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Sharpening Scissors

Man's hands sharpening scissors on grinding wheel.

It is very frustrating to grab a pair of scissors only to find that they are too dull for the job. Taking them in for sharpening can be inconvenient and costly. This is a guide about sharpening scissors.


Solutions: Sharpening Scissors

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Tip: Sharpen Scissors with Steel Wool

I know I have about 3 dozen scissors running around here. To keep them sharp, I buy a box of 00 steel wool from my local hardware store and cut through it with the scissors. This allows your scissors to sharpen themselves, and it also beats paying $15.00 to have them sharpened.

By Gem from VA

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Tip: Sharpen Your Scissors With Aluminum Foil

Picture of sharpening scissors with aluminum foil.For an easy way to sharpen scissors, fold a piece of aluminum foil three or four times, then cut through it several times with your scissors.

By linn.2009 from Canada

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Tip: Sharpen Scissors with Scrubbing Pad

To sharpen scissors, simply cut through metal scrubbing pads and continue until your scissors are sharp. I have done this for years, and it works well for me.

By gem from VA

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Tip: Sharpening Scissors With Sandpaper

Sharpen by cutting superfine sandpaper.

By donnaschmitt215 from Glendale, NY

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Tip: Scissor Sharpener

Scissors in sharpener.I use a scissor sharpener that you can buy in any fabric store and even at Walmart. Mine is made by Fiskar. I keep this by my sewing machine and use it periodically to sharpen all my scissors. It is very inexpensive. I think mine was around $6, but maybe they are a bit higher now. You just insert your scissors and work your scissors like you are cutting. There are sharpeners inside that do a very good job. It is especially nice if you are a sewer. If you do this on a regular basis, it eliminates taking them to a fabric store to have them sharpened professionally.

By Elaine from Belle Plaine, IA

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Tip: Proper Way to Sharpen Scissors

Proper Way to Sharpen Scissors

First thing to do is clean your scissors properly. If you have used them to cut sticky items like tape, you get transfer which interferes with the blade edge.

The next thing to know is that you only sharpen scissors on the outside or angled edge. Sharpening on the flat inner edge will eventually create a gap between the blades.

To Sharpen:

  1. Take a ceramic coffee mug and turn it upside down, notice the rough, unglazed ring? That's the best surface to sharpen any blade.

  2. Open your scissors, hold it firmly where the blades meet(the cross), without touching the cutting edge.

  3. You sharpen on the edge with the inner flat side up, from the cross outwards to the tip.

  4. Place your scissors on the cup and angle them until the cutting edge
    is flat against the cut (At about +/-75 degree angle).

  5. Pull the blade quickly and lightly across the ceramic edge, 3 or 4 times (or more depending on how blunt).

  6. Turn the scissors over and repeat.

  7. As you sharpen, you will see the steel discolour the ceramic edge, every now and then, turn the cup to get a clean section.

  8. Lastly, very, very lightly, run the flat inner edge of the scissors across the ceramic edge to remove any burrs.

Things to Note:

  • Good quality or very old scissors have a much wider cutting angle, giving the blade a sharper cutting edge.

  • If you don't line up the cutting angle of the blade with the ceramic edge correctly, you will change the angle of the blade and eventually ruin your scissors.

  • The finer the ceramic, the better the edge. If you want to really give a blunt pair of scissors a great edge start with a earthenware cup, then ceramic, and finish with porcelain or bone china.

  • To take the markings off the bottom of the cup, buff it quickly with a piece of very fine sandpaper or a glass nail file.

    By Caite [1]

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    Tip: Sharpening Scissors

    I sharpen my scissors with my knife steel. It clears any burrs and gives me a clean edge. I also make sure the screws are well tightened.

    By Maile from Onalaska

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    Tip: Aluminum Foil to Sharpen Scissors

    This is a fast and easy tip for sharpening scissors. I just grab a piece of aluminum foil, fold it a few times and then cut it with the scissors. They come out as good as new, and only for the cost of a sheet of tin foil.

    By Wendy from Edwardsport, IN

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    Tip: Cut Through Plastic Bags

    I trimmed the edges of a plastic garbage bag and later noticed the scissors glided through the papers I was cutting more easily. Evidently, the petroleum in the making of the bag caused this. You can also cut a thin sheet of sandpaper with the scissors to sharpen them.

    By Betty G. from Williamston, SC

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    Tip: Sharpen Scissors With Nail File

    Before you throw away that used cardboard finger nail file, use it to sharpen scissors. Take your scissors and cut the file into tiny pieces.

    By Joyce from Newington, CT

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    Tip: Aluminum Foil for Sharpening Scissors

    To sharpen scissors quickly, use an everyday item: aluminum foil. Simply cut a medium size sheet of foil. Using the scissors, cut up the foil and across. The scissors are good to go. Be careful not to cut yourself as scissors will be sharp!

      By Sherrie P. [5]

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      Tip: Aluminum Foil Sharpens Scissors

      A few snips thru a folded in 4ths piece of foil sharpens up dull scissor blades in a "snap".

      By Linda from Vista, CA

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      Tip: Dull Scissors

      Need to sharpen your scissors? Take a 12 inch-14 inch strip of Heavy-duty Aluminum foil and fold to 8 layers. Now, just cut as many thin strips of foil as you can manage (25 is preferred). Your scissors are now sharp! If using standard weight aluminum foil, just fold to 16 layers and proceed.

      By Cajun62234 from Collinsville, IL

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      Article: Sharpening Scissors


      I am old enough to remember when knife sharpeners used to come to the DOOR. Not anymore - but you can sort of sharpen your scissors by cutting through sandpaper until the edge is restored. Not ideal - but better than dull scissors and very thrifty.

      By Pam from LA, CA

      Steel Wool

      You can sharpen scissors easily by cutting through a few pieces of steel wool.

      By Robin from Washington, IA

      SOS Pads

      I also use my scissors to cut SOS pads. It saves not having to waste a whole SOS pad as well as sharpens my scissors.

      By Tawnda

      Aluminum Foil

      I've found that the best way to sharpen my scissors is to cut aluminum foil a few times after cleaning the blades with alcohol!

      By Michlee from Glen Morgan, WV

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      Here are questions related to Sharpening Scissors.

      Question: Sharpening Sewing Scissors Cheaply

      I am looking for a good way to sharpen my scissors without going to a pro. I have tried the types that sharpen knives, but those work poorly. Thanks.

      By Susan from Trinidad, CO

      AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No


      Most Recent Answer

      By Missy 19 41 04/23/2010

      The best way to sharpen scissors is to save all of your used/discarded aluminum foil. Cut through the foil with dull scissors until the foil is in tiny pieces..Viola! Your scissors will be sharp! Good luck! Be sure to save one designated pair of scissors for paper Only, therefore the other pairs will not dull so quickly.

      ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

      Question: Correct Way to Sharpen Scissors

      Is there a method to sharpen your own scissors?

      By kimbo204 from Madison, WI

      AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No


      Most Recent Answer

      By Cajun 59 327 02/19/2010

      To expand on sneither's method; fold the foil about 4-layers thick and begin cutting as many slits as you can.

      ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

      Question: Sharpening Electric Scissors

      How can you sharpen electric scissor blades?

      By Mary

      AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No


      Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the comments that were provided then.

      Archive: Sharpen Your Scissors With Aluminum Foil

      When you need to sharpen your scissors and don't have a sharpener, try cutting through a couple of sheets of aluminum foil. This sometimes helps.

      By middlekid from Science Hill, Kentucky


      RE: Sharpen Your Scissors With Aluminum Foil

      I did that the other day when I had to cut some material with some regular scissors. I folded regular aluminum foil about four times into a square that would fit in the palm of my hand, then I cut through it about five times, they were really sharper! They cut out the material really nicely.(03/31/2009)

      By Robyn Fed

      RE: Sharpen Your Scissors With Aluminum Foil

      Great idea, I have a pair that need sharpening and will give this a try. (04/03/2009)

      By Maryeileen

      Archive: Sharpening Sewing Scissors Cheaply

      Does anyone have a good, cheap way that they have tried to sharpen sewing scissors. Mine have become very dull. I need your help.

      Savings Assistant from Kennesaw, GA


      RE: Sharpening Sewing Scissors Cheaply

      Try cutting aluminum foil with them. This works for scrapbooking punches. (09/22/2008)

      By Marta

      RE: Sharpening Sewing Scissors Cheaply

      Try cutting through one of those dark green "scrubbie" pads. Cut through it a few (4 or 5) times, and scissors should be shiny and sharp again. (09/22/2008)

      By ddtop

      RE: Sharpening Sewing Scissors Cheaply

      You can get your scissors professionally sharpened for a very good price. Just keep your eye out at Fabric stores like Joann Fabrics. They have a professional sharpener come in several times a year. They made my old scissors work like new. But, these days, with all the stuff that's made in China, I've found a "disposable" brand I like at Big Lots for only $2. So at this price, I buy new ones for sewing and cutting hair and save the old ones for wrapping packages and other dirty work around the house. Each time I buy a different color handle so I can keep track of which scissors are new and which ones are well used. (09/22/2008)

      By Cyinda

      RE: Sharpening Sewing Scissors Cheaply

      I picked this up about 7 years ago from a tips program on TV. Sharpen scissors by cutting aluminum foil. It works. Have been doing this since I tried it. (09/23/2008)

      By Jo Ann from Sarasota, FL

      RE: Sharpening Sewing Scissors Cheaply

      Cut through sandpaper. The more you cut, the sharper the scissors. (09/23/2008)

      By bellanell

      RE: Sharpening Sewing Scissors Cheaply

      I cut SOS pads in half. It sharpens the scissors and saves me money since I don't use the SOS pads that often. (09/23/2008)

      By Martha

      RE: Sharpening Sewing Scissors Cheaply

      I have had the same sewing scissors for over 10 years. When they start to get a little dull, I cut through a piece of sandpaper. Works like magic. (09/23/2008)

      By hugmehugs

      RE: Sharpening Sewing Scissors Cheaply


      In addition to providing professional sharpening service, this company offers a large variety of sewing scissors and shears at great prices. (09/24/2008)

      By kkhull

      RE: Sharpening Sewing Scissors Cheaply

      I have used a regular knife sharper and run the blades of the open scissors through the wheel much the same as I would for a straight knife. I have had good results doing this with no added expense. (09/25/2008)

      By Penny

      RE: Sharpening Sewing Scissors Cheaply

      I have a pair of Weiss"inlaid" scissors and must keep them sharp for upholstery. I use an ordinary sharpening stone. The kind with the smooth side and the rougher side. They aren't very expensive, and you can sharpen just about anything with them.

      Carefully take the shears apart. Use your thumb and forefinger to hold the blade to the stone and press the angled part of the blade directly flat with the stone. Use the rough surface first. Drip water from the tap on the stone if you'd like, but stay away from things like "3-1 Oil" or even WD40 because they will clog your stone.

      Next, draw the blade against the stone as exactly as you can. To you or away from you. Just go in one direction. Just make sure you have the blade slant exactly up against the flat of your stone all the time. So, do the same thing on the "smooth" side, too. Just wipe off with a soft, dry cloth, and put your scissors back together.

      Don't worry, if you can't take the scissors apart, you can open them all the way, and can draw the blades across like that.

      Hope this helps. (11/23/2008)

      By ExtremeFrugalist

      Archive: Sharpen Your Scissors With Aluminum Foil

      Scissors will not be sharp after many times of usage. To make it sharp again, you can get a sheet of tinfoil, fold it until you have 5-6 layers. Use scissors to cut the tinfoil to small stripes, repeat the cutting for ten to fifteen times.

      Test the scissors buy cutting a piece of paper to see the sharpness, if still not up to your satisfaction, repeat the steps by cutting more tinfoil until the scissors are really sharp.

      Source: I saw that from an overseas TV show

      By Kitty from Bellingham, WA


      RE: Sharpen Your Scissors With Aluminum Foil

      I have tried this before your posting, and I think it probably works if all you want to cut is paper. But it does not work any better if you want to cut fabric. There is a product that costs about 6 or 7 dollars, depending on where you buy it where you insert your scissors in it and "cut" just like you are using the scissors. Works very well to keep your scissors sharp, even for cutting fabric. (09/22/2009)

      By Laniegirl

      RE: Sharpen Your Scissors With Aluminum Foil

      I keep a package of sandpaper with my sewing stuff. When I think my scissors are getting a little dull, I just cut through the sandpaper a few times and my scissors are good as new. And they are at least 10 years old. (09/22/2009)

      By hugmehugs