Techniques for Cutting Stacks of Paper


Cutting stacks of a paper down to particular sizes is a necessary process in a variety of applications, ranging from offices to art classes. The technique you use for cutting stacks of paper will depend on several factors, including the amount of paper comprising the stacks and the precision with which you need to cut the stacks. However, the types of paper-cutting tools and devices that are available to you will limit your cutting-technique options.

Using Scissors

  • The most basic technique for cutting stacks of paper is to use a pair of scissors. However, the number of paper sheets that a pair of scissors can simultaneously cut through is limited--typically fewer than 10--while the precision of the cut depends solely on the steadiness of the user's hand. For best results when cutting stacks of paper with scissors, use scissors that have large, ultra-sharp blades and handles that you can comfortably exert a lot of force onto.

Using a Rotary Cutter

  • Also known as a rolling cutter or trimmer, the rotary paper cutter utilizes a round blade that rolls along a track. You operate the cutter by sliding the cutting head--which houses the rolling blade--up or down a fixed-bar on the side of the cutter's cutting surface. Unlike with scissors, the rotary cutter has a fixed-plane of operation, which means it allows you to cut more precisely through stacks of paper. However, this cutting technique is still inadequate for cutting thick stacks, as most rotary cutters can cut fewer than 10 sheets simultaneously.

Using a Guillotine Cutter

  • Like a rotary cutter, a guillotine cutter has a fixed plane of operation, which means its blade cuts along the same path with each cut. However, instead of using a rolling blade, a guillotine uses a large, heavy knife-like blade, which you push down to slice through paper stacks. The heavy blade gives guillotine cutters superior cutting power in comparison to scissors and rotary cutters. As ABC Office notes, most guillotine cutters can easily cut through stacks consisting of 10 or more sheets of paper. Always monitor children who are employing this paper-cutting technique, as guillotine cutters have the potential to sever fingers and cause other bodily harm.

Using An Hydraulic Cutter

  • For the ultimate in cutting power and precision, you may want to consider using a hydraulic cutter for cutting stacks of paper. These cutters utilize pressurized liquids to drive their cutting blades through paper, making them considerably more powerful than guillotine cutters. Some models are capable of cutting through stacks of paper that are more than three inches--or 700 sheets--thick. Also, unlike with rotary and guillotine cutters, hydraulic cutters are automated, which means to cut a stack of paper you simply have to load the stack in the machine and choose an operation setting.


  • Photo Credit paper guillotine image by Alison Bowden from
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