Have you ever wondered what the difference between left and right handed scissors is?  You know that left handed (LH) children should have specific scissors.  You probably know that in your classroom, or home, the scissors designed for left hands have green handles.  However, if the scissor’s handles were the same colour could you tell the difference between a right or left handed pair?

In this post we want to inform you that the difference between left and right handed scissors has nothing to do with the colour of the handles.  Gasp! It also has nothing to do with the shape of the handles.  Special contours on the scissor’s handles make no difference.  It is also impossible for a pair of scissors to be ‘suitable for both left and right hands.’  This is a lie created by marketers that don’t understand the real challenge faced by a LH person when they try to use a pair of standard scissors.

Left handed scissors – what’s the real difference?

The primary difference between left and right handed scissors is the way the blades are connected.  With a standard pair of scissors when you open them, the blade on the right side goes up and the blade on the left side goes down.  It doesn’t matter if you turn the scissors over, when you open them the blade on the right will still be the one on the top.  It doesn’t matter if you change the contour or shape of the handles; the blade position remains the same.  If you don’t believe me go and get a pair of scissors and try it.

The special thing about scissors for left hands is that when you open them, the blade on the left hand side goes to the top.  This means the blade on the right sits on the bottom.  We know this is quite tricky to describe in words, this is why we made a video.  In this video Kim from GriffinOT shows you the real difference between left and right handed scissors.

Video – Right and Left Handed Scissors Explained

Left handed scissors – does it really matter?

Yes, yes and yes!!  

If you are right handed we challenge you to use a pair of left handed scissors to cut out a circle and a star.  If you are LH you have probably already tried to cut out many things using right handed scissors so you can skip this experiment.  What happens with the wrong handed scissors is that when the blades open they cover up or block the line you are trying to cut.  This means you can’t see it!

So, if you have a pair of right handed scissors in your left hand, the blade on top will be the right blade.  When you’re trying to cut on a line, you can’t quite see that line because the blade obscures what you’re looking at.  This helps to explain why LH children using standard scissors often hold their scissors and paper at odd angles.  Typically it is because they are trying to see around the scissor blade.

The good news for left handed scissor users

The good news these days is that it is really easy to purchase LH scissors.  They also don’t just come in children’s sizes, you can purchase adult sizes as well.  It is highly recommended that a child who is LH is provided with and encouraged to use left handed scissors.  The design will help to reduce frustration with cutting.  In addition it helps left handed users to be more accurate with their cutting.

child cutting with scissor

The good news for you, the reader

There is good news for you the reader.  After reading this post and watching our video you now know the difference between left and right handed scissors.  You will now be able to tell LH scissors from right handed ones regardless of the handle colour.  The minute you open them up, you will immediately be able to tell by the blade position.  If the blade on the top is on the right hand side, you’re holding right handed scissors.  If the blade on the top is on the left hand side then they are left handed scissors.

Please do spread the word about this.  We know that the real difference between left and right handed scissors is not common knowledge.  Yet is it extremely useful knowledge for all teachers and parents.  If you are left handed and reading this, hopefully we have explained why you find using standard scissors more difficult than your right handed friends.

If you do help children with scissor skills you might also find our post – Six tips for teaching children scissor skills in the classroom – helpful.

Other articles you might be interested in reading

cartoon of a crocodile and text crocodile snap our children's song
child cutting with scissors text helping with scissor skills

Why you should learn with GriffinOT

Join Our Community

Join our mailing list to stay up to date with our latest news, articles and training.  You will get immediate access to our free introduction to sensory processing course and be the first to hear of any promotions.  You can customise your choices and we will never send you anything you don’t ask for.