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Learning to Use Scissors Grades 6-12

Scissors are great tools for making art using paper and other materials. Scissors have been used for centuries around the world. These are some ancient scissors from China, Turkey and Korea.

We can use scissors, along with our imagination, to create sophisticated artworks!

Scissors have two openings for your fingers. When using them, make sure that your thumb goes in the smaller opening, and your other fingers go in the bigger opening.

If all your fingers don’t fit into the bigger hole, that’s ok, you can leave one finger out. Your scissors should feel comfortable. Try keeping your hand as relaxed as possible for best results. While cutting, be sure to point the blades (the pointed metal parts) away from yourself.

Scissors are sharp, so you want to use them in a safe and responsible way. When carrying them, make sure to hold the scissors by the blades, and keep them closed.

Scissors can be used to “draw” shapes. When you draw a line or shape, you visualize where the pencil will go before making the mark.

When you work with scissors, you can envision the line your scissors will cut and think about where to steer your blades,
just before cutting. This is what we call “drawing” with scissors.

Planning ahead and taking your time is important to stay in control of your artwork.

When cutting, you are feeding a piece of paper through the two scissor blades. Depending on whether you want curved or straight edges, you will move the blades and paper accordingly. Be flexible and adjust your ideas as you go.

  • To make large or straight cuts, fully open the blades of your scissors and feed the paper through while closing.
  • To create curved edges, turn
    the paper or move your hand in a
    curved motion as you close the blades.

If you want smooth edges, rather than jagged, try slowing down a little.

To cut something more detailed or complicated, you can make small cuts, opening the blades just a little, moving the paper each time.

Another technique to make intricate shapes is to open the blades wide and push the paper to the back of the scissors. Then, move the paper while slowly closing the blades to create the edges and shape you want.

With any technique, the more you practice, the more skilled you become. You can practice cutting intricate shapes with scrap paper before making your artwork.