And now, onto cutting felt circles...
I love felt circles, but cutting perfect circles freehand is a little tricky. Even when I use my awesome freezer paper cutting technique my circles still tend to be slightly imperfect. I often use felt circles to make eyes for my softies and an imperfect circle really stands out when it's used as an eye.
A few years ago I solved this problem and since then I've used hundreds of perfect felt circles in my projects. The trick? Sizzix paddle punches.
Sizzix is a company that makes die cutting tools for scrapbookers. Their tools are really intended for use with paper, but people do use them to cut fabrics. The Sizzix die cutting machines can be rather expensive, but the simple paddle punches are cheap and work really well. Sadly, the paddle punches are actually a discontinued item, but the good news is that you can still find them on Etsy and eBay for between $4-$6.
Here's how I make perfect felt circles with a Sizzix paddle punch:
1. Press your felt to remove wrinkles. I recommend using wool-blend felt because it's sturdy, yet inexpensive.
2. Place the felt on an old cutting mat or an old magazine. I don't recommend using your regular cutting mat because the blade of the punch will leave a mark and may well cut through your mat!
3. Choose a punch. I've got a whole collection of punches and my favorites are a bit broken by now, but they still work great.
4. Place the punch sharp side down on the felt and wack it with a mallet four or five times, working your way around. (Sometimes I have to punch things in garage because it gets kinda loud when the baby is napping.)
Viola! Perfect felt circles.
Get creative! Layer the circles to make a pupil, eyeball, and the white of the eye (Yep, that large circle is a balloon! Just cut off the tip.). Add a few white embroidery stitches to create a highlight and the eye really comes to life! For Ruby the Reindeer I inserted a safety eye through the felt circle to make the eyes more prominent and cuter!
By layering the shapes, and cutting them in pieces, you can make some seriously neat stuff.
Sizzix punches are one of my favorite craft tools!
Do you have these punches? If you do, what have you used them for? Do you use another die cutting tool for making fabric shapes? Any other tricks for cutting perfect felt circles?