the basics: how to get rid of raised edges on cut paper

the basics

Today I'm going to start a weekly post about basic tips and tricks that I use when working with paper or any other craft for that matter. These will be very easy things to learn and mostly for beginners—if you're past that stage then please bear with me.

Since the paper cube is the last item I posted, I thought I'd start with one very important tool: my fingernail. That sounds a bit strange doesn't it? But, yes, that is an important tool that I use when working on hand cut pieces.

Typically, when a blade isn't extremely sharp, you'll notice that when a shape is cut out of card stock or thick paper, the outer edges of the paper that's left behind, are a bit raised. There are several examples in the photo but I've circled the most noticeable. See the shadows of the raised edges?


Here the raised edges are all gone. The piece is completely flat. See the difference? There are probably many ways to do this but I go with what is quick and handy. That's why I use my fingernail. I simply lay my nail flat against the paper and rub it across all the edges until I don't see any more raised edges. I don't feel a piece is finished unless I've done this.


Important! - To be safe, first place a sheet of office paper or something similar over your artwork, then start rubbing all over it. Otherwise you run the risk of tearing up part of your artwork. Sometimes I don't follow my own advice and I've paid the price for not doing so. When I do use an extra sheet, I lift up the paper several times in order to see where more rubbing needs to be done.

I don't use a burnisher or any other kind of tool because I feel I have better control when using my hands. I can also feel where the edges of the piece are and can work quicker.

A word to the wise—don't do what I've done before. Never do this when your nails have nail polish on them. That should go without saying, right? Nothing like a colored streak across a perfectly clean piece of artwork! Talk about having a want-to-kick-myself moment.

If you have any questions or suggestions for The Basics, please feel free to add them in the comments section or email me if you'd like to keep it more private. I'd love to hear from many of you and I hope this helps!

Have a great day!

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