Last spring The Studio ran the Public Art Project Circle Circus, when visitors could use an array of geometric shapes to create a collage or three-dimensional assemblage. To mix things up a bit from a typical collage project, visitors could change the shapes any way they wished, but without the use of scissors. (Sneaky challenge, huh?) We prepared TONS of shapes ahead of time for the project: squares, rectangles, triangles and circles and arranged them on trays in labeled baskets.
Geometric shapes with straight sides are easy to prepare in advance with a paper cutter, but prepping lots of circles can be more challenging to cut by hand. After testing (and wearing out) several paper punches over the years, we’ve come to depend a couple of the best brands and styles whenever we need circles for the Public Art Programs and Workshops.
Our first favorite (shown above) is the adjustable Circle Cutter by Fiskars. The blade arm cuts circles between one and eight inches in diameter. The cutter locks in place as you twist the blade around, preventing shifting and cutting mistakes. Also, because it’s clear, it’s easy to position it anywhere to avoid wasting paper. The blade is sharp enough to cut through at least two sheets of construction paper at once. You will need a self-healing mat when using this cutter or you could slice right into your table.
Another one of our favorites for cutting circles is the Fiskars Squeeze Punch Round’ and Round’. We use the extra large 2-inch size, but this style punch is also available in other sizes. For this new design, Fiskars flipped the cut-out to the front so it’s easy to see exactly where you’re punched. Our volunteers love this style because it’s very easy to squeeze the handle without tiring out your hand. If you only have the budget to add one style to your arsenal, this in the punch you should own!
For very small circles we’ve recently been using Martha Stewart’s 1-inch punch. We prepare circles on strips of paper and hang on to them for future projects. Play with the spacing between each punch and the negative strips will be just as much fun to use in a collage as the shapes themselves.
Above are a couple of solutions to our “no scissors” challenge during Circle Circus. Do you have a favorite paper punch style or brand? Let us know, and maybe we’ll test it in The Studio!