Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Cutting out paper hexagons and removing paper hexagons

I had an email from Diane. She printed out the hexagon template sheets from my blog and wanted to know if there is an easier way to cut apart the hexagons other than with scissors (e.g. a precision cutting knife or a rotary cutter and ruler). She also want to know when I remove the papers. So what does all of this mean? Time for a little demonstration.

How I cut paper hexagons

I print my hexagon templates on regular printer paper (20 lb stock). I know many people like cardstock and I've tried it but it is just too thick for me and I've found that when it comes time to join all the hexagons into a rosette or some other shape  the cardstock is rigid and that makes sewing difficult. However, I am a firm believer in doing/using what works for you so if it is cardstock by all means use cardstock.

I like to cut out my hexagons with scissors. One of the tricks is to have a good paper of scissors that you use for this purpose. Personally I love the Fiskars Micro-Tip Easy-Action scissors. They have a lovely sharp point that allows me to get into tight spaces and they are spring loaded so they are extremely comfortable to use. They are particularly helpful if you have arthritis in your finger joints.

The first thing I do is cut my hexagon sheet in half horizontally.This yields two smaller more manageable sheets to work with.

The next step is to cut the sides from each of the two sections.

I cut on the vertical lines and extend my cut beyond the point where the hexagons touch (inside the red circle).

To cut the hexagons I make the cuts indicated by the red lines. notice that the red cut extends beyond the point. This makes it easier to manoeuvre the scissors so that I can make the cut on the green line. As soon as I make the cut on the green line the hexagons is completely cut out. I repeat this process with all four side pieces. I usually work over a bowl or a box so that the hexagons can drop into it as soon as they are cut out.

Now all that is left are the two centre sections. I trim the excess paper from the outside edges using the technique described in the previous step. I cut on the red lines with the red lines stopping at the exact point where the hexagon corners touch. I make the cuts on the green lines and you will see that the two hexagons are now cut out.

The last step is to make two cuts as indicated by the green lines and then cut around the centre hexagon on the red lines. Each time I cut on the line another hexagon drops into my bowl.

The hexagon template could be cut with a ruler and rotary cutter/precision knife but there is a lot of wastage. Instead of cutting the sheet in half  as in the following picture one could cut on the red lines and then trim the hexagons. There would be less hexagons available per sheet.

There is another option for cutting out hexagons. You can find an excellent tutorial with easy tips for cutting multiple hexagons at Geta's Quilting Studio however the technique still involves some cutting with scissors. Geta's post also has a dowloadable pdf with six sizes of hexagons ranging from 1/2" to 2".

When do I remove my paper hexagonss?

First off I baste from the back because it is much gentler on the paper hexagons with means I can get multiple uses from each paper hexagon. To extend the life of the paper hexagon even further I
remove the paper hexagon as soon as it is completely surrounded by other hexagons. I have a bag of 1" papers that I've used to make four quilts. As soon as they get too soft to use they go in the recycling box!

That's it for today! I continue to work on The Meadery and I am making a class sample for techniques I will be teaching in London, Ontario in November. Lots of sewing to do and it is already sweltering and the cicada's are humming like crazy! I'm going to plop myself in front of the fan and try to do a little sewing! Until I post again, happy sewing!

Karen H


  1. Hi Karen, I am Erika, a follower of your blog from Plano, TX, USA, and have been doing a lot of hexagons already. Just now I noticed you are cutting yours out of the sheet of paper by hand. I know you are up in Canada, but here in my town, our local stores, like Michaels and Joann's have a cutter for different sizes of hexagons. It is a die cutter made by Fiskars, and it is located in the section of the store for all the paper crafting and scrapbooking. Hope that will help somebody to find some and do it that way.
    Like I said, I do not know if you have those stores up by you, but I think they sell them over the internet as well.

    1. Yes - I completely forgot about the Fiskars punches. I have two of them and they are a great option. In fact I did a blog post about them some time ago. I will update this post to mention Fiskars! Sorry I couldn't send you an email you but you are a no reply blogger! :-(

  2. That's how I cut mine, Karen. The one thing I also do is cut the hexagons apart by cutting exactly on the center of the black line that demarcates the hexagons. That way none are bigger than the other.

  3. That's how I cut mine, Karen. The one thing I also do is cut the hexagons apart by cutting exactly on the center of the black line that demarcates the hexagons. That way none are bigger than the other.

  4. That's how I cut mine, Karen. The one thing I also do is cut the hexagons apart by cutting exactly on the center of the black line that demarcates the hexagons. That way none are bigger than the other.

  5. Thank you!!!! You know, I've been using these cardboard stock papers from the companies online -- and I find them so thick too! It's so good to hear and see what you do. I will have to try this myself. Thanks for all the tips.

  6. Such a useful tute this Karen thank you. It could seem like an easy enough thing to cut templates but of course it isn't! And practical nifty ways of doing it are bound to be helpful to new and practised hexicolics anywhere.
    I prefer thinner templates and also prefer to cut my own too.
    I have the dies for cutting 1" and 1.5" hexis but still prefer to cut by hand lol
    It seems more in keeping with the traditional techniques somehow to me. Though clearly not for everyone.

  7. I really didn't like the price I paid for my papers but sadly I am not good with accuracy-awesome tutorial-thanks

  8. Thank you so much, Karen for answering my questions. Newbie to hexies but I want to try and see how I do. I have a little quilt in mind, so I'll see how it goes.

  9. Thanks--I need to print off some one inch papers and this will make the cutting a little faster than the way I've been doing it. I could never bring myself to do the rotary cutter/ruler method--so much waste of good hexies--yikes!!

  10. Thank you karen for this tuto !
    I usually use cardstock . I draw on it lots of hexies ant printed it each time I need !
    I cut them with scissors !
    We all have our favourite method to make beautiful hexies ! ;)

  11. Thanks again for another great tutorial.

  12. Thanks again for another great tutorial.

  13. I'm doing a project with irregular hexagons and lost my mind after cutting out one page of hexies. So I sent a pdf of my page to a friend with a silhouette cutter and did them all for me!