Tu-Na Quilts: Keeping Those Rotary Cutters Sharp

7aaMy Mama Always Says: Where years of experience and bits of quilting wisdom guide me on my quilting journey.

My Mama Always Says: “They (rotary cutters) are sharp.” 

At least they should be. Through the years, I’ve found that some fabrics (or maybe fabric finishes) seem to dull the blades faster than others and I seem to be changing those blades more often than I want. A sharp rotary blade makes cutting so much easier and faster. But what can one do if no new blade is at hand?

I’ve been sharpening my scissors for years by snipping thru aluminum foil. 


To sharpen a scissors quickly, just snip thru a sheet of aluminum foil a few times.


As I was cutting the 1.5″ squares for my postage stamp quilt today I said to myself, “I wonder if my rotary cutter blades can be sharpened in the same way?”


A sharp blade makes the cutting job easier and faster.


So I grabbed some foil and gave it a try. I laid the foil on the mat and made several cuts with the rotary cutter.


I should close the blade too before laying it on the table. This open blade has become a bad habit for me. After all, my mama’s advice also pertains to preventing an accidental cut from an open blade.


Sure enough. It worked. I am now sure I can prolong the life of the blade by using this method to sharpen it. Maybe you can too.

What I Learned Today:

  1. Aluminum foil will sharpen rotary blades as well as scissors.
  2. My Mama is very wise.

Question: How do you sharpen your scissors and rotary blades?

Linking to:

Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl for Tips and Tutorials

Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?

Myra at Busy Hands Quilt for Finished or Not Friday.

Beth at Cooking Up Quilts for Main Crush Monday.

21 thoughts on “Tu-Na Quilts: Keeping Those Rotary Cutters Sharp

  1. JanineMarie

    Wow! Thanks! I had no idea. I have always used rotary blades way too long, even when I’m frustrated by that little burr that skips a thread with every rotation. Why do I do that?! My scissors came in a hard plastic sleeve with a built in sharpener, so all I have to do is draw the blades over it–when I remember to.


    1. Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats Post author

      That little burr thing on the rotary cutters makes me frustrated too. I’ve read that the skipped thread is from a nick that has developed on the blade from running into the ruler or dropping on the floor without closing. Yes, that is experience talking.


  2. Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts

    I’ve never sharpened a rotary blade, but this might help me keep from changing them so often. I have two cutters – one for trimming after quilting (cutting through batting), and one for cutting fabric. I find that batting dulls a blade fast! Thanks for the tip, I’m going to go give it a try!


  3. smilesfromkate

    That’s a great tip Karen. I have a lovely little pair of scissors I have had for years which just don’t cut so well any more, and who doesn’t want to extend the like of their rotary cutter blade? I am definitely trying this one. today!



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