Tuesday, March 29, 2011

March of the Tools: Circle Scissors

March is almost over (can you believe that?), so this is my last post for March of the Tools. However, since I love nifty gadgets I might just make my own party called April Tools (see what I did? tools instead of fools? see?...see?).

Remember when I made these paper globes for Valentine's Day? I had a claw hand for a day or two from cutting out all of those circles. I was seriously regretting not buying a circle punch, but then it would only work for one size, and that's not very efficient. So I went on a casual hunt for a versatile cutting tool. And in one of my favorite places (Target) I came across this:

This nifty little number will cut precise circles from one inch up to six inches, in 1/16 of an inch increments. That's a LOT of options, yo. Each measurement is laid out in a big spiral on a thick piece of plastic with triangular holes cut into it.

It reminds me a little bit of those Spirograph thingees that I had when I was younger. Anybody else remember those? Or am I just getting old?

The other piece that comes with it has a triangular piece that fits into the hole, and also contains the blade.

Sorry for the ick photo--but you can still make out the blade.

The blade retracts when you've finished cutting as you need to press down to make your cut. I dig retracting blades big-time. Many of us have little fingers around that like to get into everything (or short fat fingers that are just clumsy...ahem....) so safety features like this are nice to have in a tool. 

All you do is put that pink triangle into the slot that indicates your chosen measurement. Press down, give it a spin, and BAM! Perfect circle.

It sits down enough that it doesn't slip out of the hole when you spin it.

It IS easier to cut towards the center as the edges of the circle hold the paper very steady, but as I needed many circles from each piece I went towards the edge. I spun the little hickey without pressing down to make sure I had enough room, and then made my cuts.

When cutting near the edge you have to make sure you press firmly so the paper doesn't get the wiggles.

I was able to get an entire sheet of perfect circles. (Fun fact: the company I work for makes all different kinds of metal cans; when the pieces for beverage can lids are cut out of a giant sheet of metal it looks something like the below. We call that a 'skeleton' in the biz).

My skeleton has a hanging chad (haha--I can make anything sound naughty :)

There is one thing to be aware of. You see that circle with the hanging piece of paper just below the middle in the photo above? If the paper moves even a wee bit you end up with an irregular cut. Most of the time you can fix it very easily with a snip of the scissors, but sometimes you get a rotten circle. But unlike apples, the rest of the bunch doesn't get spoiled. It definitely isn't something that would make me not use this; it's just something to watch for.

To give you an idea of what a timesaver this little device is--it took me 2 nights to trace and cut all those circles before. I cut the same amount in about 15 minutes. Total. And much more precise.

I love little piles of things like this. It just invites creativity.

There are several different brands of these cutters out there--Fiskars, Martha Stewart, etc. (Target online has all three). They are sold in craft stores where you might be able to get it cheaper or to use a coupon, but I tend to be a bit impulsive sometimes and didn't shop around at all once I saw this kind of thing existed. I would have but I needed it that instant (you know how that goes). It does come with a few extra blades, but these are super easy to find online as well. If it's something you think you'd use I definitely recommend it.

I think poker would be a lot more fun to play if this is what the chips looked like. 

I'll share my project as soon as it's totally finished. I thought I was headed towards another craft fail, but this one worked out satisfactorily. See you soon!


  1. An interesting tool..I'm going to have a look for one..and see what else is out there too.

  2. oohhh I'm totally excited for that I so hate cutting out little circles or trying to find something in my house that's the right size to trace around. Thanks for the tip!



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