Craft Product Review of the X-Acto Designer Swivel Blade

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This post originally was written for and was posted on CraftCritique.com.

I have a love/hate relationship with craft blades. Every crafter needs one- or a few- but sometimes they are tricky to work with. Either they are uncomfortable to hold, or it’s difficult to change the blade without nicking yourself, or they are just unwieldy it’s hard to make delicate cuts. And I have to admit, the only swivel blade I’ve ever owned is languishing in the bottom of a drawer, unused and unloved.

So I needed to be really “sold” on the X-Acto Swivel Craft Knife (Designer Series). And I think I was!

First impressions out of the package is that the handle is really large- maybe overly so- but as I began to experiment with it, I found that the handle is very ergonomic and really an integral part of the tool. Because the blade swivels, you have to keep a really good grip on the handle, and the Designer Series version enables you to do this without excessive hand fatigue. So far, so good!

For my cutting tests, I decided to use a heart shape. This shape incorporates some interior points, some exterior points, and curves; good to really test drive the blade. I also used an old self-healing cutting mat underneath (that probably goes without saying, but just to be clear).

First up- old sheet music. It’s so old it’s a little brittle.

Result? Smooth as butter. No tearing at all in the inside or outside points. Nice.

Next up: Copy-weight paper.

Also worked well. Good maneuverability in the interior and exterior points. No tearing or drag.
So next I moved up to cardstock:


It was a little harder to control the blade on this one- I found I had to grip the handle more firmly and let the blade to the work, which it did. I had to fight the urge to twist the handle the way I do with a straight blade. Some drag in the points, but the cut is still clean.

The next example I just tried wavy lines on lightweight paper. Not surprisingly, large waves were the easiest, small waves more challenging…and zig-zags were tough. Not recommended for that!

So then I got the bright idea to try fabric. I prepped the fabric with some paper-backed iron-on webbing.
And then I cut a heart & a scalloped frame. The X-Acto Designer Series Swivel Blade actually did an amazing job. No loose threads, minimal drag, and I LOVE the idea of being able to cut free-shapes and make them into appliques without the use of scissors! This is the most impressive selling point for me!

So, because I’m a practical gal, I also tried out changing the blade (I’m a little dense here, because it took me 15 minutes just to figure out how!). You’ll need to grab the metal collar with your non-dominant hand, then twist the grey tip of the handle towards you. It will loosen the collar and pull out of the handle with the blade still in it.

Tip the collar over to empty out the blade.

Drop a new blade in the bottom of the collar, then insert the collar back into the handle and twist the grey part to tighten it all back up.

So, all in all, I really like this blade. It’s comfortable to hold, works will with different weights of paper and fabric, and gives you the flexibility of making your own shapes without a stencil or ruler. I certainly will be keeping this blade on TOP of my craft desk!

I used the negative and positive shapes in a collage.
Pros:

  • Ergonomic handle
  • Easy to change blades
  • Works well on different weights of paper/fabric
  • OK price point (between $8-$12 USD)
  • Kinda cute!

Cons:

  • Cap is not attached, prone to loss
  • Not great for tight turns with thicker cardstock
  • No holder/stand
Do you like the idea of a swivel blade? I’d like to hear from you!
Disclosure: Sample provided for review.

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About Jenny Barnett Rohrs

Chief Craft Test Dummy, Craft Evangelist, Founder, Editor, bottle-washer, trouble-maker, and creative whirlwind.

View all posts by Jenny Barnett Rohrs

16 Responses to “Craft Product Review of the X-Acto Designer Swivel Blade”

  1. sarah t Says:

    Great review! I am impressed with how it cuts through fabric easily.

  2. Kathryn Says:

    Thanks for the review!

    I like the idea that it swivel; it seems when I try cutting through plastic bottles with a regular one, it always misses the mark.

  3. Nancy Says:

    That looks super fun! I like how you tried out different papers and fabric.

  4. Tamara Henry Says:

    wow! it cuts fabric!!! amazine! I sure would like to use it to make my grandkittie’s bandanas! no, really, I’m making bandanas for my daughter’s cat…

  5. Monicaberry Says:

    Is there a video I’m missing? This sounds so awesome!
    Also, I love the name of your blog. :)

  6. Jenny Says:

    It’s cuts fabric great- just remember to stabilize it w/ freezer paper or paper backed fusible adhesive. Have fun!

  7. Jenny Says:

    Monica- no, there’s no video, but to read the full review and she what I made with it you need to go to http://www.CraftCritique.com. The post went up Friday afternoon, so you may have to scroll down a bit to find it. Check it out!

  8. Beth Says:

    I use a craft knife a lot and have some of the same problems that you listed with the older styles. The swivel knife sounds wonderful. I never would have thought of trying it on fabric.

  9. michelle jadaa Says:

    Anything that makes intricate cutting easier as a plus here!My hands dont work like they used to.

  10. Christy Fox Says:

    Wow, that is such a clever improvement to the Exacto knife… and watch out fabric when I get my hands on one of these! Thanks for the info Jenny.

  11. Kristen Says:

    Cool1 Thanks for the offer this tool would totally come in handy :)

  12. Linda Says:

    This look really cool! Thanks for the review.

  13. Sarahwww Says:

    Sounds cool!

  14. Maureen Says:

    I am always in the market for a good craft knife! I love that the blade swivels, and you have the ergonomic grip.
    Great review! Thank you so much

  15. Pamela Jensen Says:

    This little swivel blade packs a mighty punch! I have one and it is wonderful! I have a really expensive swivel blade used for cutting stencils and this one is so much better I use it instead!

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