3 Tips for Cutting Shapes From Industrial Cardboard

Cutting out illustrated shapes from industrial cardboard requires a few considerations worth noting.

But first a quick word about cardboard๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿพ

When I say ‘industrial,’ I’m not talking about an empty Amazon box. Nor am I referencing a shoe box nor most any box you might have at home.

I’m talking about *THICK* cardboard; like really thick and so sturdy that you can barely bend it.

I tend to source my industrial cardboard from a recycling dumpster located behind the building where my art studio is located. That recycling dumpster is shared by two restaurants and they toss out tons of such boxes each week so I’m pretty lucky in this regard.

Hopefully you’ll have access to something similar near you; but regardless of how or from where you obtain industrial cardboard of your own, here are my quicks tips for carving out your cardboard shapes ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿพ

1) Keep your (sharp) cutting tools close

Be sure to have several scissors (large and small ones) and box cutters (with extra blades) on hand because you never know when during the cutting process you might need to switch from box cutter to Xacto knife or to scissors (or vice versa).

2) Twice or thrice

Because industrial cardboard is pretty thick (not to mention it’s not the smoothest material, especially if it’s corrugated or creased) , the shape won’t always cleanly snap itself free from just one cutting pass. So be prepared to go over your shape’s outline several times, as needed.

In my own experience, there’s been times where I’ve had to go around my shape at least twice; and in smaller, more delicate areas I’ve even had to do a lighter third pass as well.

3) Sand after cutting

With a sanding block (usually about the size of a dishwashing sponge), lightly sand the outer edges of your cardboard shape after cutting.

This is necessary because the cutting process does create some frayed areas that’ll need a gentle smoothing.

If at any point during the sanding process, a small part of the cardboard’s layers start to separate, simply use a strong adhesive to carefully adhere them back together.

Lastly, try angling your sanding block slightly, especially as you sand curved areas. This helps achieve the smoothest edges and cleanest finish.

Please share this post if you enjoyed these tips or know someone who might benefit from this advice.

Yours in cardboard cutting ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฝ ๐Ÿ™‚