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Recommendation for photo trimmer

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  • Recommendation for photo trimmer

    Hi all, I’m new here but the forums look great! I make greetings cards using art images I create from my own photos. I currently print the images on 6 x4 inch photo paper and then usually trim them and double mount them onto card stock. I am looking for a recommendation for a paper cutter that will be really accurate in the cut. I also need some guides or even a magnetic/laser guide so that I definitely can trim with even borders. I don’t need capacity to cut more than one sheet at a time. I bought a cheap trimmer from Amazon but of course you get what you pay for! I’m happy to pay up to about £70 for an absolutely great trimmer. I’m not too keen on the guillotine style (re safety and storage) but happy to be convinced otherwise. Can you help? Thanks loads!

  • #2
    Hello and welcome to the forum. Sorry I can't help with your paper trimmer question, but we have a couple of regular posters who are very knowledgeable about this kind of thing and I'm sure they'll be able to offer some advice when they see your question.

    Linda

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    • #3
      Over the years I’ve bought all sorts from sliding paper trimmers which are ok, not that accurate, don’t stay sharp for long. I use a surgical scalpel sometimes and a steel edged rule, I have a mountcutter which is deadly accurate but would be overkill for photos, I also use a guillotine, a drop arm one by Rexel, one of their office range which I've recommended here before and a few have bought, great feedback. It has a perspex guard so you can’t chop your fingers, a self sharpening blade, the blade locks safely in place when you finish and it stores flat. Its somewhere between A4/A3 size. Deadly accurate and the perspex guard is on springs, you push it down on to the paper to hold it in place and the blade comes down on the opposite side, extremely accurate and safe, like using all blades, common sense prevails, its personal choice really, the only least accurate one I’ve found in my 26 years of chopping paper, card and board is the sliding one.

      Dave.

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      • #4
        Hi both, thanks for getting back to me. Dave - thanks for your info - I will have a look at the Rexel ones. Another query for any tips and tricks - I double mount my images before fixing them to blank cards ( I don't print directly to cards as I like the extra strength added to the cards by the matte photo paper and also have not yet found a piece of software to print directly onto the cards?). I was a teacher for years so have lots of experience of mounting kids work by eye, but would really like to be, as you say Dave, 'deadly' accurate. Are there ways to do this which I do not know about? 😊

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        • #5
          Further to my post above, I have seen a few examples of cutters with laser or LED guides - are these any good?

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          • #6
            By “Double mount” do you mean a mount and a slip mount i.e. one on top of the other only slightly smaller that goes on top of the work to keep it flat as in a frame or double mounts under the photo?
            Is it it the mounts that you are wanting to be spot on accurate? Bit confused what you are asking about now 🤔

            Dave.
            Last edited by 3dDave; 29-03-2020, 12:41 PM.

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            • #7
              Hi, having trimmed the image however I want it, I then usually mount/stick it to a co-ordinating backing paper with a border around of up to maybe a quarter of an inch, before affixing it to the blank greetings card. Although trimmers and guillotines have guidelines on the 'table' part, it is not always easy to see exactly where the cut will be made by the blade?

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              • #8

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                • #9
                  I see now. If you are only mounting on paper, two thoughts...
                  1. Why not cut the mounts to go over the edge of the photo then you don’t need to worry about the photo being 100% square, only the mounts, the other way round, photo edge and mounts all have to be exact...

                  2. With the Rexel, the cutting edge is actually the outside edge of the base so you can see where it starts, as long as your or....straight edge, set square, draw your edges on the back of the black paper ( you will see pencil marks on the black to be able to cut) and use a scalpel and metal edged rule.. laser/led attachments are all very handy but I bet a really expensive outlay, depends on how much use you get out of it and if its worth the extra expense when easier methods albeit a bit more time consuming to draw, measure and cut lines with a scalpel which I’ve found to be most accurate as you control it 100%, might be as effective...
                  Attached Files

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                  • #10
                    This very common in the card making world, it often called mat and layering.

                    The problem you described of getting is square and equidistant is on that has had me tearing my hair out for years.

                    There are some tools, I have them, they don't work. I have something called Layer Perfect, sort of works but too much maths to make it easy to use.

                    I have a laser tool made by We R Memory Keepers (American Crafts) which is 2 arms at 90 degrees with adjustable laser lights in each arm. You can align your card layers on the diagonal (the only way it work for me) but again not actually accurate and not easy enough to use. Quite big.

                    I experimented with making something simple and easy to use, my idea was good but I couldn't get it accurate enough. I took 2 stiff bits of thinish plastic (an old cheap see through craft mat) and cut them into 2 right angle bits with 2 arms. made one 1/4 of inch smaller and stuck it to the bigger one, aligning the outside edges together. If you then put it on a flat surface with the smaller one down, you can slide and butt up your first layer, then slide and butt up your second layer to the bigger one. It works but my cutting of the plastic was not accurate so gave up.
                    Wish someone would make this commercially, would be a real game changer, could be available in various sizes increments.

                    The best way I have found with square and rectangle cards is to cut your photo and your mat to the correct size. Then in pencil mark the diagonals on your card base, if you then align the corners of your mat equally along the lines so each corner is on a line it gives a fairly accurate alignment and then you erase the bit of line left.

                    I have spent time and money on this and this simple method wins out, lovely geometry to the rescue again.

                    As to a cutting tool, I would opt for a guillotine too, the little paper trimmers are ok but you do have to keep changing the blade and are not always accurate, I have about 4 stored away and use my old school style guillotine for lots of layers and my newer plastic one for single sheets. If you want to cut out of a sheet of paper then you would need a mount cutter (for thicker card) or a paper trimmer with a pointy blade as opposed to the ones with a rolling blade.

                    Hope this all helps and if anything is not clear don't hesitate to ask.

                    Shelley


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                    • #11
                      Thanks loads, Dave. I can see I need to give this some more thought. The cards are mainly to sell for charity so not a truly commercial venture, but I still want them to look exactly right. You make a good point about mounts on top of the photo!

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                      • #12
                        Hi Shelley, thanks so much for all your info - really interesting as I am completely new to this craft and instantly wanted my borders around my images to be totally accurate. I seem to have a fairly good ‘eye’ for it but this means that if something looks even less than a millimetre out I try to trim it which with my current trimmer is impossible. Part of the reason for such an error is the trimmer, as it is not easy to see accurately where it is going to trim. I understand from reading loads of reviews today that guillotines seem to be better for this. I had wondered about laser guides so your info about your experience with these is very useful.

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                        • #13
                          I actually cut all my mats and layers ( I actually frame and gut) using a die cutting machine and nested dies, square or rectangle which is how I get those accurate, for me its the actual aligning on the card that gets me.

                          I didn't suggest this as it is not cost effect in your position, but if a cheap one came up if I was you I would think about it.

                          Shelley

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                          • #14
                            Thanks, Shelley, I can understand that a die cutting machine would be ideal but as you say too expensive right now and only for this one purpose of accurate mounts as I don’t currently use other die cut shapes. I will look out for one thought!

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                            • #15
                              I’m guessing you stick your photo’s down with glue or double sided tape right on the outside edge? If not, the mount on top idea is good because it would stop the photo from lifting from the card over time.
                              When I made cards and even now with backing papers, I use to use the Double sided tape method with the backing paper tabs out at each corner so
                              I could get the card etc position spot on perfect first without risking it sticking down crookedly...then pulling the backing paper off leaving it stick without moving it.

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