order to create a more comfortable—and
4. PAPER CRAFTS
Whether you’re interested in scrapbooking, card making, quilling or any kind
of craft involving paper, a rotary cutter can be your best friend. Just as
with sewing and quilting, paper crafts call for the kind of accurate, smooth
cuts that a rotary cutter delivers with ease. Turn to OLFA’s Deluxe 45mm
Rotary Cutter (RTY-2/DX)
to create clean, straight lines or swap in a
decorative-edge blade like the 45mm Wave Rotary Blade (WAB45-1)
5. HOME DECOR
Need a valance for your breakfast nook window? Considering reupholstering
your favorite armchair? Or are you thinking about dressing up your dining
room walls with wallpaper? Keep your rotary cutter at the ready—it will come
in handy for all kinds of DIY decorations. The OLFA Original 60mm Rotary
is ideal for use with heavy-duty upholstery fabrics and can
handle anywhere from six to eight layers of material at once. You’ll be able
to produce home décor projects just like that!
Tips from the Experts
- Apply even
pressure as you roll your rotary cutter through fabric, paper or whatever
you need to cut. This will ensure a clean slice every time.
- Pair your
rotary cutter with a straight ruler or curved cutting guide for the highest
level of accuracy. Keep your head directly over your cutter as you roll it
forward in order to clearly see your cutting line.
- When cutting several
pieces of fabric at one time, align the grains when layering the fabric.
This will ensure that your pieces are identical and will prevent strips or
pieces from puckering when they are sewn together since the grains will all
be going in the same direction.
- Pattern weights (either store-bought
versions or heavy items you have on hand, like full salt shakers or small
canned goods) can be used to hold fabric in place and further increase the
accuracy of your cutting.
- Visit our
and browse through the many videos available: from changing the blade on a
rotary cutter, to proper use and care instructions and finding the right
cutter for you.