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

As an ardent dressmaker, there’s an undeniable rush of satisfaction coursing through me when I effortlessly slice through luxurious fabrics with my precise, razor-sharp scissors. It’s a harmonious blend of skill and accuracy that animates my creations. However, time can be unkind even to the finest tools, gradually dulling their edges and presenting a frustrating obstacle.

In my journey as a dressmaker, I’ve encountered situations where finding the perfect solution to sharpen my cherished scissors proved challenging, often leading me to hastily purchase replacements. These impromptu expenses, though seemingly inevitable, left a sour taste of unnecessary spending.

Fortunately, I’ve inherited a wealth of wisdom from my mother, a paragon of resourcefulness. Her inventive tricks and tips have not only spared me from these unforeseen financial strains but have also enhanced my craft in unexpected ways. Today, I’m thrilled to share this treasure trove of invaluable advice with fellow artisans, seamstresses, and creative minds alike. While some of these methods may seem unconventional initially, rest assured they’ve been carefully curated through a blend of online research and personal experimentation.

So, dear comrades of the sewing community, get ready to embark on a transformative journey with me as we revitalize our beloved scissors!

1. Sharpen the Scissors by Slicing the Sandpaper

If you find that your scissors are not delivering the precise, clean cuts you desire for your fabrics, there’s a simple and effective method you can employ. This technique harnesses the power of sandpaper, which comes in various forms, some derived from natural sources like garnet, while others are synthetically produced, such as alumina-zirconia, aluminum oxide, or silicon carbide. These diverse materials lend sandpaper its abrasive capabilities, each contributing to its effectiveness in unique ways.

To enhance the cutting performance of your scissors, consider using a sheet of 150 to 200-grit aluminum-oxide sandpaper. What sets this particular type of sandpaper apart is its robust adhesive bonding, ensuring that the abrasive granules remain securely attached to the paper while you work. Additionally, the 150-180 grit range offers a finely graded coarseness, making it an ideal choice for sharpening scissors. Let’s delve into the step-by-step process for achieving optimum scissor sharpness:

  • Begin by folding the 150-200 grit sandpaper in half, ensuring that the abrasive side faces outward, ready for action.
  • Next, cut the sandpaper into long strips with full, deliberate strokes, but keep the strips somewhat narrow. Repeating this action approximately 15-20 times, you’ll begin to notice a noticeable improvement in sharpness with each pass.
  • Be sure to expose the cutting edge of the scissor blade to the sandpaper. On closer inspection, you’ll discover that the rough granules on the sandpaper function like miniature sharpening stones for the scissor blades.
  • This process serves the dual purpose of sharpening both blades of your scissors simultaneously.
  • After completing the sharpening process, meticulously remove any residual granules from the scissor blades, using a slightly thicker cloth or paper.
  • To validate the success of your efforts, test the sharpness of your scissors by making several cuts on various fabrics or other materials that you frequently work with.

2. Sharpen the Scissors by Cutting the Aluminum Foil

Aluminum, as an elemental material, undergoes a fascinating transformation upon encountering oxygen. It swiftly morphs into aluminum oxide, a compound renowned for its remarkable ability to enhance the keenness of your scissors’ blades. This phenomenon is analogous to the role played by aluminum oxide in the realm of abrasive materials, such as sandpaper.

Much like the artful utilization of sandpaper, the application of aluminum foil can also be harnessed to breathe new life into your lackluster scissors. Let us delve into the intricacies of this process through a series of straightforward yet effective steps.

Commence by acquiring a sizable sheet of aluminum foil, which you will then fold repeatedly, resulting in a dense, multi-layered strip. Here lies the secret: the greater the number of layers you manage to create, the more proficiently your scissors’ blades will be honed. Therefore, strive to achieve a stack of six to seven layers before proceeding further.

Now, embark on the process of cutting 15 to 20 narrow strips from this foil strip, mirroring the approach employed with sandpaper. With each precise cut, you’ll discern a discernible enhancement in the sharpness of your scissors. To ascertain the degree of sharpness attained, experiment by slicing through rough paper or aged fabrics.

Continue to fashion additional aluminum strips until you attain a level of sharpness that meets your personal satisfaction. Upon reaching this desired sharpness, conclude the procedure by gently wiping the scissor blades with a cloth to remove any minute aluminum granules that may have accumulated. Exercise caution as you perform this final step, mindful of the potential presence of these fine particles on your hands.

In this manner, through the discreet artistry of aluminum foil manipulation, you can reinvigorate your scissors, transforming them into precision instruments ready to tackle a myriad of cutting tasks with finesse.

3. Sharpen the Scissors by Sharpening Stone

Sharpening stones, those timeless tools of craftsmanship, owe their cutting prowess to the bonded abrasive ceramic materials they are crafted from—namely, aluminum oxide (corundum) and silicon carbide (carborundum). These abrasive companions bestow upon sharpening stones an unparalleled ability to swiftly enhance the cutting edge of natural stones like novaculite.

Traditionally known as whetstones or bench stones, these age-old sharpening aids have garnered far more popularity than the materials mentioned earlier. They typically come in a dual-sided configuration, boasting a coarse or rough side with a 400-grit surface and a finer side with a 1000 grit rating. Now, let’s delve into the art of their usage.

It’s crucial to kickstart your sharpening journey on the coarse side of the stone. The fine side, on the other hand, serves as the finishing touch, refining your scissors’ edge with finesse.

Before you begin, consider placing a used paper towel or cloth beneath the sharpening stone, and moisten it with water or an appropriate oil. This humble act ensures proper lubrication during the sharpening process.

For optimal results, if feasible, disassemble the scissors by removing the bolt that binds the blades together. Alternatively, you can open the scissors without entirely removing the nut. This slight modification will grant you greater dexterity and efficiency while honing the blades.

With the inner side of the blade positioned on the lower side of the stone, commence the sharpening process by gently working on the angle between the two blades. Carefully glide the blade over the stone with an upward motion, repeating this motion for a count of 10-15 strokes.

Continue this meticulous procedure on the remaining blades until both sides achieve the desired sharpness. It’s advisable to practice first on some older scissors to hone your technique, ensuring that your beloved and cherished scissors remain unspoiled by your newfound sharpening skills.

4. Sharpen the Scissors Using a Rotary Tool or Dremel

Dremel, a versatile handheld rotary tool, has gained widespread recognition for its multifaceted applications, encompassing a vast array of accessories and attachments. This remarkable tool finds its utility in tasks ranging from grinding and sharpening to carving and polishing, earning it a prominent reputation in the domain of blade maintenance, particularly for knives, scissors, and various cutting implements.

To embark on the journey of sharpening scissors with precision and finesse, a few essential steps should be meticulously followed. Firstly, ensure that the blades are separated or, if necessary, dismantle them by unscrewing the central nut that holds them together. With this accomplished, proceed to securely clamp one of the scissor blades into a vise, ensuring that the rough side faces outward. Next, insert a grinding stone crafted from aluminum oxide into the Dremel tool and tighten the securing nuts firmly in place.

As the Dremel tool springs to life, grasp it firmly with both hands and apply deliberate strokes to the beveled edge of the scissor blade against the rotating grinding stone. It is crucial to maintain a consistent angle of contact between the blade and the stone, ensuring that no pauses or halts occur during the sharpening process. Such interruptions could potentially result in an uneven edge or even a detrimental hollow shape that would compromise the blade’s effectiveness.

The key to success lies in maintaining uniform pressure and continuously moving the rough edge of the blade across the rotating stone. Typically, achieving the desired level of sharpness necessitates approximately 8 to 10 deliberate strokes. Should any blurred or irregular areas be observed on the sides of the blade, it is imperative to address them by grinding them off, thus ensuring a smooth and uniform edge. This meticulous process should then be replicated for the sharpening of the second blade, adhering to the same steps and precautions.

5. Sharpen the Scissors Using Online Available Sharpeners

All of the previously mentioned techniques represent effective hacks that you can employ without relying on external resources. Nevertheless, if you find yourself frequently in need of sharpening your scissors and wish to avoid the hassle of searching for makeshift solutions each time, you may consider investing in a specialized tool for this purpose.

These dedicated sharpeners offer a level of safety, convenience, and reliability that far surpasses improvised methods. They significantly reduce the risk of causing any physical harm and deliver consistent results. If, by any chance, you are contemplating an investment in online sharpeners, I encourage you to peruse my meticulously researched list for valuable recommendations.

6. Sharpen the Scissors Using Some Home Stuff

I’d like to share with you a clever scissor-sharpening technique that I consider more of a crafty hack than a conventional method. I’ve employed this method during unexpected moments of need, and I can attest to its effectiveness. Sometimes, all you require are minor touch-ups rather than a full-blown sharpening procedure, making this approach quite handy.

Method 1: Utilizing a Screwdriver

To start, disassemble your scissors and position the metal part of a screwdriver between the scissor blades, mimicking the action of cutting paper or fabric.
Now, gently slide the scissors from the top to the bottom along the metal surface, repeating this motion 10 to 15 times for each blade.

Method 2: Employing a Metal Pin

If you have access to a metal sewing pin, open the blades of your scissors wide and insert the pin between them, as if you were about to cut it.
Begin cutting the pin as if it were fabric or paper, repeating this action multiple times until you achieve the desired level of sharpness.

Method 3: Using a Glass Mason Jar

Open your scissors as wide as possible and place the blades along the sides of a sturdy glass mason jar.
Hold the jar firmly with one hand, or secure it in a vise tool, while using your other hand to operate the scissors. Start cutting the jar, allowing the glass to naturally close the scissors while sharpening the blade edges.
Note: Avoid using a brand-new glass jar for this method, as your scissors may leave scratches. Opt for a jar with which you have no emotional attachment.

Method 4: Employing a File

If you have a file that’s at least 10 inches long, it’s ideal for this technique, though you can choose a length that matches your scissor blades. Even a smaller file will suffice for smaller scissors.
If possible, disassemble your scissors; if not, open them wide and grasp them from the side opposite to the blades.

Now, rub the file against the scissor blade, making long strokes approximately 15 times for each blade.
Test the sharpness by cutting a piece of rough cloth or paper. If you’re satisfied, use a paper towel to carefully wipe away any metal residue that may have adhered to the blades.

These unconventional methods may come in handy for quick scissor touch-ups, and they’ve proven effective in a pinch. Remember to exercise caution and prioritize safety while attempting these techniques, as working with sharp objects always demands attention and care.

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!


How often should I sharpen my scissors?

It depends on the frequency of use and the type of material you cut. As a general guideline, consider sharpening your scissors every 2-3 months or whenever you notice a decline in cutting performance.

Can I use these methods for serrated scissors?

No, these methods are suitable for regular scissors with straight blades. Serrated scissors require specialized sharpening techniques.

Can I use an electric sharpener for scissors?

Yes, electric sharpeners designed specifically for scissors can be used. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best results.

Are there any alternatives to household items for sharpening scissors?

Yes, you can find commercial scissor sharpeners or seek professional sharpening services if you prefer.

How do I maintain the sharpness of my scissors?

To maintain the sharpness of your scissors, avoid cutting hard materials like wire or plastic. Clean them regularly and store them in a dry place to prevent rust.

Hannah Nelson

Hi, there! I am Hannah Nelson, your host on this website. I started this blog to teach my lovely readers how to master the art of sewing effortlessly and how to turn this hobby into an income generating business.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button