Whether you’re using sandpaper to refinish your cabinets, or you’d like to buff out some imperfections in your repair projects, you’ll want sandpaper that’s a convenient size for easy and precise sanding. Since sandpaper often comes in much larger sheets or rolls, you might be wondering if cutting sandpaper is even possible.
You can cut sandpaper from larger sheets safely without damaging its grit, including using a sharp blade or custom sandpaper cutters. Cutting down sandpaper also gives you more localized control when targeting a specific spot to sand. Popular methods include a utility knife and punching.
Now that you know that you can cut sandpaper, you’re probably wondering how.
Read on to learn how to cut sandpaper to your desired shape and size and how to customize it for your specific project.
How To Cut Sandpaper Discs
Sandpaper comes in large sheets that allow you to customize it to the shape you need, giving you more versatility.
Sandpaper discs can be cut using a couple of methods, depending on your resources and what you’re comfortable working with.
The trace and cut method are practical for those that only need a handful of discs for sanding at a time, while the punching device method is more suitable for creating a higher quantity of discs in less time.
Trace a Disc With a Pencil & Cut With a Utility Knife
I recommend investing in an easy-grip utility knife, such as the REXBETI Utility Knife, which comes with a sharp blade that can ensure clear-cutting and still gives you the flexibility to move the blade around corners.
Due to sandpaper discs’ circular shape, you will want to measure, print (or purchase) adequate shape outlines that are the ideal size for your anticipated project.
They will serve as a tracing guide to cut multiple discs that are all the same size.
After finding the right ones, align them on your sandpaper, trace them around the edges, and use a pencil to make a light mark.
Once completed, place your sandpaper on a sturdy surface and cut your discs using the utility knife.
It’s much easier to rotate your sandpaper as you cut, rather than dragging the blade across the grit.
You’ll then be left with round sandpaper discs.
Use a Punching Device With a Cylindrical Shape
Using a cylinder-shaped object with sharp edges can let you punch holes into your sandpaper directly with enough force.
Be careful not to tear your sandpaper, and use a wooden surface as your base for punching.
The wood will help target the impact and cut your sandpaper to the desired shape quickly.
Follow these steps here on how to turn an everyday item into a sandpaper disc-punching device:
Once you’ve cut the outer edges of your discs, using either method, you then must punch holes in the center or around the edges to attach your discs to your sander to remove sand dust.
Also read: What Are Hook and Loop Sandpaper Discs?
How To Cut Sandpaper for Drum Sander
Since drum sanders use sandpaper in a rotating method, your sandpaper must be adjusted in an easily accessible, efficient way so the drum sander can continue rolling it when operating.
Therefore, sandpaper will need to be cut into a smaller strip or belt that extends long enough to circulate. To get started, measure your sander’s drum size, focusing on the circumference of the drum.
You can then purchase larger, pre-rolled sandpaper containers that need to be cut down to your machine’s exact sizing.
You can do this by slicing shorter strips in the roll and then clipping them further with the proper width to fit your sander.
According to the experts at Red Label Abrasives, the key to cutting your sandpaper belts is to trim the sandpaper’s edges so that the angled edge matches the perimeter of the sanding drum.
Most sandpaper purchased in bulk can deliver multiple drum rolls at a time to fill your drum sander.
Take into account how many rolls you’ll need to supply your drum sander at a time, as this could increase the overall amount of sandpaper rolls that you need to purchase initially.
How Do You Cut Sandpaper Sheets?
When you buy sandpaper en masse, you can choose from sandpaper sheets or sandpaper rolls.
To reduce the sheets down into smaller sizes, you will need to fold and measure them accordingly, usually to match your sander’s size.
You can estimate the size needed by manually measuring your sander or placing it on your sandpaper and outlining it for custom sheet sizes.
Most sandpaper sheets can otherwise be evenly quartered and fit a variety of hand-held sanding devices. To cut these sheets into quarters, fold your sandpaper sheet in half vertically, then again horizontally, until you’ve achieved four squares.
Place your folded sandpaper sheet onto a wood surface and use a weighted object to keep the corners in place while cutting.
This will prevent sliding and slipping and any papercuts as well. Pull out your ruler and give your squares another measure to ensure they’re the right size, and then cut them.
Using a paper cutting machine or your utility knife, slice along the folded lines, paying close attention to the sections’ evenness.
A paper cutting machine can provide sharp and defined lines, while you’ll need to be sure you have a steady hand to create the same lines with a paper utility.
How Do You Cut Sandpaper Sheets to Size?
Anytime you’re cutting sandpaper sheets, you’ll need to have a marking device, a ruler, and your chosen blade ready.
Failing to measure out your sandpaper sheets and marking them beforehand will increase waste, leading you to cut sheets that aren’t perfectly fitted to your sanding machine.
Nevertheless, the most efficient way to cut sandpaper sheets to your desired size and ensure that every sheet is the same size is to use a paper cutting machine or paper guillotine.
I recommend using an industrial-grade machine, such as the Westcott 12″ TrimAir Guillotine Paper Trimmer, that comes equipped with grid measurements so you can give your sheets better alignment.
Papercutting machines will allow you to stack multiple sandpaper sheets together and cut them simultaneously with the same blade.
You can turn and realign the scraps to make smaller pieces that match each other and the handy grid system.
How Do You Cut Sandpaper for Sanding Blocks?
As you would with sandpaper for your mechanical sander, you’ll need to cut sandpaper that fits your anticipated block size.
Start by measuring out the piece of wood that will serve as your sanding block, bearing in mind that the woodblock should offer enough thickness to support your hand’s grip.
Next, measure out your sandpaper square on the bigger sheet, adding an extra inch of sandpaper to the woodblock’s edges.
This method will give your woodblock a more ergonomic design that prevents sandpaper shifting, tearing, or ripping mid-project.
After you’ve cut the sandpaper out, you can then glue it directly onto your woodblock using high-strength wood glue and place the block in the center of the sandpaper.
After drying, fold the remaining edges of the sandpaper along the sides of your block, flip it over, and begin sanding!
Read also: What Can You Use Instead of Sandpaper?
How Do You Cut Sandpaper for Palm Sander?
Depending on your palm sander’s shape, you will need to measure out large the blade’s circumference and mimic the size in your paper. You can use your utility knife to carve the sandpaper’s edges before going back in to create the holes.
Once you’ve cut your larger piece, turn it over and trace the areas where the smaller holes will be punched.
Compare it to the holes on your palm sander before cutting, so you maintain accuracy and prevent tearing.
Trace the smaller holes and proceed to cut them out again with your utility knife.
Flip your sandpaper back over and push out the remaining holes from the grit side up to preserve the grit’s surface.
Fit it back into your palm sander and secure it in place, making sure the velcro is sturdy and robust.
You can then proceed to use your palm sander as usual.
When cutting sandpaper for your palm sander, we recommend making a few cutouts at a time, so replacing it is easy when you need to remove it after a project or it’s lost its grit.
How To Make Holes in Sandpaper
Similar to how you would cut discs into sandpaper, you can also create holes within the discs using more refined techniques.
While placing your discs on a wood surface, determine where you’d like the hole to indicate with a marker or pencil. Using the same utility knife or even a traditional hole puncher, push a hole through the marked area.
You can repeat this step as needed to create as many holes as desired to fit your hand-held sander.
Remember to evenly space the multiple holes around the disc to avoid too much impact on the sandpaper, which could eventually lead to tears and more sandpaper replacements.
What Are the Holes in Sandpaper For?
Now that you know how to cut holes in sandpaper, you’re probably curious as to why they’re necessary.
The primary purpose of holes in sandpaper is to filter out dust as you work. Sanding down any surface will increase dust on the workspace and can make larger sanding projects particularly challenging.
By puncturing holes in your sandpaper, your machine is better able to filter out that dust as it works, so you have better visibility and a cleaner workspace as you go.
Essentially, holes in the sandpaper make for easier and quicker clean-up after a sanding job.
Can Cricut Cut Sandpaper?
If attempting to cut sandpaper using a Cricut, you may find trouble with the blades adjusting, especially if you’re cutting larger volumes of sandpaper sheets.
To reduce the impact on the Cricut’s blades, consider placing a piece of contact paper on the sheets’ grit side to reduce friction.
You can also turn the sandpaper over and attempt to cut it from the backside with the grid side facing downward.
Ideally, this method should only be used on light-grit sandpaper and in smaller capacities. If you can find alternative ways to cut your sandpaper than with a Cricut, we suggest doing so, as sandpaper can easily lead to jams in the machine or quickly wear down the blade.
Cutting sandpaper with a Cricut can also leave behind a sizable mess of dust, so be prepared if you’ve decided you want to try it.
Can You Cut Sandpaper With Scissors?
It’s possible to cut sandpaper with scissors, but it’s not recommended. Doing so can dull your scissors and render them unusable again for future projects.
Instead, you should opt for specialized blades that have been designed to cut thicker grades of paper, such as paper knives and paper cutters.
Paper cutters can provide better strength and support to your sandpaper cutting needs, offering sharper blades that can withstand sandpaper’s friction and deliver more defined edges.
Furthermore, creating your sandpaper cutter can be done with a few household tools you likely already have lying around.
Home improvement expert Ron Hazleton has written step-by-step building instructions on how you can make your sandpaper cutter at home in an instant, so you aren’t damaging your everyday household tools in an attempt to cut sandpaper.
To follow his directions on how to make your custom sandpaper cutter, watch this video on his site.
Cutting sandpaper to fit a drum sander, a palm sander, or simply apply to a sanding block, can be a challenge if you aren’t sure how to cut it without compromising its grit integrity.
With the right tools and attention to detail, cutting sandpaper can be done using paper knives and paper cutting machines that allow you to measure the amount of sandpaper you need and reduce it to fit your machinery and sanding requirements.
Knowing how to cut sandpaper the right way can reduce waste and increase efficiency when using it in your building projects.
Thanks for reading, cheers tools owners!
Related: How is Sandpaper Created