DIY Circle Cutter

Written by jagg xaxx
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DIY Circle Cutter
Circles are easy with the right gadget. (circle frame image by Aleksey Bakaleev from

Many crafts and projects require cutting accurate circles out of paper, cardboard, foam, or other materials. While you can do this freehand to a certain tolerance, you will get a much more accurate circle by using a simple-to-build jig that directs your blade in a near perfect circle. A similar technique can be modified to work with different tools, including jigsaws and other power tools.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Dowel or piece of wood longer than the radius of the circle you want, 3/4 inch diameter
  • Piece of scrap wood
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Screw, 1 inch long
  • X-acto knife

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  1. 1

    Drill a pilot hole through one end of the dowel, one inch from the end. The pilot hole should be the same diameter as the shaft of the screw you are using, not including the threads. The pilot hole will allow the threads to bite into the wood of the dowel but will prevent the shaft of the screw from splitting the wood.

  2. 2

    Drill a test hole that you think is the same dimension as the shaft of your X-acto knife through a piece of scrap wood. Test the knife in it. The right size hole should allow you to push the knife tightly into it so that the knife is held firmly by the wood.

  3. 3

    Drill the right-sized hole for the X-acto knife through the dowel, the same distance from the screw hole as the radius of the circle you want to cut.

  4. 4

    Screw the screw into the pilot hole, until just enough of the point is sticking through the other side that it will seat itself in the material that you will be cutting.

  5. 5

    Press the X-acto knife into the hole that you drilled for it.

  6. 6

    Secure the tip of the screw at the centre of the material you are going to cut, and pull the dowel in a smooth circle, allowing the tip of the X-acto knife to cut the material.

  1. 1

    Replace the screw with a suction cup if you are cutting material that can't have a mark in the middle (the centre screw will leave a mark). Alternatively, secure a small piece of cardboard at the centre of the material so the point of the screw goes into the cardboard and not into the material.

  2. 2

    Make your circle cutter capable of cutting differently sized holes by drilling holes for the X-acto knife all the way down the dowel.

  3. 3

    Use the circle cutter to draw circles by putting a pencil in it instead of an X-acto knife. Either find a pencil that is the same diameter as the X-acto knife, or alternate the holes in the dowel for the X-acto knife with holes that are sized for the pencil.

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