Printed out the template onto regular printer paper. Felt a little chumpy about using the template since it's just 3 circles in ascending sizes, but let's be honest. I'm not going to figure out how to make circles in the designated sizes, so I'd best just be grateful they're giving this away for free.
Cut out the paper circles. Took a deep breath.
Noticed some thick cardboard poking out of one of the bags in my crafting room. Is it silly to mount the paper template onto this thick cardboard? Can I even cut through the cardboard with my scissors? Does it even really matter?
Oh, it always matters. Lest ye forget. It always matters.
Figured I might as well give it a go. Used some of my awesome adhesive that I use when making cards, adhered one paper circle at a time to the thick cardboard, and started cutting.
That cardboard doesn't look particularly thick, I realize -- it's probably 1/8" max -- but it still wasn't terribly fun to do in that it required using some hand strength. Delicate flower that I am, I prefer tests of hand endurance over tests of hand strength. Oh, I'll knit or hand-quilt for hours at a stretch, but don't make me squeeze something hard. I just don't care for it.
But I did it. And I'm glad I did.
It really came in handy later.
So now there I was, face to face with these three circles on cardboard and a pile of untouched felt. This is a place I've been before. I know it well. Somebody's got to make the next move. And that somebody is me. But which oh which move to make? Answer: The one that yields 200 felt circles being cut without anyone losing a limb or a week.
How about if I just hold the mounted template down onto the felt then cut around with my rotary cutter on my self-healing mat?
FAIL. This was impossible. No way to get around the circle well. Just blech. What's funny is that this was so close to the best solution, yet it would take me several more flings with fails to finally get there. (Flings With Fails might be a good band name, but I think it's really better in the "Flings featuring Fails" configuration, you know, the way all the hip kids are doing it these days. I am so cool.)
Then I remembered the tremendous success I've had with washable markers. Yeah! Let's do that! Washable Marker!
No. Let's not. What am I gonna do, cut this out and then carefully wash away the residual purple ink along the edges? For 200 circles? No. I am in fact not going to do that.
How about using something lighter like those Chacopel Fines that I won't have to wash off?
Yes. This seemed to be going well -- tracing around the template with the pencil, then cutting the felt circle out with my fancy scissors. (Eeep! If you follow that scissors link, there's a futuristic looking seam ripper they've got going on that looks like no joke. Whoo-eee. What will they think of next?!)
So, after about an hour of tracing and cutting, here's what I had:
Seventeen circles and the sinking feeling that this was not the best way.
Also! Friendly tip!
In case you're thinking that you like this pencil method and that you'd be able to speed through it more quickly than I would, fair enough. But be warned: using the handy Chacopel brush to get rid of the marks you've made en-fuzzens the edges, because that's what happens when you BRUSH felt. If you decide to leave the marks on to keep your edges intact, the whole thing will look faded and crappelle. But to each her own. Do what you must.
Gee, if only there were some way to mark the fabric without leaving some visible residue.
The Hera marking tool! Makes a crease rather than a mark! Oh, right. FAIL. Can't get around the circle well. Can't see the crease. I made a crappy mark and a crappy circle. So sleepy.
In the process of trying to clean up the mess that this method made, I held the cardboard template against the felt between my thumb and forefinger of my left hand and used the scissors in my right hand. Turning my left hand in a circular motion while keeping the scissors relatively stable, I zipped around that thing so fast I think I actually laughed out loud.
At the two hour point, I had this many:
And by the next morning, I had all the circles I needed:
200 circles... plus a few to grow on, just by holding the template in place against the felt and cutting around it with scissors.
The fact that the cardboard was thick meant I wasn't shaving slivers off of the template as a cut around it, so I do recommend a thick mount. (Oh, get your mind out of that gutter, pervs!)
I found the whole thing quite soothing and fun in the end.
I'd like to think that my process of discovery here can help someone out there. Not only does that make me a super-helpful blogger friend, but it also keeps me from having to admit that I may very well be the slowest kid in craft school.
Next step: Sewing!