This paper discusses the problem of placing weighted items in a circular container in two-dimensional space. This problem is of great practical significance in various mechanical engineering domains, such as the design of communication satellites. Two constructive heuristics are proposed, one for packing circular items and the other for packing rectangular items. These work by first optimizing object placement order, and then optimizing object positioning. Based on these heuristics, an ant colony optimization (ACO) algorithm is described to search first for optimal positioning order, and then for the optimal layout. We describe the results of numerical experiments, in which we test two versions of our ACO algorithm alongside local search methods previously described in the literature. Our results show that the constructive heuristic-based ACO performs better than existing methods on larger problem instances.