side cutters
DIY Projects,  Tips & Tricks

Side Cutters For DIY Projects: A Basic Guide

What are side cutters? When it comes to home repairs and projects, most people are said to prefer going with the do-it-yourself (DIY) route. It’s cheap, easy with enough practice, and you’re free to let your creative juices loose. You’re also less likely to butt heads with hired help since you’ll be doing all the dirty work yourself.

Side cutters, called diagonal cutters in other countries, are a go-to instrument for many DIY enthusiasts. These are scissor-like tools that are mainly used for cutting wires or stripping insulations. Like any tool, they come in different sizes and sometimes serve a specific purpose.

Read on to learn how side cutters work and what DIY projects you can do with a reliable pair.

Various craft tools used to make jewelry from wire and beads

What You Need To Know About Side Cutters

Side cutters are tools that are easy to find. You’ll often see them sold in any hardware store. Most ready-to-use toolsets also have at least one pair included should you decide to buy a kit.

How to use them

Side cutters and scissors have a similar shape, so handling them is basically the same. But here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use a pair properly:

  • Open the jaws. Pull the handles apart. For some models, it’ll take a bit more effort. Some might even have a spring that makes this step easier.
  • Put the item between the jaws. Depending on the model of cutter you have, the item to be cut will either be near the joint or at the blade tips. Make sure to read your cutter’s specifications before using it. Some can cut hard items, while others can only cut softer materials like plastic and copper wires.
  • Squeeze the handles. When the wire or object is secured, give the handles a tight squeeze. You can normally do this with one hand.

When looking for these cutters, choose one that preferably has a spring to keep its jaws apart. These are believed to be more comfortable to handle.

Different Types Of Side Cutters

side cutters
Tools for creating jewelry. Beads, crystals, glass bottles with cork lids, hair combs. Wire, cutters, pliers.

Now that you know about the basic instructions on how to operate a pair of cutters properly for your next DIY project, being aware of the specific types available at your disposal is the next step to take.

Many manufacturers release their own iterations in the market but most side cutters fall under two main categories DIY enthusiasts like you should be knowledgeable at. They’re:

Side Cutters For Hard Wire

In general, it’s recommended that you don’t use side cutters for cutting hard items. But nowadays, there are cutters available that are built to withstand hard pressure from other steel objects.

If you’re looking to cut through hard wire (such as piano wire), then you’ll need a tool that is sharp enough and has enough leverage to handle that without going blunt, such as a pair of Maun side cutters. There are others like them that can perform heavy-duty tasks and won’t get damaged even after several uses.

Maun Diagonal Cutting Plier For Hard Wire 160 mm

Side Cutters For Plastic Or Soft Metal

You might mistake side cutters for soft materials with a pair meant for hard wires and the like. For starters, they usually come in the same shape and size as their more durable counterparts. But this type of side cutter is reserved for softer materials such as plastic or thinner wires.

A pair of side cutters for plastic should be safe for children to use for arts and crafts. Yet they’ll still need adult supervision when handling one to avoid possible injuries.

DIY Projects In Which Side Cutters Can Be Very Useful

Side cutters are an invaluable tool in any DIY-er’s kit. With their functionality and efficiency, a pair of well-made side cutters can do wonders in accomplishing many DIY crafting projects big and small.  

Want to know what types of activities side cutters can prove themselves useful in? Listed below are just some of them.  

Minor Electrical Projects

Most people turn to side cutters for fixing electrical wires. Unlike regular scissors or shears, side cutters can cut through cable wires seamlessly. You need not to worry anymore about those spindly fibers getting splayed everywhere each time you take on any electrical project.  

Hiring an electrical technician for doing a simple electrical job may cost a few dollars. But if it’s a task you think you can do yourself, why not go for it? You’ll save money and customize the wiring as you see fit.

  • Jewelry Making

Remember making jewelry using plastic beads and nylon cords as a kid? Why not take it a step further and create fancier, more grown-up versions of those? With side cutters, you can make sturdier and more intricate jewelry pieces that’ll last longer and won’t easily succumb to wear and tear.

When using plastic and nylon, you’re limited to making jewelry like bracelets and necklaces. Side cutters let you go the extra mile by allowing you to cut and bend wires to create earrings, intricate pendants, rings, and chain-link pieces.

There are different types of jewelry wire out in the market, but a good side cutter can handle all of them easily. Pick a pair that’s made for soft materials since you don’t need to exert much effort on them.

You can also let your kids join in your jewelry DIY escapades. It’s regarded that side cutters are an easy tool to use by beginners. The experience might also motivate them to start their own DIY crafting adventure.

  • Plant Pruning

You might be surprised to find out that you canuse some types of side cutters to prune plants. Though not recommended, if you don’t have a pair of shears on hand, side cutters will do just fine. They’re perfect for pruning smaller plants like bonsai trees for they need precision trimmings given their size.

Side cutters can also reach hard to trim areas a large pair of shears can’t usually get to. They’re also much lighter, allowing you to make detailed cuts without weighing in too much on your arms and hands.

  • Home Décor Crafting

Of course, you can’t forget about home decorating when thinking of DIY projects. Instead of buying new pieces to increase the aesthetic value of your home, try building them yourself. Personalized decorations hold more meaning especially if you spent a lot of time and effort making them.

Using these cutters, customize your interior with fancy steelwork for a steampunk feel. Build grid panels to mount on your walls. Refurbish old décor and turn them into something completely different. Get ready to impress visitors with your amazing creations, all made with patience and care with the help of a trusty pair of cutters.

Dare To Do It Yourself

Like nails and a hammer, a side cutter is an indispensable tool for any DIY junkie. Its jaws come in various forms that can’t be definitively categorized.

When you get your hands on a side cutter, don’t be afraid to use it! They’re handy for almost anything related to home improvement. Knowing the type of project you’re going to tackle is a good starting point in finding the perfect cutter.

With the help of a trustworthy pair of side cutters and the right information on how to use them, you’ll be able to face a multitude of DIY projects that are suddenly made easier than ever.

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