New to Quilting?

If you are brand new to quilting and don't know where to begin, start with the posts in September 2011 (look in the blog archive). The first four posts cover basics such as choosing equipment, choosing colors, how to sew 1/4" seams, how to use a rotary cutter, and how to press (not iron) your block during construction.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

How To Sharpen a Rotary Cutter (Cheaply!)

I found this idea in a few places on the internet and thought I would give it a try.

I was surprised at how well it worked!

I experimented on a really old rotary cutter and blade. I've been using the blade to trim paper for 2 or 3 (or more) years. It works fine for paper....

but definitely doesn't work well on fabric.

If you look closely you can see that it didn't cut the fabric very well. I should have used a different color (duh!), but you can see in the photo that there were a few places that the cutter didn't cut the threads.

I folded up some aluminum foil. I think there are 8 layers in the photo. I don't think it matters too much how many layers there are, but more than one layer would probably be best.
I sliced through the aluminum foil quite a few times (see the pile!) I wanted to make sure that I rolled the entire blade through the foil at least 8 times. I don't know why I picked that number, I just thought that more than once would do a better job sharpening the blade.
I used the newly sharpened rotary cutter to make a new cut to the left of the old cut.
It sliced right through the fabric!

 It wasn't quite as good as a brand new blade, but it was much better than the first cut I tried to make!

I think I'll try sharpening an old pair of scissors next. I have a pair that don't cut through plastic bags any more, so even if the aluminum foil trick doesn't work, it can't make them any worse than they already are.


  1. What a great idea I'll try this!

  2. Thanks for actually documenting this. I keep reading posts that say it works but nobody's actually shown it and I was afraid to try it on my blade. So now I am more willing to risk a blade lol. Thanks!

  3. I have so many blades that dull after doing 2 projects. They are not cheap an I will definitely try this! Thanks for sharing, blessings.


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