Develop Your Artistic Side With a Well-Chosen Craft Knife

by Jenn

We’ve seen a significant boom in the practice of arts and crafts over the past year and a half. Whether you create art for a living or you do it as a way to unwind, having the right tools is crucial. The right tool can be the difference between good art and mediocre art. Additionally, it can mark the contrast between keeping you safe and increasing your risk for injuries. 

With the increase in creative exploits comes the need for a one-stop-shop cutter. Enter the craft knife. Craft knives are a must-have for any artist/crafter, and their star is on the rise. Craft knives can execute a wide variety of tasks. Let’s explore the craft knife’s most common features, as well as some fun creative ideas you can do with them. 

What Is a Craft Knife?

A craft knife is a type of precision knife. It boasts a slender, pen-like body with a long, pointed blade. Most sport a cross-hatch grip, like these trending craft knives, and give the user more control over their tool. Other names for them include hobby knives and X-Acto (brand) knives. In addition, there are multiple types of craft knives, such as the art scalpel, pen cutter, and utility knife. 

Craft knife blades are commonly made of zirconium oxide, stainless steel, or carbon steel. The blades are usually replaceable, and some even come with a safety cap for added protection. Popular handle materials include plastic, glass-filled nylon, and metal. Craft knives can cut a myriad of materials like paper, cardstock, fabrics, vinyl, foam, leather, soap, and much more.

What Can You Do With a Craft Knife?

Highlights in Colored Pencil Shading 

Colored pencil artists find the craft knife to be an excellent asset to their work. You can take your colored pencil artwork to the next level by producing beautiful shading, highlights, and textures with a craft knife. Additionally, use your tool to make dents in your paper before coloring to achieve unique contrasts. Or, you can scratch away color to create unique highlights. 

Nail Art

Believe it or not, craft knives come in handy when applying nail art. Get creative with it by cutting and shaping wet beads, adding nail extensions, and color blocking acrylics. Just be sure to exercise caution because you’ll be working with a blade. 

Consider investing in a craft knife blade that’s made of zirconium oxide, an advanced ceramic with a hardness that surpasses steel, so you don’t have to worry about breakage. It’s also safe to touch while still serving as an effective cutter. 

Cake Decorating 

Bakers can elevate their cake creations with the usage of a craft knife for sculpting intricate details. For example, cut shapes in fondant and gum paste. It’s also great for trimming excess fondant and scoring the fondant to get a popular quilted design or other fun patterns. 

Soap Making 

If you’re an avid do-it-yourself (DIY) hobbyist, then you may be interested in making your own soap. Your craft knife will come in handy for that. While not a lot of cutting is involved with soap making, you do need to slice your brick soap into smaller, easily manageable bricks. Craft knives are helpful with smoothing the edges of your soap, as well as creating eye-catching designs on top of your bars. 


This one may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning on this list. Craft knives are popular in the scrapbooking community. They’re fantastic for making delicate, intricate cuts—something a standard paper cutter might not be able to achieve. The thin body of the craft knife makes it easier to maneuver and get those tough-to-reach places. 

You can use a glass mat underneath your paper if cutting shapes is your thing. This prevents your blade from getting stuck to the mat while you work. Just be sure you move the paper, not your knife, while you cut.  

Applique in Leather

The art of applique involves cutting a shape or design from one piece of colored leather and applying it to a larger hunk of colored leather. Applique is one of the oldest techniques in leatherwork. 

If you work regularly with leather, think about buying a craft knife with a convenient no-roll design on its handle, in addition to the cross-hatch grip. This gives you optimal control over your tool while you cut, all while ensuring your safety and protecting your hands. 

Feeling Crafty Yet?

The craft knife’s versatility knows no bounds. As you can see with the above list, the only limitation is your imagination. Make sure you have a craft knife that’s safe and effective, and your creations will ascend to a new level.

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