MAU Art & Design Glossary




Tweezers are called “pinsetto” in Japan, which adopted the term from the Dutch word “pincet.” With tweezers, users can manipulate small parts that are difficult to handle with their fingers or parts that they want to keep clean and free of fingerprints or grime. Graphic designers use them to handle pieces of paper and color swatches.

There are many varieties of tweezers for different applications and purposes. Some may appear similar, but they often differ slightly in shape or material. For example, tweezers used in the assembly of precision equipment have highly precise tips or may be made of fine ceramic, a non-magnetic material that resists the buildup of static charge.

Even everyday tweezers used for art, design, or hobbies come in variations suited to different tasks. For example, when choosing between straight tweezers or tweezers that curve gently at the end, use the one that will provide a better angle for handling the materials you are using. Flat-tipped tweezers are useful for handling thin, delicate materials like photographs, color swatches, or stamps. You can use fine-tipped tweezers (whose ends resemble needles) for high-precision tasks such as picking up small pins to minimize visual blockage. Fluorine-processed tweezers resist glue and grime and are useful for handling tape or adhesive labels. Due to their resistance to static charge, bamboo tweezers are a popular tool for adding gold leaf to crafts. There are also reverse-action tweezers that have a crossover in the middle and a closed tip that opens when you squeeze the tweezers. These are useful when you need to grip items for longer durations.

Exercise caution when using tweezers with very sharp tips. Tweezers are available for purchase at art supply stores and stationery stores.



  • Reverse action tweezers (The closed tip opens when you squeeze the tweezers)Reverse action tweezers (The closed tip opens when you squeeze the tweezers)