Batty Chandelier

Free print and cut file to make your own!

This craft is kind of a full circle for me with this artwork.

Last fall, I printed these bats on heavy cover stock, and cut them out with actual scissors for several nights while watching television. This was before I had heard of the Silhouette. The bats were larger, and I was making a garland for my back window. It was slow going, and my hand was getting sore but I really like to decorate that back window, so I kept going.

On one of the nights, on one of the shopping channels*, they were having a craft event, and they were demonstrating a cutting machine. It wasn’t the Silhouette, but I thought that this was something I really might want.

Even Mr. SuzerSpace quickly realized that it would be super helpful for my crafting.

“Call them and order it” he said. “No, it’s too expensive” I replied.

I’m not good at spending money on myself. But seeing that thing in action stuck with me, and by the weekend, I had Googled all the machines and all the reviews and pondered all the Amazon bundles and made a decision.

And so that was the last garland I cut by hand.

For this year, I wanted to make tiny bats to hang from a light fixture I have in my dining room. I never would have attempted this with just hand cutting – too tiny and too many were needed.

But the Silhouette? Easy peasy. It’s a simple Print and Cut project, although I amped it up by double side printing my bats so they could be viewed at all angles.

The steps are simple –

Set up your artwork in the drawing program you like.

Bat drawing for batty chandelier

 

Import it into Silhouette Studio.

Either trace the artwork with an offset, or import a dxf file for the cutting lines.

Turn on the registration marks

bats with registration marks for batty chandelier

SAVE YOUR FILE. You will thank me for including this as an actual step. If you don’t save your file, and you get distracted opening and closing windows, and close it without saving after you have printed but before you have cut, you will be sad.

Print the file. There’s an icon for that:

Print using the Printer Icon in Silhouette Studio

In my case, I then flipped the sheets over and printed a mirror of the image to get the second side. This can be fussy depending on your printer, and you need them to line up to each other very closely to work.

Put a printed sheet on the mat, being sure to have the little registration square in the upper left of the mat, just like the screen for cutting shows it.

bats on mat to cut for batty chandelier

Set up the cutting specs for your paper, and send the job to cut. Repeat for all the sheets you need.

bats with registration marks for batty chandelier

 

For final assembly, I threaded silver thread between the loops and then made bigger loops of thread to tie them on to my light fixture.

bats strung together for batty chandelier

As with many of my crafts, it’s hard to get a good final picture, but you’ll have to trust me, this looks great in my dining room.

batty chandelier | suzerspace.com

If you’d like to make these yourself, click here to download the Silhouette file.

*We watch the shopping channels sometimes like the characters Waldorf and Statler from the Muppets – we heckle the presenters the entire time. It’s good fun 🙂

SaveSave

SaveSave

Hot Air Balloon Garland

Up, Up and Away!

For August, I wanted a garland for my back window that was very cheery. There isn’t really a holiday associated with August, so it’s kind of a free form craft month.

I decided on a hot air balloon garland, and there were a ton of inspirational ideas out there. Most of them used the same folded and glued technique that I used for the Tulip Flowers mobile and the Paper Cactus. There’s nothing wrong with that, except I wanted to do something different.

So I kept looking, and found this super cute hot air balloon mobile. It was designed for a nursery, but nothing about it really screamed “baby” to me. What did stand out was the paper weaving technique, which is something I never had tried before.

And down the rabbit hole I went. This site is full of amazing creations, and the instructions, patterns, downloadable files and videos you need to make them.

I’m not going to lie – this wasn’t really easy. But it wasn’t impossible. It was just really amazing to me to go from these two flower/spider looking things …

Hot air balloon garland beginning cut file

To an actual hot air balloon!

Hot air balloon garland assembled balloons | suzerspace

There is no way I can explain how to do these better than the site does. Once you get one done the rest are pretty easy, but the learning curve is a little steep. So if you want to create these, I highly recommend you follow their instructions.

I do have a few tips:

  1. Watch the videos. before you start assembling. And then do the first one near a device where you can replay bits of the video so you can really see what you are supposed to be doing.
  2. Definitely use the paper clips as clamps to keep it all from unraveling as you go.
  3. I used tacky glue instead of glue stick for the gluing of that last row. It was easier for me.
  4. Consider assembling the basket before you do the weaving of the balloon. Here’s why – the basket is really fussy, and if you give it time to dry between the two parts that need assembly, it goes better. And if you have the baskets done, then adding the balloon on it easy. If you go the other way, if you are like me, you will be impatient to get the balloon finished and rushing the basket assembly means a crushed basket assembly.
  5. If you are going to create a garland out of these, poke holes and thread loops into the balloon BEFORE you add on the basket. I nearly cried when I realized that I hadn’t thought that step through and it was very difficult to get the loops in when it was all assembled.

I was really happy with my balloons when there we finished, and I made some quick clouds to go between them on my garland. For this, I did use that fold and glue technique to get the 3D pieces.

First I drew up a simple cloud. And in reality, I didn’t draw anything, I just kept making circles of different sizes until they globbed together to make a cloud shape. These need to be perfectly symmetrical side to side to work, so plan that out as you go.

Hot air balloon garland cloud drawing

Hot air balloon cloud drawing

Using the Pathfinder tool in Illustrator, I welded those together to get my shape, and then exported the file as a DXF format, because the standard version of Silhouette can’t work with an Illustrator file, but it can import the DXF file with no problem.

In Silhouette Studio I duplicated that cloud shape until I had nine on a page (each cloud requires three pieces), and then sent that to cut on some smooth white 80# cover stock.

hot air balloon garland cloud to cut

Once they were cut and weeded, I folded each one in half, and then glued two halves together for each cloud, and let those dry a minute before gluing (and wiggling) in the third folded piece.

hot air balloon garland clouds

Before I added in that last piece, I slid in a loop of dental floss to serve as the hanger for my garland.

hot air balloon garland cloud assembled

Once everything was dry, I strung them all on twine and hung them on my hooks the back window. Since that window faces the sun, it’s impossible to get a decent photo, so the feature shot at the beginning of the post is that garland on my dining room wall.

SaveSave

SaveSave

Glitter Star Wreath

A Fourth of July Decoration gets 3-D from digital and traditional techniques

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.

Stars with shading for a glitter star wreath

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.

glitter background for a glitter star wreath

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.

print and cut file for a glitter star wreath

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.

stars for a glitter star wreath

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.

frame shape for a glitter star wreath

Final Assembly

score stars for a glitter star wreath

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.

folded and scored star for glitter star wreath

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.

 

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

Watering Can & Tulip Paper Flower Mobile

I’m not sure if I’m ever going to be able to cut and assemble enough three dimensional flower projects – every one I see has something new I want to try.

These tulips have been all over the place – I’ve seen them on craft blogs, Pinterest and even a version in a Papersource kit.

As always, I decided to put my a spin on the craft to really make it my own. And if you’d like to do my version (or just use it as a starting point for your own), free Silhouette Studio files are available at the end  of this post. Continue reading “Watering Can & Tulip Paper Flower Mobile”

Bee Happy Banner

A Silhouette Studio Print & Cut craft with a twist to make it double sided

I’ve been making an extra effort this year to be happy.

Not just sitting on the sofa, liking memes on Facebook that implore you to Choose Happy or Make your Own Sunshine.

Actually doing it.

Somewhere, I’m not exactly sure where, I came across the concept (and I’m paraphrasing here) that to be happy, you should spend more time creating, and less time consuming. So I dove in. Deactivated my Facebook account. Stopped following Twitter accounts that were angry or hateful. Added an Instagram that only shows me crafts.

For me, this works well – crafting makes me straight up happy. As a bonus, when I’m crafting, I’m not dwelling on any unhappiness around me. It’s second nature to see the silver lining in a crafting accident. It’s harder to be pleasant about something going wrong in life or at work, or in the world (as in, things I can’t fix anyway).

It’s even more fun to double down on this concept and craft a banner than inspires happiness.

Continue reading “Bee Happy Banner”

Black Capped Chickadee Garland

A Silhouette Studio Print & Cut Craft

Black Capped Chickadees become a wall hanging when cut using Silhouette Studio's print & cut feature.

For several years, we’ve been walking for exercise, and one of the many benefits is the bird watching.

We’re also lucky to live in an older neighborhood with established trees, which also brings in the birds.

Some time back, we bought a field guide for birds and used the illustrations to figure out what we were looking at. The inside cover has a couple of pages for recording when and where you’ve seen a bird, and we’ve noted quote a few. I’m sure there’s an app for that now, but we like to do this old school.

One bird that we could hear, but never quite see really interested us. We’d hear it in Spring mostly, early in the morning, and to us, it sounded like it was calling “Sue Za Zee” which is pretty close to “Suzy” which is what my family calls me. (Suzer is my work nickname). We’ve heard this bird for several years, while living in several states.

Naturally, we started calling it the Suzy Bird.

Recently, we finally saw the bird that was making that call, and it turns out he’s the Black Capped Chickadee. Oh sure, the bird scientists think he’s calling out “Chicadee”, but what do they know?

Of course, this calls for a craft!

I’ve made a print & cut project to create a garland of Black Capped Chickadees to adorn my wall. To make this one more nature-inspired, I used a dried day-lily stem to hang them from.

Click the arrow below to see how I made this. At the end of the post, I’ve also included the files as a free download if you’d like to make your own.

How SuzerSpace created this

 

Black Capped Chickadee Garland made using Silhouette Studio's print & cut feature

I want to ride my bicycle

A Silhouette Studio Print & Cut Garland

I’ve mentioned that I didn’t realize the Silhouette Cameo could cut more than just silhouettes. I’ve posted a couple of projects that use the Print & Cut feature of the Silhouette Studio software, and I’m really hooked on the technique.

Suddenly last week I realized that the “printed” part of a print and cut could be anything, including photos. Why it too me so long, I’ll never know. But now it’s like another door of crafting just opened.

My first use of this trick is a garland for my back window. Mr. SuzerSpace and I ride bicycles outdoors for three seasons of the year (we don’t ride in Winter). I want Spring to come soon, so I’ve made a string of bicycles to dream.

Click the red arrow below to see how I made this.

How SuzerSpace created this

Conversation Hearts Garland

A Silhouette Studio Print and Cut Project

When I first got my Silhouette Cameo, I thought it only cut, uh, silhouettes. Turns out it does a technique called Print and Cut which lets it do so much more.

The concept of Print and Cut is easy – you set up your artwork that you want to print, add lines to show what you want to cut, and then turn on these magic registration marks so that the Silhouette cutter can take the instructions from the Silhouette Studio software.

The only hard part of the project is taking a decent photo of the garland hanging in my back window. The window faces north, so it’s a pick your photographic poison of too much back light or a weird view of the neighbor’s yard. I promise it looks better in person!

Conversation Hearts Garland hanging in the window

 

How SuzerSpace created this

Football Garland

A Silhouette Cameo Print & Cut Project

I’m not sure if you know this, but a big football game is coming up next weekend.

And I don’t need much prodding to produce a garland, so an over-hyped sporting event will definitely serve as an excuse!

For this one, I decided I wanted to hang the garland vertically (which might technically be a streamer and not a garland). And that meant the image needed to be visible on both sides since the footballs were going to move a bit in the air.

I’ve harnessed the power of Silhouette Studio’s Print and Cut feature and  added a twist – I double side printed the image.

How SuzerSpace created this

Heart Paper Chain Door Decoration

These cute heart paper chains have been popping up all over Pinterest, and once I saw the basic technique, I knew I was going to make some.

These heart paper chains have been popping up everywhere. Making them into a door decoration is easy

Conveniently, I also needed a new decoration for my front door. It’s January 23rd, so it’s really time for the Christmas decorations to come down, right?

(Like my “hello” sticker on my front door? I cut that out of contact paper by hand before I owned a Silhouette.)

How SuzerSpace created this