How to Sharpen your Dull Pair of Scissors with Quick Tips and Tricks

Sharpen scissors

Being a dressmaker, all of you enjoy cutting fabric only when your scissors give a perfect and crisp snip. However, with time and use, scissors often get dull and make your work clumsy. This is that one point when I get quite frustrated.

There were times when I didn’t have any suitable tool to sharpen my scissors blade. The only solution I left with, was to get a new pair of scissors in urgency which became like an overhead expenditure for me.

However, my mother told me a few hacks, which saved me from these uninvited investments, and today, I thought to share them with all. You can give a little credit to me as well, as a few of them (which you may find weird) are found by me, either through online blogs or my own experiments. So let’s Prepare your Scissors for the Make-over

1. Sharpen the Scissors by Slicing the Sandpaper

This method can be used if your scissors are not giving your cloth a perfect snip. Sandpaper is made of various materials some are natural (such as grains of garnet) while others are synthetic such as alumina-zirconia, aluminum oxide, or silicon carbide. These materials enhance the abrasive properties of sandpaper in different ways.

So you can take a sheet of aluminum-oxide sandpaper of 150 to 200 grit. This aluminum oxide has stronger glue that binds it to the paper and the granules don’t fall off while you are working on it. Also, the 150-180 grit level has a fine coarseness level so it is ideal to sharpen your scissors. Let’s check out how you can do it.

  1. Fold the 150-200 grit sandpaper in half such that the coarse or abrasive portion faces outwards.
  2. Cut the sandpaper in the long strips with full strokes but a little narrow. Repeat this a few times, say 15-20 times. You will feel that it is getting sharpened with every cut.
  3. Make sure you expose the cutting edge of the blade to the sandpaper. If you will see deeply, the rough granules on the sandpaper act as cutting stones for the blades of the scissor.
  4. This process will simultaneously sharpen both the blades of your scissors. 
  5. Carefully clean the granules from the blade using a little thicker cloth or paper.
  6. Now test the sharpness by making several cuts on various fabrics or alternative materials which you often use to cut.

2. Sharpen the Scissors by Cutting the Aluminum Foil

Aluminum is an element which when comes in contact with oxygen it immediately becomes aluminum oxide which helps sharpen the blade edges of your scissors. As I explained in the case of sandpaper made out of aluminum oxide.

Similarly like we did with sandpaper, you can use aluminum foil to hone your dull scissors. Let’s see how we can achieve it with simple steps.

  1. Take a large piece of aluminum foil and fold it multiple times such that it becomes like a thick strip. The catch is, the more layers you get, the blades will sharpen better.
  2. So go up to 6-7 layers and now start cutting 15-20 strips, just like we did with the sandpaper. 
  3. With every cut you will notice, your blade is becoming sharper. To check the sharpness, slice some rough papers and old fabrics.
  4. Cut more aluminum strips till you get the sharpness of your satisfaction.
  5. Once you are done, wipe the blades with a cloth to scrape off tiny granules of aluminum. Watch your hand.

3. Sharpen the Scissors by Sharpening Stone

Sharpening stones are generally made from bonded abrasive ceramic materials namely, aluminum oxide (corundum), and silicon carbide (carborundum). These abrasives give a superior and swift cutting action to natural stones such as novaculite.

Traditionally, the sharpening stone is also called whetstone or bench stone which is more popular than the materials cited above. These stones are two-sided comprising one coarse or rough surface of 400-grit and the other is a finer side of 1000 grit. Let’s see how we can use it.

  1. Remember always to start your sharpening process from the coarse side. The fine side is used to give a final sharpening touch to your scissors.
  2. Anyway, I suggest you put a used paper towel or cloth beneath the sharpening stone then cream it with water or even you can use any oil. This will help in the lubrication of the stone.
  3. If possible, you can remove the bolt to take both the blades apart or you can simply open the scissors without removing the nut. This will give you more swift and efficient motion while sharpening the blades.
  4. Now put the inner side of the blade on the down side of the stone and slowly sharpen the angle between both blades. Carefully drag the blade over the stone facing upwards and do it for a nice 10-15 strokes.
  5. Repeat the same process with other blades till both the blades get sufficiently sharp. Note that, it would be better to first experiment with some old scissors so that you don’t spoil your favorite ones.

4. Sharpen the Scissors Using a Rotary Tool or Dremel

Dremel is a versatile handheld rotary tool that comprises different accessories and attachments. It is used for grinding, sharpening, carving, polishing, and whatnot. So it is largely famous for sharpening knives, scissors, and various blade tools.

  1. Either keep the blades apart or you can even separate them by unscrewing the nut located right at the center of the scissors.
  2. Place the blade securely into the vise such the rough side should face outside. After this, place the grinding stone (made of aluminum oxide) into the Dremel and tighten the nuts.
  3. Turn on the machine, firmly hold the tool with both hands and give strokes of the beveled edge against the grinding stone.
  4. Maintain the angle of the stone as the rough edge and keep the consistency going. If you stop the blade at any particular spot, it will get a hollow shape that may spoil your scissors blade edge.
  5. Keep a uniform pressure and continue to move the rough edge across the rotating stone. Generally, it takes 8 to 10 strokes to achieve the needed sharpness.
  6. If you spot any blurs on the sides of the blade, grind it off. Repeat the same procedure to sharpen the other blade.

5. Sharpen the Scissors Using Online Available Sharpeners

All the above-cited methods were more of the successful hacks you can anytime perform without any dependence. However, if you regularly need to sharpen your scissors and don’t want to look for such stuff, every time you need to sharpen the blades then you can even invest in a dedicated tool for this purpose.

These sharpeners are super safe, convenient to use, and can be easily found. It definitely minimizes the risk of any physical damage and gives sure short results. So, if by any chance, you are thinking of investing in the online sharpeners, you can check out my list as well which I have created after deep vetting research.

6. Sharpen the Scissors Using Some Home Stuff

I would call it a scissor sharpening hack more than a traditional way. However, I have tried it in emergencies and it works. Moreover, sometimes you just need the touch-ups, not a deep sharpening process. So for those times, try this as well.

Using a Screwdriver

  1. Take the blades apart of your scissors and put the metal part of the screwdriver between the blades like you cut the paper or fabrics.
  2. Next, slide the scissors from top to bottom on the metal part 10 to 15 times. Repeat the process for both blades.

Using a Metal Pin

  1. If you have a sewing pin (metal only), open the blade of your scissors wide and keep the pin between the blades as if you are going to cut it.
  2. Start cutting the pin like you will cut any fabric or paper or anything. Do it a good number of times till you get the sharpness as required.

Using a Glass Mason Jar

  1. Open the scissors as wide as possible and place the blades around the sides of your jar.
  2. Firmly hold the jar with one hand or you can even clamp it in a vise tool and scissors with the other hand. Start cutting the jar and squeeze the scissors as close as you can go. Do not try hard to close the scissors, the glass will do that for you while sharpening the edges.
  3. Note that, don’t try it on a brand new glass jar. Use a jar, with which you don’t share any emotions as the blade of your scissors may scratch it.
  4. Check the sharpness of a rough paper or cloth. Repeat the process if you are not satisfied. Once done, carefully wipe the blades with a damp paper towel.

Using a File

  1. Try this if you have a file as long as at least 10 inches to get a good grip on it. You can select the length depending on the length of your blades. If your scissors are too small, even a small-sized file will work.
  2. If possible, disassemble your scissors, if not, open the scissors wide and hold them from the side opposite to the blades.
  3. Now rub the file against the blade and give a good number of long strokes say 15 times. Repeat the procedure for the other blade too.
  4. Verify the sharpness on a rough cloth or a piece of paper. If satisfied, use a paper towel and carefully wipe off the metal bits stick on the blades.

What’s Next…

I have listed all the best possible ways through which you can sharpen your scissors. The list includes traditional ways, modern ways, and a few simple hacks as well. I hope to keep the tip of your scissors top-notch, you will definitely be going to get a great method from my list. Also, you can visit my write-up for the best scissors sharpeners. It’s on the way!

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Hannah Nelson

Hannah Nelson

Hi, there! I am Hannah Nelson. I teach my readers how to master the art of sewing effortlessly and how to turn this hobby into an income-generating business. Follow my guides to make sewing fun and profitable for you. Thanks!