Posts Tagged ‘tutorial’

Hump day crafts: Cricut vinyl

July 14, 2010

I haven’t had much time to craft lately, but I have plenty of finished projects to get up here. Today, I thought I’d highlight a few things about working with cricut vinyl. It really doesn’t have to be cricut vinyl. You can buy nice vinyl from a variety of sources (or get free scraps from a sign shop if you’re lucky) or even use contact paper for some applications. But learning to cut this on your cricut opens the door to all sorts of new crafts.

I’m still new to the world of cricut vinyl, but it is just too much fun. I’ve used the vinyl and contact paper to make stencils for all of my glass etching. I’ve decorated water bottles, 3-ring binders, and white boards. Here I’ll detail how I decorated a small notions box to create a personalized gift: a chocolate emergency kit.

First, you’ll need to cut the vinyl. I use a depth setting of 2 with pressure set to medium. For me, this cuts the vinyl but leaves the backing intact, making it easier to work with. You may need to practice getting your settings right. Then you need to weed your design. This is the process of pulling out all the vinyl that you won’t be using. For this design, it looked like this:

cut and weeded vinyl

If you’re using your vinyl as an etching stencil, you’ll want to pull out the opposite — the stuff you want etched. You’ll also need to use your craft knife (or a rectangle in Design Studio) to cut the outside edge of your stencil.

Next, you apply your transfer tape. I have some from cricut, although sometimes I use contact paper in place of my transfer tape. On the plus side, it’s cheaper. On the minus side, I can’t see through it as well when placing my design. I’ve also read that you can’t leave contact paper on it for very long, but you can with transfer paper. I’ve been doing my vinyl projects in one sitting, so haven’t run into this problem yet.

Here’s my project with transfer tape smoothed over it:

vinyl with transfer tape

Use the transfer tape to pull your design off the vinyl backing. Here’s what it looks like from the back:

vinyl with transfer tape - back

Next, you apply the vinyl and transfer tape to your project. You want to be sure to not trap any air bubbles under the vinyl. If you’re putting it on a flat project, it’s not too hard. But you’ve got you’re work cut out for you if it’s going on a curved surface. Occasionally for the etching stencils I’ve had to cut little slits in curves and corners when working on wine glasses and candle holders. In any case, use a credit card, brayer, or other tool to help you smooth the vinyl out.

Once the vinyl’s on there good, get ready to pull the transfer tape off. I find it best to move slowly, pulling back at a sharp angle , with a small tool on hand to hold/push down any vinyl threatening to come up.

pulling off transfer tape

If everything goes alright, one final smoothing should do it for you. Now your project’s ready to go (or ready for etching). My finished project:

finished project

Yes, I filled it with chocolate before presenting it as a gift. And it was much appreciated!

A few things about this project. This the first thing I designed in Cricut Design Studio. It’s not necessarily easy software to work with, but it’s kind of fun. I was working with the trial version, so was limited to using the Plantin Schoolbook cartridge. Also, I tried alcohol inks on the vinyl for the first time ever. I liked the look, and it did not stain my cricut cutting mat. I’ll have to pick up some more colors, so I can play with that more.

I had a tough time jumping in with the vinyl on the cricut. It just seemed so expensive and permanent. (Although many vinyls are removable at least for awhile.) I hope this will inspire someone to make something beautiful. Happy crafting!


Hump day crafts: etched glass mug

February 3, 2010

Happy Wednesday! Here’s another project idea that you can get started on with little or no skill. Not that skilled people won’t enjoy this.  I probably have some skills, I just haven’t found them yet, so I try to help others find projects they can easily get into. Today, it’s glass etching. Now, someday I’ll probably get into engraving , but etching is not as tool or skill intensive, so that’s where I’ve started.

First things first. You will need to get a few things. Glass etching cream (I’ve only seen Armour Etch) and a paintbrush are the essentials. Other things I used: protective gloves (whatever pair is closest, because I really try to keep the stuff off my hands, so these are in case of emergency only – oh, and protective eyewear too), masking tape, and a toothbrush. Oh, and a stencil that will stick to glass. You can purchase glass stencils or cut them from adhesive vinyl or contact paper. (Another use for your Cricut!)

Once you have your stencil, apply it to your glass object. Make sure it is well adhered around the stenciling area. Otherwise the cream can leak and you’ll get ugly etched boogers around your design. Also, you can use the masking tape to created a larger protective edge around your stencil to avoid getting cream on adjacent areas. Then with all your protective gear (and the kids napping or locked out of the room so they don’t try to touch it) apply the etching cream thickly to your stenciled areas. Any paintbrush should do, unless your cream says otherwise.

Next, wait the amount of time listed in your cream’s instructions, then rinse off. Here’s where I find the toothbrush comes in handy. Take care in removing your stencil. Most (including vinyl cut with your Cricut!) are reusable. Rinse again, then dry and admire your beautiful new creation where only plain glass was before. (Hopefully yours doesn’t look as dusty as mine!)

Now, go hit your glass cabinets or the dollar store and start creating wonderful gifts — to give or keep for yourself!

Note: The stencil above was created with Cricut vinyl on my Cricut with Sports Mania and the Street Sign font cartridge.

Hump day crafts: Tri-fold shutter card

January 27, 2010

Some weeks you just need a little boost to make it to the weekend. In this spirit, I offer hump day crafts. Just a little project or idea on Wednesday that you can either take a short break to do or think about to get you through until you have time to tackle it on the weekend.

This week we’ve got a tri-fold shutter card. I made my first one following this tutorial. Even though I didn’t have much time to embellish mine ( I was late for my mom’s birthday party), it still wowed everyone. (Some days it’s good to be the only cardmaker around.) Here’s my take on it:

You’ll need a piece of cardstock (5.5×12 inches for a 4×5.5 card), something to score it with, a cutting tool (x-acto knife), and paper and various things to embellish it with.

Steps 1 & 2: Score at 2, 4, 8 and 10 inches. Cut from the 2 to 10 inch scorelines 1-1/2 inches from the top and bottom.

Step 3: Fold. Using the top and bottom portion, fold at 4 and 8 inches making a Z (with the front of the card as the top of the Z). For the center portion, the fold will go the opposite direction at 4 & 8 inches. You will also fold back at 2 inches and forward at 10.

Step 4: Decorate. It’s best to cut your paper for each section, so it doesn’t buckle or pull when folded. Here’s the front of mine:

Not perfect, but it was a first attempt done in a short time.

These are a lot of fun to make, to give and to get, so start planning your next tri-fold shutter card now! Happy Hump Day!