A rotary cutter is basically a razor sharp round blade placed on a handle, much like a pizza cutter. However, it is immensely sharper than a pizza cutter!! I can't stress too much how careful you should be when handling and working with this instrument. Whenever it is not in use the blade guard should be closed. If you have small children in your home, please be sure to put your rotary cutters up and away. One quilter told me a story of how she turned her back for a second and her toddler had unscrewed the assembly of her rotary cutter and was holding the blade in their hand!!! Another quilter, piled all her quilting supplies on her mat and was carrying them to the other room, and the rotary cutter slipped off the mat and hit her on the top of her foot. The impact pushed the blade guard back and the blade sliced her foot. The result was a trip to the ER! Thankfully it barely missed major tendons. I myself have gotten distracted while cutting and sliced into my finger. OUCH!!
BASICALLY! Be very careful with this VERY sharp instrument. And always close your blade. Get in the habit of clicking the blade guard closed every time you lay the cutter down.
You can't really use a rotary cutter all by itself. You'll also need a self-healing mat and a ruler made to use with a rotary cutter. I'll discuss these tools in an upcoming post.