Oversize Daisy Decoration

Go big or go home with a paper flower for the door

July was a very hot month this year in KC, and August rolled in with some beautiful weather. Well, actually, we had two flash floods within days of each that did a number on our basement, but fortunately, I have a short memory for things like that 🙂

The improved temperatures mean we are outside again, working in the yard, bike riding and sitting on the screened porch, watching for the space station to pass over head at night.

For an end-of-summer tribute decoration for my door, I went with a big daisy. Going big is hard for me – I have a love of miniature things. But I’ve noticed my door decor always looks great on my work table, and then kind of disappears on the door itself, especially when viewed from the street.

So I tried hard to stay big with this one. Taking my cues from this project, I used the petal template and cut 10 big petals out of white paper using my Silhouette Cameo. The paper I used is 90# index, which is what we use at work to make index tabs from.  I added a scalloped edge to her template for the center, and cut that out of the yellow paper.

Petals and center for an oversized daisy decoration

I have a new tip for saving paper when you cut small items – pre-cut the paper to a size that is just a little larger than the artwork and save the rest for scrap. If you go the other way, and cut the small art and then peel the whole sheet off of the Cameo cutting mat, it may curl or tear, and then you can’t use it later for other small projects.

The directions called for folding the petals, which I did, and I was really amazed at the how that stiffened the paper, as well as the depth it gives the flower.

Because I was going to mount this on my door, I wanted it to be more sturdy the the backdrop in the original post, so I scrounged around in the glassware cabinet and found a couple of lids that I tried on for size to use as a pattern to cut a cereal box circle for backing.

choosing the size of the backer for the oversize daisy decoration

Once that was cut, I began assembling – I tested a few arrangements for the petals and then began gluing them down to the cereal box circle, using quick drying tacky glue. I used an unopened can of beans to weigh down the center until it dried.

When I went to glue down the scalloped centerpiece, I realized that it was too small for the look I was going for. I liked the look of that lid better, so I measured that lid and resized the scalloped circle to a little smaller, and recut it from the same yellow paper. Since I already had the first smaller one, I curled up the edges and then glued both of them onto the center of the flower. I used my trusty bean can again as a weight to help it dry flat.

While that was drying, I drew up a little (not too little, though) ladybug for an added decoration. I had already figured out how to draw a simple ladybug when I Sharpie painted my flower pot, so I just redid that in Adobe Illustrator. I colored the bug so I could figure out what needed to be cut from the black paper and what part came from the red.

a ladybug for the oversize daisy door decoration

Finally I used the Expand, Divide and Combine filters to work it down to just two pieces.

Parts to cut for the ladybug for the oversize daisy decoration

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

Cut file for the ladybug that goes on the oversize daisy decoration

Once those were cut and weeded, I used a glue stick to put the red part on top of the black, and then a blob of quick drying tacky glue to put the bug on the flower. I ended with a bumpy center from all the overlapped petals and probably using too much glue, but I’ve decided that was intentional (adding more depth to my 3-D project, right?).

I made a hanger from the fold tab from the cereal box, and then finally took down my July 4 wreath and spruced up my door for what’s left of August.

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Birds With Attitude

This idea came about when I was working on my Black Capped Chickadee garland. Because of their name, I just kept envisioning those birds wearing a backwards black baseball cap, but I couldn’t quite figure out how I wanted to turn that into a paper craft.

Several weeks later, on our usual morning walk, a neighborhood Robin kept running in front of us, looking back as if we were stalking him.

Side note: Why do birds do that? If I could fly, I would definitely do that instead of running. Although truth be told, I’d rather do just about anything than run 🙂

Mr. SuzerSpace made some comment about us being in the bird’s “hood” (if I remember correctly he flashed some fake gang sign to make me laugh) and now I had two funny (at least to me) bird ideas rolling around in my head, so it was time to act.

In Adobe Illustrator

I like to work in Adobe Illustrator because I’ve used it for years, but this could be done in any drawing program you are comfortable in.

First I browsed around on the internet for a good basic bird shape. I wanted something with very large details, because I was going to set these up kind of like layered paper dolls where the details created the different bird types.

Birds with attitude drawn as basic shapes in illustrator

Once I found a couple, I morphed it into something to use as my guide. I can’t really draw anything from scratch, but if I can see the shapes that are used to create something, I can draw them and put them together in Illustrator.

After I drew the basic bird shape, I drew in and colored the pieces that would be needed to turn one into a Red Robin and the other into a Black Capped Chickadee. For that one, I also added a backwards black cap.

Using the Pathfinder tools in Illustrator, I was able to create the cutting files I’d need to make the two birds. I exported this file as a DXF because the basic version of Silhouette Studio can’t use an Adobe Illustrator file, but it has no problem with a DXF format.

In Silhouette Studio

In Silhouette Studio, I set up my Design Page as 12 x 12, cutting with a 12 x 12 Cameo mat.

birds with an attitude cut file

In reality, I’m going to cut these pieces from 6 x 6 card stock, but this is a neat trick I learned where if you place your artwork on the Design Page grid carefully, and line up the paper to match on the mat, you can cut more than one color at a time.

paper setup to cut birds with an attitude

As you can see from my photo, if you are even more careful with your placement, you can use up scrap paper.

Final Assembly

After I cut all the pieces and weeded them, I layered them and glued them up with a glue stick. I glued each one of those down to a piece of white cover stock that was cut to fit the opening of two frames I already had.

Pro tip: Make artwork the size of standard frames so you don’t have to pretend like you are going to get custom frames made. I say “pretend” because I think most people are like me and while I have good intentions of getting things framed, the truth is if I can’t just grab a frame off the shelf at the craft store or Ikea, it is never going to make it onto the wall.

birds with an attitude pieces to assemble

 

I’m not a big fan of my own handwriting, so I cut the words for each in black vinyl and adhered that below the bird image.

birds with an attitude assembled

Once they were assembled I had my own custom bird artwork, perfect for hanging. I have them on my entryway hall, near a big mirror that has my paperclip feet birds perched on it.

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Paper Cactus

Easy to make, even easier to take care of!

Paper cacti and other succulents have been all the rage this season, and for good reason. They are cute, unkillable and really easy to make.

I’ve pinned a bunch of these tutorials and then combined them all into two plants that fit my needs best.

Here’s how I made them:

In Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is my drawing program of choice because I’ve used it for years.

Before I could begin drawing, there was a little math. But don’t panic on that- the issue is I wanted these plants to fit two pots I already had, and it’s really not that tricky to get that to happen.

I measured across the top of the pot I wanted to use – the fancy math term for that is “diameter.” To make the plant sit snug in the mouth of the pot, I need the finished piece to be right at that measurement. If I made them smaller, then it would slip down into the pot and wouldn’t look real.

The cacti are made up of multiple folded and glued wedges, so I need to divide that diameter in half to get the measurement of the wide spot of each wedge.

 

Once I had those measurements, I drew half of a cactus piece. half a cactus for a paper cactus project

This I then copied and mirrored so that my two halves were exactly even. This is important when you fold and glue them. I welded them together to get rid of that middle line because I didn’t want it cut in half, I want to fold them in half to create a ball-like shape.

two cactus halves for a paper cactus

I repeated this process for my second pot (getting the measurement and drawing a different shaped cactus wedge). And then a drew up a little flower circle, using a similar process from this project.

cactus drawing for a paper cactus

Once I had all my parts, I saved the file, and then exported it as a DXF file, because the basic version of Silhouette Studio software can’t read an Adobe Illustrator file, but it can work with the DXF format.

In Silhouette Studio

Silhouette Studio is the software that Silhouette America provides for using with the Silhouette Cameo cutting machine. I set my Design Settings for an 8.5 x 11 sheet, cutting with a 12 x 12 mat, and then brought in my artwork.

cactus files to cut for a paper cactus

I’ll need 6 wedges for each cacti, plus one flower. I cut the wedges out of two shades of green paper for variation, and the flower out of hot pink for one plant, and a scrap of yellow for the other.

paper parts for a paper cactus

Final Assembly

Once I had all the parts weeded, it was time to assemble. Fold all the wedges in half, and then glue one half of one piece to the half piece of the next. Continue doing this until you have a ball shaped cactus using all 6 pieces. The last one is the trickiest to fit in – my tip here is to make sure the remaining section is really pretty dry before trying to work that one in. I use paper clips as mini clamps as I go, and I use either glue stick or fast drying tacky glue for this project. This is really similar to how the tulips were assembled in the Watering Can and Tulip Mobile.

assemble the paper cactus

I curled up the edges of the flower and used a dollop of tacky glue to adhere it to the top of the cactus. This adds a little pop of color, and also hides any of the corners at the top that might not have been glued together perfectly even.

paper bag dirt for a paper cactus

For my “dirt” I used scalloped scissors on a paper bag, and then accordion folded and then cut those strips up smaller to fill the bottom of my pot.

After these were finished, I saw a super cute, super punny flowerpot in my Pinterest feed, so I cut a similar saying out of black vinyl and adhered that to one of the pots for a finishing touch.

punny saying for a paper cactus

 

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Etched Glasses

An easy way to personalize barware

 

Mr. SuzerSpace and I like ice-cold drinks on the weekends. In fact, we even have a special recipe for a beer based drink.

Unfortunately, one of us tends to put down her glass and lose track of it, and then drink the other person’s drink.

The obvious solution would be to etch our names on our glasses. But what fun would be obvious be?

Instead, I chose to etch “Mine” and “Not Yours” on a set of glasses.

This is an easy craft – all of the instructions are on the back of the etching cream bottle. And using my Silhouette Cameo to create the stencil made it even easier.

In Silhouette Studio

I set up in Silhouette Studio two rectangles the maximum size of what I wanted the words to be. And then I typed them inside that rectangle in a big bold font. From my paint stencil project, I know it’s best to give yourself extra taped off area so as not to drip on the finished piece.

words for etched glasses

I sent that to cut on contact paper, and then weeded the letters out of the big rectangle.  The goal is to make a stencil for the etching cream. Contact paper is a good choice here because the stencil is going to be thrown away, but it needs to be super sticky to protect the areas you don’t want etched.

I used transfer tape to move the stencil to the glass. I probably could have moved the “Mine” one without the tape, but the “Not Yours” version has those little parts inside the “o” (those are called counters) and it’s easier to move that with the tape.

Final Assembly

After I washed the glass and cleaned it one last time with an alcohol wipe to get off any grease, I applied the contact paper stencil and then applied the etching cream. I wore gloves and worked outside for this project because etching cream is an acid and I don’t want to lose any skin (or countertop).

mask for etched glasses applied to with transfer tape
Gridded transfer tape makes moving a contact paper mask for etching glasses easier.

After the required time was up, I washed off the cream, washed and dried the glass and then repeated the process on the second glass.

And now I have a very unique set of glasses for weekend drinking!

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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.

 

 

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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.

I was featured at the MyBusyBeehives.com linkup party

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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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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 😉 .