Making Really Thin Metal Shims From Razor Blades

Sometimes you need a very thin metal shim. Quite often, these shims are very hard (impossible!) to find at your local hardware store. Here's a way to get some nice stainless steel shims for practically nothing.

I use a double edged safety razor to shave. They're incredibly cheap, last me a few months each and give a closer smoother shave than any twelve bladed monstrosity out there. When a blade is no longer useful for the purpose, it has to be disposed of. This is often a pain, as the blades are still very sharp and can easily slice their way out of garbage bags and end up where they shouldn't. (in your foot, the neighbour's dog, etc)

So, I hang on to them and look for ways to repurpose. One day I found I needed a tough steel shim, here's how I made it.

NOTE: Before you start messing with these blades, make them dull. I rub them at a perpendicular angle across 400 grit emery paper. This renders them mostly harmless.

Here's what I use:

Dremel with a diamond coated wheel. These are super cheap. I buy them in 4 packs from a discount hardware place for $2.99.

A strip of very sticky duct tape. I'd suggest Gorilla Tape, as it's got double the adhesive of anything else out there.

A dulled razor blade. Darn near free. I buy 5 packs for about $3.00 and they last me at 6 months or more.

EDIT: Just got a new batch from Amazon. 25 blades for $9.50. At my current rate of usage, I'm covered for about four years worth of shaving.

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: Cutting It Up

Stick the dulled razor blade firmly into the adhesive on the tape. You may find it useful to tape the tape down, so it doesn't move around on you. Use the Dremel with the cutoff wheel at a slow/medium speed to carefully cut out what you need from the blade. Just the weight of the tool is more than enough to accomplish this.

We want to avoid heat buildup here, as the adhesive will soften if it gets warm and tiny shards of metal could be flung around the room at insane velocities. If you see the metal moving around, or if you've cut all the way through the tape, STOP. Relax. Proceed.

Step 2: What You Get

What you end up with are tiny metal shims in whatever size and shape you want. I find it easiest to remove and handle these things with a good pair of tweezers. Be sure to store the extras/leftovers somewhere safe. While the blade has been dulled, it's still made of tough, thin, steel and will easily puncture skin.

Hopefully this has been educational for you. Have fun, be careful!



    • Indoor Lighting Contest

      Indoor Lighting Contest
    • Metal Contest

      Metal Contest
    • Make It Fly Challenge

      Make It Fly Challenge

    6 Discussions


    Hey, where do you get your razor blades? I've looked and looked, but all I ever see is dorky cartridges for "hi-tech shaving systems".

    2 replies

    The cheapest source I've found is Amazon. Search for "Bic Chrome Platinum" or something like that and you'll get some hits. If you live in a city with a "hip" neighbourhood, there's bound to be a shop selling old school shaving supplies.

    Phil B

    10 months ago

    You are making thin metal shims for any desired purpose. Many who use double edge safety razors may use old razor blades to shim between the bottom plate of a three piece razor and the blade to increase the blade exposure. That takes a relatively mild razor and makes it more aggressive. Mild razors do not easily produce nicks and cuts when shaving, but also may not attack the whiskers aggressively enough to give a really smooth shave. And, a more aggressive razor may make it easier to nick or cut yourself while shaving. People have been shimming their razors for many decades. Because of that, adjustable razors were developed. The adjustment feature increases the distance between the bottom plate and the blade. It is difficult to know how your face will respond to a razor before buying it and bringing it home to use. Each person’s face is different. And, as a man ages, his whiskers often cut better with s more aggressive razor than he had been using up to that point. So, shimming can make a razor work better. Many use a sharp scissors to remove the cutting edges from an old blade. But, shims can be made from anything from soda cans to plastic margarine tub lids. It is necessary to experiment to find the best result for you.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Good trick! Thanks for sharing this.

    I was not aware of where they actually got gorilla tape. I knew that was true for duck tape, though. You learn something new everyday!

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Gorilla Tape is pretty cool. Extra heavy duty backing, extra sticks stuff to brick walls! Be careful with the razor blades. Those things are SHARP!