Patriotic Paper Wreath

Perfect for Summer Holidays!

There are three holidays in the summer that cry out for patriotic decorations – Memorial Day, Flag Day and Fourth of July.

For this wreath, I used what I learned making the mini Happy Day spring wreath. By changing the shape of the “stems” and adding some correctly colored circles for berries, I created a fun door decoration I can use whenever it’s called for.

In Adobe Illustrator

I searched the web for images of berry laden stems, and then simplified them into two versions, a tall one and a short one. I also created an additional circle that was just a little larger than the ones on the branches so I could add the red, white and blue berries on later.

Branches drawn for a patriotic wreath

 

I exported the file as a DXF, since the basic version of Silhouette Studio can’t work with an AI, EPS or SVG file, but it can use the DXF format.

In Silhouette Studio

I set up my Design Page settings for 9 x 11 to match the paper I had selected.

Branches to cut for a patriotic wreath

I duplicated and moved the branches around until I could fit as many as possible on a sheet. I sent the file to cut, weeded it and repeated until I felt like I had more than enough pieces to fill out my shape. This does not have to be an exact science – if you guess wrong you just go back and cut more.

Berries to cut for patriotic wreath

I then duplicated and aligned the circle that becomes the berry, and cut a sheet each of them on white, red and blue paper.

Final Assembly

I used my standard trick of cutting a circle out of a cereal box using a bowl for a guide, and just like in the other wreath project, I began in the upper left corner and used tacky glue to adhere the stems down, working to cover the cereal box and keeping the wreath really natural looking. This means you don’t want to overlap the stems too perfectly – some should stick out a little bit higher or lower than others.

Weeded parts for a patriotic wreath

It turns out I had way more than enough stems cut, so I decided to go ahead and glue them on the back of the wreath. The back of the wreath won’t ever be seen, but by doing this, I added a little more dimension to the piece.

Assembled patriotic wreath

 

I let this stage of the project dry for a while so that it wouldn’t fall apart as I glued on the berries.

I eyeballed the wreath into thirds and began gluing on the circles of red, white and blue. At some point I realized I didn’t have enough of two of the colors and went back and cut additional circles to finish.

Once complete, this hangs on the nail on my front door.

Tiny Tip: Design cards with the envelope in mind

A trick that doesn’t require a 500-word essay

If you are creating cards or invitations, it’s helpful to know the sizes of standard envelopes so that once you have finished all that hard work, it’s possible to actually mail them.

You could, of course, create your own envelope, but if you are doing invitations or a mass of thank you cards after an event, you’ll probably want to stick to the sizes easiest to find at the stores.

One other quick card size tip – you’ll also want to consider the size of the sheet of paper you are printing them on. One of my favorite sizes is the A2 insert size – at 4.25 x 5.5, you can get four out of a standard 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper (or two if they fold over).

Father’s Day Card

An easy technique that can create a card for any occasion

Here’s a quick card technique that combines Silhouette cutting and and a simple design/print technique that can be used for just about any occasion.

To set up the printed portion

In your choice of design program,  using an 8.5 x 11 sheet size, create a wall of repeating text about the occasion. In this case, I’ve typed “Happy Father’s Day” over and over.

the inside of the Father's Day card

To give the inside a little more pop, I have colored this text a light blue, and then added a large rectangle of darker blue behind it for a tone on tone effect. Placement here isn’t super important – the only important part is you want the entire block of text and background color to be considerably larger than the card you are going to cut.

Make sure that design is centered to your page, and then print. I like to use an 80# smooth white cover stock for this – regular paper would be too flimsy to stand up on it’s own after folding.

Set that sheet aside.

To set up the cut file

I use Adobe Illustrator to design my cut files because I’m more familiar with it, but this same technique works in Silhouette Studio.

In either program, set up a page that is 8.5 x 11 (the size of the already printed sheet). Draw a rectangle that is the full flat size of the card you are making. In this case, I have an A2 envelope handy, so I’m making an A2 sized card. That card is 4.25 x 5.5 when folded. So I need a rectangle that is 5.5 wide by 8.5 tall for the outside cut dimensions.

Draw a line that is the same width as the card (5.5 inches in this case) and center it to the rectangle (both top to bottom and left to right). This line is going to become the score line later.

Draw an inner rectangle that is 1 inch less than the width and height of the panel. The panel is half the card, so in this case, my rectangle will be 3.25 x 4.5.  Position that rectangle so it is centered left to right in the bigger rectangle.  Move the inner rectangle up so it is .5” inch from the bottom of the bigger rectangle. This centers the inner shape in the front panel of the card.

outside design for a Father's Day cardType the text you want in a big bold font and size it large enough to span the width of the inner rectangle. You’ll then need to adjust the spacing between the letters so that they touch, and resize the overall width of the word so that it slightly overlaps the left and right sides of the inner rectangle.  In Illustrator I select the overlapping letters and choose United from the Pathfinder Pallette. In Silhouette Studio you would select the overlapping letters and choose Weld from the Modify menu. Once the letters are united/welded, you’ll need to select them and the inner rectangle and choose Minus Front (from the Pathfinder Pallete in Illustrator) or Subtract (in the Modify window in Silhouette Studio). Check to make sure the letters are now a cutout portion of the inner rectangle – if something has gone wrong, undo this step and check to make sure the united/welded  word is in front of the inner rectangle.

file for cutlines for a Father's Day card

Since I created my artwork in Illustrator, I need to save it, and then export it as a DXF file because the basic version of Silhouette Studio can’t open an Illustrator file but it can use the DXF format. Once I’ve exported that file, I open Silhouette Studio and merge in the file. If you’ve created your artwork in Silhouette Studio then you skip this step.

The Silhouette Cameo doesn’t really produce a true score line, but a perforated cut will work. Select the center line you drew in the big rectangle and select a dotted line pattern from the Line menu.

Final Assembly

cut file for a Father's Day cardCheck to see that the lines are all set to cut properly, and then place your previously printed sheet printed side down on the cuttng mat. You want the text to be upside down as well, so the first line of text is at the bottom of the mat, not the top. This sounds backwards, but when the card cuts, the front panel of the card is going to be at the bottom of the sheet, and the printed text forms the inside of the card.

Load the mat, and send the cut file to print. Remove the cut sheet from the mat carefully, and fold along the perforated line at the top. Note – if when you fold the card your inside text reads upside down, then the printed sheet wasn’t placed correctly on the mat. Just print a new sheet and position it the other way and cut a second version. That’s the great thing about paper crafting – mistakes are pretty easy to hide (just through them in the recycle bin!).

inside view of the Father's Day card

Sign at the bottom (in that ½” space at the bottom so it isn’t visible from the cutout portion when folded) and you are done!

By changing the color and text on the printed portion and the word on the outside that gets cut, you can create an infinite number of custom greeting cards using this method.

 

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Teeny Tiny Tip: Marker Storage

A trick that doesn’t require a 500-word essay

With absolutely no scientific proof to back up my claims, this week’s tip is about marker storage.

I keep my markers in a glass jar, tip side down. The glass jar part isn’t important, we just generate a lot of them from pickles/mayo/hot peppers.

The tip-side-down part is the key here. My theory is this keeps the tip in contact with the ink and lets it last longer.

The Interwebs appear to be split into the “tip down” and “horizontal” camps among the marker fanatics.

Horizontal doesn’t work for me because I don’t have enough drawer space in my craft area.

Does anyone have enough drawer space in their craft area?

 

Show and Tell: Paperclip Feet Birds

A craft project from another blog

These little cuties came to me via my Pinterest feed.

Charcoal and Crayons’ post even featured a downloadable template (yay! I love templates!) that was easily traced into a Silhouette cutting file.

And I have had these super cute black and white paperclips for quite some time.

They were a little tricky to assemble as directed – trying to fit the two “legs” between the two bird halves was very fiddly, even with hot glue.

If you cut a third body piece, and then sandwich that between the other two body parts, you then have a more stable center for the legs to be glued.

Daisy Flower Pot Birthday Card

A Silhouette Print & Cut Project

Mom’s birthday is near Mother’s Day which always presents a challenge – how to make sure she gets double attention instead of cheated out of half the fun.

Since it happens in the Spring, and I’ve been on a paper flower kick for weeks, it’s obvious what her card needed to be this year.

A paper flower pot! Continue reading “Daisy Flower Pot Birthday Card”

Show and Tell: Daisy Flower Tea Light

A project I tried from another website

When I first thought about purchasing a Silhouette Cameo, I worried about the cumulative cost of the craft. I could see what the machine’s price was, and I had a rough idea what paper would run me, but I wasn’t sure about the actual cutting files.

I was reasonably sure I could create my own, and initially I thought I’d need to upgrade to the Designer Edition of Silhouette Studio. But then I ran across the tip somewhere that the basic, free edition would accept DXF files, and I knew Adobe Illustrator (which I already own) could export those files, so that was good.

So I bought my bundle, which even came with a generous download credit at the Silhouette Design store.

Turns out I never should have worried though, because there is a wealth of free cutting files out there. Some are from generous craft bloggers, but even more are from sites that sell cut files. Obviously, they are hoping you’ll love their files and you’ll come back when you want to purchase something specific.

Case in point – this super cute Gerbera Daisy Tea Light. The 3DSVG site has tons of files for purchase, and a very nice stash of free files to try them out. And what I really liked was the super easy to follow video. (Disclaimer time – I was not compensated for this post. I googled “free cut files” and stumbled upon them. In exchange for my email info when I signed up for an account, they gave me free files. You can do the same!)

I made two of these – one actually following the video directions and using the appropriate color card stock. But as anyone who knows me, I don’t really like to be told what to do, so for the second one I made some changes.

I still used tacky glue to adhere the points from the round top piece to the first row of inner petals, but then I switched to double stick tape to adhere the other colored petals. I found that was easier to get a tight wrap around the tea light, although the trade off was you don’t get a second chance with the tape – when you glue, you can squish something into better alignment if needed.

I also cut the second version out of yellow and brown stock to make a Brown Eyed Susan instead of a Daisy. In case the reason for the flower version switch isn’t obvious to you, why yes, I DO have brown eyes 😉 .

Happy Planter

A super quick upcycle craft

While looking up Mother’s Day ideas, I came across this pin.

Super cute.

But I don’t have any small pots with matching saucers, or any bright paint colors.  (Also, my mom is 500 miles away, and I’m not mailing her a potted plant; but that is beside the point).

As with most craft pins, I’m faced with two choices:

  1. Leave the pin on my Pinterest board and try to remember to pick up those items on my next monthly run to the craft store.
  2. Take the spirit of the craft and do it my way.

If you haven’t guessed which option I chose, you haven’t been reading very closely 🙂

The timing was actually perfect – we spent a weekend afternoon clearing up the winter trash from the yard and patio. Raking, trimming, dusting, bagging. We almost thought about painting the outside of the porch again (it’s only been two years since we had the house painted and the porch doesn’t match). But we successfully avoided that project again.

While dumping out the leaves from the terra cotta pots I use for container gardening, I realized I had the perfect canvas for my craft.

And it couldn’t have been easier. In fact, with a little help, this would make a great kids craft, too.

I traced a coffee can lid onto a cereal box, and I traced the bottom of my glue stick as well. I drew a line across the circle at about the halfway point.

The template to create a happy planter

And I cut both parts out with scissors.

I taped the circle to my pot with tape, and positioned one eyeball. I traced around them with a black Sharpie. And then I moved the eyeball template to the other side, trying to keep it level and even. After tracing that, I removed the template pieces and threw them away.

Template on the pot to make the happy planter

And then I colored the outlines in with black Sharpie. It takes a bit of a steady hand near the outlines, but then you can go to town filling in the center. I let the first coat dry in the sun and then went back over it.

Next weekend we’ll get dirt and seeds and start our garden!

I was featured at Scraptastic Saturday

Mother’s Day Pin

I’m not sure if it’s good if your daughter is a craft blogger or not. On the one hand, it’s super easy to get me a gift (who else would put paper and glue on their Amazon wish list?).

But it may ruin the surprise of some holidays.

Hopefully she’s too busy this weekend to see this post 🙂 .

The co-worker who received my birthday badge really seemed to like it, and I’ve had a lot of feedback from others with kids who thought they’d like one for their special day.

It seemed like a natural shift to make a special pin for Mom for Mother’s Day. Continue reading “Mother’s Day Pin”

Happy Day Mini Wreath

Change up the tone of a craft with an unexpected color palette

Last winter, when my Silhouette Cameo was new, I spent a lot of time looking at Christmas paper decorations, trying to decide which ones looked like they were within my new skill set.

At the same time, this pin kept surfacing in my Pinterest feed, (which does not feature paper decorations) and I knew somewhere these two searches were going to overlap.

Of course, it happened last week. When it is most definitely not Christmas decorating season.

Continue reading “Happy Day Mini Wreath”