How to Build a Paper Shredder

Paper shredders provide one of the most secure means of document disposal. Shredding documents into tiny, uniform strips destroys your sensitive information and protects you from would-be identity thieves and others who might abuse your privacy. For a fraction of the cost and none of the noise, the same uniform shredding from a shredding machine can be recreated with a simple, homemade device.

Purchase four pairs of scissors with long blades and short width at the point where they're connected by the pivoting center screw---meaning there's less distance between the blades of two pairs when you line them up screw to screw. You must use scissors of the same brand and model so that their shapes line up. Also, the pivot screws need to extend enough so you can glue them without getting glue inside the scissors. Old-fashioned all-metal scissors (like the ones pictured) are a good choice for this project.

Mix your welding glue according to the instructions on the package.

Close all four pairs of scissors.

Line up two pairs of scissors top to bottom, and apply a small amount of welding glue (the equivalent to the tip of a cotton swab) to the top of one of the pivot screws. Then glue it to the bottom of the pivot screw on the other pair of scissors. Do not to let any glue seep in between the blades. Hold the scissors together until the glue sets (make sure the blades stay parallel to ensure uniform cuts). Let it dry completely before the next step.

Attach the third pair of scissors to the first two in the same manner. Then repeat with the fourth pair. Glue one pair at a time, allowing the glue to fully dry before adding each pair.

Thread long strips of tape through the handles of all four scissors. Wrap the tape firmly around to join them together and operate all four pairs at once.

Place your fingers (your thumb and first two fingers) through the scissor handles, and use them to shred a piece of paper. This shredder will shred half of an 8-by-11-inch sheet in each lengthwise run.

About the Author

Lauren Vork has been a writer for 20 years, writing both fiction and nonfiction. Her work has appeared in "The Lovelorn" online magazine and thecvstore.net. Vork holds a bachelor's degree in music performance from St. Olaf College.