Every once in a while, I find myself needing to draw a circle that has a bigger diameter than that of a compass and bigger than anything I own meaning that I don’t have anything to trace.  While I could attempt to draw a circle freehand, my hand isn’t steady enough.  The answer? Make your own compass using a pencil and a string!  This method works on ANY surface and to create a circle of ANY size.

Tidbits&Twine- How to Make a Perfect Circle without a Templatte



  • Pencil
  • String
  • Tape Measure
  • Nail {alternatively, if you don’t want to use a nail, try using a Command hook so that you can remove it when done without leaving a mark}

Step 1

Put the nail in the desired location for the center of your circle.  Be sure to drive the nail in far enough so that it doesn’t wobble when you are making your circle.



Step 2

Determine the radius of your circle {not the diameter} and cut your string about 6 inches longer to allow for tieing it to the nail and to your pencil.



Step 3

Tie your string to the nail and to your pencil, double-checking your measurements to ensure your pencil mark matches your desired radius.

Tip: Use either a short pencil or tie your string toward the bottom tip of the pencil so as to minimize the impact of the angle of your pencil as you make a circle.


Step 4

Pull your string tight as you make your circle so that you maintain and equal distance as you move around the nail.  You might need to make a few practice runs to get the feel of it.  I did practice runs in pencil and my final pass in pen.


Step 5

Cut along the line and you’re done!  A big thank you to my friend Kelly who brought her jigsaw and cut my circle for me.  :)




A little paint and it’s done!

Tidbits&Twine - Creating a circle backdrop for my wall clock to make it look bigger and more dramatic



This is the method that I used to create the new backdrop for my wall clock, but you could do the same for drawing circles on a wall, making paper circles, etc.  The beauty of this method is that you can make a circle of any size without have a template.


Tidbits&Twine - Signature



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  1. Came out gorgeous! Thank u for all your great tips and beauty!

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