DIY Essentials: X-ACTO Knife

It always helps to have a tool that can slice through anything — paper, plastic, cardboard or transparancy. The X-ACTO knife has been a long time friend of the artist, and a functional tool of many designers, stencilers and crafters around the world.

ain’t she a beaut? the #1.

Invented around WWI by Sundel Doniger, it was originally engineered as a scalpel for medical practices. After being rejected because of its inability to remain sterile or be clean, Doniger began distributing it as a craft tool after an advertising artist used it as a retouching knife for one of his projects. Its sturdy handle and ability to place in different types of blades made it extremely versatile, and thus the X-ACTO knife we know today was born.

With its pencil-like precision, we use X-ACTO knives at Workshop for stenciling and cutting out graphics for various projects, some that even include our handy friend, Mod Podge. The #1 is our classic go-to, while the Gripster puts our crafty hands at ease with its great rubber handle.

the gripster being put to great use.

Though we are always advocates of crafting with a beer close by, do be careful when cutting anything while drinking. We don’t want you to get hurt!

Investing in a knife sharpener will not only make your blades last longer, but will avoid that annoying trip to the store when you’re neck deep in your next project.

When carving or cutting your next project, be sure to do it on top of a surface that you don’t mind screwing up. Whether its an old table or a piece of foam, the cuts you make are sure to go through your material so be prepared!

leather chain necklace

How To Make a Perpetual Desk Calendar via Apartment Therapy

How To Make A Homemade X-ACTO Knife via Rotten Eggs

Snow Globe Postcards via Giddy Giddy Blog

Leather Chain Necklace via Cucumbersome

X-ACTO Official Website

X-ACTO Knife History

X-ACTO Listings On Blick Art Materials

How To Use an X-ACTO KNIFE via Do It Yourself

Have any cool examples of great X-ACTO projects that you’ve put together at home? If you’d like your tutorial or project featured on the Workshop blog, please email me at We’d love to feature you!

Lets get our hands dirty,

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