Things You'll Need
Table saw with a 10-inch blade, 80 teeth to an inch
Sharp hobby knife
The hobby knife approach is best for small projects rather than big ones.
An Optix acrylic sheet is a type of lightweight, clear plastic. You can use Optix acrylic sheets for everything from storm windows to crafts, and it can be cut in a straight line or in just about any design you desire.
Making Straight Cuts
Decide how much to cut off. For the purpose of this article, let's say you want a 12-inch length.
Cut the plastic using the table saw. Adjust the table saw fence to 12 inches. Just like the plastic was a piece of wood, turn on your saw and run the acrylic sheet over the blade. Eighty teeth to the inch will leave a nice smooth cut.
If you don't have a table saw, use a ruler and a hobby knife to cut the Optix acrylic instead. Measure a 12-inch strip with your ruler. Use your pencil to make several marks along the 12-inch line. Take your ruler and use it as a straight edge along the pencil marks. Run your hobby knife over the marks on the acrylic, using your ruler as the straight edge. Repeat this procedure over and over, cutting deeper each time you run the knife down the line until your knife cuts through, leaving a smooth edge.
Cutting a Pattern
Lay your pattern onto the Optix acrylic. Trace it with a pencil, or if the pattern comes in a transfer, rub it onto the sheet.
Follow the lines of the pattern with the hobby knife. Cut your way around the entire pattern once so that the knife has a groove to follow.
Gradually cut your way around the pattern. Run the blade of the hobby knife over and over the same cuts, and it will gradually cut through the plastic. Do not attempt to cut out an intricate pattern all at once; rather, work in pieces. If you are working on a long, single curve, though, then you can make the entire cut all at once.
Carole Ellis began writing in 2004 for the "UGA Research Magazine." Her work has appeared in Growing Edge, Medscape and Doctors' Guide publications. In addition to medical coverage, Carole publishes a real estate newsletter called REJournalOnline and is the news editor for the Bryan Ellis Real Estate Letter. She has a bachelor's degree in English and graduate work in creative writing and plant biology.