How to cut felt

How to Cut Felt – 6 Cutting Felt Techniques

Cutting felt is just as crucial to creating a beautiful craft as sewing/gluing and assembling it in the right order. By learning how to cut felt accurate, you’ll take a step towards making felt crafting easier for your self

Why Cutting Felt is Important?

If your cutting is off, your crafts can look a bit odd. Especially if you have multiple objects of the same shape you need to assemble together. If it doesn’t fit well, it doesn’t look well.

But also…

Learning multiple ways how to cut felt can save you time.

Making a felt craft is exciting – but cutting felt can be nerve-wracking, and exhausting and time-consuming.

When you cut out-of-the-ordinary shapes, again and again, you can easily give up, and your felt craft will stay an unfinished project with a lot of frustration, along with all the time, money, and nerves you’ve invested getting it done.

When I first used felt for my crafts, I immediately fell in love working with it. I like it because felt doesn’t fray and the colors are so vivid. But I struggled so much with cutting small shapes nicely and precisely, especially when I was cutting felt letters and numbers.

In this blog post, you’ll learn 6 cutting felt techniques using different felt cutting tools. They are easy and give precise shapes, so in the end, you will have beautiful felt pieces for your felt craft.

How to Cut Felt – Basics: Felt, Scissors, and Patterns

The first thing that showed a big difference when cutting felt was using stiff felt instead of soft felt. You will find out that cutting and also sewing is much easier when the felt is stiff. But most of the techniques I will describe bellow, work great with soft felt, too. 

I recommend two different scissors for cutting felt. I have one bigger fabric scissors for bigger felt cutouts, and small scissors for small felt cutouts. Scissors have to be sharp.

Here’s a great post about how to sharpen your scissors if they get dull: https://www.wikihow.com/Sharpen-Scissors

If possible, use the patterns that are not hand-drawn. This is especially true for shapes like circles, hearts, etc. where the line should be smooth. If you draw a circle with your free hand, the circle won’t have smooth lines. If you want to make smooth cuts, it’s important that you have the pattern with smooth lines, too.

And don’t cut the paper pattern precisely. Always leave approximately 1 cm (3⁄8 in) around the pattern. 

Now let’s take a look at 6 different techniques of cutting felt.

6 Techniques for Cutting Felt

This may be the first thing you think about when asking yourself how to cut felt, but pinning a paper pattern on the felt is not a good option. The pinned paper pattern can slip a bit as you cut because it is not entirely flat when using pins. 

I tried using pins just once, and from then on, I don’t use them anymore. 

Here’s what I recommend you do instead.

To make your cutting easier, use 6 felt cutting techniques using different cutting tools described further in the article. I am sure you will find at least one that works best for your felt project!

Felt Cutting Technique No.1 “STEADY HAND”

When the patterns are simple and have straight lines or just smooth long curves and are the right size to hold them in place well, I don’t complicate. I just put the pattern on the felt and make sure that the felt piece is big enough for the design.

This method is not suitable for soft felt, because the felt can wrinkle and the shape won’t look nice.

How to cut felt with the “steady hand” technique?

  • The felt piece should be a little bigger than the pattern but not too much. This way, cutting will be easier,
  • Try to cut as much as possible without letting go of the design and the felt,
  • When you have to move the hand which holds the pattern and felt, use both hands to do that,
  • When you want to start cutting again, double-check that you aligned the pattern with the felt part you have already cut,

In short:
Felt cutting tools needed: sharp scissors.
Suitable for: stiff felt.
Pros: You don’t need any extra tools.
Cons: If you don’t have a steady hand, this method is not the best option.
I use this method for: cutting simple shapes, not too big or too small.

Felt Cutting Technique No.2 “CLIPS or STAPLE”

This method is best for shapes where you have to change hand position more often, or if your hand is not so steady and you cannot use the first method.

But make sure if you are using sewing clips, that are not too strong and don’t bend the paper pattern too much. Some crafters use the staple instead of clips. If you want to stape the pattern on the felt, always make a test first to ensure stapling through the felt won’t damage it.

How to cut felt with this method?

Use the same tips as for the method above. Try to put clips on one side so you will be able to cut as much as possible at once. This method is also good for soft felt.

In short:
Felt cutting tools needed: sharp scissors, sewing clips, or large paper clips.
Suitable for: soft & stiff felt.
Pros: you can cut more than one felt layer with this method.
Cons: Sometimes, clips can be more of a hindrance than a help. Practice can help, so you will know where to put clips and where to start cutting.
I use this method for: cutting larger simple shapes.

Felt Cutting Technique No.3 “ERASABLE PEN”

You will like this method if you don’t want to have the paper pattern on the felt while cutting. You can put the pattern on felt and draw around with an erasable pen.

This technique allows you to see where you cut, and cutting can be very accurate if the drawing around the pattern is accurate as well.

I don’t recommend printing patterns on printer paper when using this method. It’s better if you use thicker paper – you will drawing will be more accurate. You can’t use this technique for dark felt colors, because you won’t see the pen line.

If you don’t have an erasable pen, you can draw with a pencil or a permanent marker. You’ll need to cut on the inner side of the pattern line so there will be no line on the felt shape. You can also make a mirror transcription of the pattern, so you can turn it around after you cut it.

Spread your fingers over entire pattern.
Erasable pen
Pencil and permanent marker.

Some tips on cutting felt with this method:

  • Cut the paper pattern with long strokes of scissors to keep the lines as smooth as possible,
  • when transcribing the pattern on the felt, make sure one of your hands is always on the pattern, so the pattern doesn’t move. Also, spread your fingers over the entire surface of the pattern,
  • It’s much easier to transcript the pattern when you have your patterns on thicker paper.

In short:
Felt cutting tools needed: sharp scissors, erasable pen (or pencil or marker).
Suitable for: soft & stiff felt.
Pros: You cut just felt without a pattern on it.
Cons: The method is not suitable for dark felt. It can be time-consuming.

Felt Cutting Technique No.4 “TAPE”

This is an excellent method when you need to cut small or tiny felt pieces of felt with lots of straight cuts that change directions.

When using this method, always test the tape on your felt first! You will see how hard you can press the tape down, so when you are removing it, it won’t do damage the felt.

In short:
Felt cutting tools needed: scissors, tape.
Suitable for: soft & stiff felt.
Pros: You can use paper patterns many times because you always cut only through the tape.
Cons: If you press the tape too hard on the felt, it may stretch or stutter. 
I use this method for: cutting dark felt, where I can’t see the pen marks; for tiny pieces.

Felt Cutting Technique No.4 “FREEZER PAPER”

This felt cutting technique is the one you will find on many different web pages. They describe it as the method that gives you perfect shapes. I can’t say it’s not true – the result is impressive. But freezer paper can be hard to find and can be expensive. 

This technique is also the best one when you want to cut soft felt. With soft felt, it is challenging to get a good result. In this case, the freezer paper works like magic.

How to cut felt with the freezer paper?

  • first, trace the pattern onto the matte side of freezer paper,
  • cut out the big rectangle around the pattern,
  • put the rectangle with the pattern on the felt (wax side down),
  • place a fabric cloth on the freezer paper and iron it, so the freezer paper sticks to the felt (use NO steam),
  • cut the pattern,
  • peel off the freezer paper.

Here are some tips when using this method:

  • always use fabric cloth when ironing, so you won’t damage the felt while ironing the freezer paper on.
  • You can use the spray adhesive if you don’t want to transcribe the pattern on the freezer paper. Spray the adhesive on the backside of the printed pattern and press firmly onto the matte side of the freezer paper. This will save you some time, but take you some money for the adhesive spray.

In short:
Felt cutting tools needed: scissors, freezer paper, adhesive spray – optional.
Suitable for: soft & stiff felt.
Pros: Perfect shapes.
Cons: The method is more expensive than others. Also, sometimes it’s hard to acquire freezer paper.

Cutting Felt Technique No.6 “LET’S BUY IT”

Well, this is not really cutting, but the end result is the same.

You can get some basic shapes already pre-cut felt at craft stores. I found circles, hearts, alphabet, letters, flowers, etc. They look lovely, are not so expensive and can save you a lot of time.

Or you can get a DIY kit with all the materials included and pre-cut. If you want to make a quiet book for your child, I prepared such DIY quiet book kits for all my quiet book activities to help you save time and money.

In short:
Felt cutting tools needed: /
Pros: Perfect shapes.
Cons: You can’t choose the felt colors. Or the felt quality, which can be risky if you will use the felt for children’s toys.

Quiet book kits I prepared have the EN71 safety certificate, and are safe for your child.

There are also some other tools you can cut felt with, but I’ll write about them in another article.

Cutting Felt Letters and Numbers

When cutting felt letters and numbers, you have to cut out parts that are inside the shapes, for example, the holes in the letters A, B, P, etc. For sure a lot of times, the best option is to buy instead of cutting. You can find letters in different sizes in my DIY shop, too.

But if buying is not an option for you, then you should know cutting felt letters can be quite challenging and tricky. As you might guess, not all the methods I mentioned above are good for cutting felt letters and numbers.

How you can make it easier and quicker?

  • First, always cut with small sharp scissors. Some say it is easier when scissors are curved. Give it a try!
  • Make sure the letter or number shapes are suitable for cutting. That means they shouldn’t be too narrow,
  • If the letters are big enough, you can try to use the punching perforator for punching inside parts out. This method is much faster than cutting, but all the holes will be rounded shape,
  • The method with the freezer paper is probably best, but if you don’t have it, cut felt letters or numbers with the tape method. Make sure, the tape is all around the cutting shape,
  • You can also use a sewing detail knife to cut out holes.

I hope you have found a lot of useful information, that cutting felt will no longer be nerve-wracking and that you will be satisfied with the results.

I wish you a lot of joy while making (cutting) felt crafts!

Here are my other blog posts you might be interested in.

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