- Use break-away blades. I have worked with Xacto knives for years, and just recently switched to break-away blades. They work great for me, are super cheap (I think I bought 2 for $1) and once they get dull, you just break it off and keep cutting. Also, you'll need a cutting mat. I use a self-healing mat (like for sewing). Some people say you shouldn't use knives on it, but my mats do just fine.
- Using not-too-sticky tape rolls (I use M3 removable tape), tape your template to your paper exactly where you want to cut. Tape it on a part where you won't cut over.
- Cut out the pieces that are fully enclosed first (see picture below).
- As you work, tear away the template, and remove any cut pieces to make it easy to see.
Also, I've used this basic technique on many of my pieces. Here are just a few:
custom song lyrics artwork- purchase your own here
Boston cityscape, sold-
Mixed media heart, for sale here-
Custom painting (detail), sold