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X-Acto Swivel Designer Series Craft Blade

Reported by Jenny Barnett Rohrs


I have a love/hate relationship with craft blades. Every crafter needs one- or a few- but sometimes they are tricky to work with. Either they are uncomfortable to hold, or it’s difficult to change the blade without nicking yourself, or they are just unwieldy it’s hard to make delicate cuts. And I have to admit, the only swivel blade I’ve ever owned is languishing in the bottom of a drawer, unused and unloved.

So I needed to be really “sold” on the X-Acto Swivel Craft Knife (Designer Series). And I think I was!

First impressions out of the package is that the handle is really large- maybe overly so- but as I began to experiment with it, I found that the handle is very ergonomic and really an integral part of the tool. Because the blade swivels, you have to keep a really good grip on the handle, and the Designer Series version enables you to do this without excessive hand fatigue. So far, so good!

For my cutting tests, I decided to use a heart shape. This shape incorporates some interior points, some exterior points, and curves; good to really test drive the blade. I also used an old self-healing cutting mat underneath (that probably goes without saying, but just to be clear).

First up- old sheet music. It’s so old it’s a little brittle.

Result? Smooth as butter. No tearing at all in the inside or outside points. Nice.

Next up: Copy-weight paper.

Also worked well. Good maneuverability in the interior and exterior points. No tearing or drag.
So next I moved up to cardstock:


It was a little harder to control the blade on this one- I found I had to grip the handle more firmly and let the blade to the work, which it did. I had to fight the urge to twist the handle the way I do with a straight blade. Some drag in the points, but the cut is still clean.

The next example I just tried wavy lines on lightweight paper. Not surprisingly, large waves were the easiest, small waves more challenging…and zig-zags were tough. Not recommended for that!

So then I got the bright idea to try fabric. I prepped the fabric with some paper-backed iron-on webbing.
And then I cut a heart & a scalloped frame. The X-Acto Designer Series Swivel Blade actually did an amazing job. No loose threads, minimal drag, and I LOVE the idea of being able to cut free-shapes and make them into appliques without the use of scissors! This is the most impressive selling point for me!

So, because I’m a practical gal, I also tried out changing the blade (I’m a little dense here, because it took me 15 minutes just to figure out how!). You’ll need to grab the metal collar with your non-dominant hand, then twist the grey tip of the handle towards you. It will loosen the collar and pull out of the handle with the blade still in it.

Tip the collar over to empty out the blade.

Drop a new blade in the bottom of the collar, then insert the collar back into the handle and twist the grey part to tighten it all back up.

So, all in all, I really like this blade. It’s comfortable to hold, works will with different weights of paper and fabric, and gives you the flexibility of making your own shapes without a stencil or ruler. I certainly will be keeping this blade on TOP of my craft desk!

I used the negative and positive shapes in a collage.
Pros:
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Easy to change blades
  • Works well on different weights of paper/fabric
  • OK price point (between $8-$12 USD)
  • Kinda cute!

Cons:

  • Cap is not attached, prone to loss
  • Not great for tight turns with thicker cardstock
  • No holder/stand

The X-ACTO Designer Series Craft Swivel Knife is available at Amazon.com

Have you used the X-Acto Swivel knife? Have a comment? We’d love to hear from you!

Disclosure

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

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6 Responses to X-Acto Swivel Designer Series Craft Blade

  1. Patchi May 28, 2010 at 2:09 pm #

    I’ve never thought to use a swivel knife for free-hand cutting… The only one I own is the one that comes with the Coluzzle and I’ve always used it with the templates.

    Thanks for the review!

  2. cgl1539 May 29, 2010 at 12:39 am #

    I have so much trouble with craft blades also so I don’t use mine. That is till I found one that slips over my finger. The Fiskars finger tip swivel knife. I love it, I can easily control it and doesn’t hurt my carpal tunnel like the rest did. But I have to try this one, thanks for the review.

  3. Becky May 29, 2010 at 11:37 am #

    Havent used this one but I do own the Fiskars finger tip and I love it.

  4. Erica May 30, 2010 at 4:33 pm #

    I think I have to have this blade. I like that it cuts shapes so well. Could it be used in place of a Coluzzle blade for circles.
    Thanks for all your critiques.

  5. Cindi (aka iring) May 31, 2010 at 11:35 pm #

    I have the same question … do you think it could be used with a coluzzle?

  6. Mrs.H March 30, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

    I purchased one of these to make paper lanterns for my daughters wedding reception. I couldn’t find a punch for the birds she wanted, so I made a stencil myself and am using this swivel X-acto to cut them out. It is working wonderfully. I’m glad you posted the blade exchange because that was the only problem I was having. I couldn’t figure it out. Thanks for the assist.

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