Why Compound Lever Tin Snips Will Save You Time and Money

Give your free time creative purpose

"The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt"

- Sylvia Plath

Are ‘tin snips’ one of those specialist tools you think you can do without?

If they are, think again, they are one of the most useful hand tools you can own. Really!

Not only will they open up new creative opportunities, they will also save you time and money. But only if you buy the right type…

A pair of compound lever tin snips
They may look humble... but don't be fooled!

…that’s right, you absolutely must buy compound lever tin snips and not the basic scissor style of tin snip.

Why?

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Because it’s the compound levers that make these types of snips so powerful, even a gentle squeeze is enough to cut through tin.

They are also surprisingly nimble and precise, their unique cutting edges allow intricate curved shapes to be cut with ease.

This Is How I Use Them

While their primary purpose is to cut through thin sheets of metal, they are exceptionally versatile.

I use them to cut a wide range of materials… like these:

Plastic stuff!
Illustration of the different materials you can cut using compound lever tin snips

I’ve made intricate cogs by cutting up the lid from a can of spray paint, and an entire birdfeeder by cutting up a thick plastic folder (1).

Soda cans
Illustration of the different materials you can cut using compound lever tin snips

Soda cans (2) are made from a very thin plastic coated aluminium, they are super easy to cut, but not a great material to work with.

Biscuit tins
Illustration of the different materials you can cut using compound lever tin snips

It’s increasingly difficult to find biscuits that are packaged in tin boxes (3) but if you do… buy them! It’s an awesome resource that’s easy to cut.

Tin Cans
Illustration of the different materials you can cut using compound lever tin snips

One of my other favourite things to cut are tin cans (4)… especially empty cans of Heinz Baked Beans (yummy!). There’s an example below.

More stuff

  1. Vinyl Tiles
  2. Furniture Felt Pads
  3. Wire (upto around 1.5mm)
  4. Wooden stirring sticks
  5. Popsicle sticks
  6. Craft sticks
  7. Tupperware containers
  8. Wellington boots
  9. Space hoppers

Can they really save you money?

Yes, have a look a the tea light holder below… it’s as elegant as anything you could buy in the shop, but costs the price of an empty tin can!

Tea light lantern made from a tin can
Look what a pair of tin snips can do to a baked bean tin!

If you want to make one yourself, go check out my Tin Can Lantern project.

Can You Add to the List?

It’s definitely one of the best hand tools I own, excluding my craft knife!

What’s the most unusual hand tool you couldn’t do without, leave me a comment below? Happy snipping!

Written by
Photo of Scott Bedford
Scott Bedford

Maker, Illustrator and Author

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