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How to Cut an Acetate

Updated February 21, 2017

Acetate, a transparent film available in a variety of colours, is useful for making stencils and image transfers. The material varies in thickness and doesn't require a special tool or saw to cut. Acetate wipes clean with a soft cloth. It is available at art supply, hardware and home improvement stores, and also online. Once you have cut the acetate stencil or design, you can use it multiple times, with or without an adhesive to hold the film in place.

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  1. Lay the piece of acetate on a clean cutting board or piece of wood measuring at least 8 by 10 inches. Wear gloves to keep dirt off the film.

  2. Cut the acetate at a 45-degree angle with a utility or razor knife. If cutting thick acetate, bend the film where you cut it to pop and separate the two pieces.

  3. Wipe the cut edges with a clean, soft cloth to remove any dust from the acetate.

  4. Tip

    If cutting paper-thin pieces of acetate, use scissors, then wipe the film with a clean, soft cloth to remove any dust from the material.

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Things You'll Need

  • 8-by-10-inch or larger piece of wood
  • Work or latex gloves
  • Utility or razor knife
  • Soft cloth
  • Scissors (optional)

About the Author

Nick Davis is a freelance writer specializing in technical, travel and entertainment articles. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Memphis and an associate degree in computer information systems from the State Technical Institute at Memphis. His work has appeared in "Elite Memphis" and "The Daily Helmsman" in Memphis, Tenn. He is currently living in Albuquerque, N.M.

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