Thursday, January 27, 2011

My first ever tutorial! Silhouette valentine

Ever since I started using the Silhouette, trying to use paper efficiently and get the settings just right have been a challenge. I wanted to create a project that I could fit entirely on an 8.5 x 11 and be a neat package once all cut out. Then I discovered how awesome the pens are and I went a little wild. I decided to create my first ever tutorial, and dedicate it to Valentines day!

I discovered the beauty of using layers in Illustrator to create one layer of pen art and one layer for the cuts. The best part about using layers is that you can essentially create an entire project on one single document, or piece of paper. I love the look of petal envelopes, so I decided to include that as a holder for all the pieces of the puzzle.
I created my template in Illustrator with 3 layers: One is locked on top with registration marks. This makes sure that the CraftRobo software doesn't re-position my work. The 2nd layer is the pen art, and I do this part first so that the ink can dry before the cutting.
Since the only way I really use the machine is through Illustrator with the CraftRobo plug-in, I am going to assume that you already know how to do this. If you don't use this method it is not hard to set up, and there are tons of tutorials out there that can help you. I am including my Illustrator file at the end of the post.
Here is the Template all together: one petal envelope, 2 note cards to choose from to go inside, and 2 tags to choose from for decoration. Oh yeah, and some heart confetti, because why not? ( I hate wasting paper! It's kind of an OCD thing)

So for the first step, select your paper. The kind I am using is 65 lb card stock. Load it onto your mat and into the machine, lining the top left corner of your paper on the zero on your mat. Load your pen into the machine, make sure the "Cut" layer is turned off in AI, and put in your settings. I put my pen pressure settings at 25, but I think it could probably handle more. I also put my speed at 1, the slowest so that the ink would have time to dry without being touched by the rollers and smeared.

File layers:

Hopefully this is what you will get. I also leave the cover open when I use the pen because it looks like it wouldn't fit if it were closed.

So with that done, go back to Illustrator and turn off the "Pen" layer and turn on the "Cut" layer.

You can theoretically leave them all on and have the machine pause between layers, but I just do this to be safe. These are the settings I used for the cutting:

If all goes as planned, everything should be lined up and cut out on your mat. Of course, it will probably take you a few tries to get it right with your paper, I know it took me a few times to get it cut. It helps to have some paper that you don't really like for scraps to test, but is the same weight as what you intend to use. One thing I think is very important is having thick books on each side when using thick paper, because without that support sometimes the mat bobs around and some pieces can come loose.

Also you might want to figure out exactly what settings to use before you make a ton of art using your pens. Here are all the pieces all weeded out:

Now the fun part, putting it all together!

It is much easier to fold the petal envelope once you have scored it. You can use a bone fold or a special scoring tool, I
love mine.

You can choose which side you want your art to go on, I chose the outside since so much will be going on inside.

And Tra-La! Here is it all put together:

And what can come out when it is opened.

There you have it! Personalize it just for that special someone. And they'll think that you slaved away on this for days! :) I wrapped mine up with baker's twine, which seems to look good on everything lately. It's the craft world's mascara.

After that you're pretty much on your own! You can include one of the note cards, both, or whatever you want! Also, when you print out multiple sheets of the template with different colors of paper, you can substitute some of the pieces, like I did with the confetti. If you are savvy with AI, you can use modify the template to your
heart's content. See what I did there? I hope you all enjoy my first Silhouette tutorial, and feel free to use my free template, just make sure to please site my blog you do! :)
And don't hesitate to show me what you come up with!

Download Sophie's Valentine Template

(I saved it as version 9 in Illustrator)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My first finished silhouette cards

I finally finished the Valentine's Day cards I was working on. I got out my embossing powder and added some final touches too-

Here are all the cards I designed together,

My logo embossed on the back of all the cards. On some it is barely noticeable, until you feel it.

Here they all are! The 2 in the front I made using one of the Silhouette designs from their shop. I can't wait to make more! The ideas are endless.

Organizing fool

So I finally got my "studio" together with the help of this awesome organizer:

This thing is great, it has tons of storage space for all my stuff, looks great, and even comes with a dowel rod for tapes and ribbons. But the best part had to be the 40% off coupon that I used from Micheal's!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Fun times with Silhouette machine

I. Love. This. Machine.
I got the silhouette as a Christmas present and haven't used it until 2 days ago. Why? I was terrified that it wouldn't work as well as it is supposed to, or that it would be too complicated to figure out since I wanted to primarily use my designs instead of the ones that comes with the software, that also was supposedly not mac-friendly.
Turns out the Silhouette is SO easy to use, I feel like a fool for not getting started sooner. Here are some of the things that I have made already!

I cut out my logo, and a bunch of other letters for later,

Some fun tags and shapes, pretty much just testing what it can do at this point.

I used my logo to decorate my sketchbook-

These guys watched me as I worked...

Here are some cute valentine's cards-

I have more to do to these, they're definitely going in my Etsy shop.

Here is the tiniest of tiny hearts that the Silhouette cut out. Pretty amazing!

Some really cute bow tags for gifts on any occasion-

Now onto vinyl, which is a lot more temperamental than paper. Either there is a steep learning curve or I just bought the wrong kind of vinyl, we shall see. But this is what I managed to make in the meantime:

I love my adorable stand mixer, and now it looks even cuter than before!

And finally, it took me all day, but I made a logo for my car!

Since I opened the box this little machine has been running non stop. If anyone else uses one, let me know what you think and if you have any tips!

Friday, January 7, 2011

I like swag

I finally got my Vela Luna candle that I designed the identity for. It smells amazing!

I wish I had an unlimited supply of these.... Thanks Cori!

A very dinky Christmas

So this Christmas, I spent a good chunk of time making presents instead of buying for my friends and family. Here are how some of them came out!

First for decoration and some jewelry elements I went crazy with more shrinky dinks. I made frames, birdcages, banners, and other things, which later became necklaces or random charms.

Some of them I attached to presents and maybe people could think of their own things to do with them...

I also used some of my shrinky dink flowers from earlier to make my mom a necklace that she saw me wearing and fell in love with.

I also made one for my grandmother, here they are wearing their fancy new necklaces-

And here's my mom wearing hers-

Here is a coupon book that I made for my boyfriend with various coupons for things that I think he will like-

Sticking with my tea towel theme lately, I made my girlfriends some silk screened towels with "our slogan" on them (yeah, we're cheesy). They each got two, one black and one gold. Who Dat.

And topped them off with a shrinky dink key chain/chip that they can show off to all their friends so they can be jealous.

And here is one third of the trifecta, Jessica showing off her tea towel.

Whew! It was hard keeping all those gifts a secret. :) Can't believe we are already a week into the new year. Hope everyone is having a great one!