While gift wrapping this holiday season I was trying to cut gift wrap with scissors in one pass. That is to say that I was not opening and closing the scissors while I was cutting the paper but trying to push the open scissors through the paper.

Trying to cut paper like that makes for cleaner cuts compared to repeated cuts. This, of course, is only good for making straight cuts. However I am having issues with my technique as I can frequently get caught or stuck which tears the paper.

I have considered the following factors

  • Paper thickness
  • Paper tautness
  • Sharpness of the tool

I could watch my mom do this like it was super easy but I only have a 20% success rate of doing it in one pass. This isn't limited to just gift wrap but that is where it comes up more often given the length of cuts needed.

How can I cut long paper in one cut from scissors without having to open and close them as I cut?

  • Were you using the same pair of scissors? She may have "cheated" by using a sharper pair :)
    – Erica
    Dec 28, 2017 at 1:14
  • Another variable in additon to the sharpness of the scissors is the quality of the paper. In my experience, the better quality paper, i.e., thicker, is easier to use this technique on. Less-expensive, thinner paper tends to rip.
    – user1798
    Dec 30, 2017 at 18:20

2 Answers 2


Focus on keeping the paper against the point where the two scissor blades cross. At this one point, the paper is being sliced simultaneously by both blades which decreases the thickness which each blade needs to cut through.

When the paper slides forward onto only one blade, the speed of cutting slows because one of the two blades has been removed from the cutting process. This slows the advance of the scissors across the paper, inviting you to compensate by applying more forward pressure. The additional pressure speeds up the cut but slams the paper into the crux of the blades, inviting a snag and tear.

Slow steady motion, with a focus on using only the crux of the blades should result in a higher percentage of success.

Aside from that,...


  • "Henry" are you actually Matt's mother? LOL
    – user1798
    Dec 30, 2017 at 18:15
  • 3
    No, but we studied at same school of advanced wrapping Dec 30, 2017 at 19:08

You've already received one excellent answer, so I'll just add to that. I've found that the sharpness of the scissors is an important factor. You can purchase reasonably-priced sharpeners online (with a special function for scissors). I have one--inexpensive, not motorized or anything fancy--and it's worked very well for me. Sadly, some scissors blades are too badly damaged to be so easily repaired, but for normally-used scissors, it's perfect.

Also, the quality of the wrapping paper matters. Thinner papers are more difficult to cut, and sometimes flocked papers may confound your perfect cut. That said, with good sharp scissors and following Henry Taylor's advice I think you're going to be a wrapping pro in no time.

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