“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” ― Albert Einstein
X-Acto blades are a fundamental tool for any designer. They allow for material to be transformed into something unique, useful, and creative. Yet what do you do when your blade stops cutting? Normally we just discard our dulled blades and place them in a safe container for disposal, but that’s boring. Let’s do something interesting with those blades. Each of the following do-it-yourself projects utilize old and dull X-Acto blades in a clever and creative way.
Scrap Book with blades from each project
Some projects demand the use of many X-Acto blades, some projects require only one. Putting together a scrapbook of past design projects and keeping track of how many blades you use per projects could be a fun way to remember the project itself and how difficult it was to cut the material. When putting together the book, try and organize the blades in an interesting and informative way that demonstrates a beginning, middle, and end to the process.
Have a bunch of dull X-Acto blades? Why not create an infographic? The infographic could pertain to X-Acto blades directly or it could merely relate to the concept of design, danger, or something entirely unrelated to the blades themselves. Just be careful if it’s an interactive infographic and make sure those blades are dull!
Similar to the scrapbook, this project utilizes the X-Acto blades to draw attention to images relating to a design process or the images could just be a collection of personal photos. Most importantly the X-acto blades should help tell a story. Melting, welding, or bending the blades could help drive the concept. Get creative with altering the blades!
Altering the X-Acto blades opens new opportunities for the creation of Jewelry. Dulling the edges and manipulating the metal into wearable shapes is very possible and just requires the right tools. The blade itself looks dangerous and would require some reworking to make it look appealing. Don’t just limit yourself to the blade: add gemstones, paint, and other metals!
Welding the X-Acto blades together may take some effort, but the result would be sturdy. This method of joining metal would provide a solid structure to build with. Creating bookmarks would be an easy form this structure could take. Don’t stop at just joining the blades end on end, try getting creative and welding the blades together into interesting, flat shapes.
Why stop at flat shapes? Start to think in 3D! Weld, melt, glue, and join the X-Acto blades together in interesting ways to create sculptures that are both representational and abstract. These ideas don’t necessarily need to be functional, they can just be pure expressive art. Conversely, you could also create something useful like an X-acto blade picture frame, letter-opener, or a set of dinnerware
X-Acto blades are not the cheapest things and it is important to keep their cost in mind. Thus when a blade becomes dull, slip it into a safe container as well as deposit a quarter into a blade bank. This way you safely disposing of the blade and starting to put some coins away for your next purchase. Is a quarter too much? Too little? Add however much money you’d like per blade.
Typography? Yes, typography! Try to arrange, alter, and transform X-Acto blades into typographic statements that reflect personal beliefs or a quote from someone you admire. Take care to dull the blades and try to keep in mind a concept for why you are using X-acto blades to say something. The medium is just as important as the message.
Cute, Tiny Weaponry
Need a tiny sword? Turn your old blades into cute, tiny weaponry! You’ll need to make the blade malleable with heat and use the right tools. Especially pay attention and be careful with this project because you wouldn’t want to get cut by your own sword. It doesn’t have to be a sword, make whatever cute weaponry you would prefer. Maybe a tiny shuriken!
Re-sharpen and Reuse
If none of these ideas appeal to you, then you’re boring. Not really, but if you want to be practical and save some money, then you can always re-sharpen your X-Acto blades for reuse. The X-Acto blades can get expensive if you use a lot during every project, so re-sharpening may be the way to go. It doesn’t cost much for the reshaping tools and it doesn’t take too much effort.
CAUTION: When attempting any of these projects make sure that the blades are dulled and that you are using the proper tools to alter the X-Acto brand blades.