How do I cut photos into squares
March 19, 2020 8:29 PM   Subscribe

I need to cut about 50 rectangular photographs into 3.25" squares. Is there some kind of scrapbook/crafting gadget that would do that cleanly and quickly -- something better than just using a ruler and scissors and trying to go in a straight line?
posted by mccxxiii to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total)
If you can get your hands on a sturdy paper cutter (like the wooden kind with a nice big chopping blade), this would be quick and easy!
posted by sucre at 8:35 PM on March 19

fiskars 3.5" hole punch. Their website doesn't mention a 3.25" size one, but a different crafting company might make one.
posted by ilovewinter at 8:46 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]

The chopping kind of paper cutter tends to drag the paper and give you corners that aren’t quite perpendicular. You’re probably looking for a rotary paper trimmer, unless you can find a crafting punch that’s the right size.
posted by fedward at 8:47 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]

You can get a paper cutter that has the blade in a sliding track like this one by Fiskars, which I have not used but is inexpensive and appears well-reviewed.
posted by bcwinters at 8:48 PM on March 19 [5 favorites]

Practice first on same weight stock.
posted by Freedomboy at 9:18 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]

Use a template made of thin plastic or better of metal so you can cut against that to get replicable sizes. The cutter stamps are the best, but most passport places I've seen use a regular slider-cutter on a mat (so it doesn't shake) and have the guidelines needed marked directly on the cutter. I've used washi tape for temporary cutting marks when I have to do a lot of the same size.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 9:52 PM on March 19 [2 favorites]

You're looking for a rotary cutter and a sturdy straightedge - the cork backing on this one helps a lot. A quilting ruler with a lip is great but they're pricier. They'll have these at Jo-Ann's - look in the quilting section - but if you have a local quilt shop they'll have them too.

You could also use an X-acto knife with a good straightedge but I've found them to be less accurate and more prone to slipping.

(I've made quilts and also cut lots of paper in bulk.)
posted by bendy at 10:01 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]

I have something similar to bcwinters' link for cutting heavy paper into little note cards. It would be a one at a time thing and take four cuts per photo (top, bottom, left, right) but should do the trick.
posted by zengargoyle at 10:27 PM on March 19

I have a paper cutter similar to the one bcwinters mentioned, and it works well for getting nice straight cuts. You probably won't be able to do more than one photograph at a time though from your description it sounds like that wouldn't be a problem.
posted by Aleyn at 11:02 PM on March 19

I have a fiskars paper trimmer and it does work, but I prefer a rotary cutter with a quilting ruler and cutting mat. You can often buy these in one package and you could get away with a mat that is 6x6, but 12x12 would probably be nicer to work with.
posted by soelo at 6:59 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]

SO MANY good answers here, thank you all! These are all products that I didn't really know/think about. I'm not normally "crafty" -- although now that I click through all this stuff and have some time on my hands, I think I'm about to be!! :)
posted by mccxxiii at 8:56 AM on March 20

I frequently use the Fiskars one mentioned upthread. It's quite good, within its limits. I would recommend getting one or more spare cutting heads.

Before you cut your photos, make some test cuts on scrap paper so you familiarize yourself with how to align and measure. It looks intuitive enough, but in practice, you may need to make some adjustments. For the most accurate results, don't try to cut more than one sheet at a time.
posted by Weftage at 12:44 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]

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