Thursday, June 9, 2016

Second Thursday Tutorial: bringing back those decorative scissors

Today is the second Thursday in June, and it's time for my monthly tutorial.  Are you a mixed media artist, a collagist, a scrapbooker, or stamper?  If you answered yes to any of these, I suspect you have at least ONE pair of decorative scissors.

I have no idea how I collected so many of these scissors,

but they are everywhere.   My friend Erika sent me a pair and asked if I had one like it, and I truthfully had to say no.  Every one may be similar,

but each is still different.  Although I've never found a good way to store them, I do so by shape.

In the back are my two large ones.  In front of them are squiggly ones.  The colonial one is similar to the one to its left, but there is a subtle difference.

It looks like the two large ones are Provo Craft, and I know someone gifted me with them, but I no longer remember who.

Frills and what I call the lace Iook are next.

It  looks like for the most part, the brands are Fiskers, Bycin, Provo Craft, and No Name.   The handles are quite distinct.

Next are the zig-zag and zippers.

Finally, we have round and wavy scissors.

Of course, my favorite are

the deckle edged scissors.

Now that you've seen the many different designs I own, let's find a good use for them.

First, we'll make a tag using my large half circles.

Then, lets grab some smaller patterned scissors and our hole punch.

This is the tag I came up with.  I'm sure you can make one even better than mine.

Switching gears, it's time to make a collage.

If your scissors look like they are "chewing" rather than cutting, remember to NOT cut all the way to the edge, but stop short.  This often causes the paper to tear rather than cut.  If that doesn't work, simply grab a piece of aluminum foil (some call it kitchen foil) and wrap or fold it about six times slightly longer than the length of the scissors, then cut until the scissors no longer chew the foil.

You may not have as many scissors as I have, so one thing you can do is cut the paper backward.  The blue paper was cut in the traditional way, then I turned the scissors so the thumb position was where the finger position had been before.  That's how I got the orange sheet using the same scissors.

I did the same with the Provo Craft scissors and got this weird shape.

I'm thinking this should be called the "wave."

No, the "wave" didn't change colors, but the lighting in my craft room did.   I suspect this is a small "colonial."

This is the Fiskers "colonial,"

while a different company has their own version.

It was fun finding different things for my collage.   Each scissor gave a different look.

I apologize for the horrible lighting and out of focus scissors, but you can see the different pattern you get based on what scissors you use.

Zippers, zippers,


Fiskers often don't (or is that doesn't?) have names for their scissors, but they can be turned one direction to get one look,

and the other direction to get a different look.

There are large zig-zags

and small ones that look like pinking shears.  As an aside, if you look closely directly above my watermark, you can see where I got in a hurry and didn't line the scissors up carefully for the next cut.  I'm sure you will do far better than I, though.

I have a love for the unique ones.

These are one of my favorites.

Of course, I think I have enough of these to now make a collage.

You can put them together

one way, as I did,

or change them around before you actually glue them onto your substrate.

But tags and collage aren't the only things you can make with these scissors.  I cut a piece of 12 inch paper 1 1/2 inches wide,

then cut one side the length of the paper.

Using gold pigment ink, I gave the decorative edge a bit of color.

I did something wrong.  I have no idea what, but I thought I could make a flower out of this by rolling it in a circle.  Guess this one is a bust.  However, I hope it sparked an idea for you, especially if you know how to make rolled flowers.

Since that was a genuine waste of time and products, let's move on to a few things 

you can use on your gelli or glass plates.

Forget the expensive tools you can buy, and make your own fabulous edge texture tools yourself.  If you don't have many faux credit or old hotel key cards, you can cut shapes on two sides of the card.  That way you get twice as many, while taking up less storage space.  Be sure these edging tools aren't sharp, if you are using a real gelli plate, though.

Once again, it's time to shift gears.

Raiding our recycle bins, grab some No 6 plastic.  It should be marked somewhere on the container.  Now if you've been following my exploits for awhile, you are aware No 6 plastic can also be used in place of shrink plastic.

If the stamp is large, I stamp it before I shrink the plastic.  If it's a small stamp, I wait till I've shrunk the piece first.  For this I used gold pigment ink.

I also used a rather detailed stamp, which I probably shouldn't have chosen.  I thought it went well with the lacy decorative edge scissors, though.

Of course, after I shrunk it, I realized I should not have used pigment ink.  What was I thinking?  Obviously not what I should have been.

So now let's try that again, this time using the proper ink.

HMM!  I probably could have done a better job stamping.

Don't you just love how this plastic you would have sent to the recycle bin turned into a work of art?

Let's switch gears one more time and make our own stamp for fabric (or even the gelli or glass/plexiglass plate).

Supplies you will need from back left clockwise include mastic double stick carpet tape, fun foam, decorative scissors, clean styrofoam from a take out container.   If your fun foam has sticky backing, you don't need the carpet tape.

For the first sheet of fun foam, I adhered it to the carpet tape

and worked my fingers to the bone cutting the fun foam and tape.  I do NOT suggest doing that, unless you have very strong hands and fingers.  This small piece took me forever to cut one side, and I ended up using straight scissors to complete the piece.  This was NOT easy at all.

For my second attempt, I decided to cut the fun foam,

then add the sticky back tape to the styrofoam, over which I placed the fun foam.  Sprinkling or brushing a bit of baby powder or corn starch over the tape will help remove much of the "stickiness" when you use your brayer to ink the piece.

Had I been thinking, I would have placed the pieces shown at the top left better because after I stuck them to the styrofoam, I thought they looked a bit like wings.

And to think, I never got to use my favorite scissors after all!

I said earlier this year I was on a mission to bring these scissors back to life and use them for things other than just cutting mats or photos.  I hope I've given you some ideas of how to use your old decorative scissors, too.  Please let me know if you decide to create something using this tutorial and I will feature your post with your blessing and proper recognition, of course.

As soon as this post goes live, you will be able to access it anytime on my Tutorials page under the heading "A few uses for decorative scissors."

Thanks, too, for sticking with me through this tutorial.  It took several days to create this one and I greatly appreciate your visits and comments.  They really mean the world to me.

20 thoughtful remarks:

sheila 77 said...

Gosh, Elizabeth, gosh! This is not a blogpost, this is a book! You could get less information in a publication about these scissors. I popped in for a minute and stayed fascinated, especially as I don't have a single decorative scissor. I really liked the tag, the first thing you did here, so simple, yet so effective and pretty, and how you cut different papers for collage, the strip to make a flower (the gold-edged strip was a nice idea in itself) and your do-it-yourself texture tools, a very useful tip. Also what a good idea to use one scissor type to make two different cuts.
And I enjoyed your commentary and all the photos on each step. Thanks!

Fran Hopkins said...

Thanks Elizabeth for sharing all this info. I bought some of these scissors because they looked so interesting but have never really used them satisfactorily, now I have plenty of ideas to try out. I also love the sunflower shrinky as I tend to keep clear plastic from packaging in case it might come in handy, usually for stencils but I will have to look out for the number 6 and have a go at this too. Thinking about the roses, are they not usually cut in a spiral? Otherwise maybe you could pleat it, it would be a shame to waste such a lovely piece. Thanks again, Fran x

Valerie-Jael said...

Wow, Elizabeth, that really is a long and detailed post, and yes, you do have a huge collection of fancy edged scissors. I have about 6 or 7, but rarely use them these days, as they don't do my fingers good. I used to et the kids at school do edging with them. The collage and tag you made are really lovely, so well done on a detailed and fun tutorial. Hugs, Valerie

My name is Erika. said...

Wow- you have more scissors than me! But I never thought to cut up old plastic credit card type pieces to make texture pieces. Very smart! I kind of forget about what I can do with those scissors. Reading this was a really good refresher. I love pulling out things I haven't used for awhile though because then they feel like something new without spending the cash to buy the item. I'm with you, the deckled edge scissors are my favorite and most used too-I think I used those on a relative frequency. I also like the postage stamped edge ones. But need to play with the others too. Thanks for the inspiration. Hugs-Erika

elle said...

Excellent tutorial, Elizabeth. Fsncy tags. Fancy scrapers. Fancy shrinkage. I might have to get my scissors out of the junk drawer. :)

Darla said...

You have quite a collection of scissors. I have two pair, neither of which I seem to be able to use very well so I don't use them often. I enjoyed the stamping ideas and the reminder about shrinking plastic. Great tutorial and glad you have it where we can go back to it.

PS: Dinner was nearly double what you guessed, LOL!

Divers and Sundry said...

Wow! Now that's a lot of scissors. I love the edges they produce, each one different, and I found it interesting that you could get a different look by turning the scissors.

Jeanie said...

You do have a few! I like your storage method. I use that for stray ribbon but I really like putting tools in there, too.

Elaine Normandy said...

Thanks for a great article.

Pamela Gerard said...

Oh how fun!!!!! You DO have a whole lot of those decorative scissors and I really need that one with the half-circles.....I am going to hunt for that asap. What fun ideas. Great post -- thanks Elizabeth. I am going to go play with mine (but I don't have nearly as many as you...)

Pamela Gerard said...

PS --Ok, I can't find those half circle scissors on Amazon -- does it say who made them?

Meggymay said...

Gosh what an amazing collection of scissors you own. I think I own a couple of pairs, but where they could be found in another matter, I realy am not a tidy person. Your tutorial was a great read. Not sure we have that grade of plastic here in the UK..
Yvonne xx

Linda Kunsman said...

Ha and i thought my drawer full of these scissors was a lot!! You have quite the collection here Elizabeth!! I tend to neglect mine of late though I do use the postage one quite a bit. Super post sharing all those wonderful edges.

Rita said...

I didn't even know there were that many varieties of decorative scissors!! Wow! I have a few, but haven't used mine for ages, either. :)

Anonymous said...

What an amazing collection of them you have. I have a few and was just using them last night to cut out collage materials for an event I am doing at the public library tomorrow. The tag you made is terrific!!!! And the foamy stamps, what a great idea. xox

~*~Patty S said...

WOWEE that is a mighty fine array of scissors you have there!
I must confess that out of my little collection I like the deckle and postage stamp edge ones the best and have considered donating the rest in my clean up efforts.
I almost showed my Martha Stewart Fringe scissors that I used for my swans nest today but didn't want to run back upstairs to take a photo. Got those with a coupon awhile ago.
You've made me want to run up to my scissor drawer and play E ;-)
TFS oxo

Dianne said...

wowser! that's a lot of decorative scissors!! you've put them to good use... terrific ideas to try. I have 3 pair myself and rarely use them. Once in a while I make some faux postage stamps, and cutting the outside edge with decorative scissors is a nice finish. (I don't have the patience to poke holes by hand, or even to get out the sewing machine... ;) great post!

Dawn C. said...

This was a great post. You are a good writer and fearless in your crafting. I like how you are never afraid to mess anything up! I gave up a lot of my scissors to a friend with a kid a while back as they really hurt my hands to cut with for any length of time. I do have a pair for postage, and also have what used to be a good pair of pinking shears that my mom used when I was a kid (gosh, that makes them antique, maybe).

Halle said...

wow that's a lot of scissors! I tend to only use my deckle edge one. I get really caught up in trying to match up the pattern on the others and get extremely frustrated when it doesn't work...hence the use of the deckle.
I'm going to have to save the next #6 plastic that comes through my hands and try the shrinking dink thing. I think mini-me will get a kick out of that.

pearshapedcrafting said...

What brilliant tutorial Elizabeth - so many scissors - so many brilliant uses! I love your journal page - looks very French! Hugs, Chrisx