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How to Use Exacto Knife-The Proper Way!


Last Updated on February 11, 2022

The Exacto knife is without a doubt one of the most useful items you may have in your home. But do you know how to use the Exacto knife properly?

Exacto knives are a compact, low-cost tool that can cut through a range of materials, including paper, plastic, and even thin metals. This knife is suitable for cutting and trimming fragile fabrics. Because the blade is thin but strong, it must be handled with caution to avoid accidents.

So, without further ado, let’s get started learning how to use an Exacto knife securely and effectively.

Proper And Easy Way to Use Exacto Knife

What is an Exacto Knife?

Exacto knives are small, lightweight knives that are used for delicate, detailed work. It’s also known as an X-Acto knife. An Exacto knife’s primary use is to cut paper and other soft materials. The Joseph R. Brown Company invented it in 1912, and it has a lengthy history of use and invention. However, it was not until Second World War that it became widely known, when the US Military Forces began to use it to shear parachute silk.

“Exacto” is derived from the Latin word “exactus.” Artists, graphic designers, architects, and other professionals who work with paper and other materials on a daily basis have become fans of this knife.

This knife is made out of a handle with a replaceable blade cartridge that may be fitted with a variety of blades depending on the type of project the user is working on. The blades are extremely thin, flat, and inclined at 45 degrees, making them ideal for cutting and trimming fine details. Exacto is a mix of the words “exquisite” and “utility.”

The ideal hand tool for precise cuts and incisions is an Exacto knife. It may be used to make precise cuts in a variety of materials, including cardboard, plastics, and other types of paper.

How to Use Exacto Knife

There are many various kinds of knives on the market, but they all work in the same way. A knife is a tool for cutting things that can be used in a variety of ways. It’s critical to cut and trim your projects to ensure that they fit together properly. When cutting and trimming, an Exacto knife can save you a lot of time and work.

An Exacto knife can easily be obtained at a hardware shop or any internet retailer. However, if you want to get the most out of it, you’ll need to learn how to use it properly. These are the actions to take:

Hold it Right

Hold the Exacto knife in the same way you would a pencil or pen, not as if you were a sketch artist, but as if you were writing. Keep a firm grip on the knife, but not a death grip. You’ll be cutting in the direction of oneself. Cutting side to side is possible for some experienced pros, but cutting toward you is preferable because it gives you the greatest control and the best vantage point.

Keep your hands firmly in place

Use a sturdy flat surface that can endure cutting to cut materials. On a stable table or countertop, a cutting board or mat is preferable.

Use a Ruler to help you out

To make a straight edge, use a ruler to measure the material and cut alongside it. Maintain a safe distance between your fingertips and the blade’s edge. If you’re using a ruler, this also implies keeping them away from the edge.

Both hands must be stable

While cutting, keep one hand on the material to keep it stable. Make sure your other hand stays clear of the cut path. To keep the blade from slipping, press it down firmly and hold the handle with three fingers on one side and your thumb on the other.

Cut Anything You Want

Grip the handle with three fingers while placing the index finger on the collar to slice or chop strips of material. Draw the blade back diagonally while exerting pressure with the index finger to slice the material.

Firm, even pressure, or swaying the blade as you push it down can be used to chop material. When cutting paper, cloth, leather, or other flat sheets of material, use the same grip.

Many individuals utilize this knife for a variety of applications, including arts & crafts, performing arts, and so on.

Tips to Keep in Mind When Using an Exacto Knife

Exacto knives are widely used to cut precise forms out of cardboard or foam. These knives’ blades, on the other hand, can be used to sharpen dull scissors in the same manner that traditional stones and water can sharpen knives.

For artists and crafters, an Exacto knife is a very convenient, helpful, and popular instrument for creating art, cutting out designs from paper or cloth, or removing undesired material from various surfaces. It comes in a variety of sizes and forms and is suitable for cutting, carving, scraping, and trimming.

Here are some pointers to keep in mind when using an Exacto knife:
  • Create a clean, level working surface for your exacto knife before you begin cutting. Make sure your workspace is free of unnecessary obstructions.
  • When cutting, keep the blade away from your body.
  • Use as little pressure as possible when cutting.
  • Never cut on a hard or abrasive surface since it can dull the blade.
  • Always keep your eyes on the work surface for safe cutting.

Always use the exacto knife for the intended purpose. Paper, wood, rubber, and plastic may all be sliced with it. After a lot of use, the knife’s blade grows dull. As a result, it should be updated as frequently as feasible.

Exacto knives are typically composed of metal or plastic, but ceramic versions are also available. Retractable blades enable for safer storage and handling by lowering the chance of cuts to the user.


Every craftsman’s desire is to have a set of sharp, fine-cutting tools that will allow them to realize their full potential. For those who haven’t experienced the pleasure yet, a knife can easily and precisely cut through softwoods. If you’re currently cutting using a utility knife, it might be time to upgrade to an Exacto knife.

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