Happy Circles::Tools::The Circle Cutter

I’ve been wanting to do the silhouette thing for a while but just hadn’t gotten very motivated until I was looking through some old pictures with the kids and came across this one from 5 years ago:

1st soccer practice J2

His squishy cheeks and his little, “What am I posing like this for?” face just warm my heart.  And it’s a perfect silhouette shot.  So I silhouetted it  in Photoshop, printed it out and cut it out of some of Anna Maria’s voile.  It was so easy to snip all the details out of the lucious, lightweight fabric.  And yes, I think that’s an appropriate use of the word “silhouetted”. 


I couldn’t possibly have cut that perfect circle out without my nifty Olfa circle cutter.  Not sure if it’s my motor skills or what, but for a project like this one where the raw edges are showing, I just don’t get a clean enough circle with scissors.  I am a big fan of this tool.

olfa circle tool

Unfortunately it’s max size circle is ~8″.  Sometimes, I like to cut bigger ones.  It also takes some getting used to applying the pressure and turning it at the same time – it’s one of those times that happen to me a lot, actually, that I wish I had an extra hand. 

A word on finding images to use for silhouettes:  It’s really hard to find a picture that will look good this way.  I googled “twirling girl” in hopes of finding a little girl shot that would work.  Aerial shots are out because there wouldn’t be any detail to see.  The angle has to be just right otherwise arms and legs get distorted in the silhouetting process.  I found a perfect picture where the girl had ponytails with her arms out.  The only problem?  The right to use it would cost me $50.  No thanks.

Some similar ideas to inspire:

The frames above the crib shown here.  The same method above could be used for these.

The silhouettes above the bunkbed here.  Love the girl blowing bubbles.

More Happy  Circles posts here (mine) and here (my sister’s).

Happy circles to you!

11 thoughts on “Happy Circles::Tools::The Circle Cutter

  1. Ahh, I got one of these at the Road to California Quilt Show. LOVE LOVE LOVE it. Instead of using one hand to hold and put pressure, I usually hold the device down with my right hand and swing it around with my left hand…I found my cutting is more consistent that way.

    • It’s a great tool. I find I have to press down on the cutting blade while turning it otherwise it sometimes doesn’t cut through all the layers if I have fusible webbing on the back. Then I’m going back in with scissors and that’s just not as fun. 🙂

  2. If you’ve noticed my other comments on the rulers and the circle attachment – you’ll see this coming…

    Yep, got one of them too ;-)!! Gotta love a gadget.

    I’ve not got on too well with mine though. I’m a bit mingey with fabric (mingey – tight, seeking to avoid waste) and – was trying to cut right at the edge of one corner, it tends to ruck up when you do that. I have the opposite view to yours I bemoan the largeness of the minimum size! You get a better result with heat n bond on the fabric before cutting. And not using your best cutting mat, I did gouge a bit first outing.

    Your silhouette of boy with ball is lovely. No, sorry, not lovely er… cool? sporty? whatever the boy acceptable adjective would be!

    Spinning girly… isn’t this an excuse to make a twirly skirt and have a fun photo shoot with a sure to be obliging twirler? Little girls do seem to love twirly skirts!


    • Hi Peppermint AJ! Definitely a neat tool – how could I be making circles without all my gadgets? Believe me, I considered borrowing a friend’s daughter, but ultimately time didn’t allow which left me to plan #2 which was to have my son twirl in a skirt – really, would you be able to tell in the silhouette that it was a boy? I don’t think so. BUT I decided that wouldn’t be nice so I gave up on that one too. Plan #3 was to try for a daughter of my own, but 9 months plus 1-2 years for her to grow up enough to twirl, well, the time table just seemed impractical. Tee hee. Maybe I should stay focused on plan #1… 🙂

    • That’s true. Itty bitty circles would be fun, wouldn’t they? And when I’m making the smallest size circle, the tool is awkward. Maybe a new invention is in order!

  3. That is so cool! I had no idea you could buy a circle cutter like that for fabric. I’ve got one very similar for paper that I use when scrapbooking but never even thought about one for sewing *grin*. Must look into it 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing about it!

  4. If my daughter was more cooperative I’d take some pictures of her twirling for you, but she’s starting to rebel against posing for pictures – plus she lacks the hair…

    The soccer pic is just perfect.

    I think I probably ought to look for a cutting mat, then work my way up to fancy tools like that. This sewing lark looks like it’s going to be sticking around as a hobby for a while.

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