Archive for January, 2009

Filled in letters with Cricut markers

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I’ve heard a few folks looking for a way to create filled in text or shapes when using markers in their Cricut machine. Normally when you cut or draw letters, you get the outline of the font, with open space in the middle. In this Video Tutorial I’ll show you how to apply a screen pattern to the text in Inkscape so that it will fill in with your Cricut markers.

A couple of things to remember

1. Do not try to cut files you make this way, they are for markers only.

2. The size of the screen pattern should not be changed, so work in actual size and import into SCAL at that same size.

3. This takes a very long time to finish marking on the Cricut so take that into account when using this technique.

Download the screen file

Update 8/18/09 here are some great, much simpler, tips for solid lettering with markers on the Cricut from HeatherM.

January 31, 2009 at 4:44 pm 6 comments

A cure for inkjet transfer disaster

I made some awesome inkjet transfer t-shirts last week for all the parents of one of my kid’s teams. We looked great at the competition until one of the kids got the idea to start splashing water at his folks. The thick bar of black ink bordering the design began to run (I didn’t have time to wash the shirts before handing them out). Our shirts made it out unscathed and then I accidentally left them wet in the washing machine, which is always a no-no with inkjet transferred shirts.

With another competition coming up I didn’t want to just throw the practically brand new shirts away. I had an old box of Dylon Run Away in the laundry room and I figured I didn’t have anything to lose so I tried it on the shirts. I thought it might take the stray ink out, but I figured it would also destroy the design, since it is for white fabrics only. After using the hot water in the sink method, I was elated to discover that the shirts were repaired completely! The inkjet design was a little faded, but not any more than it would have been after a few washings.

So if you run into stains from bleeding inkjet transfers, I recommend you try Dylon Run Away (box shown below). Unfortunately, I don’t remember where I got it and I’m not even sure it is made anymore, but I understand that Rit Color Remover is similar so that might be an alternate solution.

ndyrun

January 28, 2009 at 6:43 am Leave a comment

Customizable paper doll vectors

OK, this is a little bit of a contorted process, but if you are a paper doll fan, stay tuned. Once upon a time, there was a standalone computer program called Doll Factory from Pebble Creek Studios created so scrapbookers could print and cut out paper dolls for their pages. The product and company haven’t been heard from in years, but a demo version is still hosted on the Epson site.

Doll Factory demo download

If you do not already have a utility or driver on your computer to print to pdf, Download and install one. I use Cute PDF on my PC.

Open Doll Factory and design your doll following the very easy steps on the screen. Be sure to load up on accessories.

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When you are done, go to tab 5 and click on the page that shows the whole scene in color.

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Now click Print, but instead of choosing a printer, choose Cute PDF  to save as a pdf file. It will prompt you for a file name and save location. Be sure to store it where you will be able to find it.

Open Inkscape and import your new PDF. Click OK with the default import settings. Select the entire drawing and ungroup (under the Object menu).

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You will see boxes appear around each element and you can rearrange them by color or however you like.

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As you can see from the outline view, these shapes are already vectors and don’t need to be traced.

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When you get the file how you like it, save it as an svg and import into SCAL. Once you’ve extracted all the outlines you want, just keep them stored in Inkscape files and you won’t have to go back to Doll Factory.

And there ya have it. It’s not like I didn’t warn you about the geekiness.

January 27, 2009 at 6:00 am 8 comments

The geeky way to install vinyl

A while back I got my husband a laser level. He was not impressed, but I have enjoyed playing with it. When I wanted to slap some freshcut vinyl on a wall at home, I remembered the long lost laser level. A new set of batteries and it was good to go. The one we have has a magnet on the bottom to connect it to the dangerous looking pointy thing that goes in your wall, presumably while your house is still under construction. Hmmm, what could I stick that magnet to? The ceiling fan seemed just the right height and it’s made of metal so why not? it helps to turn the fan off first, by the way.

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I turned the laser on and adjusted the position of the level and/or moved the fan until I had a nice straight line projected onto the wall where I wanted my words. Then I began lining up my 3 piece installation.

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The finished result from my Cricut and 1 Corinthians 13:8:

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January 26, 2009 at 6:35 am 7 comments

Pop ups with Cricut Design Studio

I am predominantly a Mac user, so I don’t mess with Cricut Design Studio much, but I thought I would try out the pop up card technique so those without SCAL can play along. Here were the results:

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and here’s a screen shot (colors are reversed…the outside of the card is on the right):

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You can download the .cut file here. Cartridge is Plantin Schoolbook. The finished card is A2 size so you can just use a half sheet of card stock for the outside instead of cutting one with the Cricut as I did above. For instructions on how to assemble the card, check the references on my earlier post about pop ups.

January 25, 2009 at 6:04 am 15 comments

Idea Shopping Tip

There are ideas all around you, but how to remember them all. I used to see something in a store I liked, then pull out a pen and a scrap of paper and start sketching. Well, now I’ve got a camera phone and it is great for capturing products, color schemes (results with a camera phone vary on this), phrases, etc. for borrowing design inspiration later. Ideas often pop up in unexpected places, while some stores are guaranteed to get your creative juices flowing.

Here are a few of my shots as examples:

These were taken at a Hallmark store, Penney’s, Big Lots and Steinmart. As you can see, quality isn’t important in capturing the essence of these items.

January 24, 2009 at 6:19 am 1 comment

3D Text made easy

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I ran across a very cool Instructable the other day on making pop-up words, and realized this would be a great project for the Cricut. Alas, the fonts listed in the article do not work on the Cricut. You can adapt this to Cricut cutting with any suitable font by adding tabs one by one in Inkscape, SCAL or maybe even CDS, but… I decided it would be quicker to just make a new font.

To prepare your cutfile in SCAL, choose the pop up font in the library window, set the size and start typing. If you are using Solly PopTab font you can insert scoring guides using the minus key. That is what produces the four rows of dashed lines before and after my text below.

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Next add rectangles above and below the text with the edges just overlapping. In my example I used the mat centerline on the screen and aligned it with the centerline of the installed letters (the second dash from the bottom) and then made my rectangles end equidistant from the centerline. I haven’t really experimented with the best ways to size everything yet, you will likely develop your own preferred method.

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With everything set to weld, your preview and finished cut will look like this.

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I score the bottom line and top 2 lines before removing the paper from the mat so that I can use the dashed lines as guides.

The instructions for assembly are pretty much the same as what you see on Instructables except that there is nothing on the centerline (2nd set of dashes from the bottom) to fold or score because the Cricut cuts out everything between the letters.

For the time being you’ll have to go to Fontstruct to get my pop up font called Solly PopTab. A registration is required. I think you’ll love Fontstruct anyway, but that’s a subject for another post.

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By the way, in this font only uppercase letters, numbers and other characters that have the tab on top will work for the pop-ups. You can also insert artwork, just use the font as a guide for where everything goes.

Enjoy, and let me see your creations when you get done!

Update: Solly PopTab font now available at this link.

Connie’s great tutorial on using this font in Make the Cut

January 23, 2009 at 3:13 pm 14 comments

Free SVGs from DragonArtz Designs

There are many sites where you can get free vector art and I’ll be profiling some of them in the coming days. The freebies at DragonArtz are beautiful, abundant and best of all, come in SVG format.

Now just because something is in SVG doesn’t mean it is ready to cut, or even cuttable at all. To use these with your cutter, open them in Inkscape, select object>ungroup as necessary, delete unwanted items, and then recombine elements with appropriate path commands, separate colors, etc. Then save your edited version and import into SCAL.

January 23, 2009 at 6:50 am 1 comment

A word art idea

from Elegant WordArt 2: Jump

This is a sample of the word art at Bethany’s site (though this image is not her usual fare) and you can download the .png version there. I’m linking it here because this idea is perfect for adapting to Cricut cutting. Just create a simple background in any program you like by repeating the word at a small size and in a variety of fonts, then print it onto the paper or card stock of your choice. Load your custom background sheet on the Cricut mat and then cut the same word out in bold letters. It is ready to go on a scrapbook page, card or other craft.

Numerous variations come to mind. You could list adjectives on the background paper, then cut out a person’s name, for instance. The only design consideration is that the background text be small enough so that it can be read on the the size letters you cut.

For detailed instructions on making the background paper, look at the instructions for making custom wrapping paper in The Color Printer Idea Book. Click “search inside this book,” type in gift wrap, press go and then click on the link to page 45 in the results window.

January 22, 2009 at 6:06 am Leave a comment

Cool Word Art site

I love fonts and typography. With the ability to do vinyl wall sayings and tiles, I began to renew my interest in word art. Turns out the digital scrapbookers are pretty into word art, too, so there are some great resources out there.

Now, many of these designs are not suitable for cutting, but they do give you some great ideas about phrases to use, positioning the words in a phrase, etc. One word art site I really like is Elegant Word Art by Bethany. She is very generous with her talent… just look at the long list of freebies in the right hand column. What I really like is that she usually lists the names of the fonts she uses in each design, which makes it easy to recreate the look in Inkscape or SCAL.

January 21, 2009 at 6:48 am Leave a comment

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