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In English paper piecing we use paper templates cut into specific shapes and wrap the fabric around them before stitching the pieces together.
You can, of course, purchase the already-cut English paper piecing shapes like hexagons, if you really want to. But what if you only need just a few hexies, or you want to save some money?
Buying pre-cut paper EPP templates is NOT the only way to get your hands on the shapes you need for your next project.
Why not try making your own instead?
By the end of this article, you'll discover five easy ways to make your own paper templates for English paper piecing.
How Do You Make EPP Hexies?
I have found five different ways to make EPP hexies and other EPP shapes. Each method requires some basic equipment. The cost of which ranges from free to several hundred dollars.
I'll cover each one here along with the pros and cons of each. Let's begin with the smallest investment first.
1. Hand Cutting with Scissors
Hand cutting your own EPP shapes is the least expensive way to make your own. It's also the simplest because all it requires is some paper and a pair of scissors.
This is a great method if you want English paper piecing templates TODAY.
All you need are a few simple tools and supplies. You most likely already have everything you need to get started.
Simply download my free printable English paper piecing hexagon templates. Print the template sheet on your printer. Cut each shape out along the lines with scissors, one shape at a time.
You might enjoy this slow process. I know I did when I was first exploring EPP. It's very meditative and relaxing and is a great way to take a break from this fast-paced world.
Therapeutic, low/no-stress, portable, any shape possible, No special equipment needed.
Too slow for production, may create inaccurate wonky shapes.
2. Hand Cutting with Rotary Tools
Another inexpensive way to make your own EPP templates is with rotary cutting tools. This method goes much faster than the scissor method because you can cut several layers of paper at once.
If you've been a quilter for any length of time then you already have everything you need to get started. So it's great if you want to make English paper piecing templates TODAY.
Download my free English paper piecing PDF templates. Choose the size you want to make and print a few copies onto paper or cardstock.
Grab your rotary cutter, mat, and ruler. Stack several blank pages under one of your printouts. Align your ruler along the dotted lines and cut with the rotary blade. Then go back and cut each corner off to make the hexagon shape.
Here's my video tutorial showing you how to cut printable English paper piecing templates using your rotary cutter for more efficiency and accuracy than with your scissors.
Faster than scissors, More accurate than scissors, any shape possible.
Scissors may still be needed for small cuts or curved shapes.
3. Paper Punch
Many quilters who also love paper crafts may have an additional tool that can make EPP templates fairly quickly and easily. It's called a paper punch tool.
It's basically a die-cutter with only one die. So one punch will only make one shape in one size. If you want multiple shapes and sizes, you would need to purchase a different punch for each.
Obviously, these would not be cost-effective if you want to make a lot of EPP templates but they're great if you always use the same shape in the same size for most of your projects.
Simply stack a couple of pieces of paper together and insert them into the punch, push down on the punch, and voila! You've got two EPP templates.
Easy to use, Accurate cuts every time.
Limited shapes and sizes, Slow.
4. Die Cutting
Die cutters seem to be all the rage right now. It's a machine that will cut paper or fabric in any shape you can find a die for. It's a fairly quick way to cut multiples at once since a die cutter is designed to be able to cut through multiple layers of paper and fabric.
To make EPP templates, one would need the die cutter as well as a die for each shape and size wanting to be cut. Much like the punch I mentioned above.
This could be a good investment if you also enjoy applique, as there are many different dies available that make beautiful and fun applique designs in addition to geometric shapes for EPP.
If you are interested in this method of making English paper piecing templates, check these brands to see if they make dies in the shapes and sizes you prefer.
Precise, Fast, Also cuts fabric!
Requires dies to cut, Limited shapes, Limited sizes, Expensive.
5. Electronic Cutter
Another great tool for making English paper piecing templates is an electronic like this Silhouette Cameo. This is actually my preferred way of cutting EPP shapes.
This thing can cut all sorts of different materials, from paper to fabric, to vinyl and more!
If you're looking to make English paper piecing templates very quickly and super fast then consider using a cutter like this.
Not only is it accurate, but you can create ANY shape in ANY size simply by drawing it with the machine's software. Keep in mind that there is a bit of a learning curve before you can just go in and start cutting shapes. You must first learn how to use the software.
Silhouette provides great tutorials on how to get started. So don't let this deter you if you're considering investing in an electronic cutter.
Precise, Superfast, Custom cutouts, Also cuts fabric!
Expensive, Learning curve
These are the five ways I have found to make EPP hexies and other shapes at home. Choose the method best for you.
Download my free English paper piecing PDF templates. Use one of the first two methods above to cut them out making inexpensive EPP templates today.
If you find that you need a lot of templates for your project and don't want to hand-cut them, perhaps a die cutter or electronic cutter is a better option for you.
Or if you'd prefer not to cut your own templates at all and would rather purchase pre-cut templates, visit my shop!
Either way, I hope this post was helpful and you've discovered a new way to make EPP shapes from home.
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