Do you know those humble little wooden sticks that come with your favorite frozen treats? Well, they’re not just for licking and then tossing aside. They actually have a whole world of crafty possibilities and today I am here to explain a little about how to cut popsicle sticks and some more information on them.
As you might have seen by now, I’ve been busy creating some awesome tutorials on crafting miniature masterpieces with popsicle sticks over on my YouTube channel.
From tiny furniture to adorable little houses, you won’t believe what you can create with these simple sticks.
And I’ve learned so much along the way, experimenting with different cutting techniques, and sanding tricks, to take these sticks to a whole new level, literally sometimes.
But, a learning process can come with some frustrations as well, so today we’re diving deeper into the popsicle stick crafting world with these tips and tricks so you are better prepared!
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The basics of popsicle sticks: What are they made of and why are they so handy for crafting?
Types of wood for popsicle sticks
Most craft popsicle sticks are made of birch wood because they are relatively soft and lightweight.
Birch has a tight grain so it is difficult to splinter, which is obviously handy for crafting, but what it is intended for initially for ice cream sticks, it is used because of its neutral flavor, as opposed to oak or pine.
Occasionally popsicle sticks can be made from beech or other hardwood, so they can be somewhat sturdier and more durable, but so far I haven’t seen them in (online) stores.
A variety of colors for popsicle sticks.
Popsicle sticks can also be found in a variety of colors. You can mix and match the colors, create patterns, or create unique structures.
How about creating a miniature rainbow bridge, for example, or my mini xylophone on Youtube?
Different kinds of forms and shapes
Popsicle sticks also are available beyond the traditional straight stick shape. These alternative forms can add something unique to your miniature crafting projects.
Here are a few examples:
- 1. .Jumbo Popsicle Sticks: These sticks are larger in size compared to standard popsicle sticks.
They can be great for constructing larger structures.
- 2. Wavy Popsicle Sticks: These sticks have a wavy or zigzag shape instead of a straight design.
They add a touch of whimsy and can be used to create textured surfaces.
- 3. Tongue Depressor Popsicle Sticks: Similar to jumbo sticks, tongue depressor popsicle sticks are wider and often used for medical purposes. They are suitable for projects that require a larger area.
- 4. Notched Popsicle Sticks: These sticks come with pre-cut notches, slots, or grooves along their length.
The notches allow for easy interlocking and can be used to build more complicated structures.
Popsicle sticks are incredibly handy for crafting due to their accessibility, versatility, sturdiness, compatibility with other materials, and eco-friendly nature.
They are affordable and widely available, allowing crafters of all ages to unleash their creativity.
How to cut popsicle sticks: 6 Essential tools for precise popsicle stick cutting, yes: 6!
Although I usually use either a crafting knife or sturdy crafting scissors in my popsicle projects on Youtube, there are several other tools that you could use. And that’s more than you will find on other blogs 😉 #sorrynotsorry
Let’s dive into a list of tools, a little walkthrough on each, and some pros and cons of each tool:
1. A Craft Knife/Utility Knife:
A craft knife or utility knife (aka an X-Acto knife) with a sharp, fine blade is an essential tool for precision cutting.
It allows you to make straight cuts, shapes, and precise angles on popsicle sticks.
- Pros: Offers precise cuts and detailed shapes, ideal for detailed work.
- Cons: Requires caution and proper handling to prevent accidents.
A little walkthrough on how to cut popsicle sticks with a crafting knife:
- Set up a clean and stable surface with a cutting mat to protect your work surface.
- Mark your cut: Use a ruler and a pencil to measure and mark the desired length or shape on the popsicle stick. Make sure the mark is clear and visible.
- Hold the popsicle stick tight: Grasp the popsicle stick firmly near the marked area, ensuring a stable grip to maintain control during cutting.
- Position the crafting knife: Hold the crafting knife with the blade at an angle of 90° to the popsicle stick, aligning it precisely with the marked line.
- Apply gentle pressure: Slowly and steadily apply gentle pressure to the knife, making a series of shallow scoring cuts along the marked line.
Repeat the scoring cuts until you’ve created a groove on the stick.
- Deepen the cut: Once a groove is established, increase the pressure slightly to deepen the cut.
Continue cutting along the line, applying consistent pressure to ensure an even cut.
- Complete the cut: If the popsicle stick is thin, you may be able to snap it along the cut line by gently bending it. Otherwise, continue cutting until the stick is completely separated.
- Sand or smooth the edges: Use sandpaper or a sanding block to gently smooth any rough or uneven edges left from the cut. This step is essential for creating a clean and finished look.
2. Use scissors
While scissors may not provide the same level of precision as a craft knife, they are still a handy tool for cutting popsicle sticks, especially for simpler shapes and straight cuts.
Opt for a pair of sharp, durable scissors that can easily cut through the wood.
- Pros: Easy to use, suitable for simple cuts and straight lines.
- Cons: May not provide the same level of precision as a craft knife.
A little walkthrough on how to cut popsicle sticks with scissors:
- The first steps are similar to using a crafting knife: set up a clean and stable surface with a cutting mat and mark your cut with a ruler and pencil.
And hold the popsicle stick tightly near the marked area with your non-dominant hand.
- Position the scissors: You can preferably use any pair of serrated scissors, but even better: large pairs of craft scissors
Place the blades of the scissors along the marked line, ensuring that the line aligns with the pivot point of the scissors.
- Start cutting: Begin cutting by gently squeezing the scissors’ handles together. Apply consistent pressure and make smooth, even cuts along the marked line. Take your time to ensure accuracy.
- Continue cutting: If the popsicle stick is thicker or requires a longer cut, continue making successive cuts along the line until the stick is completely separated.
- Once you’ve completed the cut, inspect the stick to ensure a clean and even edge. If needed, use the scissors to trim any rough or uneven areas.
- Smooth the edges: use sandpaper or a sanding block to gently smooth any rough or uneven edges left from the cut. This can lead to a smooth and polished look of the cut popsicle stick.
3. Using A Miter box.
Miter Box: If you often need to make angled cuts or repeated cuts at the same angle, commonly at 45-degree or 90-degree angles.
It’s particularly helpful for creating clean and accurate corners in craft projects and it provides pre-cut slots or guides to hold the material being cut securely in place.
- Pros: Facilitates accurate angled cuts and consistent corners.
- Cons: Limited to specific angles, may not be necessary for all projects.
- 1. A miter box is usually made of plastic or wood and can be easily found at craft stores or online. Once you have your miter box, set it up on a stable surface, making sure it won’t wobble or move around during the cutting process.
- 2. Now, grab a popsicle stick and measure the length or angle you want to cut. Use a ruler or measuring tool to mark the desired measurement on the stick. It’s important to have a clear and visible mark to guide your cutting.
- 3. Next, position the popsicle stick inside the appropriate slot or guide in the miter box. The slots are designed to hold the stick securely and align it with the desired cutting angle.
- 4. Hold the stick firmly against the miter box, ensuring it stays in place for the cut.
- 5. Now comes the cutting part! Take a craft knife and carefully cut through the popsicle stick along the marked line, using the miter box’s guide as your reference.
- 6. Once you’ve made the cut, take a moment to check it. Inspect the popsicle stick and see if you achieved a clean and precise edge.
4. Using A Mini drill/Dremel
A rotary tool, such as a Dremel, equipped with a cutting disc or a fine-grit sanding drum, can be used for more advanced cutting techniques.
It enables you to make precise cuts, create curves, or shape popsicle sticks with greater control and precision.
It’s essential to practice safe usage and wear protective goggles when using a rotary tool.
- Pros: Provides versatility for precise cuts, shaping, and sanding. So this tool can do all kinds of jobs.
- Cons: Requires some experience, protective gear, and careful handling.
The best way how to learn how to use a Dremel or rotary tool is to have a look at the video below by Log’s carving club!
5. Using a Wire Cutter:
Wire cutters can also be handy for cutting popsicle sticks, especially when dealing with thinner or more delicate pieces.
They have sharp blades and can provide clean cuts, allowing for efficient cutting with minimal effort.
However, wire cutters are generally limited to straight cuts and may leave a slight indentation on the stick due to the shape of the cutting jaws.
It’s important to choose wire cutters suitable for the thickness of the popsicle sticks you’re working with.
- Pros: Efficient for cutting popsicle sticks, particularly for thinner or more delicate pieces.
- Cons: Limited to straight cuts, may leave a slight indentation on the stick.
A walkthrough on how to use wire cutters would be exactly the same as the previous walkthroughs, except for one point: you need to select wire cutters with sharp, sturdy blades that are designed for cutting through wood.
And look for a model with flat or flush cutting edges.
So, set up that stable workplace, measure and mark, secure the popsicle stick, position the cutter, apply pressure, and cut! Use sandpaper if necessary.
6. Use a solid nail cutter to cut popsicle sticks!
You probably have never seen this before, but why not use a straight-edge nail clipper to cut popsicle sticks? What a great idea!
- Pros: You probably have it in your household already
- Cons: might not be suitable for thicker popsicle sticks
7 more tips on how to cut popsicle sticks, how to handle them, and FAQs
In this section, I am answering some more FAQs for you on popsicle sticks and some more tips!
1. How to avoid splitting and breaking while cutting popsicle sticks?
To avoid splitting and breaking while cutting popsicle sticks, you need to use sharp cutting tools as dull tools can splinter the wood and be sure to pick the right tool as described above.
Also, it is better to score before cutting and applying more pressure, this helps create a groove first.
Finally, take it slow while cutting the sticks, steady and under control-cutting it is.
If you are still worried about splinters, you can wear tight plastic gloves.
2. How To Cut Popsicle Sticks Lengthwise?
To cut popsicle sticks in length, only 2 tools would be suitable, and that is using a crafting knife or craft saw, and not a wire cutter or other tools.
Just follow the steps described above on how to cut popsicle sticks, because the methods stay the same.
3. How to bend popsicle sticks without breaking them?
In the video below you can see how to bend popsicle sticks using steam. The process involves placing the sticks in boiling water or steam for approximately 15 minutes until they become pliable.
Rubber gloves are recommended for handling hot sticks. Afterward, the sticks can be bent using a tall vase or cup, ensuring they are parallel and not crooked.
Some sticks may break during the bending process, which is normal. The video also shows how to bend sticks into smaller cups using a similar technique.
It’s important to note that wood steaming should be done before bending, as it becomes more difficult afterward.
4. How to interlock popsicle sticks?
In the next video, you can see how it works to interlock popsicle sticks.
The first part shows how to create a stable square formation by placing four sticks horizontally and one stick vertically on top. The sticks are interlocked to form a square pattern.
Similarly, a larger square is made by using four horizontal and four vertical sticks, following the warp and weft method.
The interlocking creates a sturdy structure that doesn’t open. The video also mentions an interesting activity of finding the number of squares in a three-by-three and four-by-four mesh, revealing 55 and 140 different squares, respectively.
5. Are there popsicle sticks made of bamboo?
Oh yes there are bamboo popsicle sticks and they are available on Amazon
6. Smooth edges: Techniques for sanding and refining your cut popsicle sticks.
I really can’t explain it any better than watching the video below for some finest techniques for sanding and working on popsicle projects!
7. Can the Cricut maker cut popsicle sticks?
The Cricut Maker is primarily designed for cutting various materials such as paper, vinyl, fabric, and thin wood like balsa wood.
However, it may not be suitable for cutting standard popsicle sticks made of solid wood due to their thickness and density. Popsicle sticks are typically thicker and denser than the materials commonly used with the Cricut Maker.
Attempting to cut popsicle sticks with the Cricut Maker could potentially damage the machine or result in unsuccessful cuts. So no, I wouldn’t recommend using it to cut popsicle sticks.
How to make a popsicle stick house and other creative ideas you can do with popsicle sticks.
I have plenty of Youtube videos of my own to show you for which I have used popsicle sticks!
There’s no need to explain every little step in this case, as everything is really clear in the video instructions.
If you have any more questions though, feel free to ask!
1. How to create a miniature swing with popsicle sticks?
2. How to create a popsicle stick house?
There are several ways in creating a popsicle stick house, but below you can see my simple little project 🙂
3. How to create a miniature fireplace with popsicle sticks?
4. How to create a miniature slide with popsicle sticks?
My Final Conclusion
I hope that you found this article on how to cut popsicle sticks informative and that I could answer every question you might have on the topic.
If you have any more questions, please feel free to leave them down below in the comment section or join (one of) my social media channels or my cozy Facebook group.
I wish you happy crafting!
My name is Lizzy, and I am an amateur miniaturist obsessed with everything in the dollhouse and miniature world, ever since I was a teenager.
I love to write as well about all things happening in the miniature world, hence the reason why I created this blog!
I wish you happy reading and crafting!