Monday, June 12, 2017

MAKE THE CUT

Annie Lang shows you 7 ways to use your new Silhouette Cutting tool


Until recently, I never felt the need to own an electronic cutting machine tool. Then came the grandkids!  I carefully researched my options and decided on the Silhouette Portrait because it had all the features I needed without too many unnecessary bells and whistles.   Since I mainly wanted to use it with vinyl materials, I ordered the Silhouette America Portrait Cutting Tool with Vinyl Starter Kit for Scrapbooking which got me off to a great start.  Here are the first 7 finished projects I made right off the starting block...

Annie Lang shows you 7 ways to use your new Silhouette Cutting tool
Okay...my first project attempt was an absolute disaster due to the fact I used copy paper to test my first cut design.  The new mat was super sticky (even though I rubbed it down with a scrap patch of denim) and peeling the paper off the mat was like trying to get store stickers off glassware without soaking them first with water! My next try was much more successful because I used cardstock and the results were exactly as I had imagined.  I then went on to create 30 personalized baby shower card invitations by recreating modified element graphics the Mom-To-Be was using for her nursery theme.  I also made matching envelope labels, thank you cards and decorative tags/decorations.  It actually took more time to peel and "weed" the design than it took for the Silhouette to cut!

Annie Lang shows you 7 ways to use your new Silhouette Cutting tool


Next was my first project with vinyl.  I created a simple design for a storage cube I use to stash extra swimwear and coverups for the family.  As it turned out, the design was a great choice for a novice and a great chance to use the green vinyl roll that came with my vinyl starter kit.  I repeated the 6" x 5" design for each of the 4 sides of the box which took up most of the vinyl sheet. However, I saved the scraps for future project.

Annie Lang shows you 7 ways to use your new Silhouette Cutting tool


To use up some vinyl scraps, I decided to dress up our Kindle Fire tablet covers and my granddaughter loved it!  I did add a few glitter sparkles to accent Maryann's flower designs but unfortunately the camera had difficulty picking up for the photo.

Annie Lang shows you 7 ways to use your new Silhouette Cutting tool


Next on the list were some iron-on vinyl baby shower gifts.  Once again, I hit a few snags but quickly learned from my mistakes.  The original fabric tote bag I wanted to test the design on was nylon and though I used a teflon sheet to transfer the image, the bag quickly "melted" when I applied the hot iron. However, when I used a cotton canvas tote, the project went as smooth as silk and I was thrilled with the results.  Next was a white cotton (I learned my lesson!) toddler tee design.  This time, I used a glitter heat transfer sheet. Because of the glitter and the fact that the cutting lines were so intricate, I couldn't tell whether or not the vinyl had been cut correctly because I couldn't see them.  When I pulled up a corner of the design I discovered that nothing had been cut most likely because I didn't have the right blade setting (there is no default for glitter heat transfer).  So I watched a few YouTube videos and decided to set the blade to 3 and try again.  This time, the vinyl did cut, but I needed to use my original design to estimate where exactly to find the teeny weeny areas that needed "weeding".  Once I finally finished the task the results were amazing!

Annie Lang shows you 7 ways to use your new Silhouette Cutting tool

By now, I'm getting excited about all the creative possibilities and am ready to move forward with printable vinyl projects!  I started with a favorite graphic I created (I'm a Photoshop digital artist fanatic!) to see how accurate the color would be.  I imported the art, added registration marks, printed it on my inkjet and was quite pleased with the printout.  Once I fed the printed design to the cutter, it read the registration marks and cut it out perfectly.  Registration marks are a bit tricky because the printer sometimes cuts off the bottom corner mark. To fix this, I use a ruler and sharpie marker to correct it and I'm back in business! I applied the vinyl cutout to a 5x7 plaque and it's now sitting beautifully in my lighted bookshelf cabinet.

Annie Lang shows you 7 ways to use your new Silhouette Cutting tool

Now that summer has arrived, I put my printable vinyl sheets to good use creating novelty party supplies for my hubby's outdoor "cabana" bar (actually in our gazebo!).  I've already washed the glassware and plastic items by hand a few times and the color is still vibrant and the vinyl logo shows no signs of wear and we can PARTY ON!

Annie Lang shows you 7 ways to use your new Silhouette Cutting tool

Another way I used my printable vinyl was to create a great postcard style wall grouping for hubby's home office.  I used Photoshop to turn our vacation photos into postcards that were resized to fit 8"x10" plaques (2 horizontal images for each layout).  I added destination text to each photo, sent the layouts to the printer, added registration marks and fed them through the cutter before mounting them on plaques.  A little vinyl text between the plaques on the wall and his office will whisk him off to paradise every time he walks into the room!

If you're looking for some super fun, cheery and bright images to create your own vinyl printables, you can use my mix and match Clipart Collections to import to your Silhouette Library.  More fun projects are on their way so keep checking my Blog and Pinterest pages for more great ideas!