Why Aviation Snips Are a Makers Secret Weapon

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Written and created by

Compound lever (aviation) tin snips are an essential tool for all makers… perhaps even the most useful tool you can own!

Not only will they open up new creative opportunities, they’ll save you time and money.

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:

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

Material 1: I’ve made intricate cogs from the plastic lids, and an entire birdfeeder by cutting up a thick plastic folder.

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

Material 2: The sides of Soda cans are super easy to cut, even with scissors… but to cut through the bottom and top… you need aviation snips!

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

Material 3: If you come across any tin boxes (in the UK Quality Street sweets are sold in tin boxes)… buy them, and then buy aviation snips! I’ve made so many things out of sweet and biscuit tins using these snips.

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

Material 4: My other favourite thing to cut using aviation snips is… tin cans. Trickier than a tin box, because the sides are corrugated… but still very easy!

Other stuff they can cut

  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, take a look at this tea light holder made from a tin can, it’s as elegant as anything you might find in a shop, but cost nothing to make!

Written and created by

Life-long maker of who also loves to draw. Author of two books.

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