How to Cut Canvas

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Because of its durability, canvas is often used to make accessories such as tote bags.
Because of its durability, canvas is often used to make accessories such as tote bags. (Image: PhotoObjects.net/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Canvas is a firmer, more rigid material than many other types of fabric. Whether you are using cavas to make clothing, accessories, or even a backdrop for a play, it is important to cut it properly so that the lines are clean and even. Because of its rigid texture, canvas requires a sharp pair of scissors for cutting, preferably ones with elongated blades to make smooth, long cuts in the fabric.

Things You'll Need

  • Grease pencil
  • Hard surface with an edge such as a table or countertop
  • Long, sharp scissors
  • Metal clips (optional)

Lay out the canvas on a table or countertop.

Mark the lines you want to cut on the canvas using the grease pencil before you begin cutting. This will help you to avoid mistakes when using the scissors.

Secure the canvas to the table. Using either your free hand -- the one you won't be cutting with -- or a pair of metal clips, hold the canvas firmly against the table. Allow several feet of the canvas, with the cut lines on it, to drape over the side of the table.

Tightly pull the free end of the canvas taut. If you are using one hand to hold down the canvas, ask someone else to do this for you. It is important to keep the canvas tight in order to cut smooth, straight lines. If the canvas is clipped to the edge of the counter top or table, use one hand to pull the fabric and the other to hold the scissors for cutting.

Using the scissors, cut the fabric slowly with long, smooth cuts. Inch the scissors forward after you make each cut. Keep the fabric tight in order to keep the lines smooth.

Once you have finished making your cuts, lay out the entire piece of canvas on the flat surface and inspect the recently cut edges. Using the scissors, trim away any strings that are hanging from the ends.

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