In Design inspiration, Felt Tutorial, Tips & techniques

Today I want to talk about tools for cutting felt. I get questions about this a lot and there are many great options.

Most of the time I use regular fabric shears and cut shapes freehand. If I need even strips or perfect rectangles, I’ll use a small rotary cutter (above, top) a ruler and cutting mat.

But what about decorative shapes and edges? Felt just begs for them! Because felt cuts clean without fraying, tiny little curves and points can stay crisp and add the perfect finishing touch to a project. Pinking shears can add a great little zig-zaggy edge, but my dream shears are the scalloped edge ones from Fiskars (bottom of first photo). I found mine on eBay as I believe they are out of production. I also have a curvy wave pair. These are high quality, heavy duty shears made for cutting FABRIC. Do not think for a minute that cheap light weight scrapbooking scissors will work on felt. Believe me, I’ve tried it and it only ends in frustration and mangled felt. So keep your eyes peeled for them on eBay! I bet you can score a pair for around $10.

Mimi Kirchner’s Tiny World pincushion

The artist, Mimi Kirchner, uses scalloped shears when creating her Tiny World pincushions. Isn’t her work amazing? The scalloped edge is also a great guide for keeping your stitches evenly spaced, like on the grass area above the edge of the tea cup.

Something newer to me are the Sizzix paddle punches (center of first photo). I found mine on Etsy. Cutting little flowers or stars precisely with fabric shears is tricky and tedious not to mention impossible if you are trying to make several that are identical. These little punches are meant for scrapbooking but work just fine on nice quality wool blend felt! It works like a cookie cutter. You’ll need a rubber mallet to whack it a few times and…Ta Da! Perfect felt flower…or whatever shape you’re using. I found this tutorial on Flickr by Jen Segrest that shows how to do it using a regular hammer with the head covered with a plastic bottle cap, genius!

Maureen Cracknell’s birthday crowns

Crafter Maureen Cracknell uses a Go! Baby fabric cutting machine to cut flowers and leaves for the felt crowns she creates. She sells adorable felt birthday crowns in her etsy shop so she needs a work-horse of a tool to keep up with production. I personally have not used a  Go! Baby but I hear people swear by them. They’re not inexpensive, so I recommend trying one out first if you can before making the investment.

I’d love to hear what your favorite tools are for cutting felt! What am I missing? In my next Felt Lore post, I’m going to share some cutting tricks that don’t require special tools.

Former posts in the series:
Felt Lore Part 1
Felt Lore Part 2
Felt Lore Part 3 

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Showing 11 comments
  • Hi! I'm Wendi!

    I like to draw my designs on freezer paper, fuse it to the felt and then cut it out. I can get really precise shapes with scissors that way.

    • Betz White

      I love freezer paper! That’s one of the tool-less “tricks” I plan to share next time. Thanks!

    • mimi k

      I use my freezer paper as an addition to some of the tools- I iron the felt onto the freezer paper and then a paper punch will usually cut cleanly- works great for small circles. And thanks so much for the mention!

  • mjb

    I have a Sizzix Big Shot that’s really great for felt as well. I think it works better on felt than on fabric.

    • Betz White

      That sounds great! I’ll have to research that one.

  • Marnie

    What about cutting shapes and edges on felted wool sweaters? And do you like a particular blend of wool in a sweater, like merino vs Shetland?

    • Betz White

      You can definitely use the shears on felted wool sweaters, but depending on how fuzzy they are, the detail may not show up. I haven’t tried the paddle punch on a sweater yet but I will let you know!

  • Amy

    I second the vote for the Sizzix Big Shot. I generally cut 3 layers of wool blend felt at a time with no problem.

  • Melissa

    I buy dies from Papertrey Ink. They are primarily a stamp company with paper crafting supplies, but their dies cut cardstock and wool felt. Their prices are very reasonable. The dies are perfect if you need identical cuts each time. I just made wool felt mitten ornaments using a Christmas tree die, holly dies, and mitten die.

  • cutting tools

    I really like the Tiny World pincushion design, its lovely!

  • Anonymous

    I use dies to cut felt with my Big Shot machine or my Vagabond machine. Sure is a lot faster. Most of my dies are Papertrey, Sizzix or Spellbinders.

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