How to Strip Wire (Without a Wire Stripper)




Music, chemistry, electronics, etc.

This is a method of stripping wire that one of my friends showed me. I noticed that I use wire for a lot of projects and don't have a wire stripper. This way is useful if you don't have a wire stripper and you're either broke or too lazy to get one. It may seem like it takes a while to do, but once you get used to it it barely takes any time at all. This method is similar to the one by Weissensteinburg, but my friend said that this way may be better for the wire (less likely to damage it) but I'm not sure. Feedback is always appreciated!

Remember, If you liked it you could always rate it +1 :)

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Materials

A utility knife (see pictures)
Your wire
Good lighting
A marker

*Optional (Only needed if your sharp knife can't make it through the wire)

Step 2: Wire Lengths

Measure out the lengths of wire that you need and cut them. You can use your utility knife, or scissors if the utility knife doesn't make it through. I just used the knife. If you decide to cut using the knife, position your finger/thumb on top of the knife and use the tip of the blade to cut. It will work better that way.

Step 3: Mark

Using the marker, make a mark about half a cm from the end of the wire on each side. This isn't strictly neccesary but helps you to see where to cut, which is helpful if you have very small wires or bad lighting.

Step 4: Scoring

Now, begin scoring around the spot you marked. This is where the good lighting begins to become important to see your marks and where you cut. Score around the entire wire and try not to nick the actual wire. The whole key is finding the right amount of pressure. You have to make it so it cuts through but doesn't damage the actual wire. This is easy after a couple of tries. Here is the method I use.

Hold wire down

Apply pressure with knife

Keep pressure applied and turn wire

...Which now brings us to the next step.....

Step 5: Tip Removal

Now you should see a tiny bit of copper/what-ever-your-wire-is-made-of peeking through all the way around the wire, like in the picture. If you can see this all the way around, grab the end and pull it off. If not, keep cutting. Look at the pictures if this step is at all confusing.

Now just repeat for the other end, and the other wires.

Step 6: There You Have It

And there you have it, an easy way to strip wire without wire strippers. If you have any suggestions or problems, please tell me.

1 Person Made This Project!


  • Made with Math Contest

    Made with Math Contest
  • Multi-Discipline Contest

    Multi-Discipline Contest
  • Robotics Contest

    Robotics Contest

55 Discussions


Tip 10 months ago

You can also briefly hit the tips of your wires with a propane or butane torch. The heat will cause the insulation to shrink and bare the copper. If the bare wire needs increasing then while it's still hot and some what in a molten state quickly pinch the insulation between your nails and tear it off. The faster you are the less likely it will cause you any real pain. Trim to length.


1 year ago

Thanks for sharing this. As a full time handyman for years I used this exact technique very often (and used it yesterday too as a matter of fact) and can testify that it works wonderfully.


Question 1 year ago on Step 6

I am trying to strip a wire for an electrical outlet!!!


2 years ago

I use a vegetable peeler works fine


2 years ago

John T MacF Mood

3 years ago

I use a pocket knife, and have learned how to nick the cover enough to strip the wire without touching the write. Works every time. it takes practrice, but after over 50 years of electronics, it's easy. Try it, you'll find it easy once you master the technicque.


4 years ago on Step 6

Myself, I prefer to cut the wire with a razor knife but, instead of cutting the wire all the way around and taking the chance of damaging the actual wire. I cut the wire along it's length and, then peal the wire back as far as I need and, then just clip it off.

1 reply

4 years ago on Introduction

I have a CopperMine Manual Wire machine, which is very great for me. I achieve a best result quickly and easily with this machine when I remove the coating of wires or cables without any hitches. really no hitches. Check out where I buy from here.


4 years ago on Introduction

Awesome DIY guide on stripping wire. Although I work alot with wire I have been making a killing lately with my StripMeister Automatc Wire Stripping Machine.


5 years ago on Introduction

Easier way: Just tear both ends of the wire(s) with your teeth!
*Make sure to was your mouth after that!*

Scissors work well too, you hold the wire against the blades and as you cut they split a bit which allows them to strip the wires.


7 years ago on Introduction

You gotta love the internet, four years later and the advice here is still useful. I'm a woman, not particularly handy, and I used the burn method to strip my speaker wire. Worked like a charm and I love the sound of my new, clear sounding speakers. Thank you to all above who posted, helping to rid the world of one more set of old static-ey speakers.


11 years ago on Introduction

Interesting way of doing it. But the fastest and easiest way is to just take a lighter to it for a second, let it cool for a second, and strip it off with your fingernails. It works very well.

3 replies

Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

At my workplace I have a candle, I just light the candle, and grab one end of wire, and hold the point from where it needs to be stripped over the candle, its the best method without losing a single string..


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

Wow, really good tip, I'll try that.. Any tip on how to strip those extremely thin mini jack plug cables?


10 years ago on Introduction

Good instructable. I've never tried it with a utility knife, I think I'd probably get too happy and cut through it. I have to go at it in a much smaller way - I tend to prefer using the tiny little Swiss Army knife scissors I'm usually carrying on me. I just take the wire, bend it across the lower shear, then carefully close the beak until just the edge of the wire casing is nicked. Then I turn the wire and repeat until I've got a few nicks in it, at which point the casing can just be manually pulled off. Or, you can use the same tool and simply use the very tip of the scissor beak to nick the casing, and then continue as above. But either way, I can strip a wire in just a few seconds, usually without error.