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Celebrating the Fiskars Orange-handled Scissors 50th Anniversary + A Giveaway!

by Grace Bonney

Back in 2014 when we dreamed up our D*S Design Icon series, we knew that the Fiskars Orange-handled Scissors would have a top spot on our list. These well known (and well-loved) scissors are more than simply a tool — they’re a means to an end. Whether they’re used to cut construction paper for a classroom project or used to create a stunning work of art, Fiskars scissors help creative endeavors come to life. For more practical purposes, having a pair tucked in a drawer has become a household and office necessity, allowing us to snip a stray thread or cut out images for an inspiration board. And how many times have we let out a sigh of relief when we spied the bright orange handles while searching for our scissors?

The iconic Fiskars Orange-handled Scissors celebrates its 50th anniversary in early October and we’re helping them celebrate the occasion by sharing some special stories, DIY’s, and a giveaway with 4 gift bags filled with a design or DIY book and a pair of Fiskars Orange-handled Scissors + a pair of Fiskars Kids Scissors. Details for entering are at the end of this post!

Fiskars Orange-handled Scissors illustration by Libby VanderPloeg

Here are some facts about everyone’s favorite scissors:

Design: Orange-handled Scissors

Designer: Olof Bäckström (1922-2001)

Date: 1967

Country of Origin: Finland

Manufacturer: Fiskars

Materials: Plastic and stainless steel

Fun Fact: While Fiskars are known for their bright orange handles, they also make red handles to differentiate their left-handed models.

Background: Unbeknownst to many, Fiskars is one of the oldest companies in the Western world, established as an ironworks in 1649. In 1832, the Fiskars ironworks expanded beyond making knives, nails, and tools and began producing scissors — the product for which they are most widely known. It wasn’t until 1967, however, that the company introduced their now iconic Orange-handled Scissors, an event that occurred almost completely by chance. One of the world’s first ergonomic scissor designs, the product was originally intended to have black, red, and green handles. During the prototype stage, though, the machinist decided to use leftover orange plastic, a choice that would ultimately prove popular within the Fiskars company and, eventually, to the public.

The ergonomic scissor design and shape was innovative and well-received, but it was the materials that catapulted the product into the hands of the masses. The majority of the scissors available in 1967 were made of heavy iron and used by tailors. Fiskars borrowed the shape and created pressed steel blades connected in the middle by a single piece of metal, making the production process inexpensive and efficient. The resulting product gave consumers a superior product and cost far less than the pricey tailor’s scissors. They were the world’s first pair of plastic-handled scissors!

Part of the Fiskars Orange-handled Scissors celebration is happening at a special exhibition at the Helsinki Design Museum, where the scissors have become a source of national pride in Finland — a country that takes design seriously. The exhibit features work by artists and designers who are inspired by the simple orange scissors. Visitors can even listen to a playlist curated by a Finnish musician who goes by the name “DJ Fiskars.”

Here stateside on the web, Fiskars has put together a fantastic collection of stories from female artists and entrepreneurs like American clothing designer Tracy Reese, Cecilie Rudolph, a textile/print designer from Denmark, and Laura Ljungkvist, an artist and illustrator and many other talented artists and designers. You can read and watch their stories here.

Image above (top to bottom): Tracy Reese, Cecilie Rudolph and Laura Ljungkvist. Images via Fiskars.com.

I had the pleasure of sharing my Fiskars story with them a few months ago in preparation for their anniversary celebration. Take a peek below!

To keep the party going all month, we’ll be creating some special content and we’d love to have you join in the celebration. We want to hear your Fiskars Orange-handled Scissors story! From the forbidden orange majesty on the teacher’s desk to the “these scissors belong to” masking tape labels in your office space, we all probably have a Fiskars Orange-handled Scissor story. Share yours below in the comments and you’ll be entered to win one of four gift packs from us. As mentioned above, we’ll be sending four readers gift bags with one of our favorite design or DIY books + a pair of Fiskars scissors for an adult and child so you can get inspired and get creative with friends, family and the younger folks in your life.

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Comments

  • The Fiskars orange handles scissors were the first grown-up scissors I let my kids use when I was teaching them to sew when they hit pre-teenage. I still have my great-grandlother’s heavy and huge metal sheers which she used in the 1920s as a costume designer on Broadway. But these were way too heavy for my kids and the Fiskars were just right. AND they couldn’t lose them because of the bright orange color. My kids already knew how to hand sew and embroider, but machine sewing clothing meant a need for larger scissors. Enter – Fiskars adult-sized sewing scissors. It’s so great that you’re doing a blog post about them and also a giveaway. Great memories!

  • My mom’s sewing cabinet always sat in the middle of our kitchen. It was always more organized than the junk drawer making it a lot more convenient for secret snips when my mom wasn’t around. Reading the other comments it looks like my mom wasn’t the only person protective of her fabric quality Fiskars scissors. Meanwhile, I still have my pink handled child sized scissors with my brother’s name sharpied on the handle. I have yet to graduate to the adult orange handled pair.

  • I’ve had my Fiskars Orange-handled Scissors since 1982, when I also invested in a pair of Razor-Edge Fabric Shears. These are reserved specifically for fabric use. I used them to make my Belville Sassoon (!) ball gown for Junior Prom, cutting miles of taffeta on the floor of our apartment. Over the years I’ve used them in creating costumes at regional theatres and universities around the country. I’ve had them sharpened many times, and love their balance –there are some fabrics that just beg for their particular weight. My Orange-handled scissors are a dream on paper patterns (commercial tissue patterns as well as heavier kraft paper used in theatre patterning) and for crafts. My collection also includes Micro-Tip tailor points and the original easy-action spring-action bent scissors. I love Fiskars–thanks for celebrating them!

  • The term “iconic” now covers so much that I grew up with – among other things, our Ericofon, the Dux recliner, a rya rug my parents made themselves, and the Fiskars scissors. There were rules about those scissors (and everything else). My parents’ cohort – wartime, Nordic, thrifty – grew up with the mantra of looking after one’s things, and tried hard to pass it on.

  • My three-year-old granddaughter is fascinated by the “orange scissors” and often asks to use them. I always reply “No, they’re too sharp. Wait till you’re older.” A few months ago, I walked into the bathroom to find her trying, unsuccessfully, to cut her hair with her little safety scissors. She complained, “Scissors won’t cut,” and I replied, “No, those scissors won’t cut hair; they’re not sharp enough, thank goodness!” She thought fast and said, “Can I use the orange scissors?” Sharp as Fiskars, isn’t she? :)

  • My grandma used to sew me an Easter or Christmas dress every year. Those orange handles remind me of the love she gave so freely in letting me pick out the pattern and fabric and proudly wearing my new special dress. Especially now that I craft and sew I know how much work goes in to it and it’s a precious connection between my love for my children that I craft for and the love given to me from my late grandma.

  • i’m left-handed but can only cut with my right hand because lefty scissors were never around when I needed them. these orange beauties were always available.

  • I have never entered a contest like this but I like Fisker’s products too much to let this slip by. I just finished clipping my hedge in the dark no less with my Fiskar clippers, which are the best but back to the scissors. I have Fiskar scissors for paper and fabric, but honestly my favorite use is in the kitchen, they cut fresh herbs, fish, pizza, peppers, really everything. I throw them in the dishwasher and use them practically every day. I have a family full of lefties so I appreciate the leftie scissors too. Next maybe Grace will talk about your rotary cutter, another great product. :)

  • I grew up with a mother who was orange-handle crazy! We had a pair of these scissors in every drawer in the house and she would complain obnoxiously if someone accidentally put a second pair in the same drawer, leaving another drawer without a pair. I remember finding it odd that we had more scissors than people in the house (when would we ever have all these pairs of scissors in use at once?!) but I also fell for them. When I left for college, I requested permission to bring a pair with me to school because I knew no other pair of scissors would live up to my expectations. And now that I have my own home established, I have a pair and I always prefer to use it over the other scissors in the house. I also have an amusing habit of not using my orange-handled Fiskars on anything sticky, goopy, wet, or very hard. I reach for a pair I like less to do the dirty tasks because I don’t think my Fiskars deserve such awful treatment!

  • As a girl, I used to keep the orange scissors in a spot only I knew so my siblings wouldn’t lose them. They were the best scissors in the house.

  • I have such fond memories sewing with my mother – and in each of these memories, those orange-handled Fiskars scissors make an appearance. Our yearly tradition when I was a teen, was to make a quilt together. First we’d choose a pattern, then we’d have an excursion to the fabric store and deliberate for hours on the perfect color combinations. My favorite part of the process was always cutting out the materials needed and arranging them on my mother’s bedroom floor to get the first sneak peek at what our quilt would look like. Each time I wrap up in those quilts those memories bubble to the surface again and I happily reminisce on those good times spent with my mother.

  • In my sewing basket, there is a large pair of Fiskars fabric scissors that no one would dare use for anything other than fabric. In my desk drawer lies a pair of Fiskar scissors that are for paper only, and in the kitchen drawer, there is a pair for cutting string and whatnot. My Fiskar loyalty extends beyond the house. During my years as a classroom teacher, I stocked Fiskar scissors for my students and rejected the poor substitutes. In the little barn here at the farm, you will find all manner of Fiskars gardening tools including loppers and a pruning stick. Yes, we have become a Fiskars family.

  • My Mum gifted me ‘The Big Orange Scissors’ when I moved away from home. As much loved as they were to her, I think she saw the passing over of the scissors as a symbol of me fending for myself! I had grown up enough to move out, so I had grown old enough to sew on my own buttons, fix my own holey jeans and take up my own curtains. I never knew how iconic the scissors were until I read this article. I just loved them because they remind me of my Mum. Her sewing on my name tags for school uniforms, making capes out of table clothes for Halloween and turning old scraps of Lycra leggings into tiny costumes for my dolls. I learned on ‘Lycra legging day’ that just because you iron something and it happens to melt…it doesn’t mean it’s ruined forever! You can be creative and have fun making something new with the help of the big orange scissors to cut around the burnt bits!

  • Ah! These stories are warming my heart :) I love each and every one of them & THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING THEM!

    I’m hugging my scissors right now ;)

    Caitlin

  • Like so many the carefully guarded Fiskars scissors were a part of my childhood and being allowed to use them was the rite of passage into the world of crafting and sewing. My mother shared her orange handled scissors generously and we in turn respected the ‘only for fabric rule’. Today every time I use them I am reminded of those happy days creating, cutting and sewing with my mother. She died four years ago and crafting is one of the ways that my daughter and I honor and remember her.

  • For me as for many of those who have replied here, Fiskars means scissors, or should that be scissors mean Fiskars? Growing up they were always requested by name on our school book lists, and now I also have a bigger pair in my sewing basket, ready for all my craft needs.

  • I have a pair of these lovely Fiskars scissors in my crafts room/workshop, a pair in my sewing room, a pair in my home office, a pair on my bedroom, and and a pair in my kitchen office area. Plus I have 2 more pair, bought on sale, and kept safe and unused, for “just in case a pair of Friskars fails.” I have had those spare scissors for at least 10 years and have never had to use them! Not only do the Friskars stay nice and sharp and always seem to do the job, they last and last and last!

  • These scissors are classic. I still remember teachers guarding these scissors like they are lottery tickets. Whenever we needed them in the classroom, they would make sure that they get returned promptly. Now that I am an adult, I certainly appreciate the ease of use and also make sure I always have at least one pair in my house at all times!

  • I’m Finnish, and I grew up with Fiskars scissors. In fact, I knew the rand before I knew there was Fiskars the village. Since marrying my husband, I’ve introduced my American husband to Fiskars scissors, and we’ve continued to add to our Fiskars collection. From paper to fabric to general household uses, I have dedicated Fiskars scissors in almost every room in the house.

  • I’ve seen the sunrise at least a dozen times with my Fiskars by my side. They’ve saved me from the dark consequences of procrastination as I sewed my way through my wedding veil a few hours before I was due at the church, the annual elementary school all-nighter Halloween costume making for my daughter, table linens whipped up in entertaining nick-of-time, thirteen flower fairy outfits for my niece’s fifth birthday party, suit seams mended pre-interview, prom gown alterations for that near-grown daughter, then curtains for her dorm room on her moving-in day, a handful of Santa hats for an office party, stitch-fused wrapping creations early Christmas morn…now excuse me, it’s past 5 am and I gotta get a cushion cover finished before trekking out of town to said daughter’s home with it pressed and ready for her couch.

  • My mother made all my clothes until she died, and I remember leafing through each Burda magazine she brought, not being able to read the german, but picking my favorite clothes. Then drawing the patterns on the patternpaper, then cutting with the designated paperscissors (fiskars of course), then laying the pattern on the fabric and cutting the fabric with another pair of fiskars scissors – the fabric scissors. Then sewing, fittings, being pricked by pins, and finally the new clothes.

  • My first exposure to Fiskars were the ones in my mom’s sewing box. She could sew anything (and still can). I sewed on paper before graduating to fabric while designing my own barbie clothes. The thing I remember the most about those orange handled scissors is when I was a budding designer working in paper. I was told many, many times to quit cutting paper with my Mom’s good Fiskars. When I grew up and had my own Fiskars I learned why it is best not to cut paper with good sewing scissors. To tell you the truth, I occasionally still cut paper with my own Fiskars. What can I say? I’m a rebel.

  • My Fiskars are the tried and true scissors in the sewing basket and probably the oldest pair of scissors I own. Woe betide anyone who selects them to commit the heresy of cutting paper or anything else besides fabric.

  • I have many pairs of Fiskars scissors including a kid’s pair that I keep in my embroidery bag for airline travel. My two favorite pairs are the orange handled ones I bought here in Ohio as my first “good” scissors for fabric many years ago and the pair that were my grandmother’s, purchased in Finland around the same time. I can tell the difference because one pair has “Fiskars USA” embossed on the handle and the other is embossed with “Fiskars Finland.” Otherwise they are identical.

  • I have three pairs of Fiskars! Two are my old sewing scissors, pinking shears and straight edged. These are the ones I used to cut out material for my girls’ dresses years ago. The girls are all women now, and sewing more in the realms of hobbyists and artisans than the everyday of ordinary women. But just like the old photos of my girls in the dresses I made, the memory of the sound of my Fiskars crunching through fabric remains a warm, nostalgic one. The third pair is a modern update—a cool orange tool designed to cut through clamshell plastic packaging. I may not be constructing prom dresses anymore, but I am a clamshell ninja thanks to Fiskars!

  • Fiskars orange handled scissors………what a hoot of a delightful memory! I grew up using other traditional scissors till I could afford a pair of Gingers which were promptly trashed when dropped on the floor. My mother, however had long since moved on to those infamous orange Fiskars with great success! So much so, that when she and Charlotte Patera, author of Mola Making, were headed to the San Blas Islands to spend two weeks living and stitching with the Cuna Indians, known for their reverse appliqué, my mother brought as gifts many mini orange Fiskars scissors. I happened home not long before their trip and spied a bunch of scissors and wanted one badly but no such deal…….. Unbeknownst to my mother, I snaked a pair which I still have and use to this day.

  • I have my quirks about pencits, so OF COURSE, I have a true love affair with Fiskars scissors and the wonderful job they do cutting ONLY fabric. Some people do not understand, so I feel very comfortable in the company of these other readers. Thanks for the giveaway, love having the opportunity to update, if I should be lucky enough to win.

  • I love that so many people have a Fiskars story to share! I do, too!
    My mom’s two sewing boxes were treasure chests as far as I was concerned when I was a little girl. She taught me how to sew at an early age, and I distinctly remember her orange Fiskars in the top shelf of her kits (they were tackling boxes that she used to store her sewing supplies). Not only do I have Fiskars in my own sewing kit now (30 years later!), but I have a set in my office, in my kitchen, and in my tool room, too. Seriously. These scissors are a fantastic, classic, useful, and functional must-have! Why stop at just one pair?

  • For that charitable Holiday project I reached for my Fiskars and tied a twine bow on it before heading out to the sewing circle.
    I wanted to join in on the stitching and stuffing. I wanted to hear all the conversation that would be shared by all of us as we told our remembered sewing stories. and ! wanted to come back with my scissors,shared for the day,but returned to my vintage basket where they have resided for over forty years.

  • Every time I see these scissors I think about my late grandmother and aunts who worked as seamstresses in Brazil. One of my aunts, now in her late 70s, still sews. Every time she visits me and my mom in Boston she leaves with a bunch of Fiskars Orange-handled Scissors for her friends in Brazil. Thank you for this post, these scissors are in my drawer at work and home and i’ve honestly never really thought about them until now…and i’m totally emo for my grandmother now! :)

  • My Austrian mama gifted me a pair of orange-handled Fiskars along with a sewing machine for my 21st birthday. I was in art school at the time, so much to her horror as a life-long seamstress, I was cutting and sewing paper, bubble wrap, tin foil and lots of other unorthodox materials. In the last 20 years, I’ve learned the importance of a FABRIC ONLY pair of Fiskars, a pair for the kitchen for trimming herbs, and always a pair on my belt in a special leather holster when I’m at work as a Set Decorator. My co-workers know to not even offer me their scissors to borrow unless they’re Fiskars. I love the whole Fiskar family (including the gardening tools!) but the orange-handled icon is forever my first & favorite child.

  • The “orange scissors” remind me of my childhood also. Both my Mom and Grandma had at least one pair of them. They both sat with me patiently while I cut out patterns in fabric that we had picked out to make clothes for my dolls. I also remember cutting red and green construction paper to make chains for the Christmas tree.

  • I’m a quilter, and everyone knows not to touch my Fiskars, especially since I have written FABRIC ONLY!!! on the outside of each blade as well as on the handle. My sister once sadly informed me that she had nevertheless used them on cardboard. I was horrified until I realized what day it was – April Fool’s! Very funny, Sis.

  • Ohhh this is exciting – My family loves Fiskars! My grandmother gives a pair of Fiskars – complete with a lovingly sewn scissor sleeve – to every female in the family for their 13th birthday. It’s her sweet way of encourage us to continue to create and work with our hands.

  • One of my very first memories just happens to include my Mother’s cherished pair of orange Fiskars for sewing. My family emigrated to Canada from Northern Ireland during the “troubles” with no money or family support. My mother used to take my brother and me on the bus to thrift shops to buy used clothing. She would buy quality fabrics, in clothing that was oversized such as a lightly worn men’s wool coat. Then take it all apart at the seams and make our new winter coats, scarves, mitts, etc. Nothing went to waste she re-used the lining, buttons, zippers, etc. She did the same thing with sweaters; she would unravel them and reknit our socks and sweaters. She had an old treadle singer sewing machine along with her hand me down tools from friends and neighbors. A few days before Christmas, my Dad came to me and asked what he should buy Mom for Christmas (something he still does to this day) I knew what Mom wanted, “new sewing scissors.” I let him know that Mom always picked up the bright orange handled ones at the store, but never bought them. On Christmas morning, I can’t recall my Santa gift, but I can tell you that when my Mom opened up those new orange Fiskars, we all cheered! My Mom still has those well-worn Fiscars in her sewing basket.

  • Like so many others I grew up with my Mom and Grandma having Fiskars scissors for sewing only, and I’ve grown to love the Fiskars brand of scissors and gardening tools!

  • I read the name wrong when I was young and have always kept that in my head somehow. Good thing you can refer to them as “the orange handled scissors” otherwise I might blurt out “FRiskars” scissors someday. (Sounds like maybe scissors for cats?)

  • I have a pair of Fiskars that were my Mom’s. When she passed away 30 years I kept them and they are still sharp. We use them almost every day. I also have invested in a couple of pair for use with my sewing.

  • These are definitely the “classic” pair of scissors for me. My grandmother is Finnish, so of course my mother had a pair at our house when I was growing up that aged with us. She probably still has it somewhere around her house, still being used to cut wrapping paper and tape for Christmas presents or to cut denim pants into shorts (my favorite past-time as a tween).

  • With a family of 5, I have to hide scissors so I can always have a pair. Last week, I discovered a pair of orange handled Fiskars that I probably ‘hid” more than 10 years ago. I definitely made sure that none of my kids (who are now 23, 18 and almost 17) walked off with them.

  • I started sewing cloothing for myself in high school, in the early 1970’s. Having Fiskars scissors was a special thing for me. Through the years, my Fiskars got legs and went walking. Well, with little kids, we used cheap scissors from the dollar store, as I didn’t want to spend money on special scissors that may get ruined or disappear. More recently, (our kids are now 29, 27 and 21) I came across a Fiskars sale! What a delight! And what to choose? I reveled in all the Fiskars scissors available i the sale, and finally picked three different pairs. A bright orange handled one, of course! Then a smaller gray handled one, perfect for cutting hair. And then a fabric pair! I am very possessive over those scissors, and allow them to be used only if returned promptly to their storage spot…the top drawer of my dresser! LOL

  • Thirty-three years ago, I purchased a florist shop. Shortly after that I bought several pairs of Fiskars Orange -handled scissors for use in the shop. Each designer had her own pair of Fiskars and they were used 6 and sometimes 7 days a week ! Thousands of rose thorns were snipped off rose stems !! Stems of ALL the flowers were cut using our Fiskars……as well as foil papers for potted plants and all sorts of ribbons………..Sometimes when we were very busy there was piles of stems on the floor but we never lost our scissors for very long as it was so easy to find those bright orange handles. ! I’m still using a couple pairs at home, enjoying my retirement !

  • My Fiskars Orange handled scissors came from my Mom. Not that she meant to give them up. I hate to admit that I borrowed them for a sewing project & never returned them. I should still do that. They were her favorite scissors. We would always be in trouble if we cut anything besides cloth with them.

  • I was in junior high and had just fallen in love with sewing. I had had my own sewing machine at home for a few years, but did little more than sew some scrap pieces together. Once I had Home Ec with Miss Wilhelm in 7th grade, I learned the fancy techniques like curves, darts, zippers, gathers, pleats and on I went into making my own clothes! My mom and 2 older sisters had been sewing for years, but didn’t take the time to teach me, so this was very special to me to join the females in the family as an upcoming sewist! My oldest sister, Dianne, who was 17 years older than me, gave me my first Fiskars that Christmas with a few other supplies like pins, a measuring tape and some “lovely” plaid fabric. It was those Fiskars that lit up my eyes! I still have them and still use them over 40 years later. I lost my wonderful sister when I was just 16 years old. Holding those Fiskars in my hand always reminds me of the love we shared…and the love of sewing.

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