Archive for June, 2012

Round and round challenge card

This card I made for the CAS-ual Friday CFC-59 Challenge has the requisite circles, as well a lot of other trendy features all rolled (pun intended) into one. I’ve got a bicycle, a banner, some bakers twine, some washi tape, some neon colors and some Tim Holtz embossing all represented. This card also features print and cut with my Silhouette SD using a character from Lauren Ashpole’s awesome Bikes dingbat font as a digital stamp. And the banner is cut out using my own Banner Bridge font which you can find here.

June 29, 2012 at 2:25 pm 2 comments

Stamp and cut with a Silhouette

Realizing that many of us haven’t been content with cutting first and then stamping, I’ve been pondering some of the ways we can stamp then cut out the image with our Silhouettes. I finally settled on a method that works very well, and with a little effort up front, makes subsequent cuts quick and easy. Here’s how:

I. Create a cuttable outline of your stamp the same as you would for cut-and-stamp or print-and-cut. If you don’t know how to do this, I have a video here and written steps here.

II. Next you will combine the studio file I’ve provided and the cutline you’ve created to prepare a new studio file.

-download if you have an SD or if you have a Cameo and open it. Select File>Save As… and choose a new name to preserve the original template and begin working on a duplicate copy. Screenshots shown are for an SD.

IMPORTANT: Be sure you have the right file for your machine (SD ends in sd, Cameo ends in c). Do not change the paper size (should be LETTER) or the orientation (should be LANDSCAPE) or the template file provided will not work. If your plastic is smaller than letter size position it on the mat strategically. While this technique will work with any paper size/orientation and image size, the studio file will need adjustments that are beyond the scope of this tutorial.

-copy and paste the cutline you created in part I onto the mat of the new template document.

-position the cutline inside the L-shaped slots. You may rotate the cutline but be very careful not to resize it. Do not move, rotate or resize the slots at all. Here, the bike is turned on the diagonal so it will fit.

III. You are now ready to cut your plastic template

I used polypropylene notebook tab dividers (blue in the photos) from Dollar Tree for my template (8 colored tabs to a pack; possibly a back-to-school seasonal item), but you can use any somewhat stiff cuttable plastic such as transparency film, mylar, acetate, page protectors, report covers, etc. In fact, you can probably use card stock, though I’m not sure how well it will hold up over multiple uses. Keep in mind that what we are making here is a very accurate stencil.

-load plastic sheet onto mat, load mat into Silhouette

-be sure registration marks are turned OFF (you will see what looks like marks on your screen but no crosshatched area as shown in the next screen shot)

-open the Cut Style window and verify that the outer rectangle, the registration slots and the stamp outline are all set to cut (showing in red).

-choose appropriate cut settings (I use heavy card stock settings and double cut)

-cut the file with your Silhouette

-remove the template from the mat and carefully clear any remaining plastic from the stamp outline and registration slots.

All the steps above comprise a one time (per image) process and then your custom template can be used with that stamp and the corresponding .studio file until it wears out or you lose it. I suggest you mark it clearly so you know which stamp it goes with and store it with the stamp if possible. Be sure the .studio file is easy to find as well.

IV. It’s time to try out the plastic template

-stamp your image in the center of a half sheet (so you’ll have plenty of room for the tutorial) of light colored card stock in the ink of your choice. You can even powder emboss the image if you like.

-center the template carefully around the stamped image and tape it securely in place.

-use a black pen to draw in all 3 registration marks through the slots. Be sure to fill in darkly and solidly.

-carefully remove the template so as not to smear the ink

V. Time to cut around the stamped image

-Place the image with the surrounding marks on the Silhouette mat. General orientation of marks relative to machine is important, location is not. You can trim it down if you like, as I’ve done here for convenience. (And yes, I am using a Cricut mini mat in my Silhouette SD as they are cheaper than Silh mats.)

-in Silhouette Studio, open the Registration Mark Settings window, turn registration marks ON, and verify that they are set to default orientation (you should see crosshatches and only one set of 3 marks, as shown in the next screen shot).

-open the Cut Style window and turn off all the cut lines except the stamp outline

-select cut settings appropriate for your card stock

-MANUALLY detect registration marks and cut. That’s it! Enjoy your cutout and repeat sections IV and V anytime you want to cut around that image again.

The same general idea can also be used with Make-the-Cut, but you will need to create your own file because the position of the registration marks changes with the size of your image.

You can theoretically use this technique to cut out any preprinted image (from a store-bought card, wrapping paper, a photo, etc.) provided you can get a good trace of it, but you might have to mount that preprinted image on another sheet of paper in order to have clear space to draw the registration marks.

Special thanks to Gayle aka Cut-It-Out on the Silhouette Plus board for testing the Cameo file for me!

If you have an eclips or a Zing this process is even easier. Check out Heather’s tutorial here.

June 20, 2012 at 2:32 pm 23 comments

How to make stamp mats with Silhouette Studio

Here’s a video on how to create a cuttable outline of your stamps using only Silhouette Studio (and a scanner):

And for those of you who prefer the steps written out:

-stamp your image clearly in black on white paper. (you can also use the back of the stamp, package insert or even an image from a catalog but be careful that size and details are identical)

-scan the stamped image (I use RGB or grayscale at 150 dpi/ppi, but that’s not important as this image is only for tracing) and save as a .jpg (this is important because .png or .psd files do not import at the proper size)

-file>merge and select your .jpg and click OK, or simply drag its icon onto the mat [note: this is a good time to roughly verify the size of your trace against the physical stamp]

-open the Trace window and click the “Select Trace Area” button, then drag around to select the area to be traced

-adjust settings until yellow in preview shows coverage you are happy with and then click the “Trace” button

-drag the traced image away from the .jpg

-click on the traced image (in the video I change its colors for better visibility) and open the Offset Window.

-click the Offset button and change the offset distance until it is the size you want and/or you see no unwanted interior details and click Apply

-If the margin is too wide once details are eliminated, keep that path selected and click Internal Offset. Adjust as desired and click Apply

-drag the paths apart and verify the one(s) you like against your .jpg image

– drag the .jpg, the original traced image, and any intermediate paths off the mat for safekeeping

-save and name the file

If you are going to cut then stamp:

-duplicate the desired cutline (in the video I click the Replicate button, then click Fill Page)

-cut a sheet of your mats from card stock and use a stamp positioner or other method to stamp on the cutouts (tip: it’s easier if you leave them on the mat, stamp, then remove the card stock and cutouts from the mat.)

For making stamp mats in Make-The-Cut  scroll to the bottom of this post.

My earlier video on making stamp mats in SCAL is here.

June 18, 2012 at 2:12 pm 23 comments

My Bible word art prayers anwered

I’m always on the lookout for word art of bible verses and can not believe I never found Papercraft Memories before. Karen creates stunning word art, gives away high resolution versions for personal use generously, as well as often showing how she uses the word art in a card. Much of it would also be suitable for making vinyl cut files. I am so excited to find this site, and couldn’t wait to share it with you. Please stop by and feast on the Word made visually beautiful, and be sure to leave some blog love for Karen.



June 15, 2012 at 2:18 pm 4 comments

More hats from the Flourish Square punch

I’ve created some more “print and punch” designs for the EK Tools Flourish Square Large punch, this time hats with a Father’s Day and Summer Vacation theme. I’ve included a guideline on the portion opposite the hat to help you line up the punch, and you’ll need to finish off each hat with a scissor cut along the dotted line.

Download the PDF here.

June 10, 2012 at 3:00 pm 4 comments

Flourish squares to pirate hats

Here’s another in my series of “print and punch” designs. You will need the EK Tools Flourish Square Large punch for this. There’s actually a little more than print and punch to this one so I’ve included some extra pictures with steps below.

Download the PDF here.

Print out at 100% size and separate into strips. Center image carefully inside punch shape and punch.

Fold resulting punchout over along the diagonal and cut along the dotted line.

Each punchout yields 2 single-sided hats or 1 double-sided hat. Alternately, glue 2 hats back to back around a toothpick to make a cupcake stake.

June 5, 2012 at 11:53 am 13 comments

New online tool has lots to offer diecutters

I stumbled across a new online tool (or rather suite of tools) today called Rapid Resizer that has a lot to offer the digital diecutting community, although we do not seem to be its market. Here are a few of the things I discovered I could accomplish online there for free (at least for now):

Free Online Raster to Vector Converter

All of our cutting programs can do their own autotraces now (wouldn’t it have been nice to have this when they didn’t!?) but Rapid Resizer offers a few tricks that your cutting software may not. Taking a .jpg input from your hard drive (.png did not work for me) it can return PDF, SVG. DXF, EPS or AI output. The really cool thing, though, is the option to centerline trace. This will be especially useful to those who do not have MTC with its stellar “font thinning” function. For example, Silhouette Studio users can input a line drawing or text and get a single stroke DXF file in return that will be be much easier to work with for drawing with pens or for rhinestone work. For example, Doodling Debbie over at Paper Pulse converted one of her favorite fonts, which she shares.

Wordle lovers can instantly turn their screen captures into a vector PDF with this, but they will lose the colors as this only returns black and white vectors.

Photo to Pattern Converter

This tool will be helpful for converting photos to cutting files for vinyl cutting, etching and stencils. Input your photo and choose manual, then adjust the slider to get the contrast you like. Then right click to save the new image or try the options under “save to any size”>preview to see if that gives you a better and/or larger image. You will most likely still need to smooth and remove some detail to make good cutfiles, but this may give you a good start, especially if you aren’t handy with Photoshop. Update: For this application, also see Stencilizer.

My Stampmaker friends will find this especially useful because after the photo is converted to black and white, a click of the invert button makes it ready to import into your stamp layout.

Other tools at this site include Free Online Stencil Maker , an online text layout tool with adjustable arching,

Print Patterns to Any Size, Convert PDF to Image (not working for me yet) and Save Ink Printing PDFs. The tools can be used together or separately.

There are also premium features on the site, and developer Patrick Roberts has generously offered my readers a free week if you’d like to explore those. Your free week will start as soon as you click here.

As for me, I still do most of my designing/converting in Inkscape with a little help from Photoshop but I love scouting new web apps. Will be interesting to see how this one evolves.

June 2, 2012 at 5:29 pm 7 comments

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