Making custom stencils

X-Acto sent me a few of their latest craft knives, which I love. Especially the fat pink Designer Series #11 craft knife in the photo above. In exchange, they asked me to show you how I use X-Acto around my home. Considering that crafting is mostly what happens in my home, I decided to share three of my top craft uses for X-Acto knives.

1. Creating custom stencils

The first time I ever picked up an X-Acto knife was in junior high (grade 7). I took a stained glass class. We started out etching mirrors with our own drawings, which we made into stencils with Con-Tact paper and an X-Acto knife. I was hooked. I made more than a dozen etched mirrors. (I still have some of them. I’ll show you someday.)

Since then, I’ve made many more stencils. Jess Chamberlain and I made the stencil above to paint onto a roman shade for Sunset magazine.

Making bound books

2. Cutting straight lines and scoring

A metal ruler, cutting mat, and an X-Acto knife beat scissors when cutting straight lines any day. Perfect for cardboard, paper, and plastic, and they take up less room than a bulky paper cutter. The obvious beating that my self-healing mat has taken is a testament to how often I’ve used my handy X-Acto knife over the years.

Both ends of the classic X-Acto knife come in handy when making accordion books or bound books. Cut the cardboard and paper with one end of the knife; score the fold lines with the other end. (Be sure to put the cap on or remove the blade when scoring.)

Making duct tape wallets

3. Making duct tape crafts

An X-Acto knife is a must for making duct tape crafts. It’s nearly impossible to cut duct tape (sticky-side out) with scissors, and tearing doesn’t always create as clean a line as you want. Using an X-Acto knife gives you straight, exact edges on your duct tape wallets and other duct tape projects. I’m making the duct tape wallet above for my dad. He’s a hunter, so camouflage paired with neon orange is appropriate.

The giveaway

X-Acto has offered to provide X-Acto prize packs to give away to two of my loyal readers, so you can get creative with X-Acto, too. Prize packs include:

  • Retract-a-Blade knife
  • Designer Series Gripster craft knife
  • Self-healing mat

To enter, leave a comment on this post telling me how you plan to use your X-Acto prize pack. For many ideas to get you started, check out X-Acto’s Creative Knife Uses guide (pdf). I’ll choose two commenters to receive a prize pack. X-Acto disclaimer: To win, you must be a U.S. resident to ensure product availability. The deadline is in one week—Friday, November 4, 2011.

The winner

Random Number GeneratorThank you to all of you who commented on the DIY book review post. I chose one of you at random to win Do It Yourself Kitchens and Do It Yourself: 100+ Paint Projects. The first winner was a comment stating she was a Twitter follower. I checked. She’s not following me on Twitter. Her loss. So, the next winner I chose was comment #75. Kim Johnson wrote: “We are helping two families rebuild after the devastation from the Texas wildfires. They were lucky not to lose their homes completely but the damage forced them to have to gut the homes and start over. I thought these books might lift some spirit and give them some ideas! Thanks for the opportunity!” Congratulations, Kim! It’s a bonus that the books are going to a worthy cause.