Craft Product Review: X-ACTO Designer Series Shape Templates


Hello crafters!  Today we’re going to test out some fun shape templates by X-ACTO.  You’ve probably heard of the X-ACTO brand before as they are known for their super sharp cutting blades and knives.  You will want to grab your favorite cutting knife to play with the X-Acto Designer Series Shape Templates.  A standard knife, and if you have one, a swivel blade is pretty handy to have, too!  Let’s first check out what X-ACTO has to say about their own products:

Great for creating scrapbooking pages, card making, and paper crafting.

  • Slip and cut resistant
  • Perfect for creating layering effects
  • Makes decorative border cuts
  • More versatile than single punches
  • Use with X-ACTO swivel knives

I am playing with both sets of stencils available: The basic shape templates  includes your every day shapes like ovals, circles, squares, rectangles and a set of tags. The decorative shape templates includes flowers, hearts, stars and another set of (different) tags. Each stencil has different shaped border edge too, from scallops and waves to the popular artisan and pinking edges.

Playing with these was fun.  They took me back to my early days of crafting.  You easily guide your craft knife through the tracks of the shape you want to cut.  Most of the nesting shapes have little notches in them, so once you’re done tracing them with your XACTO knife, you can take your scissors and finish cutting out the shape. I noticed if you get too close to the edges, the knife will splice the plastic on the stencil.  I also noted that you can’t use a swivel blade on some of the more intricate designs since the swivel knives have smaller blades than a standard craft knife, and the housing that holds the blade, will not allow it to move down into smaller designs. Another thing to note is that not all shapes, at least for me, were absolutely perfect and precise; there’s is a little wiggle room in the tracing tracks.  But I can barely cut a straight line with scissors, so there’s that too!

Here’s some nested circles I cut out.  You can tell they’re not all perfect, but they have a little whimsy to them, which I like.  Another option is to use a pencil to trace your design first and then cut with scissors.

One of my favorite things about these stencils I discovered while just playing around with them and watching some tv.  I had taken a square piece of paper and folded it in two, then I traced one of the decorative edges on it. Once I cut it out, I had a perfect journaling square.  I played with this again and again.  Folding the paper four times and doing your decorative edge at a diagonal from corner to corner made it even quicker and easier.  I think this is my new favorite way to make journaling squares!  I always need one that’s just the right size and I hate taking out my electronic die-cutters just for one quick square on a layout or card.

I cut out some stars and used one of the edges as stripes to make a fun and festive American flag.  I painted the frame with chalkboard paint so I could write a little holiday message!

While I was cutting out the stripes, I thought about using another of the edges to make a chevron pattern with paper scraps and made a cute, quick card.

In a crafting world of electronic and handy manual die-cutting machines, punches and pre-made die-cuts, one might ask why you would want these shape templates.  I think price and availability is one of the main advantages.  Each set of the templates retails for approximate $8.99 and they can be found in Wal-Marts and other major craft stores.  The templates have 46 designs per set as well.  You cannot even purchase one hand punch for that price.  I think these also are a little more geared towards a beginning crafter, so keep that in mind before you or a friend makes a giant purchase into an electronic machine.  I also see a lot of teenagers using these to decorate gifts and cards for friends or student council posters.  Since you have to use a sharp blade, I wouldn’t reccommend these for younger crafters.  I had a lot of fun with these!  I’m definitely glad they’re in my crafty arsenal now.  What do you think, crafers?  Are these design templates something you would like to play with?


Disclosure: Sample Provided for Review


  1. Mary Lee Chivetta says

    Um, I’m 64 and have enough arthritis in my hands that these would be a pain (pun intended). I wouldn’t be able to do all the paper crafting I do without technology and tools. Hate to be a Debbie Downer, but they would be great for beginners and people who would love to do more crafting, but have a tight budget.

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