For maximum efficiency with cutting printables, consider in investing in a cutting tool like the Silhouette Cameo or Cricut Explore. Both allow you to print out any shape and cut around the printable. It takes minutes to set up the file and cut compared to hours of using scissors.
In Illustrator, you can design patterns, complex graphics and work with type. You can learn to design printables fast with the Basic Printable Design Course from Printable Crush. Illustrator is a highly in-depth program, so taking a course is a quick way to learn the basics.