What is Fussy Cutting?
Fussy Cutting is where you take a detailed focal point that you’ve either painted or drawn yourself or is taken from a collage book or a magazine. You need small scissors that are easily turned to go around all the nooks and crannies of a specific image. Some are fairly simple but florals with greenery can be quite complex.
What do you use these fussy-cut bits and bobs for? Above is an example of an ICAD (Index Card a Day) Challenge I did for July using one of the black & white hand-painted floral focal points. I like wonky so perfection is never my goal for my fussy cuts.
Fussy Cutting Scissors
I’ve tried 3 different types of “fussy cutting” scissors and each has its pluses and minuses.
They are lightweight, turn on a dime, fit my hand nicely and have a wonderful safety tip. They have ergonomic, comfortable grip handles, and a micro-tip blade so you have maximum control and stability for fussy cutting. I can cut up sheets of fussy things without my hands cramping up.
These scissors are 4.5 inches and have a small precise NANO tip for detailed work. They also sport rubberized comfort grip handles. No tip on these so be careful. They are very pointy!
- 4.5-inch ProSeries detail scissors
- Small and precise detail scissors for the sewing enthusiast
- NANO Tip for detailed work
- Rubberized comfort grip handles
Purchase on Amazon
The familiar Fiskars scissors with orange micro-tip blades are designed to make intricate cuts through multiple layers of fabric. I just don’t like the way these feel in my hand as well as the other two above.
These Japanese-made detail scissors have some amazing reviews! They are on the pricier end but folks swear they are almost as great as German-made scissors with super sharp blades and precision turning.
Tim Holtz has detail scissors but they are quite a bit pricier than these other 3 options so I haven’t bought them to try them out. I would love to hear if they are worth the difference in price if you have tried them. Joggles or Amazon
One of my favorite lessons in Fodder School 1, was the lesson by Roxanne Padget where we made adorable cutout dresses using painted papers. You had to cut out the silhouette and have both the inside & the outside and my hands are just too weak to use an Exacto blade with any success. Luckily several ladies in class gave me some alternatives to try and I found one that works perfectly! There is another one that swivels but after reading reviews it seems like that one is pretty hard to control.
Fussy Cutting Paperdolls
Paper Dolls have made a comeback recently, both creating your own and cutting out the intricate ones in books. There are instant digital downloads on Etsy, as well as stencils from one of my favorite mixed-media artists Megan Quinlan. She’s got 3 different sets to use for art journaling, fussy cutting for cards or ATCs, or just for fun. I like the Moonlight Serenade set best so I can create my own body and outfits and just use the heads plus that crow and moon are super cool too.
Collage Books to Fussy Cut
This is a popular collage cut-out book. Extraordinary Things to Cut Out and Collage
Dina Wakley has 3 collage books so far. (click on the images below to order)
Mixed media artists are often fussy cutting their focal points or images from magazines or Wonky Bits from the Willa courses but for those people with arthritis or hand injuries, this can be painful or problematic. A few of my Wonky Bits are below on top of a Dina Wakley pouch.