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Vendor Spotlight and Giveaway: Olfa Rotary Circle Cutter

Reported by Erika Martin


When I cut a circle, I want perfection. I don’t want there to be any bumps where there shouldn’t be. I don’t want jagged edges or an oval. I want a circle – a perfect one. But that’s been hard to do on my own. I’ve used a protractor when I need an exact size, but the cutting doesn’t always go as I planned. I’ve traced around plates, bowls and cups and the results have never been quite what I wanted. Having the opportunity to review the Olfa Rotary Circle Cutter was something I REALLY wanted. Let me tell you….Mama likey!

When I first looked at the cutter, I was stumped as to how something so simple looking could cut circles. It almost seemed too good to be true that there weren’t a million pieces or a large glass cutting mat or big circle apparatus that I needed to use. For real? Just the simple ruler handle, blade, ratchet and spike? No way! It couldn’t be that easy.
The Olfa Rotary Circle Cutter cuts clean and perfect circles from 1 7/8 inch to 8 1/2 inches every time, and it can cut through multiple layers. It has a ratchet mechanism on it for easy turning so you can cut in one smooth movement. The blade is protected by a built-in blade cover for safety and the pivot spike also has it’s own plastic guard for when it’s not in use.

The cutter is designed with both left and right-handed users in mind as well as being designed to reduce wrist fatigue when it comes to needing to cut a multitude of circles for quilting patterns. According to the packaging, the Rotary Circle Cutter can cut cloth, leather, paper, vinyl, film, wallpaper and more. Best of all, Olfa guarantees their handles forever.
The Olfa website has a video demonstration to show how to use the cutter which was so helpful for me, seeing that the packaging only had a small picture on the front that served as instructions (though it did give the web address of the site on the back of the package for viewing a product demonstration). You can also find a PDF file that shows how to change the blade on the Rotary Circle Cutter on the website. The video demonstration actually made more sense on how to change the blade than the PDF did, though.
I took on a really big project for my first try with the Rotary Circle Cutter. My first quilt. Yes, you read that right, this was my first quilt. Quilting has always intimidated me due to the fact that all of the pieces have to be cut and sewn with precision and paper has always seemed to be more forgiving to me. I love sewing with patterns, but quilts scared me. When I thought about a way to use the Rotary Circle Cutter, I thought how easy it would be to make a quilt top with appliqued circles. So that’s exactly what I did.
Here’s a quick video I had my daughter take of me cutting out a circle using the cutter.
One thing that I wish the ruler on the handle had is numbers that mark the inches and centimeters and in between. it can be a bit confusing when measuring. I took care of that for myself by using a fine paintbrush and acrylic paint to mark the inch marks.

I had so much fun moving the measurement slide back and forth without having any certain sizes in mind. This was a great way for me to get used to using the tool without having to be so precise. I cut all different sizes and went through multiple layers of fabric to make the cutting quicker. Here’s the pile of circles that I cut out.
I decided to do a lap quilt since it only required cutting twice on some yardage of 45″ fabric. I left the selvages in place since they were narrow and would eventually be hidden by the side seams.

I spread my top piece of fabric out on the floor and arranged the circles until I got the look I wanted and then pinned them into place.



I then appliqued all of the circles using a zig-zag stitch and going for a primitive look (my kind of quilting) by not worrying about making sure the zig-zag stitched precisely on the edges of the circles. When the quilt is eventually washed, the edges of the circles should fray nicely and give it a homey look.

Because I don’t have a long-arm quilting sewing machine, I went even further primitive and used a needle and embroidery floss to tie off the quilt so the batting wouldn’t shift. I remember one of the quilts that my mother made when I was a little girl and loved looking at all of the little knots on the quilt that she used to tie it off.

The Rotary Circle Cutter was a great way for me to use up my scraps for this quilt and I’m so pleased with how it turned out. The plan is to have it on the couch for whoever wants to cuddle up with it, but my 11-year old daughter is going to summer camp for the first time ever and I told her she could take it with her. That made her so excited and she said that she can’t wait to show it off to her cabin mates. I’m just hoping that it makes its way back to the couch and not into her room. If that happens, I’ll just make another one since this one was so easy.
Now I wonder if she’ll expect me to make her a new quilt every year when she heads off to summer camp!

Next up was a yoga mat bag that I’ve had my eye on in the One Yard Wonders book (click on that link to see the review that I did on this book here on Craft Critique). I’ve even had the fabric bought for a year and sitting in my fabric cupboard. I finally got the chance to try it out because the fact that I needed to cut two circles at 6 1/2″ in diameter had me worried that I wouldn’t do it right.
Using the Rotary Circle Cutter gave me perfect 6 1/2″ diameter circles to use as the bottom of my yoga mat bag.

Pinning the circle was a breeze because the edges were cut flawlessly.


I honestly don’t doubt that this fabric would still be sitting in my fabric cupboard indefinitely if it weren’t that I were able to use the rotary circle cutter to finally get it done.
Now my poor yoga mat can stay clean in its new bag instead of sitting on the floor of the van at the mercy of the kids’ shoes and the dogs’ paws.

I wanted to try out the blade on paper, so I put together a quick shabby chic card using patterned paper and stitching. I cut out several sizes of patterned paper circles on top of a cutting mat. It was a bit different than cutting fabric since fabric has a more give and movement to it than paper does.

My first try didn’t go so well since I wasn’t giving enough pressure on the blade. Second time was perfect.

Here’s my pile of circles ready to go on a card.
The only drawback to cutting paper materials with the circle cutter is that the pivot spike does leave a pin hole right in the center of your paper circle.
Here’s my finished card. A simple stamp with some brown ink on top of one of the circles completed my card.

My last project was a felt covered journal. As you can tell, I like the look of overlapped circles, so that’s what I did with this journal.
I cut out different-sized felt circles, combined with some really small circles that I cut with a die cut machine, and then hand stitched them onto the felt. The cutter sliced through the felt like a hot knife through butter.

The Rotary Circle Cutter retails for $26.99 and can be purchased on the Olfa website. Replacement blades retail for $7.99 for a pack of two blades. If you’re looking for a rotary cutter that cuts larger than 8 1/2 inches, there’s also the Heavy Duty Compass Circle Cutter.
Regardless of the few cons that I found, overall, Mama likey! This will definitely become an indispensable tool in my craft room. I’m already planning some other projects that I want to use this on: bean bags, pincushions, round potholders, and more. With some adult supervision (after all, that blade and pivot spike are SHARP), my daughter and I are going to have some major sewing fun with this tool.

Pros:
  • Cuts easy and perfect circles every time.
  • Ratchet handle for smooth cutting and cuts with one fluid motion.
  • Designed for left and right-handed crafters.
  • Cuts circles from 1 7/8 to 8 1/2 inches
  • Cuts cloth, leather, paper, vinyl, film, wallpaper and more.
  • Reduces wrist fatigue.
  • Blade and pivot spike both have safety guards.
  • Lightweight and simple to use.
  • Olfa has a “forever guarantee” on their products.
  • Super sharp and durable stainless steel blade.
Cons:
  • Measurements on handle are only marked by lines, but do not include inch or centimeter numbers.
  • Product only comes with a small photo diagram on the front of the packaging to show how to use the product. For more information on how to use this product and how to change the blades, you need to access a video demonstration and PDF file on the Olfa website. This is a disadvantage for those without internet access.
  • Pivot spike leaves a pinhole in the center of any paper materials you cut.
GIVEAWAY!
Our friends at Olfa have given us gift pack to give to two lucky readers. Leave a comment answering the following question to be entered:

 
How do you cut circles? Does the Olfa Rotary Circle Cutter look easier than your current system?

One comment per person per article (this is the fourth of four, over a two-day span), please. Winners will be chosen on Saturday, July 9, 2011.


Disclosure
Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

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49 Responses to Vendor Spotlight and Giveaway: Olfa Rotary Circle Cutter

  1. Molossus July 6, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

    How do you cut circles? I avoid it at all possible, lol! Scissors, if I must. Does the Olfa Rotary Circle Cutter look easier than your current system? Oh my, yes!

  2. Do Be Do Bead Do July 6, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    This looks so much easier than lugging my cricut or other die cutter out to cut circles (which is what I do now). Must. Have. This.

  3. jjocarlson July 6, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    I have a fiscars circle cutter! Is does alright of a job!

  4. Phyllis Strickland July 6, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    Lets see if I can’t punch the circle with with a paper punch it doesn’t happen! That is unless I need a lot of them AND don’t need to stamp on them. In that case it is worthwhile to set up my Cricut and find a cartridge with circles. Cricut has drawbacks, too because it cuts in 1/4″ increments.
    I have a Circle Scissors but don’t it for a number of reasons.
    So yes this looks like a fabulous solution to my problem.

  5. Skittl1321 July 6, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    I use a plastic template (the one with concentric circles) for cutting paper…it works okay.

    But OMG! THIS is brilliant. I avoid circles for fabric, but have always wanted to work with them. This cutter looks amazing.

  6. Kayla and Samuel July 6, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    Oh my goodness! Easier than my current method of using a cup, tracing around it and then cutting with scissors only to find my circles aren’t quite even on all sides? I should say this would be easier. I was just wishing the other day that there was such a product in existence. I can’t believe you only need one hand to operate this little GEM!!

  7. Jan Castle July 6, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    I usually use a Spellbinders die and my Big Shot to cut circles. I have tried a number of circle cutters and have a difficult time…would love to give this one a try!!! Thanks for the chance and fo the great critique!
    Jan Castle

  8. Leah July 6, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    I currently use a Fiskers circle cutter and have never been satisfied with it. I might be a bit of a perfectionist, so having a perfect circle would be fabulous!

  9. Tiffany July 6, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

    Perfect! I currently use a Sizzix, but I love that this Olfa has so many different diameter choices. [Lovely lap quilt too, by the way!]

  10. Denise ~ Paper Ponderings July 6, 2011 at 1:37 pm #

    Wow…fantastic projects…I am impressed!! I cut circles either using the old circle cutter where you swing the arm around on the glass piece or my newer EK Success circle cutter. But this looks fantastic!

  11. Queen Mary July 6, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

    Erika, I love your reviews (er, Craft Critique, I love Erika’s reviews); it’s not that others aren’t good, it’s just that Erika’s are organized as if she and I were sitting and chatting and she is answering my questions as they come up! Right now for fabric I cut out circles by hand, and I am definitely sold on the Olfa system! Now, can I hold off going to buy one until you announce the winners???? Factoring in the probability of winning, having to be in the office, except not on friday, we’ll see!

  12. LisaAnn July 6, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

    Right now I avoid circles, even though I love them, because I do not have a circle cutter of any sort and have to trace a plate, or whatever, and cut with scissors. It would be great to win this!

    Lhy5@yahoo.com

  13. Scrapycandy July 6, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

    I cut by hand and this tool is clearly what I have been looking for. Thanks so much!

  14. McStamper July 6, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    I have circle punches and spellbinder dies. I would love this for fabric and being able to cut circles with 1 tool. Love your felt
    creation.

  15. RMC July 6, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

    Oh how I could use this! I’m still finding round objects around the house for my circles, tracing them, and then cutting them out…so archaic!!

  16. funkycrafter July 6, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

    i don’t use many big circles because i have no way to cut them, except by hand. this tool looks very useful and easy to use. i do mostly paper but wouldn’t mind a pinhole in the center. an embellie would easily cover it up.

  17. Janelle July 6, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    I have a Creative Memories Circle punch that I use for paper but I would LOVE to have this to use on felt and fabric!

  18. KarenB July 6, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

    I was really impressed!! I’ll definitely be getting one of these!!
    I wonder if they will come out with an “extender” so larger circles can be cut. I would love to be able to cut my own cardboard cake boards in 10″ & 12″. I’m so glad you reviewed this, otherwise I would never have known about it!

  19. Leah July 6, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    By hand! This system looks much better!

  20. Callie Callender July 6, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

    This looks amazing! I cut circles now by tracing then cutting… not so nice… this would be terrific to have!

  21. Lori July 6, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    ACK!! I love it I love it I love it!! This is WAY better than searching around the kitchen for the perfect bowl, canned good or plate for circle tracing!!
    I’ve thought many times about getting a die cutter just for the circles- but I didn’t like how I was stuck with two or three set sizes. This is a dream.
    AND the chance to win? Best… post… ever.

  22. Justin and Kitara July 6, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    I generally try to avoid circles, but if I have to I trace whatever I can find.

  23. Kathy July 6, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

    I cut circles easily and quickly with my Coluzzle, and I am happy with it. The problem with it is that it only cuts to about 8.5″. I need a circle cutter that cuts 9-12″ circles. I have another circle cutter that is a pain to pull out and use, and only cuts three sizes…..still not the 11-12″ circles that I want. So I use a pie plate to cut them! I would likely not use this cutter, although I sure would give it a go if I won it!

  24. Dawnica July 6, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

    Because cutting a true circle is very hard to do, I don’t cut them out. I would sure love to win the Olfa circle cutter. I saw a really cute quilt with circles on it, but will for go the idea unless I have one of these.
    Thanks for a chance to win such a great prize.
    Love your quilt, and book cover and other projects.
    http://www.dawnicakorner.blogspot.com

  25. Karen July 6, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

    I have a really hard time cutting circles. I usually make a paper template, pin it to the fabric and cut. This cutter looks like it gives a professional edge which I would love to have.

  26. Larissa Heskett July 6, 2011 at 5:46 pm #

    WOW!! I have NEVER seen this NEAT TOOL before!! I am SO GLAD that you made a video for us!! =) I’d like to have one!! Right know I don’t have anything to cut circles on fabric, but I have the Maartha Stewart circle cutter that I use on paper and I LOVE IT!! I use scissors and a stencil on fabric!!
    THANKS again for the demo and the chance to win!!
    HAVE A FABULOUS DAY!! =)

  27. KanataNewf July 6, 2011 at 6:42 pm #

    hmm, for smaller circles, it would be my compass and scissors. for larger circles, tie a string around a pencil to draw out the circle and then cut out with the scissors. this would definitely be easier!

  28. rush July 6, 2011 at 7:18 pm #

    recently, i cut circles using the fiskars plate and circle cutter. pretty soon, my order for circle cookie cutter dies will be here, and i will be using that method mostly. no holes in the center.

  29. Georgee July 6, 2011 at 8:48 pm #

    Right now if I need to cut circles I have to use scissors and something round for a template. Finding the correct size of plate, bowl, etc to use as a template is hard sometimes. If I had the Olfa Rotary Circle Cutters I could cut circles around anyone, anytime, for anything!!! This would be a great tool to have for quilting, sewing, designing, scrapping, etc. Thanks for the opportunity to win one.

  30. Karen July 6, 2011 at 10:23 pm #

    I either trace some sort of object and cut but that is always jagged. My best way is the die cutter but that has it’s limitations. I would love to win this awesome tool!!!
    Have a happy crafting day!!!
    Karen dkolopez@msn.com

  31. Sue D July 6, 2011 at 10:36 pm #

    I cut circles from paper with dies in a die cutting machine. I haven’t cut fabric yet.

  32. Irit Shalom July 6, 2011 at 11:57 pm #

    As the only circle cutter I has is this old Colluzle thing- I would gladly try this Olfa’s cutter.

  33. catnap July 7, 2011 at 7:26 am #

    I don’t, unless I’m paper crafting and use a punch. Thus I’m limited to the size of the punches I have. This looks terrific. I LOVE your quilt.

  34. carpediem July 7, 2011 at 7:47 am #

    i don’t have a way of cutting fabric circles. i currently use circle punches to cut circles out of paper. laura j

  35. Shaaron July 7, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    Just as mentioned in the review, I use something round, trace around it and cut it out. Not good. This is so wonderful. I don’t have too many new gagets on the market but this is a must have for sure.

  36. Carol July 7, 2011 at 11:45 am #

    How do I cut circles…I don’t…in past experiences they just did not turn out. I watched video and was totally amazed at how easy it was…and one handed…I could hardly believe it…thank you for the chance to win one…I would love it!

  37. RedGem July 7, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    Love the tutorial and the link to the OLFA video… I currently don’t have a circle cutter always using a compass, but it has limitations and very hard on fabric. Would love to win this product.

  38. rudie2shoes July 7, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    This product looks awesome. I’ve tried out another circle cutter before but it was really bad so I had to return it. This one looks super easy & precise. 🙂

  39. Aznewmom July 7, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

    Yes, this looks easier than what I have now. I have a very old fiskars cutter. I have always found it tough to hold down and turn it at the same time. Like someone else said…….I try to avoid circles. 🙂 I usually just make a mess of them.
    Thanks for a chance to win this cutter. It looks like a nice one to try. Too bad the lines don’t have measurements. I guess a sharpie marker could help with that problem.

    Cheers,
    Stacy

  40. annesatx July 7, 2011 at 10:34 pm #

    If I can’t use a die or a punch to make a circle, I avoid it altogether, as I can’t cut one out neat enough for my own satisfaction. So itwould be great to win this!

  41. Maya July 8, 2011 at 12:05 am #

    In the past I’ve outlined circles with a compass and cut them out with scissors, a very tedious but rewarding feat when there are many circles in question. I generally also put a small cushion at the needle point of my compass, to avoid the pinhole phenomenon demonstrated in your review. This circle cutter looks MUCH easier to use than my system 🙂 I had been looking into getting a scallop punch for a little bit before I found cutters similar to this one, but the Olfa device looks far superior than many that I’ve seen. I love your review of it also, as it gives a first-hand view of what to expect and even a concise summary of pros and cons. As a super beginner in crafting, I will be following this website much more for help. Thanks for the chance to win this wonderful cutter!

  42. Vanina July 8, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

    ooohhh… that is so cool! i love love love it! i cut my circles with my scissors, and it is a pain… without a doubt using the Olfa tool would be extremely easy!

  43. Charo July 8, 2011 at 8:23 pm #

    This tool looks very interesting. I will like to try it.
    thank you!

  44. kaheels July 8, 2011 at 9:53 pm #

    I cut circles using a compass and small scissors and a lot of frustration. Oh man, I love my Olfa rotary cutter and would love to apply that productivity and precision to circles. I’d put circles on everything.

  45. Melody (lacyquilter) July 8, 2011 at 11:47 pm #

    What a fabulous tool. I’ve cut many a circle by hand. I have a fiskars circle cutter, which works fine for paper, or die cutting tools (with limited sizes). This tool sounds perfect.

  46. Crystal July 9, 2011 at 4:23 pm #

    I’d love to try cutting circles with one of these! I just hand cut now, and they end up all wonky!

  47. Laura Stewart July 10, 2011 at 8:03 pm #

    nothing right now, this looks great!

  48. Kayla and Samuel July 11, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

    So, does anybody know who won these Olfa giveaways, I’ve only found one winner…Thanks

  49. nopinkhere July 17, 2011 at 9:29 pm #

    I have one of these and I LOVE it!