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Tool Maintenance Tips

Written and Created by PaperCraftCentral Susan

I have gathered a few tips for about tool maintenance for paper crafters that I want to share with you, but first, a warning!

"If I had eight hours to chop down a tree,
I'd spend six hours sharpening my ax"
~Abraham Lincoln

Tool maintenance is a fine thing to do to keep your crafting aids in tip top condition. However, there is a gentle warning I must give: While Mr Lincoln (see quote above) definitely knew how useful and time saving maintaining tools is, please take care when trying these ideas. Sharp blades can cut more than paper and I would not want you to cut yourself while trying any of these suggestions for tool sharpening.

Now we have that out of the way, here are some scissor maintenance tips for you.

Tool Maintenance Tips for Papercrafters


  • To keep scissors sharper, cut through several layers of tin foil many times when they feel a little dull.
  • Believe it or not, cutting through tin cans to sharpen your scissors is recommended by some crafters. First cut the top and bottom off your can, flatten out the middle bit and cut strips off that with your scissors. Be careful of the sharp edges of the tin so you don't get cut. The added advantage of cutting tin can pieces is that you can use the shiny side to make backgrounds, shapes or mats for your cards.
  • Note: If you use the Stampin' Up! Craft and Rubber Scissors, they are strong enough to cut through aluminum flashing so you can use it in your Big Shot machine for embossing or die cutting shapes.

You can order Stampin' Up! Paper Snips item no 103579 , Craft Scissors item no 108360, Craft & Rubber Scissors item no 103179, or Adhesive Removal Tool item no 103684  from me if you live in Australia. 

  • There are many professional tool maintenance scissor sharpeners in business when you feel these steps are not giving you the result you need, such as when you are starting with very dull scissors.
  • You can also purchase an inexpensive tool sharpener to add to your craft kit

Paper Punches

How to Maintain Paper Punches

To keep punches in good working order, punch out some shapes from tin foil. I find punching out waxed paper is difficult but doable and it does not achieve the same result though it can keep the punch edges lubricated which helps. Try punching through the backing sheets of stickers, the backing sheet from your Stampin' Dimensionals and the like instead for a better punch lubricating medium.

Paper Trimmers

Maintaining Paper Trimmers

To keep guillotines and paper trimmers working better, cut several times through the backing sheets that stickers and rub ons come on (AFTER you remove the rub ons and stickers!) The waxed, sturdy paper seems to lubricate and hone the blades much better than thin waxed paper does.

Other Sharp Tools

Maintaining Sharp Tools

To keep the points of paper piercers and compasses sharp, run them over lightly with fine sandpaper, or to improve the ease with which they go through paper, run them through a bar of soap. This works for straight pins, stick pins and safety pins too.

To Clean Adhesive From Tools

There are a number of ways you can remove adhesive from your paper craft tools. All of them are quick and easy. Here are a few ways:

  • You can purchase adhesive remover and use a baby wipe or tissue to remove the sticky residue from tools. However, this is an expensive option
  • Substitute adhesive remover with Eucalyptus oil or Tea Tree oil (you can order both from the site I linked you to)
  • Versamark ink contains glycerine and both can be used to remove adhesive from tools
  • One crafter I know places her scissors in the dishwasher every so often to freshen and clean them
  • Methylated spirits or turpentine will remove the adhesive but be sure to wash them in warm soapy water and to dry them carefully to avoid rust forming

Tool maintenance enhances your paper crafting experience, so do be sure to keep yours sharp and clean with these tips, and happy paper crafting!

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