Article Type Making Art Together Making Art Together Categories Collage Theory and Resources

Studio Favorites: Circle Punches

Diana MacKenzie

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.

A materials tray including different colors and shapes of paper, oil pastels, and glue sticks.
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.
A team member cutting out yellow paper circles.
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.
A team member punching out green paper circles

Another one of our favorites for cutting circles is the Fiskars Squeeze Punch Round’ and Round’ seen above.  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!

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!  


Diana, smiling wearing an orange scarf and brown shirt.

Diana MacKenzie

Public Art Program Educator from 2007-2016, Diana has a BFA in Printmaking from Syracuse University and creates mixed-media works inspired by her travels, combining her interests in printmaking and sculpture. She received her M.A.T. from Mount Holyoke College in June 2017, and continues teaching visual arts to children and adults.
Explore Further
Making Art Together
Learn about some of the Art Studio’s favorite materials that have been tested over the years.
Making Art Together
Read about why the Art Studio loves this paper material!
Making Art Together
Experiment with paper and scissors to create layered artwork.
Making Art Together
Read about why the Art Studio intentionally limits materials for each Everyday Art Project.