Tools of the Trade: the Best Scissors for Every Project



There’s that moment in the life of every crafter where you pace the scissors aisle. No matter your passion, sharp, precise shears are a must. We all know that a good pair will make your crafting life sing, while sticky, dull scissors will quickly turn your mood sour.  But you can’t try before you buy, so those of us who love crafts have drawers filled with duds. Scissors whose price tags we try to push out of our minds. So today, we’re turning to the Creativebug experts in everything from paper to sewing to quilting to get their take on which are the best shears for every project. Crafters everywhere rejoice! (And if we missed your favorite tried-and-true pair, please let us in on the secret in the comments below.)

The Best Scissors for Every Project


Image above: The scissor tool kit of Baltimore maker and Flax & Twine blogger Anne Weil. Photographed by Trisha Zemp.

For Anne, choosing a favorite scissor is a bit like choosing a favorite child. For cutting fabric, she loves the sharpness and heft of Large Rupalees. But for styling Anne turns to the small Rupalees, which she calls “blogger vanity” scissors – passable and very pretty. For embroidery or hand sewing, she uses a pair of crane scissors that once belonged to her Grandmother. If your Grandmother did pass down such beautiful scissors, you can buy your own heirlooms on Etsy search for vintage “stork” or “crane” scissors. For paper cutting and crafting, Anne reaches for good, old, original 8” Friskars. And she even has a favorite pair of scissors to bring along on the airplane! She calls this brass seam ripper her desperate scissors. They are allowed through security and they work to cut yarn, twine, thread etc. in a pinch. But if you really pressed her about her favorite pair, Anne says that she would choose  these Gingher 5” Sewing scissors  “They feel like butter in your hands, and so crisp and precise. You can beat these for sewing, trimming seams, clipping corners, etc,” says Anne. (You can take Anne’s knitting classes, right here, and learn how to make a gorgeous throw or snugly cowl)


Paper flower maker extraordinaire Livia Cetti swears by Japanese-made KAI scissors. She says they stay so sharp that she’s cut miles of paper with the same pair! They also happen to be the favorite scissors of fellow paper crafter Lia Griffith. (Livia Cetti will have you making breath-taking flowers in no time at all, right here and Lia Griffith has the rest of your paper crafts covered here.)


When it comes to general tasks, Natalie Chanin, of Alabama Chanin, reaches for these gorgeous kitchen shears with a brushed matte finish. She also loves these Gingher’s for embroidery tasks and Fiskars’ Spring-Loaded for cutting out fabric. And she should know! She’s currently working on a book with Stuart Tabori Chang for Spring of 2016 on the notions and tools of handwork. In the meantime, Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns is coming out this spring. (You can learn the Alabama Chanin signature techniques, right here. Don’t miss this amazing knotted necklace).



When quilter Denyse Schmidt is in New York City, she heads Cutex, a great and affordable resource for all things sewing in the Garment District and stocks up on “nippers” (aka snips used for trimming stray pieces of thread) in a variety of styles and prices. The cheap ones are disposable. The expensive ones hinge with a screw so they may be opened and sharpened.


Painter Yao Cheng’s favorite paper scissors are these Nate Berkus Gold Shears from Target. She grabs these elegant shears to use for everything from packaging orders to craft projects. When it’s time to work with fabric, Yao uses the 8” Knife Edge Dressmaker’s Shears from Gingher for all her textiles products. She says they are really sharp and again, bright and gold. (You can take Yao’s painting class and learn how to begin your watercolor journey right here.)

When sewing expert Annabel Wrigley grabs a pair of scissors, she usually turns to Gingher featherweight scissors, which are her favorite for fabric and weaving projects – light as a feather and super sharp. But when it comes time to put shears in the hands of little ones, she likes to use Fiskars scissors – a great value and comfortable for those small hands. (Learn Annabel’s sewing tips and tricks for adults and kids here.)


Yellow Owl Workshop founder Christine Schmidt says that because she works with so many different materials, she finds that her 8″ orange Fiskars do the trick for all. For tiny intricate paper jobs, she uses nail scissors from the drug store. And when it comes to volume, she says that it’s really hard to beat the satisfying KER-CHUNK of the paper cutter even if her paper cuts bleed all over those crisp edges! (Learn how to stamp and print with Christine right here.)

Sewing expert Deborah Kreiling and her colleague at Simplicity, Joy Macdonell, have a list of scissors they love to use – tailor-made for specific tasks. One favorite, for both fabric and paper (but not at the same time!), is EK Success Tools – CutterBee Scissors. The are true precision scissors with quite a comfortable grip. When it comes to small, sharp-tipped scissors for trimming threads, Martha Stewart Crafts Precision Scissors are the clear favorites. For making detailed paper cuts, Martha Stewart Crafts – Detail scissors allow you to do all that fussy cutting with precision. If you’re having a party or making a lot of fringe for paper flowers, Martha Stewart Crafts Fringe Scissors (pictured above) are a must! Martha Stewart Crafts – Heavy Duty Titanium Scissors are perfect for heavy duty projects – they will cut through aluminum, chipboard, felt, cork – almost any kind of material! And finally! Martha Stewart Crafts All Purpose Scissors are great for almost everything. Buy two and keep one pair for fabric and one for paper! (If you’re ready to get started sewing your own clothes, and quite possibly the cutest skirt ever, check out Deborah Kreiling’s sewing classes here.)