Quick tip on keeping paper in place while cutting

I needed to cut some paper gaskets, and before committing the actual gasket paper I wanted to test on regular text weight. I used up all my magnets holding it down, and even then a few pieces got loose and obscured other lines. I searched the wonderful forum and learned about Seklama mats, which sound awesome and expensive and unobtainable at 9:00pm on a Sunday. :frowning:

So my next thought was to put tiny tabs on all the shapes to hold them in place whilst cutting, but the thought of drawing all those was daunting. After some thought and whining and procrastination, I remembered this fantastic post from @likeablejerk about making dashed lines in Illustrator. After all, what are tabs if not tiny dashes?

I won’t reiterate his instructions other then to say that the line I used as a pattern was very long, and I used a very small spacing percentage to make tiny gaps.

This all worked quite well although there are some things I might tweak to make it better

  1. Make two versions of the artwork, one solid and one “tabbed”. Run the solid one first as a light score so the tabs are easier to tear off.
  2. Make the gaps a little bigger, or slow down the head a bit so it does not overrun on little features like the smallest circles in the picture. Most of those cut loose and went flying, although they made it out of range before they landed so no big deal.
  3. Make several patterns, longer lines for bigger items and shorter ones for smaller so you can control how many tabs there are.
  4. A few magnets to hold the bigger areas wouldn’t hurt.
  5. DO NOT save the expanded artwork over your original so you lose all the geometry and have to redraw your work. :cry:

Hope that help someone!

Oh, and here is the purpose, it is the gearbox of a 70+ year old DoAll bandsaw.


Pre-perforating! Fantastic idea!


I think this has uses beyond avoiding pieces blowing around while cutting. Good for transporting shapes and keeping track of a lot of complicated pieces…

I accidentally got two Seklema mats for Christmas (along with two guillotine paper trimmers, which is far less useful), so now I feel like I need to cut ALL THE PAPER.


One for upstairs, one for downstairs? Or even better, a spare so that you still have one on hand when your DH walks off with it? :smile:


Genius idea! I’ve been using @likeablejerk’s method to create leather stitching holes; never thought to use it for perforations (or flat-pack Christmas trees and reindeer!).


You are a person after my own heart. Unfortunately, my own heart has led me to an overabundance of art/craft/maker related tools and supplies. If my husband walks off, it won’t be with my guillotine. It will be to divorce me for having too much stuff!


Ooo, that’s a really clever use of the dotted line thing.
I’m glad to see that my post is was not only useful to some people, but inspired even cooler techniques!


Heya Josh! Good to see you again. You’ve been scarce.

Not surprised your post featured gaskets, “for what” was going to be my first question, but knowing you I was sure it was going to be for some old piece of equipment worthy of refurbishing.

The tabs idea is great :+1: but the running a light score first to ease separation is very clever. That’s a @jkopel touch. Thanks for sharing your inspiration!
I was thrilled to see a post from our first Beta tester :sunglasses: You helped us cling to the vision during the long void.
Don’t be a stranger man!


I was just going to look up the other post for exactly that use. I guess it is possible then. :slight_smile:

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Oh that’s too cool!


Now to start making my own leather patterns. :slight_smile:


Brilliant! I’m dope-slapping my forehead. Perfect technique for flat pack things I’d think.


Thank you so much for posting this! Paper lovers are celebrating!