If you are inspired by the DIY art and craft projects on YouTube that use Popsicle sticks, you might have to chop some depending on the size and design you require. However, cutting a Popsicle stick can be a puzzling and tough activity.
Wood, especially the ones that are flimsy, tends to slide out when being cut with regular scissors. It can also splinter if you try to cut it with regular methods.
Popsicle sticks are generally used for different kids’ projects, but even the most experienced crafters can find it difficult to cut them down to your desired shape or size. Using traditional cutting tools to cut Popsicle sticks can split wooden grains down to the end of the stick, which might make it useless.
So, how can you cut Popsicle sticks in a reliable way without having to toss any out?
Popsicles and similar crafting sticks aren’t popular due to their warping or graining issues. When you cut them, these wooden pieces release the stress in an easy way which is through the grain line. This happens due to the fact that they are very thin and flimsy in their build, and a pair of scissors might not be the right choice to make a clean cut.
While some projects require smoother edges, others require the edges to be on the rougher side to give it a unique texture. The methods and cutting tools mentioned below can help you effectively cut the Popsicle sticks depending on how the project wants it to be.
When cutting your Popsicle sticks, it is important to ensure that they are completely dried off. If you feel that the sticks are wet, make sure you let them dry out in the sun for a day or two. Try to break a spare Popsicle to check whether the wood has dried completely.
If you try to cut through a wet Popsicle, the chances of it splitting during the cutting process will increase. So, to ensure you can create an easy craft with Popsicle sticks, let your wood dry thoroughly.
Different Ways to Cut Popsicle Sticks
Method 1: Try Scoring
Instead of going for a single cut, you can opt for another method that is scoring. You can try & score the sticks first in 45-degree angles. Thorough scoring can help guide your cuts better & prevent the same from moving through the length of the Popsicle.
So, initially, start by scoring the stick to create a guideline for the cut. This will help the cutters dig better and offer you a clean-cut for wooden stick crafts.
Method 2: Multiple Shallow Cuts
This is an advanced version of scoring your Popsicle sticks. Essentially, you need to score all through the Popsicle. It is a slower yet safer method to create crafts from Popsicle sticks. Start by implementing multiple shallow and successive cuts. You can use a guiding ruler to cut in a straight line.
This will allow you to focus on the cut’s depth. You can place more sticks below your rule to help maintain an even surface.
Regardless, to do this, you will require a sharp and thin blade. You have to cut through the fibers in the sticks rather than push them apart. Therefore, opting for a standard pair of scissors might be an unwise choice.
Method 3: Wire Cutters
You can use a wire cutter to chop your 4.5-inch wooden craft sticks in the perfect way. So, start by locating a wire cutter that features flat blades that are bigger than an inch. You don’t actually have to cut the Popsicle with the help of wire cutters but use them to keep the stick in a place while you are snapping it. So, your blades don’t need to be very sharp.
When the handles in the blades are closed and the stick is in between, it creates sufficient pressure in between to keep chopping it without causing any splinter or unevenness. You can also use a pen or pencil to create a guiding line to cut down the stick.
It will also help you position the sticks correctly when you make a cut by twisting your wrist. At first, hold the wire cutter in a loose manner while lining up the same on the Popsicle stick. When chopping the Popsicle sticks, make sure you keep the hands steady.
Do not squeeze the cutters very hard. Simply give one quick punch, and you will see a clear snap.
Method 4: Serrated Knife and Clipboard
You can also use a serrated scissors/knife and clipboard combination to cut your wood sticks. Make sure the clipboard has some printing paper to work as a base. The clipboards featuring wire clips tend to work better. Simply slip the Popsicle stick within the clipboard to hold things firmly. Allow the end you plan on cutting to stick out from the clipboard.
Now, use a serrated knife and saw off the part you intend to cut down. This mostly works well when chopping Popsicles in small quantities.
However, for larger projects, you can use a Dremel featuring circular sawing blades. However, it tends to be a tad risky. Plus, it is also a cumbersome process.
You can opt for a combination of clipboard and Dremel to easily complete bigger projects. You might see a couple of jagged strands remaining after the cut. However, you can chop it off with the help of scissors to ensure clean edges.
Method 5: X-Acto Extra Fine Saw Blade
While regular scissors aren’t as sharp for cutting a Popsicle, you can use the X-acto extra-fine saw blade to make a sharp cut. Start by slowly scoring the Popsicle in the position that you require. Make sure you don’t try to cut too fast, or you might see strands left after you cut it down.
Try to work with a sawing action to achieve a perfect cut.
Method 6: Craft Scissors
Crafting scissors are designed for chopping perfectly with a cleaner cut. This isn’t something you can achieve with standard scissors. These scissors have super strong titanium blades.
This pair of craft scissors features a sharp and small point that allows you to achieve a precision cut that gives you intricate details with paper, fabric, foam, or even thin wooden pieces.
- Cutting Popsicles require you to use a lot of sharp objects, and this might not be safe at times. So, when using sharp scissors or knives, make sure you use gloves to protect your fingers from any cuts or bruises.
- Apart from that, you need to cut in a manner that goes in the direction opposite of your body. Do not ever cut towards your body. If you slip, there is a risk of being cut. So, always work in the opposite direction.
- Always work on completely dry Popsicle sticks as you won’t see the perfect results with wet ones.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: How do you cut a Popsicle stick without breaking it?
The best way to chop Popsicle sticks in order to get rid of or minimize splinters is to use some wire cutters that help clip the sections off. When cutting a lot of popsicles, you can do so faster by scoring them.
Q: How do you cut a Popsicle stick lengthwise?
Cutting Popsicle sticks lengthwise can be harder than cutting them on their width. Start by the market on the length of the Popsicle where you want to obtain the cut. You can use a bandsaw to easily cut down lengthwise. To understand the process of cutting Popsicle better, check out this video.
Q: Can the Cricut-maker cut Popsicle sticks?
Yes, you can cut Popsicle sticks with the help of a Cricut-maker. This electronic cutting device can cut through different materials such as vinyl, iron-on transfers, paper, leather, card stocks, and even thin wooden pieces.
Q: How do you flatten Popsicle sticks?
To flatten Popsicle sticks, soak your sticks in some hot water. Do this for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Now, carefully remove these sticks while ensuring that your hands aren’t burnt. Bend your sticks slowly and gently. Dry sticks tend to break when they are bent. Once you notice that the Popsicle is flat, let it dry in the sun or an airy space. It will retain its shape.
Remember, you won’t always achieve perfection when cutting through your Popsicles. The first few attempts might have a lot of splinters, but you can cut them off with the help of your craft scissors. To get into that creative zone, you can also watch some amazing DIY videos online and start your crafting process.