From building model airplanes to working with wood, you bring joy to life with just your two hands—and a little help from a few invaluable tools. Whether you’re carrying on a family tradition or pursuing a passion all your own, you’ve helped make X-ACTO® the number-one hobby knife in the US. We’re proud to provide the precision tools you need, along with ideas and tips, to keep you doing what you love to do best.

“My husband was given a model ship years ago, and his X-ACTO knife came in real handy.” Deborah T., West Virginia

Seeing a life size ship from the 1800s can be impressive. But shrink that same ship down to 1:24 scale, and it becomes almost impossible to look away. Miniature steering wheels.

The Wonders of White Oak Wood

What on earth would bourbon taste like without it? Since the 19th century, charred white oak barrels have played an important part in the distinctive flavor of American whiskey.

Technology and Model Trains

Every model train hobbyist can most likely remember their very first train they ever received. Toy trains became extremely popular in the 1950’s, and today the hobby still attracts a large community of model railway enthusiasts.

Building Your Own Model Train Scenery from Insulation Foam

Modeling railroading doesn’t end with crafting and building beautiful and elaborate train sets. A huge part of this hobby is building and designing the environment that surrounds your model train.

Weathering Your Model Trains

The art of "weathering" your model trains and scenery is the process of making them distressed-looking or worn.

Model Train Backdrops

So, you have created the perfect model railroad, including a fully landscaped environment, and you want to take it a step further and create a visual backdrop to complete the whole scene.

Make a Scene

Bring your model railroad to life by creating a backdrop that completes the environment. Using enlarged nature photos can set the scene for your locomotive, giving onlookers a sense of realism.

Woodworking With Kids

If you are a woodworker, you know the satisfaction of creating and finishing a project. You can increase that satisfaction on your next project by inviting a young person to help you.

Wood Staining Techniques & Tips

Applying stain to a wood carving is a great way to enhance the natural beauty of the wood. Here are some tips to avoid some common staining pitfalls.

The Art of Antiquing & Distressing Wood

Sometimes a new wood project or a brand new piece of furniture can get an uplift by making it look old. Antiquing a piece of wood or furniture piece can instantly change the mood of a piece and add one-of-a-kind character.

Working with Leather: Project Ideas

Leather has proven to be a timeless and durable canvas. Detailed imagery and patterns can be worked into the soft canvas. You’ll find ornate leather art in anything from belts to book covers.

Spoon Up Your Next Carving With Wooden Spoon Making

Wooden spoon making has a history that is centuries old. The wooden spoon has been around since people realized they could carve into wood.

Chip Carving

There are many techniques and ways to carve wood. One of the basic methods, and great for beginners is Chip carving.

Chip Carving - Signs and Designs

Chip carving is a great method for creating custom plaques and wayfinding signs. Download the provided border and decorative element templates to incorporate into your next project.

The Art of Chip Carving

Chip carving can be great skill to have for both beginnings and seasoned carvers. Chip carvings can be achieved with very few tools and a fairly simple technique. Chip carving is perfect for creating patterns and beautiful decorative designs on objects.

Handmade Heirloom Boxes

When contemplating creating a handmade gift, an heirloom box is an excellent option. It’s the perfect opportunity to commemorate a big occasion like a birth, wedding, or retirement.

Tips on Applying Model Plane Decals

Applying decals on your latest project can be the most satisfying part of completing your model airplane.

Painting Wood with Washes

Painting your wood carvings with opague colors might not always be the effect you are striving for.

Creative Dollhouse Furniture

In the 1:12 scale world anyone can be an expert carpenter. With a little imagination, it’s possible to make some pretty believable dollhouse furniture.

X-ACTO for Ceramics Carving

The techniques for working with ceramics are vast. Anything from a specialty knife to a porcupine quill may be what you use to achieve stunning work.

Pumpkin Carving Like a Pro

Use your carving skills for the holidays, and become a master pumpkin carver! Your woodworking tools will cut pumpkins like butter, and you will be the envy of the neighborhood with the intricate designs and effects you can create.

Model Planes-Making it Look Like the Real Thing.

A realistic finish can take a model to the next level. Using multiple references can help you achieve an authentic look.

Making Mistakes: Mistakes Quotes

Mistakes happen. We all know it. We are supposed to learn and grow from them. But that can be deceptively harder than it sounds.

Getting Started with Letter Carving

Carving letters and words into wood can be one of the more challenging projects to tackle in woodworking, but with a little patience and practice, it can be a skill worth having.

Tips on Carving Leaves and Foliage into Wood

Leaves are one of the most common decorative elements carved into ornamental wood pieces, and it is definitely a skill worth having from the beginning to master woodcarver.

Family Woodworking Projects

Summer is in full swing! Get the kids involved and create a family-friendly woodworking project together.

Building a Model Airplane from a Kit

Have you ever considered model airplane building as a hobby? Building one from a kit might be a great way to start. With a little preparation, and a few tools you can be well on your way to a fun new hobby.

Add Model Airplane Graphics Using Vinyl Stencils

Adding detail and personalization to your model airplanes with the use of vinyl stencils or masking techniques can really make your project soar. You can create layers of colors and details when you pair it with your airbrush.

Creative Woodworking Cars: Pinewood Derby Ideas

Robot car, tank, or a wedge of cheese—anything goes in the pinewood derby! Building a derby car is the perfect-sized project to complete with children. Here are some things to keep in mind!

“I love my X-ACTO and have since I was a kid. My mom introduced them to me while cutting shingles for her custom dollhouses. Sometimes there were 5,000 shingles and the X-ACTO blade cut them all."

Dollhouses have been around for thousands of years. In fact, early examples have been found in Egyptian tombs.

Playing Games with Your Handmade Chess Board Project

Carving your own set of chess pieces can be a really fun and rewarding project.

Homemade Wood Games

Get creative with your wood carving tools and get ready to play some games! The classic games you might have played as a child never go out style. Games like Chinese checkers, dominos and mancala are perfect examples.

Decking Tiny Halls: Holiday Villages

We all love the sparkling lights adorning our homes during the holidays! But we don’t always love braving the cold and climbing up ladders to put them up.

Santa’s Workshop Designs

Let everyone know where the magic happens with these fun Santa’s Workshop Designs. Just click and print and you’re ready to start carving!

Start Your Woodcarving Hobby With Just One Tool

Give this hobby a try with a great household tool you may already have in your arsenal—the utility knife.

Easy Route

Whether you are a craftsman or a hobbyist, the X-ACTO Router Assortment can bring detail to your projects. The four routers, each with a unique shape, offer a wide range of flexibility when working with materials such as hard plastic, soft woods, plaster and more. 

The Mighty Mitre Box

The mitre box can be an invaluable tool in making straight cuts in your wood. You can achieve perfect 45 degree angles and straight edges with the use of this handy tool.

Double the Cut

The X-ACTO Double Knife Set has two different size knife handles and 10 different blades for a total of 12 blades. These light-to-medium knives are versatile and great for beginners. The whole set comes with a compact carrying case to keep you organized and cutting on-the-go.

Laying Train Tracks Tip

When laying train track together, sometimes you can get little gaps, which can impede a smooth train ride. Use a soldering tool and use a little solder to fill in the gaps. Finish off by sanding smooth.

Carving Starts Here

Whether you are new to carving or as seasoned as the wood, the X-ACTO Basic Wood Carving Set has what you need. This set includes 13 of the most basic tools. Everything you need to carve, cut, shape, or outline. The tips and handle tuck away neatly in the plastic carrying case—making everything easy to find when inspiration calls.

Power Sand Faster

Sanding wood is one of those tedious tasks that can't be avoided. A quick tip to make this job go a little faster is to try using two power sanders at once. This may sound like an obvious solution, but try and keep them close together and use them as one unit. With the power of two sanders, you will cover twice the area in half the time!

Stay Sharp—It’s a Snap

Stay sharp with this Snap-Off Blade Knife with Ratchet Locking. Any time your blade dulls, simply use the built-in attachment that snaps away the old blade and reveals a sharp new blade. This knife cuts through some tough stuff like mat board, sheet metal, and plastic. Whatever the material, this knife makes any project a snap!

Pencil It In

Your pencil could be your most important carving tool. As you are planning your next wood carving project, start with a pencil. Draw a line down the center to make sure both sides of your design are balanced and sketch out your design first before making the first cut. It's much easier to erase a pencil mark versus trying to correct a wrong cut. Make sure you’re using a sharp pencil for a precise line; check out our Power House® Electric Pencil Sharpener. A little planning and pencil work can go a long way!

Greatest Hits

The X-ACTO Basic Knife Set is an assemblage of the best X-ACTO handles and blades all in one place. It includes 3 styles of handles. It comes with 13 blades for everything from lightweight trimming to heavy-duty cutting. It’s the set you’ll turn to again and again.

Like a Knife Through Butter

The versatile X-ACTO Soldering Iron and Hot Knife Tip can do more than just solder. The stainless steal hot knife tip allows you to cut through plastics and Styrofoam as if they were butter. The soldering iron features a heat resistant plastic handle and no-roll flange for increased safety during use. It’s a handy tool that makes quick work of any project.

Try a Clean Carving

Looking for a change of pace? Or maybe just a new medium to test your carving skills on? Try carving a bar of soap. Soap carving is a fun and easy way to create small sculptures out of a basic material that is much softer than any wood. You can get some really fantastic details out of this common household item. Your finished carving can then be displayed and used as originally intended, or given as gifts. Why not try a clean twist on carving for your next project.

Research is Key for Authenticity

Thinking of starting a new model airplane project? Take the time to research the real deal and history of the aircraft before you get started. Research photos, time period, color schemes, markings, decals, any modications to your next aircraft project. Try perusing your local library, or research on the internet. By taking the time to learn about your new airplane endeavor, it will only increase the overall look and accuracy of your model.

Get the Point

These 3 corners bring together precision, durability, and strength. The X-ACTO 3” Triangle Ruler has acid-etched measuring lines with stainless steel construction. This steel ruler gives you exceptional handling and resists nicks and cuts even from X-ACTO’s sharpest blades. 

Need a Hand?

How many times have you been working on a project and wished you had an extra set of hands? Your wish was granted with X-ACTO’s X-TRA Hands Alligator Clamps! The movable clamps will hold your materials steady, freeing up your hands for painting, gluing or whatever you need to do. 

Women and Woodworking

Woodworking is no longer only a man's world. There is a growing number of women who have taken up woodworking not only as a hobby, but as a means for a number of home improvement projects. With home improvement projects trending up, and more and more single women owning their own homes, many women are creating projects ranging from building small furniture to adding details like crown moulding. Women are finding satisfaction in creating something with their own hands, and with the use of power and woodworking tools. With a little research, you will find that there are many workshops, classes, and woodworking forums geared specifically to the woman woodworker. Woodworking is a skill and a satisfying hobby for both men and women alike.

The Wonder of Whittling

 Whittling is a pastime that has been around for a long time. In early times, it became popular with crafty folks who could whittle out of almost anything and almost anywhere. The art of whittling is based on using only one tool, the knife, and a piece of wood. Some purists say that is all that should be used for whittling. Modern times have changed the art of whittling a little bit. First of all, the quality of tools is better, and you can use a wider variety of tools and blades to whittle with. Some modern whittlers use a variety of gouges and knife blades to do this craft. The main things that haven't changed are that whittling is still done by hand holding your work. Also, there are no power tools, mallets, or generally sanding used in whittling. As long as you have a sharp whittling knife and a piece of soft wood to work with, you can be well on your way to your first whittling creation.

Small Finishes

X-ACTO’s Small Mitre Box Set has everything needed for your finishing touches. The mitre saw has slotted slides, guiding the saw blade through tiny cuts. The set includes a #5 Heavy Duty Plastic Knife and a V Tooth Coarse Saw Blade. It’s the handy tool for a delicate model railroad track or whatever your small, but important, project may be. 

Tips on Preventing Wrist Injuries while Carving

The art of woodcarving is a fantastic hobby or trade, but it can be hard on your wrists. Try some of these helpful tips to strengthen your wrists so as to prevent injury. First of all, take many breaks from carving, stretching your arms above your head and holding your hands together for at least a minute. Next, try holding your hands in a prayer-like position with your fingers pointing towards the ceiling. Press your palms together and hold for 30 seconds. If need be, you can wear a wrist brace found at your local drug store while carving, or even while resting it to lessen any discomfort in your wrists. Most importantly, if you are experiencing possible Carpal Tunnel symptoms, it is important to consult with your doctor.

Utility in Your Pocket

This sleek looking knife is the ultimate in utility. The Ergo Utility Knife has two blade positions for cutting or scraping. Whether it’s carpet, cardboard, or wood, the ergonomic grip allows you to work with maximum control. This knife’s compact size means you can have it with when you need it. 

Make Your Niche

The X-ACTO Wood Carving Knife has a concave blade that allows you to create custom niches and cuts. The blade cuts smoothly through not just wood, but also materials like linoleum and plastic.  It’s the ideal knife to grab when you want to carve your niche. 

It's All In the Details

When building scenery around your track for your model train, there are endless options of landscape features to include from tunnels, roads, bridges, even towns or villages. But don't forget the small details in your scenery, like road signs, traffic lights, hedges and even people or animals. Building a model railroad is already an exciting task and when you add the finer details, it will make all the difference in your own miniature masterpiece.

Go Back To School!

It is never too late to learn a new hobby or trade, and woodworking can definitely be a fun and rewarding one to try. If you are just getting started, how-to books and manuals are only the beginning. Many community colleges offer beginning woodworking classes. A little one-on-one training from a class environment can go a long way, and connect you to others in the community. Go to the head of the class, and check out local classes in your area today.

Heavy Duty Versatility

Whether it's sawing, corner stripping, or carving, this heavy duty plastic-handled knife is the right tool for the job. It's compatible with over 10 different types of blades. You can use the #5 Heavy Duty Knife for cutting through anything–from delicate fabrics to sheet metal. When they talk about a utility knife, this is what they mean.

Adding a Fourth Dimension

Add a fourth dimension to your model railroad—sound! Your trains are most likely already equipped with sounds, but have you thought about the sounds in your environment or background? Maybe it is the sound of a waterfall along a mountainous countryside, or the urban buzz of a cityscape. Many websites offer free sound files you can use for background sound. With the use of an inexpensive MP3 player hooked up to a speaker, you can enjoy an extra dimension while bringing your model railroad to life!

Heavy Duty Carving Set

Whether you are carving your first piece or your fiftieth, X-ACTO's Carving Tool set is perfect for the job. This set includes six forged-steel tools with wood handles. Each tool enables you to make careful and detailed cuts, every time. If you are serious about carving, this is the tool set for you.

Soften Up

Some woods, such as walnut or oak, are really hard in nature, and can make it difficult to carve from. One woodworking tip is to soften up wood by applying de-natured alcohol on the surface. The alcohol will soften the wood and eventually evaporate over time, without leaving a residue. Also, the alcohol will not affect the wood grain like water sometimes can.

Painted Wood Carvings

Painting your wood carvings can add another level to your piece. When painting the wood, keep in mind that the color will want to bleed. One trick is to make a simple stop cut between the areas that you want different colors in. This will also add some added definition between details.

X-ACTLY What You Imagined.

Remember, there are no mistakes when creating! Even if you have a solid vision of how your project should turn out, have fun with it. Enjoy the experience of making something. And above all else, keep an open mind. You never know when your next ‘oops’ will become your new “ah ha” technique! 

Knives Within Reach

One tip for storing your knives while you are working, is to stick them in a Styrofoam block (tip side in) when not in use. You can easily stick them in and out of the block and they are sure not to roll away. Attach to your table with a little painter’s tape secure and carve on!

Rustic Wood Décor Shapes

Create beautiful rustic room décor with simple shapes cut and carved out of wood. Tailor your shapes depending on the season or the holiday. For instance, create a beautiful wintery scene with tree shapes, or spread the love with hearts carved out of wood.

Cutting Corners

The X-ACTO 3 x 4 inch Square Ruler has a handy L shape design. Its shape makes finding and cutting a 90˚ angle easy on anything from paper to wood. The sturdy stainless steel construction and durable acid etched lines means it will stand up to even the sharpest of X-ACTO blades. 

Pumpkin Carved Lanterns

Get your wood carving kit out and create beautiful designs on your pumpkins this Fall. Just skim the surface of your pumpkin to make a translucent layer. Add a candle in the middle, and you have the perfect pumpkin lantern.

Sure Thing

Grab the Surgrip® Retractable Metal Utility Knife for any of your toughest jobs. It has a solid metal handle with finger holds to give you an unshakeable grip with expert control. The blade retracts making this safe and convenient to have on hand when you need it. This tough knife is a sure thing for cutting through plastics, thick cardboard, sheet metal, and more.

Realistic Miniature Houses

Create realistic details on miniature houses for your model train landscapes. Use your X-ACTO knife to trim photographic patterns that you have printed out, like brick, siding, or roof tiles, to size and attach to your building shape.