2020 X-Acto Knife Guide for Cutting Edge Precision

Arts and crafts people will no doubt already be familiar with the X-Acto knife, which has been around since 1930. What you may not know is that the hobbyist’s best friend was initially used by medical staff to perform surgeries on the battlefield.

My Top 3 X-Acto Knives

The story goes that, due to fierce competition in the medical scalpel market, X-Acto spent a lot of money on advertising. When an employee was struggling to cut out pictures for an advertisement, he was handed an X-Acto scalpel by the company’s founder, Sundel Doniger. The rest, as they say, is history.

The following X-Acto knife guide will help you to find the best tool for your requirements.

The X-Acto Knife Guide

When looking to purchase an X-Acto knife, the available options can sometimes be a little baffling, so the following guide will help you to find the best X-Acto knife for your requirements and budget.


1. X-Acto Basic Knife Set

X-Acto Basic Knife Set

The X-Acto Basic Knife Set is a really good starting point if you’re new to using these tools. The set contains three precision knives, 10 precision knife blades, plus a wooden chest for safe and tidy storage.

Pros:

  • Good value for money
  • Good variety of blades

Cons:

  • Chest and the interior molds which hold the tools are flimsy
$31.93 from Amazon

2. DIYSELF Exacto Knife Upgrade Precision

DIYSELF Exacto Knife Upgrade Precision


A favorite with scrapbook fans, this bumper pack contains two X-Acto knives and a selection of 40 blades as well as a steel ruler. This pack is an excellent solution for those who have many different requirements in terms of cutting, shaping, and scoring.

Pros:

  • Versatile
  • Great selection for crafters
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Some of the blades don’t fit correctly into the handle
$5.99 from Amazon

3. 105 PCS Precision Carving Craft Hobby Knife Kit

105 PCS Precision Carving Craft Hobby Knife Kit


If you’re looking for a bit more bang for your buck, the 105 PCS Precision Carving Craft Hobby Knife Kit offers exceptional value for the money. With 92 PCS carving blades with two handles, 11 PCS SK5 art blades with one handle, and a cutting board and steel rule, this set will cut the mustard in terms of budget-busting.

Pros:

  • Amazing value for money
  • Sharp and sturdy blades

Cons:

  • Flimsy packaging
  • Some items are not individually packaged as advertised
$7.99 from Amazon

4. X-Acto #1 Precision Knife

X-Acto #1 Precision Knife

Perfect for schools and households with children, the X-Acto X-Acto #1 Precision Knife, Z-Series, features a #11 fine point blade, easy change blade system, and a safety cap.

Pros:

  • Great precision cutting
  • Really easy to use; even for children

Cons:

  • Safety cap fits very loosely and tends to fall off
$6.99 from Amazon

5. X-ACTO #2 Knife With Safety Cap

X-ACTO #2 Knife With Safety Cap

The X-ACTO #2 Knife With Safety Cap with safety cap is perfect for cutting through medium to heavyweight materials and features two large, fine point blades for precision cutting made easy.

Pros:

  • Makes light work of even tough materials
  • Good value for money

Cons:

  • Package arrived without the safety cap on
$7.79 from Amazon

6. Fiskars Heavy Duty Die Cast Craft Knife

Fiskars 167110-1001 Heavy Duty Die Cast Craft Knife, 8 Inch,Orange


For intricate work such as model patterns and scrapbooking, the Fiskars Heavy Duty Die Cast Craft Knife is hard to beat. With a large, easy to grip die-cast barrel and SoftGrip touchpoint, this knife helps to drive precision as well as reducing hand fatigue.

Pros:

  • Really comfortable to use
  • Great precision

Cons: 

  • Blade holder is a bit complicated to use
$5.49 from Amazon

Cutting Edge Precision

Sometimes known as a precision knife or a utility knife, the X-Acto consists of a thin, sharp blade mounted on a pen-like body with an angled, anti-roll handle. Known for their durability, many X-Acto blades are honed using atomic sharpening and coated in zirconium nitride ceramic.

What Is An X-Acto Knife Used for?

The X-Acto knife is most commonly used for crafting and hobbies, and has a number of really handy uses including:

What Is An X-Acto Knife Used for?

Stenciling – Due to its extremely precise cutting edge, the X-Acto knife is ideal for creating stencil designs and shapes.

Pencil shading – A lot of artists use X-Acto knives to create bold highlights and shading to works of art by scoring lines on the canvas or paper before shading.

Scoring – X-Acto knives are often used to score cardboard and paper in order to create precise folds.

Model patterns – Model making requires incredibly intricate and accurate patterns and the X-Acto knife lends itself perfectly to this.

Leather work – The X-Acto knife’s super-sharp blade lends itself to the cutting out of appliques from leather for use on items such as purses and belts.

Paper arts – Probably the most popular use of the world’s most popular knife is for the accurate cutting – and cutting out – of paper.

Nail art – While you may not think of the X-Acto knife as a cosmetic tool, it is quite often used in creating nail art.

What Can An X-Acto Knife Cut?

Rather a lot, is the short answer to that question. The X-Acto knife makes short work of many materials including:

● Paper
● Card
● Leather
● Framing mats
● Veneer
● Fabric

Care must always be taken when using an X-Acto knife as its ultra-sharp blades can cause serious injuries if misused. While these knives can be used by children for craft projects, adult supervision is always recommended.

How Do You Use An X-Acto Knife

X-Acto knives are designed for comfortable and easy use and should be held in the same way that you would hold a pen or pencil when writing. The knife should be held securely but loosely enough to enable it to be maneuvered easily. For the best, and most accurate, results, you should, where possible, cut towards yourself (it’s much easier to rotate the material instead of changing your cutting direction).

X-Acto Knife Guide: How to Use an X-Acto Knife

When you’re ready to start cutting, place the tip of the knife’s blade at the beginning of the cutting area, holding it parallel to the ruler. Lower the handle until there is a tiny amount of space between the blade and the cutting material. Then, start by lightly scoring the material rather than cutting. Once you’re happy with the shape and straightness of the score mark, you can then apply more pressure to make the cut.

When using an X-Acto knife, slow and steady is always the way forward as this will help to cut down on mistakes. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll be using your knife with the same speed and care as you would use a highlighter or Sharpie.

For most materials, a second pass should be enough to make a clean cut using medium pressure – if this doesn’t happen within two passes, it may be that you’re using the wrong blade or that your blade is dull and you should address this rather than just hacking away at the material which will provide inaccurate results, and probably damage the blade.

While using a ruler is great for straight cuts, try experimenting with other objects for different shapes. You don’t necessarily need specialist tools for this; a soup can, coin or candy box will usually do just fine.

One Knife To Rule Them All

The X-Acto knife is an incredibly versatile tool, which when cared for properly, can last you a lifetime. Always make sure that you’re using the right blade for the job in order to avoid damaging both the blade and the knife. When not in use, it’s really important to store your knives and blades in a secure box or safe and, always keep out of the reach of children.

Last update on 2020-10-20 at 23:37 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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