Quilting Blog

Leah Day’s Quilting Study: Funky Rotary Cutter Blades (And How to Use Them!)

I was browsing my local quilt shop the other day and ran across a whole display of funky rotary cutter blades. They made me smile, more for the idea of cutting weird shapes with my trusty rotary cutter than anything else. I mean… What the heck do I do with this?!

victorian rotary bladeEver catch yourself asking that question? Me too… Usually as I’m pulling out my credit card to impulsively buy the thing.

Of course this time will be different! This time I’m determined to find some interesting, functional ways to use these weird blades in real projects. I really don’t want them to end up in the Drawer-of-Doom — the place where all my impulse-buy gadgets end up when I either can’t figure out how to use them, or can’t think of a project for them.

Cutting fabric with funky blades

Here’s the line up: Below we have from left to right a pinking blade, Victorian blade, and wave blade all ready to pop into my trusty Fiskars 45 mm rotary cutter and get busy!

funky rotary bladesBut it’s not quite that easy. I learned in Laura Wasolski’s class Hand Stitched Collage Quilts that you shouldn’t use your normal mat and rulers with wavy edged blades. The pinking blade in particular could easily nick the edges of your ruler, and you will put more pressure on the blade as you cut, which could leave a deeper impression on your cutting mat.

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cutting with scallop rotary blade

So arm yourself with a spare mat and ruler, or just flip your mat over to the back, and attach the blade so the flat center section rests nicely against the cutter. I’m using a super cheap Fiskar’s 45 mm rotary cutter that is compatible with EVERYTHING so all of these blades fit just fine.

Cutting paper with funky rotary blades

I decided to first test the blades on paper and had fun making a stacked card with various edges. For this I cut out a 4 x 6 inch rectangle with the pinking blade, a 3 x 5 inch rectangle with the Victorian blade and a 2 x 4 inch rectangle with the wave blade, then stacked and glued the cards together.

rotary blade paper cutting

I added a bit of washi tape and stamped “Thank you” on top to make a very nice card. You could easily customize this project a million times with different colors, blade combinations, and cutting sizes.

But what about cutting fabric with these funky blades?

I think these blades have a lot of creative uses in paper crafts, scrapbooking or multimedia art, but how do we use them for quilting? I think Laura Waslowski was definitely onto something using decorative blades with fusing fabric.

Fusible web generally gives fabric a stiffer, more paper-like quality and quilters often leave the edges raw, which would allow the detailed edges created by the blades to really shine.

victorian rotary blade block

I gave this a try with several scrap fabrics and slashed long strips using the decorative blades, then fused them together over a 10-inch square of fabric. To finish the edges a bit, I stitched 1/8 inch away from the edge.

close up victorian blade cutBut how long will this detailed edge last? Would it work for a bed quilt?

I threw the block in the washing machine to check and here’s the result:

victorian cut after wash

If you have a serious allergy to frayed threads and raw-edge appliqué, clearly is not a technique for you. Personally, I think raw edges can add a fun texture to the surface of quilts, especially those designed for kids.

Ultimately I think these funky, novelty blades are a good buy for decorative/art quilt projects, and certainly well designed for paper craft and multimedia art. Pick up a funky blade today and see what creative projects you can come up with!

Let’s go quilt,

Leah Day

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17 Comments

Holly Caron

I have used these blades for fleece throws. I use them on the for the ruffles.

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Evers

Thank you for posting this information. .I have always wanted to buy the pinking blade but glad I didn’t. .I was not aware that it would damage your mat. Now I know and will buy one. I like to use pinking scissors to trim the edges of fabric before I wash it. It keeps the fabric from fraying,

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Diane

I like the pinking edge for fabrics that fray easily as it cuts this way back

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lois darnell

I make a lot of fleece blankets and wanted to make the edges decorative. I do that alot to baby blankets for a quick gift.

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C Sharp

I use the pinking blade in place of serging the edges. Especially when making pillowcases for charity.

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Diane

I have used a pinking blade and if you’re not careful you can “clip” your ruler! It does take practice to use it….and as above, use an old cutting board !!!

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Gini Colby

I think I am going to use just my pinking shears….Do not want to buy a new mat….THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR HELPFUL ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS..I think all these new programs a GREAT…

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Karen

So that’s why my ruler has lots of bits missing! I always use the pinking blade for cutting fabric, it stops fraying.

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Tricia

I have used them for cutting flowers and indiividual petals and leaves for raw edge fusible applique’.

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Sylvia Earl

I purchased the funky blades when I was into paper crafts and used them a lot. Have used the pinking blade for fabric and when I get around to doing some appliqué ala Laura, I will definitely use them.

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Carol Nelson

I have used a funky blade to cut fabric that I then decoupaged on bird houses – didn’t need a ruler, just free cut

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Kristina

I’ve used these kinds of blades to cut fun edgings on fleece blankets, thus avoiding having to cut and knot fringe. I just have to make sure the fabric isn’t too busy for the edging to show. It works especially well for panel blankets, with a picture in the center and more plain edges. I haven’t noticed damage to my mat or rulers but since I mainly cut fleece and flannel, the mat has lots of fuzz embedded in it anyway. And I’ve done more damage to my rulers dropping them. If/when I get into quilting, I’ll buy a new mat and reserve it for cutting straight edges on less fuzzy fabrics. I might even splurge and buy an unbroken ruler.

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Julie Bagamary

Generally, cutting free handed, I’ve used these fun blades in some of my quilted art and also for the edges of fabric art post cards.

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Sewmadmary

I bought some of these blades when I saw them at a show. After reading your very helpful tips I shall now give them a try. Thank you for sharing.
Sewmadmary

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Kristen

Those blades work great with wool…and they add a lot to wool applique. 🙂

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Cheryl

I plan to use the wavy edge for the layers of tulle I will be cutting I think this will add a fun edge to the tulle

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jaydeep

hello,
i want rotary cutter to cut laminate in FMCG industry
any one can suggest me higher strength material for rotary cutter

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