Decorative scissors are scissors which produce a shaped cut on paper and many other materials. The original 'pinking shears' produced a uniform triangular or zig-zag edge, but newer decorative scissors designed to edge paper, can be used for miniatures to produce small scale decorative moldings and edgings from wood veneer, to produce small scale shapes from light weight card for decorative miniature shingles, and to make decorative edgings for small scale cake plates, shelf edgings and other paper miniatures. The scissors are available singly or in sets from a number of companies. Less expensive scissors have weaker handles and blades and may not cut as well, or for as long as more expensive scissors. They are generally available from online and storefront art, craft and scrapbooking suppliers.
How to Use Decorative Edging Scissors
Decorative scissors can be used by left and right handed people, as most work with a bypass motion. The scissors do not have a leading edge which causes them to suit right handed people better.
To cut long strips, decorative scissors should be used only in the middle section, cutting to the tip of the scissors will often break the decorative edge with a slightly different cut. For longer cut edgings, release the scissors when you have cut halfway to the scissor tips, and move your paper along the scissor blades, matching the cut pattern with the scissor edge just below where you need to continue your cut. Align the scissors, match the pattern, cut and repeat until you have a long enough edge for your purposes. As the scissors can easily move out of alignment when cutting a curved edge, carefully mark your paper with a light pencil line, and always line up the tip of the scissors at the end of the pattern with that line before you make a cut. If you line up your scissors each time before you make the cut, you have a better chance of keeping your line evenly where you want it to be.
- Avoid cutting very heavy materials. Test your scissors on a scrap of your paper or stiffened fabric before you work on your final project.
- Use scissor patterns which suit the scale of your project. Smaller scale scallops and simpler designs are easier to match and work with than elaborate Victorian Edgings.
- Choose scissors which will last. They generally have a much stronger cutting blade than cheaper versions. Provocraft and Fiskars are two common brands.
- Experiment with layering various edges, or cutting strips where the patterns are slightly offset. You can build up decorative moldings for miniature furniture in smaller scales with careful use of decorative scissors.
Miniature Projects That Can Be Made Using Decorative Scissors