I have several favorite tools that I use in my paper cuts – my two favorites are the swivel-headed X-Acto, and the retractable X-Acto. I know a lot of artists prefer to use a knife with a #11 blade, but I find those harder to control and harder to keep sharp (although you can sharpen them with a knife sharpener). I also have favorite pencils and papers, and so on.
But now I also have these:
Do you recognize them? Here’s a close-up:
I had never seen these before… until the day I stopped into Sally Beauty Supply for some hair goop. And there they were, beckoning to me from the manicure rack. They are sanding sticks, and they are a mere 39 cents each. And they are awesome because, however sharp or swivelly your blade is, your paper cuts will always have some jagged edges, especially in the curves.
The sticks are small, smaller than a pencil, and they fit perfectly into all kinds of swirls and curves. As long as you aren’t using tissue paper, they take the rough edges right off. (When you’ve been doing this with a tiny roll of uncooperative sandpaper for a while, you will see how miraculous these are. )
Did I mention how cheap they are? Love that.