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4 Easy Ways to Sharpen Your Scissors

4 Easy Ways to Sharpen Your ScissorsScissors in the art room can get dull fast, with being shared by so many students, and cutting who-knows-what! But sharpening your inexpensive classroom scissors is easy to do and can add new life to dull scissors that you might otherwise just toss and replace. And the best part is that you probably already have all you need to do it!

One way to sharpen your scissors is by cutting strips of aluminum foil.
One way to sharpen your scissors is by cutting strips of folded aluminum foil.

1. Basic aluminum foil works great for cleaning scissors, straightening and aligning the blades, and smoothing away small amounts of rust and rough edges. Here’s all there is to it:

Tear off about 12” of foil, and fold it in half three or four times. (If you’re using heavy-weight foil, it won’t need to be quite as thick.) Then simply cut your foil into strips using long scissor strokes. Finish by doing the same thing with a piece of waxed paper to lubricate the blades. (I’ve heard that you can sharpen punches this way, too, although it’s never worked well for me. Maybe mine were just too far gone!)

Cutting sandpaper to sharpen your scissors
Cutting fine-grit sandpaper will also sharpen your scissors.

2. You can also sharpen your scissors by cutting through a piece of fine-grit sandpaper. This may be a little harder on your scissors, but it really does work! Cutting a piece of steel wool has a similar effect and is great for removing rust.

You can use a safety pin to sharpen scissors!
You can even use a safety pin to sharpen and hone your scissors.

3. Another method is to run the blades of your scissors against the edges of a safety pin. Use a reverse cutting motion, starting with the pin at the tip of your scissors and pulling it back toward you, as the scissors open up. (You can use a regular pin as well, but I find that a safety pin is a little easier to carry in my pocket!)

Repeated sharpening using these techniques can eventually wear away the steel of your scissor blades, but it’s worth considering if the alternative is buying new ones. Making your old scissors last a little longer and getting better use from them is the greener and more economical way to go!

But keep reading for the very best way to sharpen your scissors….

4. Finally, a great investment (for very little cash) is the Smith’s 10 Second Knife & Scissor Sharpener. For less than $10, you can quickly and easily sharpen both left and right-handed scissors, and it’s so easy to use that your students will want to do it for you! You can also use this sharpener at home to sharpen your knives and even get extended use from your X-acto blades. Check out all the great reviews for this sharpener on Amazon! (note: This is an affiliate link but not a sponsored post. I didn’t receive any payment or free products for featuring this sharpener. I’m sharing it because I love it and I think you will, too!)

 Of course, it goes without saying that any really expensive, high quality shears should be sharpened by a professional, or by the skilled use of a sharpening stone or wheel, to maintain the integrity and original angle of the edges. But most classroom scissors (like mine!) aren’t likely to be considered worthy of that level of care!

Do you sharpen your scissors or just replace them when they get dull? 

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    1. For pinking shears, it’s best to have them professionally sharpened. I have a good pair for sewing (that I only use for fabric!) that our local sewing supply store will sharpen for about $7 (as long as they’re not bent). For ‘pinking’ paper, though, I just use the cheap scissors with the decorative edges and replace them when they get dull. Most of all, don’t use sand paper or aluminum foil on your really expensive scissors. That’s a trick to extend the life of your inexpensive scissors that take such a beating in the classroom!

  1. I’ve found that these techniques can extend the life of budget scissors already in disrepair…. elementary classroom scissors being a good example! But sharpening expensive scissors is better left to the pros!

  2. Thanks for the tips. But I think that we should buy tool for sharpening (if you use scissors a lot). These tips are nice but I use tools for both knives and scrissors sharpening.

  3. Thankyou for this at home easy way to revamp scissors… some may want the pros and pro tools to sharpen yes but this is good info when In a pinch and especially with child scissors, that arent very sharp anyways, but need to be able to cut paper at least lol