May’s Cool Tool: Circle Cutters

Rated: E (for everyone)

The invention of the rotary cutter and the mat that heals itself has certainly been important advance for quilters and crafts people. There are all sorts of incredibly sharp tools that go with the mat and I finally bought a circle cutter. The plan was to make a floor cloth and I do love circles…. The floor mat hasn’t been made yet, but I have been using the tool for other projects. It has a tiny blade, but I have discovered that it will cut through cereal boxes. I used to run around the studio and the house searching for jar tops and plates that were the size I wanted, but the circle tool is much more convenient. In the picture below, you can see that I have been using the cereal box circles as templates to make wonderful large fabric circles to applique. The one I have is a Fiskers Circle Cutter, which cuts 1″ – 8″ diameter circles.

Another circle cutter that is part of my crafts stash is called a Japanese screw punch. Several years ago I took a class with a Japanese woman on how to make Katazome fabric. When creating this lovely fabric, the first part of the process is to make a stencil using a smoked, waxy paper. You can use a frisket knife to cut shapes, as well as the punch for teeny tiny holes. Many Japanese Katazome designs have hundreds of little dots on them, and it turns out that this screw punch is how to make them. Because of its shape, you can make holes anywhere and you can buy many different sized points. Turns out that book binders use them too, so it isn’t as unusual a product as I had thought. Supposedly it can drill through 15 pieces of paper!

You hold the tool upright on the paper to be cut, press down and the tool twists and cuts the tiny hole. It works so well and easily!

I’m not sure that you’ll need to rush out and buy these cool tools, but then again…

P.S. If you love unusual papers, you might want to buy some Katazome paper.