Are You Using Your Rotary Cutter Safely?

Be safe with knives. Most of us are pretty solid on that fact by the time we're old enough to operate a sewing machine. And yet, when it comes to using a rotary cutter... things can happen.

Obviously the rotary cutter is a wonder-tool we couldn't live without. So fast! So efficient! So precise! The thing is, it has a really (really!) sharp blade, so you need to be a lot more careful than if you were just snipping away with scissors. These 12 tips will help make sure you get to your sewing with all 10 fingers intact.

1. Remember, that blade is sharp!

Yes, we are repeating ourselves But it's easy to get careless once the crafting excitement sets in. This is a razor blade, people. Always handle it with care.

2. Match brands

No, you cannot cut this corner. The blade really needs to fit perfectly into your cutter for it to work correctly and safely. Make sure you always buy the same brand and size blade that came with your cutter originally.

3. Consider the size

Rotary cutters come in many sizes, and you may want to stock up on a few different ones so you can match them to your project. For example, if you’re cutting something small, using a large cutter is just inviting trouble. The opposite is true as well, where using a small blade on thick layers forces you to over-push, and risk a dangerous slip.

4. Use a ruler

Not only will this keep your cuts straight, it also gives you a safety barrier between the blade and your hands. But not just any ruler will do — use one that's at least ¼” thick to give the blade something to cut alongside. Otherwise, in a distracted moment your slicer may jump up onto the ruler and run right into your hand.

5. Put down a mat

A self-healing mat does more than protect the surface below. It also helps the blade glide along smoothly, reducing the risk of a bump, slip, ouch!

6. Cut away from the body

Always, always cut away from your body, never by pulling the tool towards you. Makes sense, right? A rotating mat can help here.

7. Stand up while cutting

We'd love to say it's fine to cut from a comfy seated position, but it's much safer to stand. That way you can put your body weight into the cut for a firm, secure slice. Plus, you have a better view of your work if you're standing over it, meaning you always know exactly where that blade is.

8. Close the safety

Just make it a habit: Always close the safety cover right away. As you pull the cutter up from the fabric, shut the plastic cover right then and there. That way if you accidentally drop it, it won't cut your fabric, bare feet, or something worse!

9. Keep it sharp

You've probably heard this one before: a dull blade is way more dangerous than a sharp one. If your cutter is dull, you have to apply even more pressure, which only increases the risk of slip-ups. Avoid this issue altogether by replacing your blades often.

10. Change the blade carefully

So we just told you to change the blades. And when you do, do it with plenty of caution. This means taking a peek at your cutter's manual if you're not completely sure on the process.

11. Discard blades safely

Stop right there — don't just throw that blade in the trash! Carefully cover up its edges with thick tape to make sure it does no harm further down the road.

12. Store safely

Once crafting time is over, put that puppy somewhere far away from kids, or anyone who might not immediately recognize it for what it is.

September 14, 2018
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Are You Using Your Rotary Cutter Safely?