How To Sharpen Rotary Cutter Blades: All You Need To Know

how to sharpen rotary cutter bladesAlong with a perfect needle and quality embroidery floss or sewing thread, another necessity in the world of sewing is an excellent blade. A well-sharpened scissor or cutter gives that ideal edge on the fabric. A rotary cutter is a useful item for people who sew. It is a tool used for cutting materials consisting of a handle with a rotating circular blade. They are available in different sizes as well. The cutters which have smaller blades give minor cuts and the ones bigger are useful for cutting in an aligned path or broad cuts. Thicker and layered fabrics are challenging to cut with a regular scissor, rotary cutters come handy in these cases.

The blades are very sharp, and with continuous use, they go blunt but can be re-sharpened.

How To Use A Rotary Cutter

The best technique of using a rotary cutter not only depends on the cutting procedure but also on the mat.

Place a quality-cutting mat on a plain surface and spread it evenly before the next step. For straight cuts, use a ruler.

Be very careful while sliding the cutter along the edge of the ruler because the blades are quite sharp. Avoid hurting yourself.

Use a ruler with diamond carbide edges as it shall prevent the ruler from becoming dull. Thus, it shall serve two purposes at once- measuring as well as sharpening.

Try to keep your arm straight and have a good grip before you start cutting.

How To Sharpen Rotary Cutter Blades

As the name suggests, the primary purpose of a rotary cutter is the smooth incision of the fabric to be used for sewing. Since it is a useful tool for every tailor or dressmaker, it has extensive uses. The new ones, of course, have very sharp blades, but with continuous usage it becomes dull. Blunt blades are difficult to cut. Instead of one single cut, the fabric might need two or three cuts. It will not only fray the edges of the material but will also take a longer time than required.

A few methods on how to sharpen rotary cutter blades are as follows:

Blade Sharpeners

Investing in a blade sharpener is a good move for regular sharpening of rotary cutters. It has two parts one for holding the blade and the other the holder which has two types of sandpapers attached to it. The brown sandpaper has larger grits than the black one. The brown one is coarser, and the black sandpaper is finer.
rotary cutter sharpener

  • Step 1: Unassemble the cutter and expose the blade very cautiously.
  • Step 2: Place the blade in between the sharpener.
  • Step 3: Hold one part of the sharpener with the blade and screw it up with the other part.
  • Step 4: Spray a generous amount of water over the blade.
  • Step 5: Take the blade and insert it in the other part with the brown sandpaper rings attached to it.
  • Step 6: Turn it on one side in the same direction for at least twenty to twenty-five times.
  • Step 7: Take out the holder and repeat the action for another edge of the blade.
  • Step 8: Repeat the same process for the black sandpaper ring as well in the same direction and not back and forth.
  • Step 9: Take the blade apart from the holder
  • Step 10: Place it back on the cutter and screw it up.

Note: do not use too much water before rubbing on the sandpaper. Just a few drops are sufficient. Secondly, while turning the holder with a blade on the sharpener, move only in one single direction. Preferably clockwise.

Aluminum Foil

Another procedure on how to sharpen rotary cutter blades is by using heavy-duty aluminum foil. Using foil is handy and very easy. They are cheap and are readily available. For this method, follow the simple steps as under:

  • Step 1: Tear off a big piece of tin foil
  • Step 2: Fold it for multiple times (minimum of six to seven layers)
  • Step 3: Roll the blade over the foil several times.
  • Step 4: On a scrap fabric, test it if it can cut through smoothly.
  • Step 5: Repeat the process if needed.


There are some rulers available that have diamond carbine finishing on its edges. This unique design helps in maintaining the sharpness of the blade of the rotary cutter. Use the ruler for measuring as well as cutting the fabric. While doing so, the edge sharpens the blade of the cutter simultaneously. It helps in keeping the blade fine and does not get blunt quickly.

Rotary Cutter Uses

sewing ruler and cutterThe technique of cutting a fabric needs attention for proper alignment. A rotary cutter makes the process accurate as well as rapid. It can cut through thicker fabrics depending on the various sizes of the blades. The cut can be precise and clean for material with multiple layers too.

For a better result of cutting fabric before starting to stitch, use a good quality of the blade. The practical uses of a rotary cutter, as mentioned above, makes it more convenient than using a regular scissor. Try cutting on a scrap fabric of the same material as a trial. Sharpen the blade of the cutter if required before using it on the actual material. Tailors who use a rotary cutter daily must keep their cutters sharpen at any instant. Sharpen the cutter at least every alternate day. Using an aluminum foil is cheaper. Instead of investing in a new cutter frequently, invest on a sharpener. Buy a new one; only sharpening does not provide any visible results on the existing one. Regular maintenance of the necessary ingredients required for sewing saves time when there is a shortage of time. The finishing touches on the final product are clean and elegant. It also gives a positive vibe on the whole experience of sewing.

nancy jenkins from get sew

Nancy Jenkins

Nancy is a retired seamstress who loves everything about crafting and sewing. When she is not at her sewing machine, you'll find her coming up with new patterns and designs for her sewing projects. Nancy likes the outdoors, meeting with friends, and cooking.