Tuesday, September 29, 2009

how to: cut felt circles

Maybe I should have called this post: how to cut lots of perfect felt circles really fast. I'm sure there are some wonderful tutorials out there about felt circles. There might even be some lovely fancy felt circle cutting tool... there has to be. In fact, if you know about any of these resources, please feel free to point me in the right direction... but for now I'd love to share my little discovery from yesterday. I was sorting some deconstructed wool suiting for a future project and had a sudden desire to cut some felt circles. There's no stopping me when I get one of those creative urges, but have you ever tried to cut circles free hand? Not so easy. Cutting around templates doesn't work well for me, either. Drawing directly on fabric has been positive in the past ... so I came up with this cheater sort of method. I used a plastic used spool and a jar lid for printing directly onto the felt. My white stamp pad was just right. Pop... pop... pop those circles added up quickly and were so easy to cut!

I have a nice growing stack for what... not sure, yet. Two did get put to immediate good use. The back of a favorite wool sweater had emerged from storage a little eaten up. Pop! Pop! Placing those circles right over the holes! Hmm... should I scatter dots all over the back of the sweater? Either way, I love having an abundance of circles- they just make me happy.

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50 comments:

  1. How about those circles being run away..or fly away balloons? the thread made me think it was just that... hehe! I guess you could add them to the front too... they are cute... oh if it was just one black one I guess it could have been a owl or squirrel hole on a tree... hehe. This is a great idea. Maybe a medicine botte...(the orangie brown ones) would make good circles too and easier to hold onto than the lid. You are so inventive! I will totally use this idea! easy for the kids to use too!!
    Thank you Maya!!

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  2. I have a compass, like a regular compass but instead of a pencil it has a circular cutter,
    http://www.olfa.co.jp/en/body/detail/50.html
    it is fantastic, I will never use scissors to cut a circle again!

    It is a Japanese site, I don't know if you can get them overseas or not, if you want one and can't get one where you are, let me know, I could pick one up for you.

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  3. I love everything about this post Maya! Yes a fancy circle cutter (I have one) but I love that you've just made do (& in such a fabulous way)! You're ACE.

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  4. Great tip !! Thanks for sharing !

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  5. thank everyone!
    jojebi-never heard of it, but I just knew someone would have a valuable tool to point to! Yay!
    Kirsty- thanks for appreciating my constant need to just make do.

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  6. I collect all sizes of round things-cotton spools, old CDs, anything in all sizes-just in case, you know, that you need to make a circle. These could be sewn together into a felt circle scarf...They are very cool. Now I will be thinking of what to make with felt circles.

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  7. Love the inventiveness of using the bottle top with ink - so Macgyver-sih cool! BTW, I've heard of sizzix paddle punches that work for cutting felt. They are actually discontinued but you can find them on ebay and the sizzix.com outlet store - very helpful if you are doing a lot of pre-made small shapes. Plus the hammering can be stress relieving, I'm sure :P

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  8. That's a great idea... never thought of a white stamp pad. This will be helpful when I cut more eyes for more skelly couples...
    http://securityville.blogspot.com/2009/09/skelly-couple-goes-to-london.html

    Thanks for the tip!

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  9. Great idea, Maya. I have an Olfa circle cutter, too, but it really does not like the weight of felt. Maybe the other commenter has a more heavy-duty version.

    I find that the biggest challenge when using scissors to cut circles is getting that smooth edge, with no little sharp points. Any advice?

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  10. brilliant! i just cleaned out the closet and found a wool jumper in need of some mending - some felt polka dots are just what the mending fairies are calling for! thank you... :) again!

    best - annri

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  11. Love it! I like the idea of run away ballons too.

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  12. Great hint. I don't need a bunch of felt circles right this instant, but I know I'll need them in the future, and I'm sure this will stick in my mind. I might forget where I got the hint, but I'll remember the hint.

    I've been thinking about making a felt pennant banner, and was going to connect the pennants with little felt circles. So there you are. Another use.

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  13. Hey you. Thanks so much for putting my tutorial up as a link on your blog--I am truly flattered. Also, this idea for making circles is fantastic--so simple and I love that it uses things you may just already have around your house (no need to go purchase some new crafting thingamajig). And also, the WIP bucket--I also love that. I think that is going to be my first bucket project because I am always hauling WIP around my house, over to other people's houses, to the coffee shop...and while I use a tote to do this, I think having the open bucket style will be so much handier to dig around in. Thanks again.

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  14. Circles are my favorite shape! I am currently working on a circle project myself :)

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  15. I've been cutting little tiny circles for a little felt toadstool by hand, and your method seems much smarter. I keep cutting the felt to little pieces of nothing to try to get an approximation of a circle! That sizzix tool sounds fun.

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  16. So clever! I just bought a new Fiskars "Sqeeze Punch" circle punch for paper, which I love, but I really wish it could cut felt and fabric, too! I think with your method I still would have trouble cutting on the lines, but at least marking the lines would be easy!

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  17. so clever and SMART! I love tips like these... now the trouble is cutting right on the line. haha...

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  18. wow, thank you!! i need to cut out a ton of felt circles for a craft fair soon and i really do not have any time to waste. i was getting nervous about this project but not anymore! thanks so much :D

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  19. it just occured to me: cookie cutters will work too! i have a little heart cutter that would be cute, a larger one could be a pocket! look what you've started! ;)

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  20. I have a halloween party to do next month and was wondering how to go about cutting gazillions of felt shapes for decorating costumes. A white stamp pad and halloween cookie cutters, and I'm home and dry. Absolutely top tip. The simplest ideas are definitely the best.

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  21. thanks for your encouragement, enthusiasm and great ideas. the cookie cutter idea had me running to my cupboard.

    As far as smooth cutting:
    -sharp scissors... can't stress that enough
    -keep your felt/fabric in the center of the blade. if you have to open up the blades often there is more chances for unevenness.
    -I follow all along the outside of the printed circle, keeping my scissor blade right up against that white line as my guide.

    maybe I shouldn't have said PERFECT circles in the post... we aren't machines. this method had enhanced my circles, if not perfected them:)
    xo
    maya

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  22. This is just brilliant. I am definitely going to do this. For awhile I was eyeing these cutters (I think cricuts and sissix are some of the brand names) but they seemed so complicated! And I live abroad so I couldn't get them anyway.
    I have found that felt dulls my sewing shears horribly, even when I use wool felt (i.e. not acrylic). So now I have set aside a pair of scissors just for felt cutting. I wonder if this is a common problem? As you say, it's important to have very sharp scissors when doing this.

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  23. dang! i love the idea of them being fly-away balloons like Rane suggested. I don't have one, but Olfa makes a cutter http://www.olfa.com/CircleCuttersDetail.aspx?C=50&Id=149 that looks interesting.

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  24. I have used this exact method for years, Sometimes I think we are partially joined at the wrists:)

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  25. Great idea! I think I'll use it for paper too. So much easier then tracing around a round object and it would be easy to line them up to get as many as possible out of your fabric!

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  26. Great idea! I would love to make a table runner using circles like that. Ahh! But I am too busy podging.

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  27. How about a simple felt garland for the holidays? You could use it anywhere...doorways, trees, on a mantle. You could space them or run them through the machine touching. We did this last Christmas. Wish I would have known your perfect circle technique then!

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  28. i just have to smile maya, i think you may like the wool 'circles' i just posted! : ) i do love your method!

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  29. this is the idea i searched for! thank you! lately i went crazy trying to cut circles on black felt.

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  30. This is a really helpful tip! I bought a punch that does large circles in the hope of using it for felt, but the felt is too thick to fit in it! This tip will at least make it quicker when I return to cutting them by hand, thank you! :)

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  31. Cathe (Just Something I Made) had a 9/28 post on Kanzashi bloom buttons and used some circles in making them. The last picture is petal shapes she made into a rose pin. It came to mind when I saw the felt circles - maybe they could be used to make a daisy or some other flower.

    http://justsomethingimade.blogspot.com/2009/09/kanzashi-in-leather.html

    I love your ideas so I'm sure you'll come up with several creations!

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  32. I second the felt garland idea! That was my first thought as soon as I saw all those lovely circles! I have a felt garland on my list of things to make, but I will probably take the easy way out and make squares. ;)

    I was inspired by this: http://tinyurl.com/ybaedhu

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  33. I'm always cutting out felt circles for my classes so I really like your white ink idea. To make cutting out felt circles easier and to give a nice clean line I use a pair of scissors with a curved blade. Makes cutting circles much easier!

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  34. Jojoebi...How can I get one of these cutters?

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  35. oh !
    I wished I had seen this earlier... how many circles have i cut already... !

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  36. Hi Maya, I love this post because I too am a queen of cutting felt circles. In the winter I make a LOT of felt cakes for my children and gifts...I like your method with the stamp, had not thought of that. I usually choose the bottom of a can, depending on the size that I want to cut, and using a washable fabric marker I trace around the bottom the can until I have drawn the number of circles that I want to cut (I like to do them in big batches so this is usually a lot) then I sit in a cozy spot with very sharp fabric scissors and snip away, I like the meditative aspect of this part! I cut around the outside of the circle too! I use the scraps (the parts the cut out in between the circles) by cutting small circles out of the pieces that are large enough to do that with. I keep these is a large glass jar since they are so pretty to look at and then they are handy to find just the right color when I am making a "cake" :)

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  37. Came across this today and I'm so excited. I'm in the middle of cutting out a LOT of circles for this D*S project: http://www.designspongeonline.com/2009/10/diy-project-chelas-fabric-screen.html

    This is perfect! Thanks for sharing!

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  38. http://www.etsy.com/storque/how-to/how-tuesday-pillow-with-rosette-clusters-from-felt-furnishin-5095/

    A great project for tons of little felt circles!

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  39. Olfa has a heavy duty circle cutter:-)
    CMP2 Heavy-Duty Circle Cutter
    About $40 from Amazon

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  40. This is fabulous! This tip could not have come at a better time! Thanks!

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  41. Hello.
    I'd like to give a tip for cutting out circles. I get annoyed with those little jagged edges you get. Anyway...lightly iron a piece of freezer paper (shiny side down) on the right side of the felt. The markings should be on the other side of the felt.
    This makes it a bit easier to cut a clean edge.
    Jane

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  42. hi there! I came across your blog today while doing a search on Google! "tools for cutting felt"
    I just ordered a couple of sizzix paddle punches, hoping this does the trick. i love your suggestion as well. thanks for sharing your ideas. I am your newest follower!!!

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  43. I use my Sizzix Bigshot and various dies including the circle die. I can cut about 5 layers of felt in one go and the circles die cuts 4 different sizes of circles at the same time!
    I also use a flowers die for cutting felt flower shapes. Its intended more for papercraft but works well with felt and fabrics too. :-)

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  44. Hi, I found you through domestifluff.com and just used your tutorial for stamping circles...wow that saved some time. I linked to you in my post if that's not ok let me know...thanks again

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  45. Ooh, what a great idea! - if you don't want to go the impossibly expensive die-cut route.

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  46. Super amazing things to do with your felt....
    LOVE this pillow!
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0307451518/ref=dp_olp_new/180-7167463-7950455?ie=UTF8&condition=new

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  47. Depending on whether or not you are going to adhere your felt circles (or other difficult shapes as well) to your project, you can use HeatNBond iron on double sided adhesive. It has a paper backing. Simply iron on to the back of your felt, mark your shape or circle on the paper backing with the above great tracing ideas, and then cut using the paper backed side. It makes the cutting much smoother, as if cutting only a nice weight paper. You can also use this to stabilize your felt before using dies or electronic cutters like Cricket or Silhouette. I have made a large number of felt Christmas stockings this way. Hope this idea helps.

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