Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cricut Marker and Shrinky Dink Tutorial

Christmas in July is continuing here with a tutorial of how to combine the Cricut Markers with Shrinky Dinks for a whole bunch of fun and some cute projects! I decided to make a snowman charm using Winter Frolic and you really can make anything  - but it tends to be easiest when the cut has a shadow layer. I also have written these directions for someone using the Gypsy. I do not know if the layers would line up correctly using the "old fashioned" method.

The details:

I begin with my snowman shape on one layer, and the shadow directly behind it on the second layer.

You can also see I added some circles from George to create a spot for the finding to go through. (I need to resize them - I thought they were a little big for the final product.)

I put my marker in the machine, set for low pressure, and "cut" the first layer which draws the outline of the snowman for me.

This next step is important, instead of unloading the mat, I select Return to Design. If you unload the mat, the design won't be centered.

I move to the second (shadow) layer of the gypsy design. Then I swtich out the marker for the blade housing and change the settings. The settings that have worked best for me are: Blade depth 6, Max pressure, and Multi-cut of 2.

This cuts out the shrinky dink around my image and gives it a nice border, resulting in this:

Now I am ready to decorate and color my snowman  and make him adorable.  Here he is all ready to be baked.

I used a Peachy Keen stamp with Staz-On ink, I used Sharpie markers for the hat and gloves, and some watercolor pencils for the nose and cheeks. I put him in the toaster oven at 325 degrees until it curls up and then lays flat, which brings me to my final product.

I started out with a three inch snowman and my final charm is about 1.5 inches and (I think) super cute!. I hope the directions are clear and encourage you to start cutting and shrinking!

Vinyl Scraps Winner!

And the winner of the vinyl scraps is.... Rita! Rita if you could shoot me an email at and give me your address that would be great. I actually probably have it around here - but am in the midst of craft room cleaning so it would be way more efficient just to get it again. I hope everyone is still inspired to try vinyl! It is fun and addiciting!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Christmas in July Vinyl Tutorial

Hello followers - Merry Christmas! Yes I know it is rather early but in the crafting world Christmas does seem to fall in July doesn't it? (And for those of you who may have expected  an emotion filled rant for my next post- sorry - not my style. And to my non-circle followers - ignore these parentheses!)

So in case you didn't know, I heart vinyl! All types of vinyl really but today I am bringing you a tutorial on how to create a great ornament using sign vinyl - and the best part? It takes hardly any time at all!
The details:
I began with my supplies: scraps of sign vinyl (Orcal 631 - I get them from a sign shop), painter's tape (to act as transfer tape), a ceramic ornament, and my vinyl tool (but you can also use your Cgull scraper tool).

Next I laid out my vinyl on my mat and smoothed it down using my tool. You will see white vinyl here and not in the finished product because I had planned on using it but then changed my mind. Using the tool to apply it to the mat gives you a nice smooth surface to work with and ensures a nice cut.

I always have cut vinyl using 3-3-3 settings on my machine and have never had a problem. After cutting my design, I weeded off the excess which just means I picked out all the little excess scraps.

The "Let it Snow" is from Winter Frolic and cut at 2.10 inches. The snowflake is from Joys of the Season and cut at 2 inches. Now, technically you should use transfer tape for all layers but for the phrase I just used my fingers to add the dark blue letters and then placed my transfer tape over it, again smoothing over the top with my vinyl tool.

It should then lift off pretty easily, and this allows you to place it on your ornament.

Again, smooth everything down on the surface and then slowly peel away the tape. You should have your design in perfect shape on your ornament! (and psst! it if tears a little - no worries! vinyl is very forgiving - just smooth it down!)

Of course I added some Martha Stewart bling with some glue dots and replaced the ugly gold thread with some delicious Trendy Twine for the final product.

And for the back of the ornament? I will admit I used a white transfer tape so that I could more easily see to  layer the vinyl but I also think clear contact paper would work the same if you want to try tricky layers. I think I would just make the contact paper a little less sticky first by applying it to my clothes or the rug first.
Here is how it turned out:

Wasn't that easy? It would have taken me under half an hour but I had to stop and keep taking pictures. And if you are looking for another idea that combines vinyl and ornaments, you can use it etching cream and come up with a final product that looks like this:

All I did in this case was place my vinyl on the ornament, cover the rest of the space with etching cream, and let it sit! All that was left to do was wash off the cream and peel off the vinyl and I was done!

If you still haven't had enough of vinyl and ornaments you can check out this post - where I used it with the infamous Glitter Balls.

I would love to give away some vinyl scraps to someone who wants to play! Leave me a comment and I will pick one person on July 26th to get an envelope filled with some vinyl all ready to use. (Please know - these will be odd-sized pieces of various colors - not new vinyl sheets.) Oh and even though it is 90 degrees outside - Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summer Fun Goody Bags!

Hi everyone! I am thrilled to be here at The BugBytes, and I decided to bring  you what else? Some goody bags that I created for my daughter's kindergarten class. The last two years I have been fortunate enough to find enough good deals on books that I could provide every child in her class with 5 books to take home for the summer, and these are what I designed to house them! (Can you tell I really really believe in summer reading?) And of course I threw in some other summer fun goodies like bubbles and mini paint kits and various other goodies.

This post must come with a disclaimer - do as I say not as I do! Why you ask? Because while cutting sandpaper is a good idea in theory - in actuality it is not only a PITA, it killed my first machine. She never quite recovered and no amount of resets could save her. *bowing head for moment of silence*

The details:
Now that I have given you the official disclaimer, you should know the sand castle is cut at 4 inches from Create a Critter, with the top layer being sandpaper (really people - steal it out of the kids sandbox and xyron it) and the bottom being craft paper. The whole thing is on an action wobble - because that made the packaging fun!

The wobble in action!
The sun is also from Create a Critter cut at 2.50 inches, except I replaced the top layer with a 1.5 inch circle from George and a Peachy Keen Stamp. I chalked the cheeks of the sun and also used stickles around the the outside layer for the sparkly effect. I finished the bags off with some MS word art printed on clear labels and adhered to the bag.

The best part is that I loved these bags so much I made coordinating tags to go with the teacher goody bags - which contained a class picture candle and a mini spa kit full of items to help the relaz and rejuvanate!
In the case of the tags, I only used the bottom layer of the sand castle cut on kraft paper (I was tired of fighting with sandpaper - remember -good for distressing, bad for machine) and I put the sun on an action wobble - because I really do love those things. They provide me with so much joy and entertainment! I finished the tags with a Fiskars stamp and had my daughter sign them and attached with some baker's twine. Easy and adorable! That's all for me this month at The BugBytes - see you in August!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It's a Cupcake - no, it's a Crayon!

This is a project that I started with my daughter this week to curb the "I don't have anything to do-itis" that children seem to come down with this time of year, and of course like all such projects I ended up putting in more time than I wanted to - but it did keep her occupied for two summer afternoons. It is an idea that I got from a class I attended at the CKC convention - and I knew when I saw it on the idea sheet it was right up her alley PLUS a way to get rid of all those old broken crayons.

But then of course before we gave it away I had to have a little help from my Cricut and the Cupcake Wrappers Lite cartridge.
Front View
Back view
This was a gift for a little girl's birthday party - so I coordinated the paper with the gift bag and card (*warning* sad birthday card ahead - but I only had about 30 minutes notice that I was making it and not my daughter.)
Gift Bag

Sad Birthday Card
The details:

To make the crayon, we dug through the box of broken crayons and separated them by color (which was one afternoon's craft time),  then the next day we peeled off the papers and melted them. I used some cooking spray on the cupcake wrappers and put them in the oven at 350 degrees until they melted together (about 10 minutes). After taking them out of the oven I stirred each one with a toothpick to blend the colors - and then we let them sit for a little while before adding the birthday candle and sprinkles. When they were completely set we popped them out of the tin and replaced the waxy wrapper with a fresh one. For the birthday wrapper, I used Cupcake Wrappers Lite and cut out both layers at 2.25 inches.

For the gift bag and card I used Colorbok holographic paper from Target and the Hannah Montana cartridge. On the gift bag, the guitar is cut at 6 inches and the name at 1.50 inches. I also used the leftover stars from the name to decorate around the guitar. For the card, the guitar was cut at 3 inches and the stamp is from Fiskars.

I highly recommend this as a child occupying activity. It would be nice to give a whole set for a birthday - but I would plan in advance as it does seem to take more time than I had expected. Happy melting!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Twine Winner!

Thanks so much ladies for all your wonderful comments! I used to pick the winner and....
so that means the winner is...

Congrats Aman! I will send you an email so that I can get your address! And again thanks so much to everyone for entering!  

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My Twine Storage Solution

I should promise that no twine was harmed in the making of this blog post but that would be a big ole lie - there were some minor skirmishes but organization prevailed!

 Have I mentioned that I heart baker's twine? It has been finding its way into my projects more and more, but I have to admit - that stuff can be a PITA to get it unrolled when it is actually time to use it, especially since I only have it in smaller lengths (a sampler pack from The Twinery and one of Divine Twine....well, at least that's what I have right now). Anyway I needed a way to turn this mess.....
into something more manageable. (you should know - this is what happens when the 18 month old decides to "help" mommy). And what I came up with was a design for a thread bobbin that turned that mess into this...
And now all of my twine can be stored on a ring within reach on my pegboard or on the end of my Making Memories cabinet (haven't made up my mind yet). I was going to store them in a box except that enabler Caroline (from Caroline's Craftography) showed me some ribbon storage that made me remember I had binder rings. (Edited to add:) You can find the binder rings in the school supply section at Walmart or an office supply store like Staples - I happened to have some in with my school stuff.

The details:
The process was really very simple - I used three rectangles from George welded together and then cut from kraft cardstock - and I cut two for each thread bobbin and adhered them together to make the bobbin nice and sturdy for the twine. The final bobbin is just over 4 inches high and about 3 inches wide.

I was able to lay out 6 of the design one the mat to be cut out of one 8 1/2 by 11 piece of paper - which in the end would give me 3 total bobbins (assuming I put the paper on the mat correctly - can you guess why I said that??). Then I simply added a little slit at the top with a razor and wrote the brand and color name. A hole punch in the bottom and a large binder ring, and the bobbin was done ready for winding!

It really was a painless process and now I can look at all my pretty colors of twine and admire them on a daily basis. But how about a little giveaway?? I have a bobbin of Halloween Baker's Twine from Trendy Twine that I would love to give to one of my followers. I also heart Halloween so I will admit I splurged and bought the whole spool.

How much is on there? No idea - I would guess about 7-10 yards - enough to add that special something to your Halloween projects. Just leave me a comment and I will pick a winner on Friday, July 8th.   As always if you would like the Gypsy file for the bobbin just shoot me an email and I will send it to you.