CB21-079 - How to sharpen a craft knife

How to sharpen a craft knife

Whether you are out in the wild or just at home without a sharpener, there are several ways you can easily sharpen a craft knife. 

Sandpaper, nail files, and ceramic mugs are just some methods you can use to hone your craft knives at home. If you want to invest in a tool, you can easily find v sharpeners, diamond stones, and 3 stage sharpeners in any major hardware store. 

Read this article to learn more about how you can sharpen your craft knives at home using everyday items and what tools you can buy, and where to buy them from, to make sharpening your craft knives much easier. 

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Can you Sharpen Craft Knife Blades?

It is possible to sharpen craft knife blades at home. Common household materials, like sandpaper, concrete, and stone can be used to sharpen your craft knife. Alternatively, you can purchase sharpening stones and other sharpeners. Lastly, you can take your knife to a professional sharpener for a fee.

How Can I Sharpen My Craft Knife at Home?

Sandpaper, nail files, ceramic mugs, concrete, another knife, and stone can be used to sharpen a craft knife. Run the edges of your craft knife against your available material for a couple minutes. You can then use leather, nylon, or cardboard boxes to strop the blade, making it smooth.

Light Sandpaper

Light sandpaper might be something you have hidden away in the garage that doesn’t get used a lot; well, now it’s the time! Sandpaper is a handy tool to use for sharpening craft knives. 

Here are the steps for sharpening a knife with sandpaper:

  1. Start with a coarse grit sandpaper
  2. Brush the knife against the coarse grit sandpaper for a few minutes
  3. Slowly work towards finer grit sandpaper. 
  4. Brush the blade against each different sandpaper grit for about 2 minutes on each side. 

Doing the above should ensure the edge becomes exceptionally sharp and stays sharper for longer. 

Nail file

If you don’t have sandpaper in the house, a nail file can work just the same. It is convenient if you have several different types of files that range in abrasion, similar to the sandpaper; use the most coarse file first and then slowly work your way up to the finer grain file. 

Ceramic Mug

Every household has a ceramic mug, even if you aren’t a big tea drinker. Using a ceramic mug is a great way to sharpen small craft knives. 

  1. Turn the mug upside down and use the standing ring at the bottom as your sharpening station. 
  2. Run the blade up and down the ring of the mug until you begin to notice it getting sharper. 
  3. Continue to do this until you have the desired sharpness. 


Concrete is probably the most accessible material to sharpen your craft knives on; you can find it on every street corner, literally. 

Concrete works in the same way as sandpaper and nail files do. Its rough texture allows the knife to sharpen in a way that should make the sharpness last a long time. It’s best to use a softer surface to smooth the edge of the blade down so it can cut through the material easily. 

Simply take your blade outside onto the street and run it down the edge of a curb or on the pavement for several minutes on each side. 

Another knife

Sharpening a knife is why they always say to carry two knives. You can use them to sharpen each other. 

Use the spine of a larger blade and run the craft knife down it. This will work in the same way as honing steel would. The benefit of using another knife is that you don’t need to use a stropping material to smoothen down the edges with firmer sharpening methods like sandpaper.


Another very easily sourced sharpening material is a pebble. It would help if you found a smooth rock with no sharp edges that could break or damage the blade. 

Ideally, you can easily hold a big pebble in your hand or lay on the ground without it moving too much. Take the stone in your hand and run the blade up and down while on its side. Of course, take care while doing this method, as one slip could end up slightly painful.


Leather might not seem like the most likely material for knife sharpening methods. The leather doesn’t technically sharpen the blade. It is used by many professionals for stropping blades instead, which realigns it, making it seem sharper and work better. 

Leather is an excellent material to use after a nail file or sandpaper method. Run the blade up and down 5 or 6 times on each side, and the edge will immediately seem sharper.


Nylon works the same way as leather, it’s a tremendous stropping tool, and if you don’t have any leather in the house, you indeed have nylon. It can be found on bag straps or even some belts too. 

Use it after using a firmer sharpening method to make the blade extra smooth. Use the same technique as the leather. Five or six times on each side is enough to get the desired stropping effect.

Firm Cardboard

Finally, if you don’t have any leather or nylon to hand, you will likely have some leftover cardboard boxes, maybe from some Amazon deliveries. Cardboard might not seem like it could work as a stropping method, but it’s handy. So helpful that professional knife sharpeners still use this method today, despite the readily available high-tech tools. 

Use as we have stated above for the leather and nylon strapping.

What Tools Can I Buy to Sharpen My Craft Knife?

Sharpening, diamond, and grinding stones can be purchased to sharpen a craft knife. You can also purchase V and 3 Stage sharpeners for knife sharpening. These stones and sharpeners are often purchased at hardware stores or online.

Sharpening Stone

Also known as a whetstone, these stones are fancy pebbles that professionals use to sharpen knives. Some of these stones can be used with water or oils to enhance the sharpening, a method used by chefs and professional knife users worldwide. 

You can buy these stones from most hardware stores. They range from $5 – $20 and can also be bought online. They are as easy to use as a pebble, either add water or oil, or not, and run the knife up and down 10 or so times on each side.

Diamond Stone

You can find several grit diamond plates at any hardware or online store. A standard set has a piece containing 400, 600, 1000, and 1200 grit, and these different grits help you achieve the desired sharpness of your knife. 

As with the sandpaper and nail file techniques, you should first start with a firmer grit and move up to the finer grit as your knife gets sharper.  

Grinding stone

Grinding stones tend to be more expensive than diamond or sharpening stones. This is because they come in larger blocks and often with interchangeable grits. 

However, the technique stays the same, and you need to start with a coarse grit when you begin sharpening the knife and slowly move onto a finer grit as the blade becomes sharper and sharper. 

V Sharpeners

Easily sourced from any hardware shop, V sharpeners are one of the easiest methods for sharpening knives. 

Place the tool down on a flat surface and run your knife through the V 7-10 times. Your blades will be sharp again within a few minutes. No need for honing afterward! 

3 Stage Sharpener

3 Stage sharpeners are what they claim to be. They are sharpeners that have three different sections so that you can sharpen the blade in several different steps, just as you would with sandpaper, nail files, or diamond stones. 

This tool is so easy to use because you have the steps written out in front of you, and when the knife glides easily through one stage, you move onto the next until it’s perfectly sharp! 

What Else Can I do to Sharpen My Knives?

The final thing you can do to sharpen your craft knife is take it to a professional knife sharpener. You can find them in every major city center, often private chefs and restaurants take their knives there in bulk to get sharpened regularly. 

These professionals have often been in the field for many years and can offer you the right advice to help you sharpen your knife at home or do it for you at their stop. 

Summary: How to Sharpen a Craft Knife

As you can see, it is possible to sharpen a craft knife at home. Typically, this involves running the edges of the blade against a material to sharpen the blade. You can then use other materials to strop the blade, making the edges smooth and easier to cut with.

The best materials to sharpen your knife with at home include:

  1. Sandpaper
  2. Nail File
  3. Ceramic Mug
  4. Concrete
  5. Another Knife
  6. Stone

Strop your knife by using it on:

  1. Leather
  2. Nylon
  3. Cardboard

The best tools to sharpen a knife include:

  1. Sharpening Stones
  2. Diamond Stones
  3. Grinding Stones
  4. V Sharpener
  5. 3 Stage Sharpener

You can also consider taking your knife to a professional knife sharpener. These knife sharpeners will charge you a fee, but they’ll ensure your knife gets sharp.