How to cut small circles from felt

Cutting small circles can by fiddly - discover my tips for cutting felt eyes.
I was working on an up-coming project and needed to cut out a whole load of felt circles to make eyes. This can get fiddly, so I thought I’d share my favourite method for cutting tiny circles like this. It works for circles around 1/2 inch or less – anything larger and you can use this as a starting point, but you’ll need smooth off the edges more.

Cutting small circles

  1. First cut a square with sides the same diameter of the finished circle. You can measure it exactly or just eyeball it. It doesn’t have to be perfectly square.

    Cut squares the size of your circles - use a strip to get two or more the same size.

  2. Cut off each of the corners to make an octagon, as in the picture below. Again, don’t worry about being exact.

    Cut the corners off to make an octagon.

  3. For very small circles (the black ones below are around 5mm (1/4″)), you’ll probably find this looks close enough to a circle. The white ones are a bit bigger, and need more trimming.

    Larger circles may need a second round of cutting off corners to get a smooth shape.

  4. If it still looks a little angular, cut off each of the corners again. Use a small pair of scissors and cut off just a tiny bit. You can always come back round and cut more off, but you can’t put it back on once you’ve cut!

    After a second round of cutting of corners, the white shape is much smoother.

  5. If you find that it looks more oval than round, you can try cutting off one of the ends to make it the right size and then cutting the corners again. However, often it’s just easier to cut another one from scratch.

This will work for any fabric, but in practice you’ll want something that doesn’t fray. Felt works particularly well as the edges are slightly fuzzy which helps round off any sharp angles.

To make pairs of eyes, like here, the important thing is to try to get a pair of similar size, rather than matching the exact size of a template. So start by cutting two squares the same size, and then work from there. The best way to get them similar sizes is start with a strip as in the first photo above. If you end up with a pair are very mismatched, it’s usually easier to cut another circle rather than try to trim one down – try for one the size of the larger.

I usually make a few more than I need and then pick the best ones. Out of these three, the first two are most similar:

Make a few more than you need and pick the best ones.

Here’s a sneak peek at what I’m working on – lots of felt eyes coming up!

Lots of eyes!

3 Responses to How to cut small circles from felt

  1. Lyndsay 3 November, 2018 at 2:04 am #

    You’re amazing!!! For the last year or so I’ve been trying to find ways to cut little felt circles for eyes, just like you are doing. I tried paper punches, leather punches, crop-a- dile, even a spinning punch all with no luck. I even did the masking tape trick. That actually worked but when you took the tape off, it obliterated the felt to nothing. With your technique I got a great eye first try. Now I’m off to cut a bunch. Thank you!

    • Ruth 26 November, 2018 at 11:04 am #

      Glad it worked for you!

  2. katie Nash 10 February, 2019 at 3:26 am #

    good idea, making embroided circles so helped me a lot. Katie

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