Wallpapering scissors are amongst the absolutely indispensable tools for professionals as well as occasional, self-taught DIY decorators. Contrary to the popular opinion that a good pair of household or paper scissors is just as appropriate to cut lengths of wallpaper, we recommend investing in professional wallpapering scissors as they are designed to meet the special requirements for wallpapering. Precise cutting results and long durability will pay off.
Differences to other cutting tools for wallpapering
A variety of cutting tools for wallpapering purposes are available on the market. Aside from the classic wallpapering scissor, there are also the wallpaper ruler (used to pull paper off the roll), Stanley knife, cutter knife, and the triangular cutting edge as well as electric wallpapering scissors.
In order to choose the right tool, one must consider the exact functional and result-oriented purpose. Until fairly recently, painters and decorators used only wallpapering scissors to do all their cutting work, but they were of course trained and experienced (as opposed to DIY enthusiasts).
Today, the variety of cutting tools make wallpapering much easier, even for laypersons. Classic wallpapering scissors are used to cut lengths of wallpaper (for narrow strips, it can be used to cut widths, too) on the trestle table, and also to cut overly long wallpaper directly off the wall itself. Wallpaper overlaps along skirting boards, in window recesses, under window sills, along radiators, etc. can be removed more easily with a cutter knife, wallpaper ruler (also known as trimming edge) or Stanley knife. It should be mentioned that these tools require a certain amount of experience and patience, especially when using them for the first time.
When entering "wallpapering/wallpaper scissors" in search engines, the results increasingly reveal electric wallpapering tools. They rely on batteries and are best suited to place accurate cuts on wallpaper that is already up on the wall; however, they are not the best tool for DIYers and take some getting used to.
Differences between manual and electric wallpapering scissors
The classic manual wallpapering scissors we are looking at more closely in this Guide Blog are visibly different from electric models. They do not have the typical scissor shape; instead, they are hand-guided, battery-operated systems with cutting blades (similar to cutter knives). The blades are replaceable. The body is made of plastic.
Electric wallpapering scissors are well suited for ceiling edges, corners, cutting edges without skirting boards, areas around doors and windows as well as millimetre-precision overlaps (edge-to-edge). They are most frequently used to cut wallpapers directly on the wall. Prices for these devices range from 20 - 30 Euros. Manual wallpapering scissors are still the number one tool for cutting lengths of wallpaper on the trestle table.
Why the right wallpapering scissors are necessary to achieve the best results
Modern design wallpapers are made of a variety of materials. First of all, the carrier material can be fleece/non-woven or paper-based. Surface materials come in a huge array of variations:
- High-quality paper
- Textile fibres or fabrics
- Natural materials like bamboo, cork, grass or mica stones
- Metal or effect foils
- Glass beads
Many design wallpapers also feature special structures and embossing, and come in many different grammages. Special wallpapering scissors can be used to cut any type of wallpaper material with ease. Wallpapers with a paper carrier layer are treated with adhesive or paste first, then put up on the wall where they need to dry for several hours. Even when still wet or damp, they can be cut neatly with good wallpapering scissors without causing ugly rips or frayed edges.
Specifications of wallpapering scissors
Classic manual wallpapering scissors typically consist of these components: handles (sometimes referred to as "bows"), shanks, and blades, as well as the joint/screw that holds the components together and allows for the replacing of elements.
Handles or bows have an oval shape; the thumb hole (or ring) is usually slightly smaller. They are made of impact-proof plastic in various colours, are shaped ergonomically and lengthened to include the shanks. The blades are made from polished stainless steel and have sharp, pointy ends. The total length can vary between 25 and 30 cm. Various models feature an upward angle so that the scissors can be placed relatively flatly on the the cutting area. There are also variations for left- and right-handed people.
Prices for wallpapering scissors range from 2 to 40 Euro, depending on quality and comfort characteristics. These are obviously huge differences in terms of cost, so our advice is as follows: If you intend to use the scissors for a long time, invest in a professional model.
Always check your tools thoroughly before buying them. Wallpapering scissors must feel comfortable in the hand. This is best achieved with an ergonomic handle with softgrip padding or coating. Make sure your fingers have sufficient room and aren't cut into by the handle elements. However, handles should not be too large either, as otherwise they will not provide you with enough grip. Opening and closing the scissors should be smooth and easy. High-quality wallpapering scissors will cut through any material like butter, and the results should be accurate and even.
How to use and take care of your wallpapering scissors
Cutting individual wallpaper strips is easily and accurately achieved with wallpapering scissors for professionals or DIY enthusiasts. First of all, the wallpaper needs to be measured and marked with a pencil (on the back!); the scissors then glide along this pencil line. A simple tool called a set square can be extremely useful in this context. It can be placed on the edge of the table and used to draw an even horizontal line. To prevent the wallpaper from moving or curling whilst measuring and cutting it, put a weight on the top end and place the roll onto a chair. Our wallpapering instruction How to cut wallpaper correctly explains the required steps in detail.
After working with wet (pasted) wallpaper, the scissors need to be cleaned with water and dried thoroughly. Always store your scissors in a clean, dry place. Even with stainless cutting blades, humidity will eventually get to them and make them stiff and/or difficult to handle. Blades can be resharpened or replaced. For DIY fans who rarely tackle any wallpapering projects, resharpening/replacing of blades will usually not become necessary, especially with high-quality scissors.