How To Cut Shapes With The Jig Saw

Hey! How are you? This week of jig saw projects has been a fun one. If your looking for beginner projects for the jig saw then you’ve come to the right place. Along with this post i have 15-1 Hour Jig Saw Projects For Beginners! So be sure to check that out once you’re all schooled on how to cut shapes with the jig saw.

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cutting shapes with the jig saw

And if you’re new to the jig saw then this Jig Saw Overview should help you out!

In order to cut shapes with the jig saw we first need to get the shapes image on the board.

Transferring Images

Remember that it’s easier to start the cut if your image is close to an edge on the board.

So there are a few ways to transfer images to your sign.

  1. You can print out the shape you’d like with your printer. Then use carbon paper to transfer the image onto your board. (if you’ve never use carbon paper you can learn how here)
  2. If you have the ability, you can freehand your image onto the board
  3. You can always cut the shape out of paper first and then trace around the image onto your board.
  4. If you have access to a Cricut or Silhouette machine you can cut the shape out with vinyl or cardstock.
    1. When you cut the shape out with vinyl you can simply transfer the shape onto the board by sticking the vinyl on there. Then use the vinyl as a guide to follow along the outside of the shape while cutting with your jig saw.
    2. If you choose to cut the image out of cardstock it simply makes a template shape. You can use this to trace the shape onto your board. This is a great option if you plan to reuse the shape or are making multiples of one project.

      This option is similar to cutting the paper by hand. However this will result in a cleaner and more perfect shape depending on the SVG file you start with. If this isn’t an option for you the a paper and scissors is great too.

Choose The Right Blade To Cut Shapes with Your Jig Saw

Now that your shape is transferred let’s talk about cutting it out with the jig saw.

In order to have a successful cut you will need to make sure that you have the right blade for the job.

Blades vary for different types of cuts and materials. If your shape has curves you will need a scrolling blade.( Here’s a small starter pack {including a scrolling blade} of T-SHANK blades. these will not work if your saw needs U-shank blades. Check your tool’s owner’s manual for reference.) For more info on blades click here

If you’re cutting straight, it would be better to use a basic wood blade and a guide. Click here for more info on using guides.

When you’ve chosen the right blade install it. (for more blade instalation info click here)

Your Ready To Begin Cutting

You will need to make sure your blade has enough clearance underneath it. Use rails under your board and make sure your project is secure with clamps. Or hang the board over an open edge and clamp the board down to the workbench to keep it from falling off.

With your project secured (and your protective gear on) you’re ready to begin cutting.

Starting The Cut

When cutting remember that it’s always best to stay on the outside of the line. You can always cut a little closer if you need to go back, but you can’t put a section of the board back if you cut it off.

Start into your cut at an angle and not perpendicular to it.

Follow the (outside of the) lines the best that you can and take your time. A slower steady cut will turn out nicer then a fast and out of control one.

For info on what settings your saw should be on click here

Make the cut in one direction. Use a good amount of pressure downward to keep the saw steady and don’t force the saw forward. If you do your blade may break or the saw could overheat.

When you’re cut is complete sand the edges smooth with a palm sander (mine is similar to this one), belt sander (I use this one), or sanding block (mine is similar to this one. You keep the block but replace the sandpaper.)

And there you have it! How to transfer and cut shapes with the jig saw isn’t so scary after all!

I’d love to see the projects you’re making. come over to Instagram and DM or tag me @lindseyjaneco

I’m always adding project inspiration and tips to my Pinterest page, so come check it out @lindseyjaneco!

Also if you’d like updates on the upcoming week’s projects sign up in the top right corner. Let’s connect!

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