Scissor School

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How to Cut with Scissors like a Pro

You can find a lot of printables on my site and many of these printables require cutting so I though it would be good to focus on this skill. I don’t want to brag or anything but I am kind of an awesome cutter. My professional cutting tool of choice is an X-acto knife because you can achieve greater control but X-acto knives are NOT for kids and you can still achieve a great result with scissors which are much safer!

Scissor School

Here’s how…

First of all you want to start with a sharp scissors. I have separate junk pair for things that dull scissors fast like opening packaging. If kids are really young, rounded tips are safer but I find some younger kids can be trusted with pointy scissors with lots of reminders and supervision. Most scissors will do the job but for lots of cutting these will prevent fatigue and these are divine for detail.

If you are cutting out shapes you want to first separate them by roughly cutting around the shapes. It is easier to focus on cutting out a shape when you don’t have a large piece of paper dangling from one side. An added benefit is that since all your shapes are separated it is easier to invite someone to help!

I notice lots of kids make small squeeze and release hand motions when cutting. You should try and get in the habit of opening the scissors all the way and cutting almost until the very end. Squeeze the scissors together slowly as you cut and this will help you develop control and produce smoother results. Don’t cut all the way to the end though, this can sometimes cause a small cross tear. Do however cut past the end of a line. This keeps you focused on cutting straight.

This next rule is mostly for consistence. Always cut to the outside of the line. You will be surprised at how much this makes a difference. By always cutting to one side of the line your result will be truer.

If the shape you are cutting has lots of complex curves, make a rough cut first (about a quarter to a half inch outside the line). This narrow strip will more easily twist and bend away as you cut your final shape giving you a better result.

When cutting interior points do not try and turn your scissors when you get to the corner. Stop your cut and approach the corner towards the center from the other side. This will be easier, give you a nice point, and prevent tearing and bending at that interior corner.

The last tip I have is how to cut interior shapes. One way to do this is to fold the paper, make a slit, then open it back up and start your cut in the slit. If the interior shape is too small or you don’t want to see a crease you can try this method: Press a hole through the center of the interior shape then start cutting in a spiral shape until you reach the line to cut along.

To practice click on the above image to open and print the practice sheet. And for all you good doobies looking for extra credit, see what you can then make with your final shapes! My kids created this very cool dragon.

Happy Cutting!


I'm a practical mom inspired by nature & I enjoy sharing ideas that encourage kids' innate curiosity & creativity. Interested in subscribing? Check out the blue box at the top of my sidebar. I'm also a wannabe author/illustrator & product designer by day. Let's connect! If you purchase through my Amazon links I get a small commission at no additional cost to you (thanks for supporting Doodles and Jots)! And remember to always credit your source here & elsewhere on the internet.


    • Excellent for fine motor skills! Not sure what ages this would be for, probably too advanced for preschool. Maybe early elementary school age.

    • I do the same thing! I have three and I am not quite sure where one of them is. I think I hid it in my bookshelves but I can’t find it now which I find scary. They are dangerous. I am not even sure the are for young adults. I cut my finger when it jumped my straight edge and had to get stitched when I was a freshman at RISD.

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