Fourth of July Decorating is one of my favorites.
I’m not really that patriotic a person, it’s just that my birthday is a few days after the fourth, and I like to think the entire month is mine to celebrate.
Lately on the craft blogs and Pinterest, wreaths with big stars are popping up, some made out of tin, or wood. This one, made of paper, really caught my eye.
Of course I wanted to change it up a bit.
Instead of a vintage look, I went with a glitter version (not real glitter, that’s too messy), and took cues from the original craft post on how to make the paper stars really look more three-dimensional. Instead of using stamping ink, though, I did the whole thing digitally.
In Adobe Illustrator
In Illustrator, I drew up a star, and then resized it several times so I’d have some variety for my wreath. Using the pen tool, I drew straight lines from the center of each point to the opposite side. I changed the stroke to a brush effect, and then changed the opacity to 40% so that whatever I placed underneath it would show through a bit. These lines are going to create a shaded effect on the ridges of the stars when they are folded.
I like to work in Illustrator because I’ve used it for many years, but you can accomplish this same look in whatever design program you are comfortable with.
DeviantArt designer harperfinch has a great assortment of free background digital files that are great for projects like this. I found files for red, white and blue glitter backgrounds.
Because I’m going to do this as a Silhouette Studio Print and Cut project, I placed the glitter backgrounds in on separate layers in my Illustrator document, and then exported the star shapes as DXF files, and the shading and glitter layers and PNG files.
I also set up a polygon to be cut as my wreath background shape. Most of it isn’t going to be visible, but I thought the extra corners on the polygon would give me more surface to glue the stars to in the end. I exported that file as a DXF file as well, because the standard version of Silhouette Studio cannot work with an Illustrator file, but it can open the DXF format.
In Silhouette Studio
In Silhouette Studio I set up a document that is 8.5 x 11 and turned the registration marks on. I then brought in my cut file and my image file for the white glitter version, and centered them to each other.
There are three small white squares added in to block off the digital glitter background where the registration marks are – you cannot have any printing in those shaded areas or the laser detection for print and cut will fail.
I saved the file because I’m going to need it later for cutting. I then sent the file to my printer, and printed two sheets.
Two more versions of this file are needed, one each for the red and blue versions. I printed two sheets of each of those as well.
To finish the print and cut, I placed a sheet of the stars on my cutting mat, making sure to have the little square in the upper left corner, matching the screen. After changing the cut settings for the card stock I had printed on, I sent the file to print.
After all the sheets were cut and weeded, I set up and cut three pieces for my wreath form. I didn’t have any stock that was thick enough, so by cutting three and gluing them together, I made my own special cardstock.
Using a ruler and a scoring tool, I scored the back side of the stars from the center of each point to the opposite side.
And then I folded the star along each of the lines, and pinched them into the final star shape. The shading effect is subtle, but it really helps the paper look much more sturdy than it really is.
I arranged the stars approximately how I wanted them to look on the form, and then hot glued them into place. Because the stars aren’t flat, it’s a little tricky getting them glued on. Use lots of glue only on the spots that actually touch the form or each other. And be careful to not get burned squishing them into place.