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Making Perfectly Square Paper

And Other Cutting Tips

Unless otherwise specified in the folding instructions, paper for origami must be perfectly square. Or, if some other shape, such as a rectangle or triangle, it will likely need to have been made from paper that started as a perfect square.

If it’s not square, we can pretty much guarantee you’ll be both frustrated and less-than-satisfied with your finished project.

Fiskars paper trimmer Our Number One favorite tool for cutting is this 12 in / 30 cm Premium Crafter’s Trimmer by Fiskars™.

You can quickly cut all kinds of paper into perfect squares, rectangles, and triangles.
Love it, love it!

It has a guide wire that lets you precisely position the paper for cutting, and a swing-out arm that lets you work with paper up to 15 inches wide.

Many print shops or copy centers will have a large-scale cutter like this that you can use free of charge.

Avoid old-fashioned guillotine-style cutters. It’s nearly impossible to cut a square with them, and they can be dangerous. Please be careful when using cutting tools, including scissors!

Cutting a square from a rectangular piece of paper Probably the most well-known method of cutting a square out of a rectangular sheet of paper is the technique of folding one corner to meet the opposite edge. >

This method relies, first, on the paper having two perpendicular edges and, second, on you folding one of those edges to the other. If you want a smaller piece of paper, this method probably won't work.
Making square paper from 2 sheets of 8 1/2 x 11
To avoid the diagonal crease, you can lay one rectangular sheet on top of another of identical size.  Mark a cut line on the lower sheet using the upper sheet as a guide. >
When relying on a fold line for cutting, it might be helpful to have a pencil line as your guide.

You could use a ruler to mark the line.
Or hold the paper folded on the cut line and run a fine-tipped pencil down the crease.Marking paper for cutting
We like a mechanical-style pencil and a clear ruler for marking.Ruler and pencil

Sarah, age 10, one of our junior writers, shares her tips for tearing paper on our Especially for Kids page.

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