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Black Friday Deals for Crafters

Black Friday Deals for Crafters

Black Friday is a great time to stock up on crafting supplies. Look for great deals on the high-priced items that help you to be more productive. Do you need a better cutter? Is there a Foil Press on your wish list? Or perhaps you need a more efficient die cutter/embosser to handle those very intricate dies.  Maybe you need a new computer or external hard drive. Do you need a new printer?

If you do not need a new machine, perhaps you need to stock up on consumable supplies for your crafting projects. Is you stash of paper or vinyl, or HTV dwindling? Do you have plenty of adhesives? Be sure to check your supply of blades and mats for your machines! There are lots of Black Friday Deals for Crafters that could save you money on your craft supplies.

Black Friday Deals for Crafters

Black Friday Deals for Crafters

Pazzles Inspiration Vue Cutter Best deal of the year for this machine! Don’t miss this best buy of the Black Friday Deals for Crafters!

Black Friday Deals for Crafters

Pazzles Inspiration Vue

Items on this page may contain affiliate links.

More Black Friday Deals for Crafters

Scan N Cut350 Get a great deal on the reliable version of this machine.

Scan N Cut DX This one is the latest Scan N Cut model with the auto blade.

Brother SNC Universal Pen Holder Works with older and newer Scan N Cut models.

Brother HL-L2300D Monochrome Laser Printer with Duplex Printing\

Amazon Basics Thermal Laminator Use for foiling in combination with a Monochrome Laser Printer. Print your design in B&W on a laser printer. Place foil over printed image. Place  design and foil between printer paper. Run through preheated laminator. Foil transfers to the printed design.

Scan N Cut Standard Blade For older machines – not for the DX models.

Scan N Cut Standard Mat Fold older machines- not for the DX models.

Online Activation Card for Scan N Cut for WiFi connection DX models do not need this, as WiFi is built in on the DX machines.

Silhouette Cameo 3  Check the Silhouette Online store from your free Silhouette Studio software for the best deals of the year on cutting designs.

Cricut Maker

Mint Cricut Explore Air 2 

New Cricut Easy Press 2 Now in three different sizes. Heats to 400 degrees quickly.

Cricut Easy Press Mat  

Cuttlebug by Cricut

Cricut Bright Pad

Ultimate Fine Point Pen by Cricut  Set Assorted

Stamp set

Prismacolor pastel color sticks

Prismacolor colored pencils

Sizzix Extended Cutting Plates

Super Doodle 50 Gel Pens Set

Arteza Watercolor Premium Artist Paints Set of 24 Colors

Gemini Die Cutting/Embossing Machine Great price for a power machine! I ordered one, plus the plates for the Gemini Jr to use with this. Get this machine or the Gemini Jr. to use with the new Gemini Foilpress. Gemini Jr is only slightly less than the full size Gemini. So unless you really need the smaller size of the Jr. 6-inch width, I recommend the full size Gemini. You will need an extended plate for the Foilpress to work in the full size Gemini.

Sharpie Fine Point pen set of 24 colors Can you even have enough Sharpies? These fit in my pen holders to draw with my machines.

Dries Clear Adhesive Everyone needs a good supply of adhesive that dries clear for projects. I use this type of adhesive for my 3D flowers, boxes, cards, luminaries, and other projects.

Heartfelt Creations Deluxe Flower Shaping Kit I use this kit for shaping my 3D flowers. While there, take a look at their new products and their 50% off sale on Limited Editions.

Spellbinders Tool In 1 Great for brushing the tiny pieces out of intricate cuts. If you cut any intricate designs, you need this tool!

15″x15″ Heat Press If you do a lot of Heat transfer vinyl on garments, you need a heat press. The size is right on this one, and the best price I could find.

80# white cardstock Excellent cardstock for print and cut projects. The printer can handle it, and it cuts well.

100# white cardstock Great for cutting popup cards and stamped flowers for coloring and shaping into 3D flowers.

110# White cardstock Great for 3D projects

Ultra Fine Micro Line Pens set of 16  I couldn’t resist purchasing another set of these at this low price.

Derwent Watercolor Pencils set of 24  now at a reduced price. I love these for coloring my 3D flower creations.

Artists Choice Watercolor Pencils set of 72 More colors in this set, but the colors are not as intense as those in the Derwent set.

A4 LED Ultra Thin Light Box Tracer – Not quite as bright as the Cricut Bright Pad, but the price is right and it works well for weeding vinyl.

Tim Holtz Stamp Platform I love this for getting perfectly stamped images.

SanDisk 54Gb Flash Drive This will work to transfer SVG files to the Scan N Cut. I keep a dedicated thumb drive for that purpose.

Ultra Fine Glitter This is what I use with the Scor-tape Sheets to make patterned glitter paper.

Scor-tape Sheets I cut these with my electronic die cutters to use with foil to make lovely foiled projects. No heat necessary for this method. Brayer the dull side down over the cut adhesive.

Modeling Clay, 24 colors plus tools 

Flameless Candles  Great for luminaries and lanterns!

Set of 88 Alcohol Dual Tip Markers with case

Cricut Rotary Blade Kit

Dog Tags for engraving Engrave a blank tag for your pet using your engraving tool with your cutter!

Tim Holtz Distress Oxide Inks

Portable 4T External usb Drive You need a place to store all the files you collect for cutting!  Back everything up before you lose it!!!!!!

Instant Pot Duo 6 qt.  – I love my Instant Pot. I can do a lot of crafting while it does the cooking!

Blendtec Blender – My favorite Smoothie Maker at a great price! Prime Day price updated at checkout. Take a break from your crafting to enjoy a healthy treat!

 

See EVERYTHING available during Black Friday here

 

Learn to Use Your New Crafting Machines

Check back here, at Cuttercrafter.com for tutorials and cutting files to use with your new crafty purchases. You will find some FREE projects to try in our Free Resource Library.

Would you like to see some of my FREE SVG projects? Check them out in my FREE Resource Library.

 

>> HOW TO ENTER THE FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY <<

This resource library is open to everyone for free. All you need is the password to get in, which you can get by filling out the form below.

If you already have your password, enter the resource library here.

Best Paper for Cutting

What is the Best Paper for cutting with your electronic cutter? The answer to this question depends on what you want to do with the cut paper. Are you wanting to cut very intricate designs? Are you wanting to make popup cards? Do you want to print on the paper before or after cutting? Are you cutting very thin paper or very thick paper? Do you need to emboss your paper? There are many factors to consider in your paper choices.

Best Paper

Best Paper for Cutting

There is some excellent general information about paper called The Ultimate Guide to Card Stock posted here.  And there is excellent information about paper weights here.

No matter which paper you choose to cut, you must do test cuts. Test cuts help you determine the optimal settings on your machine. See this document for test cut suggestions.

Note: Some affiliate links may be used in this post. I am affiliated only with products that I use. When you purchase products using my affiliate links, it does not cost you any more, but I will share some commission. Thanks!

Machine Choice

Not every machine can cut every different type of paper well. For example the Cricut Maker can cut Tissue Paper,  Construction Paper and Crepe Paper very well using its rotary cutting wheel.

Cricut Explore or Cricut Maker

Rotary Blade Kit for Cricut Maker

But other electronic machines may require special stiffening to be cut these thin papers. And most machines will not cut these very thin and very fragile papers at all.

Silhouette machines, such as the Silhouette Cameo can cut lightweight cardstock and text weight papers very well. But these machines are not rated to cut heavier cardstock or heavier media.

Is the Best Paper Made of Hardwood or Softwood?

Every paper mill has its own formula for creating paper. All use hardwood and softwood to make their papers. But the proportions of hard to soft woods used in the papermaking process varies. When you find paper that works extremely well for the projects you like to make, take note of the mill that produces that paper. You might want to consider purchasing your favorite papers in quantities. When you get some papers that do not cut well for the projects you like to make, avoid purchasing papers from the mills that produce them.

For example, I purchase inexpensive paper made by Georgia Pacific for test cutting new designs if they are not too intricate. But when making final project cuts and intricate designs, I prefer to use papers by Neenah or Colormates from Worldwin. These papers seem to be crispier, and cut without shredding. Even very intricate designs cut very cleanly on these papers. Crispy papers have a higher hardwood content that make them cut better on electronic cutting machines.

However, stiff and crispy papers may crack under pressure when using Die Cutter/Embossing machines. In this case, it is important to test small samples for embossing, before you purchase in bulk. You may find that paper that cuts best on the electronic cutter, is not the best paper for using in a pressure embossing machine.

The Best Paper for Light Weight Projects

Tissue Paper

When you want to emboss many, many layers of tissue paper, embossing folders used with Die Cutter/Embossing machines work great. However, tissue paper may rip and tear under a cutting blade in a cutting machine. For this reason, a rotary blade, such as that available for use on the Cricut Maker works best. You can cut some amazing flower petals from tissue paper using the Cricut Maker and rotary blade.

Best Paper

Cricut Maker

Use a light tack mat, or the project may tear when you remove it from the mat. Do not attempt to cut any shape smaller than 3/4″ using the rotary blade. Cut larger simple shapes from tissue paper for best results.

If you are needing straight cuts, a hand-held rotary tool may work for cutting multiple layers at a time. Then you can use scissors to make any necessary curved cuts.

Crepe Paper

Crepe paper comes in a wide variety a weights and attributes. When making crepe paper flowers, getting a quality crepe paper that stretches nicely is important. Crepe paper comes in many weights. You may be able to cut heavy crepe paper, ironed between two layers of freezer paper with a regular blade on your electronic cutter. But I have found that if I want to cut crepe paper on a cutter, Cricut Maker using the Rotary blade is the only machine that will do it well without tearing. Again, do not plan to cut any shapes smaller than 3/4″.

Crepe paper rolls for decorating may not be your best choice for cutting. This type of crepe paper is very thin, and stretches very little.

Construction Paper

Construction paper is very inexpensive. But it is also tears very easily. Its fibers are very loose. Cutting blades rip and tear in the cutting process unless using a rotary cutting blade. Use the rotary blade on the Cricut Maker for simple cuts on construction paper. Otherwise, scissors may cut the best. Construction paper is not always the Best Paper option for use with cutters.

Vellum

Translucent vellum used for crafting is generally a thin, but crispy paper that cuts well with a blade on electronic cutters. It comes in a text weight or as cardstock. The text weight paper is very fragile, so should be handled carefully. Translucent vellum cardstock works extremely well with line embossing on electronic cutters. And it cuts very well, too, without using a special backing or freezer paper.

You can create some lovely parchment type crafts using vellum, an embossing tool, piercing tool and cutting blade on your electronic cutter. If your machine does not have piercing and embossing tools available, it is possible to use hand embossing or piercing tools in a pen holder. The tip of a blade can produce a pierced effect if you don’t have a piercing tool.

Pazzles InVue Cutter

Pierced, embossed, and cut Vellum popup butterfly

 Scrapbook Paper

Decorative scrapbook papers are fun to use on cards and scrapbook layouts. Most cutters can cut scrapbook paper without a problem. But some scrapbook papers cut better than others. Some scrapbook papers made of layers may split, bunch or tear when cut. If you have papers that give you problems, avoid tiny cuts. Use them for cutting larger shapes. Cutting small welded text with sharp angles can result in lots of tearing. It is better to use nice crispy paper without a white core for intricate cuts and tiny text. If you find a brand that cuts well, stick with that brand for cutting with your machine.

Text Weight Paper

Paper that feeds into printers is usually text weight. 20# text is very light weight printer paper. 24# paper is better than 20# for double sided printing. 37# text weight paper is very nice for print and cut projects that do not need to be stiff. You can use shimmer papers for making lovely 3D flowers. This paper is described as 18 GSM (32/80lb Text) , The key word is “text” – this is NOT cardstock. It feels like quality letterhead paper. It has a smooth, Satiny Metallic finish.

Text Weight Papers can also be sold in heavier weights. Even up to weights that are nearly equivalent to medium weight cardstock. Be sure to read the weight specifications. Is it Text Weight or cover stock? Even more importantly, try some test cuts. Does it cut well for your purposes? If you need to print on it, will it feed through your printer smoothly? It is recommended for use in printers? Heavy cardstock may not work well for cutting around printed images.

Be sure to use a light tack mat when cutting light weight papers. Light weight papers may not come off of a brand new, very sticky mat. At least you should condition a new mat, and do test cuts on heavier paper on a new mat before using it with lightweight paper.

Best Paper for Cardstock Projects

Cardstock is available in weights from medium weight 65# up to  very heavy weight 110#. 70#, 80#, 90#, 100# and 105# are also common cardstock weights. You may want to have a variety of weights on hand for different projects.

Medium Weight Cardstock

65# cardstock is the most common medium weight cardstock. It can be used for cards, scrapbook photo mats, stamping embellishments, home decor, gifts and other crafting projects. Some medium weight cardstock cuts well, and others do not cut well on electronic cutters. If you have some medium weight cardstock that does not cut well on your electronic cutter, try using it for embossing on cards and embellishments. It may also be used for making simple shapes or photo mats.

It is easy to assume that your cutter is broken when nothing will cut right. However, “mushy” paper is the culprit for bad cuts more often than not for me. Also, be sure to check the cutter maintenance tips to rule out other causes of poor cuts.

Best Paper

Cuts before and after cutter maintenance

Heavy Cardstock

Any cardstock above 80# is considered to be heavy weight. 100# cardstock is great for coloring, molding, and shaping for 3D flowers. You will love 110# cardstock for creating heavy duty boxes and 3D paper projects. 100# cardstock is great for making popup cards. You will like using 80#-90# cardstock for making cards, intricate frames, borders, corners, etc . If you prefer cutting heavy cardstock, stay away from the cutters that are limited to cutting medium weight cardstock.

Some heavy cardstocks have polyester fibers in them, which make them strong. But these polyester fibers make them much more difficult to cut cleanly, especially on intricate designs. The polyester fibers also are very hard on blades, dulling them quickly. These textured papers make very nice cards and photo mats. However, they may not be the Best Paper for cutting with your electronic cutter.

Watercolor Paper

Watercolor paper can have different weights and densities. These papers are great for watercolor projects. Cutting watercolor paper into simple shapes may not be problematic. But it might be best to cut only simple, basic shapes from it. Because watercolor paper is not crispy, it may tend to bunch and shred by the blade. You may be able to cut shapes around your watercolor designs if you are careful.

Matboard

Professional quality photo mats are made from 4-ply matboard . Matboard is very stiff, and very difficult for most electronic craft cutters to handle. Some of the cutters that can cut with up to 1000 grams or more of pressure can cut 2-ply matboard up to 2mm thick. The cutting blade must also be able to handle the thickness of the Matboard. Some cutters, such as Scan N Cut, have the pressure rating for cutting heavier materials. But they are limited in the thickness that they can handle. Scan N Cut 2 is rated to cut media no thicker than 1.5mm. Read more about cutting matboard with the Knife Blade on the Cricut Maker here.  Pazzles Vue can cut 2 ply matboard up to 2mm thick.

Scan N Cut 2 cuts media only up to 1.5mm thick. The Scan N Cut DX to be released in the Fall of 2018 is boasting a 3mm thickness cutting option. Cricut Maker cuts media up to 2.5mm thick, but would require the optional Knife blade to access the pressure needed for cutting thicker media. Pazzles Vue cuts media up to 2mm thick. Some of the KNK machines will cut Matboard, as does the Silver Bullet line of cutters. Be sure to check your cutter specifications before investing in Matboard to cut.

Chipboard

Chipboard comes in many thicknesses and densities. Some chipboard is made of multiple layers. Some is coated on a single side, while others have a coating on both sides. Most cutters can handle cutting cereal boxes, which is flexible chipboard. Some chipboard is not flexible. That type is most difficult to cut. Some chipboard shreds during multiple cutting passes. There is chipboard available that cuts well without shredding. Here is an excellent article about chipboard. Cricut sells 11″x11″ chipboard made specifically for use with the Cricut Maker. Silhouette sells a chipboard colored cardstock, as regular chipboard cannot be cut on Silhouette machines.

I prefer cutting chipboard that will cut in a single pass. This is because the density of chipboard can cause a cutter to skip steps. If this happens, successive passes would not be in exactly the same location as previous passes. This results in shredding of the chipboard and very poor cuts. If multiple passes are necessary, it is best to start with lower blade extension and cutting pressure, then increase these settings for the next passes. This reduces the possibility of missed cutting steps. If you need thicker chipboard pieces, you might want to try cutting several pieces of .022″ chipboard, and gluing them together to make your project. Do not plan to cut intricate designs from chipboard.

Cricut Maker users may cut chipboard up to 2mm thick with the optional knife blade. The interesting thing about using the chipboard setting in Cricut Design Space, is that chipboard and other thicker, denser materials do not use a cutting pressure any more than 750 grams. The secret to success for this machine is the slow cutting, and many, many passes. The blade needs to have sufficient cutting surface to cut completely through the thickness of the chipboard.

Best Paper Brands for Cutting

I have been using electronic cutting machines since 2004. The brand of paper that I have had consistently excellent cutting results with is Worldwin Papers, I have used most of their papers varying from very light weight to very heavy weight, and all of them cut with excellence on my cutters. Their textured 65# Cutmates line is guaranteed to cut well on any electronic cutter. The selection of colors in the smooth 65# Colormates makes it to be much in demand among cutter users. My personal favorite smooth paper by Worldwin is the 90# Colormates Smooth and Silky. Their colormates line of heavy textured cardstock is also wonderful to cut. I love their metallics as well.

If you cannot find the Worldwin papers you need at Amazon, you can purchase your favorites from The Paper Mill Store.

When I need low cost paper options that I can get quickly locally from Michaels, I purchase Recollections cardstock . Their 65# cardstock generally cuts well, as does their very heavy 110# cardstock. 

Paper Brands to Avoid

I avoid papers from Joann. Their Core dinations  brand does not always cut well. I save this paper for purposes other than cutting on my electronic cutters. Paper sold at Walmart is inconsistent for cutting purposes. One color in a package may cut OK, while then next color will not cut well at all. These may work for simple shapes, but I stay away from their papers when cutting intricate projects.

Best Paper Hints and Tips

Humidity

Nice paper for cutting may not cut nicely if it has been exposed to humidity. Pressure and blade settings may change with the environment. What cut well this morning may not cut so well at the same settings in the afternoon when the air conditioning is running. Always do test cuts when environmental changes occur.

Storage

Store your paper in Zip lock bags after you have opened its original packaging. Two-gallon zipper bags fit 12″x 12″ papers well for storage. Storing them this way will prevent the papers from collecting excess moisture that can hinder cutting quality. Moist papers get “Mushy” and may tear and bunch during cutting.

Emboss the Cut

If you have some paper that is not cutting well, try using an embossing tool or scoring tool in the machine over all of the cut lines a couple of times at very high pressure. Then cut as you normally would. The embossing tool compresses the paper along the cutting lines so that you can get much better cuts.

Drying with Heat

Some have mentioned drying paper that has soaked up moisture in the oven. If you attempt this trick, be sure to keep an eye on the paper, so that it does start burning. Using a low temperature in a dehydrator for a longer period of time might be safer. Check on the paper at regular intervals. Some prefer to dry out paper using an iron.

Chipboard

After removing chipboard from its packaging, it gets thicker overnight. New chipboard straight from the packaging requires different settings than would be required if the paper sits out overnight. Cricut recommends letting its chipboard sit out of the package for a day before cutting for best results. Chipboard is very absorbent, and sensitive to environmental conditions.

Be sure to use a high tack mat and possibly tape the edges of chipboard and other heavy media to the mat to keep it from moving around during cutting .

Best Paper Cutting Settings

Because paper is very environmentally sensitive, the same paper may require very different settings. Those who live in very dry climates will need to use less cutting pressure than those who live in humid environments. For this reason, performing your own test cuts is extremely important. Don’t rely on a published list of settings or presets. Sometimes different colors of paper in the same package can require different settings. What cut well yesterday at certain settings may require different settings today. Be sure to do test cuts at the beginning of each cutting session, and any time you make color changes or environment changes.

Best Paper Conclusion

If you are faithful to do test cuts, you will be more successful cutting any papers you have in your collection. Be sure to keep lots of inexpensive paper that cuts well, on hand for doing project test cuts. Save your expensive paper for the final versions. This will save you lots of frustration.

The paper that is best for you depends on what you like to cut most, and what machine you have. Special tools available for use with your cutter can also make a difference in how they cut.

Here is FREE cutting project that you can use to check how well your paper cuts with each of the tree layers. The hearts layer provides some intricate cutting,  while the white layer provides a simple shape to cut. The Brown layer has some intricate inner detail. You can use this project on a card or scrapbook layout.

Best Paper

Best Paper for Cutting

Best Paper

Love Football Border

 

>> HOW TO ENTER THE FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY <<

This resource library is open to everyone for free. All you need is the password to get in, which you can get by filling out the form below.

If you already have your password, enter the resource library here.

Love,

Julie, cuttercrafter.com

Pazzles Inspiration Vue Cutter Review

Pazzles Inspiration Vue may be the electronic cutter you need. It ranks among the top electronic cutters. The Vue is a powerful, but simple to use machine. You can cut many different types of materials with it. And with optional accessories, you can also use the Pazzles Inspiration Vue to cut, draw, engrave, emboss, pierce, and distress many media types. The Pazzles Inspiration Vue is the choice of beginner and well as professional crafters. This article reviews the features of this amazing machine to help you decide if this is a good choice for your crafting needs.

Inspiration- Vue Print and Cut

Note: I may have used some affiliate links in this review. I am affiliated only with products that I use. When you purchase products using my affiliate links, it does not cost you any more, and the tiny commission that I get contributes towards the costs for maintaining my blog. Thanks for your support!

What Do You Want to Cut?

Cutting Vinyl with the Pazzles Inspiration Vue

The Pazzles Inspiration Vue cuts vinyl of all types, whether the vinyl is repositionable wall vinyl, permanent outdoor vinyl, heat transfer vinyl, vinyl window cling, Stencil Vinyl,  Glitter or Flocked vinyl or other types. It is recommended that you cut your vinyl on either the 12″ mat or the 24″ mat. Reserving a standard cutting blade for cutting vinyl ensures that you will always get smooth cuts with for your vinyl projects.

Regal Split Monogram

Split Regal Monogram on a Ceramic Tile

You can make wonderful gift items such as the customized tile above using your Pazzles Inspiration Vue electronic cutter. The design for the shirt below was a special request from my husband. The Pazzles InVue software that ships with the machine,  allowed me to create the cutting design from an actual photo of my husband fishing.

Pazzles Inspiration Vue

Glittered Heat Transfer Vinly project

Cutting Heavy Cardstock with the Pazzles Inspiration Vue

Entry level cutters do not have sufficient cutting pressure to allow users to cut heavy media. The Pazzles Inspiration Vue boasts of up to 1000 grams of down pressure, making it rank among the top home crafting cutters. It can cut media that is up to 2mm thick. So it can cut even tough chipboard. If you love to cut 3D projects from heavier media, you will need a more powerful machine. This machine boasts of three times the cutting pressure of the legacy Cricut machines as well as the Cricut Explore models. And it has about 4 times the cutting pressure of Silhouette and Craft Robo machines. The print and cut embellishments used on this card were all created using the Pazzles Inspiration Vue and its InVue software.

 

Pazzles Inspiration Vue

Fall pop-up Card

3D boxes such as the Trailer Gift Box below are much more stable when cut from heavy cardstock.

 

Pazzles Inspiration Vue

3D cutting projects

Here is another project that required heavy cardstock. If you love making sturdy 3D projects, you will be happy if you have a cutter that can handle cutting the required heavy media.

Pazzles Inspiration Vue

Flower Mailbox

Projects like this Snow Globe Box Card last a lot longer on display when its pieces are cut from heavier cardstock. Pazzles Inspiration Vue cuts these so efficiently! The intricate snowflake detail cut beautifully on this machine.

Pazzles Inspiration Vue

Snow Globe Box Card

Engraving Metal with the Pazzles Inspiration Vue

You can use Pazzles optional Diamond Tip engraving tool to engrave on metal. I recently engraved on a dog tag for our puppy. The tallest letter was .057″ and the smallest letter was  .06″ tall. The entire tag was only 1.5″ wide. I was able to fit four rows of text on the back of the tag with our puppy’s name, address and phone number. Here is the front of the tag. (I blurred the phone number.) You can cut thin aluminum metal with the blade.

Pazzles Inspiration Vue

Engraving On Metal

 

Cutting and Piercing Delicate Designs in Vellum with the Pazzles Inspiration Vue

You can also cut very fine and delicate media such as vellum. I used Pazzles optional Piercing and Embossing tools on vellum to create this popup butterfly anniversary card.

Pazzles InVue Cutter

Pierced, embossed, and cut Vellum popup butterfly

 

Cutting Fabric with the Pazzles Inspiration Vue

Cutting fabric with this machine is great. I was amazed at how nicely my Vue cut the doily and the flowers out of fabric for this Easter Bonnet. It is good to reserve a blade dedicated to cutting fabric, since paper can dull blades quite quickly.

Pazzles Inspiration Vue

Fabric Doily Easter Bonnet with Fabric flowers

Cutting Wood with the Pazzles Inspiration Vue

Yes! This machine cuts thin balsa wood or basswood up to 2mm thick. Here is a Captain’s Wheel design that I cut. Covering the back of the piece of wood with blue painter’s tape before cutting keeps the thin wood from splitting during the cut and while lifting from a very sticky mat.

Pazzles Inspiration Vue

Captain’s Wheel cut from thin wood, with pen writing.

Making 3D Flowers with the Pazzles Inspiration Vue

If you love making 3D paper flowers as I do, you will be happy to know that this machine cuts lots of different types of paper petals for making beautiful flowers. This bouquet includes some vellum flowers, some made from printed scrapbook paper,  some from medium weight cardstock, and some from heavy cardstock.

Pazzles Inspiration Vue

Musical Paper Flowers

Cutting Rubber Stamps

You can create your own custom rubber stamp designs using the Pazzles InVue software that ships with the Pazzles inspiration Vue. Then you can cut the rubber using the Pazzles Inspiration Vue. I had an idea for a musical stamp, so I created the design, and let my Pazzles Inspiration Vue  machine cut it out for me.

Pazzles Inspiration Vue

Homemade rubber stamp design.

Cutting Clay, Fondant, Gum Paste and Frosting Papers using the Pazzles Inspiration Vue

You can use Pazzles optional Cake Accessories Kit for cutting clay, fondant, gum paste, and frosting papers. Here is a project I made using thinly rolled Sculpey clay.

Pazzles Inspiration Vue

Clay Cornucopia Fall Decor

Cutting Scrapbook Page Overlays

Scrapbook pages are fun to make using the Pazzles InVue software and cutting with Pazzles Inspiration Vue. This machine will cut a full 12″ wide border or scrapbook page. It is not limited to an 11.5″ cutting width as some cutters are. Here is a scrapbook calendar page that I created. Notice the detail of the embellishments.

Pazzles Inspiration Vue

December Calendar page with fancy embellishments and 3D snowflake flower.

Rhinestone Templates

Designing templates for use with rhinestone designs can be done using the Pazzles InVue software that ships with the Pazzles Inspiration Vue cutter. You can turn any design or test into a rhinestone template design. Then you can cut your template out of rubber designed for cutting rhinestone templates using your Vue. Here is my first rhinestone project.

Cutting Around Printed Images

Before I received my Pazzles Inspiration Vue, I was never happy with the cutting around printed images with my other machines. You will love how the Pazzles Inspiration Vue automatically finds the registration marks, and cuts perfectly around printed images that are up to 8.5″ wide. This project would have been extremely difficult to cut and assemble if I had cut each tiny element separately. Instead, I chose a number of appropriate designs from the generous Image library available in the Pazzles Craft Room, and printed the shapes. Then I had my Vue cut around the printed images. It did a great job!

Pazzles Inspiration Vue

Teacher’s Cascade Card with print and cut Embellishments

You can see more of my Pazzles creations here .

What is your Cutting Skill Level?

If you are a novice cutter user, you will appreciate how easy the Pazzles Inspiration Vue cutter is to learn to use. With the great support offered by Pazzles to its customers through the Pazzles Craft Room, you can learn to start using your Vue to make amazing projects right away. The Pazzles Craft Room has hundreds of projects like the above, ready for you to download, cut, and assemble. The downloaded projects are yours to keep, even after your membership expires. And their Angel policy allows you to use the designs commercially. You can get almost all of the above projects for free as a member of the Pazzles Craft Room.

Ease of Use

The click style blade holder in the Pazzles Inspiration Vue makes setting blade depths easy. The software tells you where to set the blade for the media type that you have selected to cut. The blade holder and blade are the same ones that the Deep Cut blade holder and blades that legacy Cricut machines used. The blades are easy to insert and remove.

The machine automatically loads your mat. The optical reader sets the starting point at the same place every time. The optical reader also makes cutting around printed images so much easier!

More Advanced Users

You will love the flexibility you have in using the Pazzles InVue software. It has all of the basic functions with which you are familiar from other cutting software. But it also has lots of advanced design and editing functions. Some of these advanced features are not available even in the most expensive professional design software programs. Pazzles developed their InVue software with all the advanced design features that its staff and professional users were familiar with, and used to using.

The amazing thing about this software is that it is provided for FREE with the purchase the the Pazzles Inspiration Vue. And it is available for a VERY low price for those who wish to purchase it separately and use as third party software with other cutters. This software, combined with the advanced cutting technology in the machines, means that you most likely will not outgrow its functioning for your crafting purposes.

What is your Price Point?

Some people like to start their cutting adventure with a very inexpensive machine. Then they start saving their money, and plan to purchase a better machine when they outgrow the features of that machine. Others prefer to get the best machine they can get, so that they won’t be outgrowing its features any time soon. Pazzles Inspiration Vue is one of those machines that meets your growing cutting needs, without a need to upgrade to bigger and better machines later on.

Purchase options

There are several shopping options, making your purchase of the Pazzles Inspiration Vue cutter affordable. You can check out those options here.  If you wish to  purchase the machine outright, you will get the best price by first joining the Pazzles Craft Room for one month. While a member, you will receive a 15% discount on all Pazzles purchases. So you can get a 15% discount on your machine, and all the optional accessories you need. I save on shipping by purchasing all that I think I might need for a year. I  like to keep three good mats and three extra blades on hand at all times.

With your outright purchase, you will receive several months of free membership in the Pazzles Craft Room. Be sure to take advantage of that time to view all of the training videos in the video library. These will help you get a great start in using your new machine. Also, be sure to  download all of the cutting files and projects that you can get while you are a member. You can download up to 400 files per month, if you are diligent to download 40 files every 70 hours. These are yours to keep. While you are a Pazzles Craft Room Member, all downloads are FREE!

If you find that you love all the new projects that are regularly posted, you may decide that you want to maintain your Pazzles Craft Room membership. I really like all of the wonderful projects that they offer so much  that I decided to keep my membership going. The best price for me turned out to be purchasing a machine for $99 with a two year commitment to the Pazzles Craft Room. Another similar option is to purchase a machine for $199 with a one year commitment to the Pazzles Craft Room.

System Requirements

Pazzles Inspiration Vue works on both Windows 7, 8, and 10, and on Mac: OS X 10.9.X & 10.10.X.. It needs a USB2 connection directly to your computer. The InVue software also works on these machines. You will need software to cut to the Vue. You can use Pazzles InVue software or you may use Sure Cuts A Lot.  If you have Pazzles Inspiration Studio Pro 1014, you can use it to cut to the Vue. However, that software is no longer available for sale.

You do Not need high speed internet in order to use your Pazzles Inspiration Vue. Connect to the Internet to update your firmware and software one time after receiving your Vue. You can disconnect your Vue from your computer after making a cut. Then you can repeat that exact same cut with the same settings as many times as you like by pressing the Repeat button on the machine. When you need to make a lot of the same project, this is a real handy feature to have.

Pazzles Inspiration Vue Specifications

This cutter ships with the machine, USB cable, power cord, and converter box, blade, blade holder, and a print and cut mat. The machine will cut up to 1000 grams of pressure using settings of 1-50. You have 5 speeds from which to choose. The click blade holder has 11 different blade depth settings. Maximum cutting width is 12″. Cutting length is 12″ with the standard mat, and 24″ with the 24″ mat. The machine weighs 11.2 pounds, is 22″ wide x 6.5″ tall x 11″ deep. Its roller bar has two permanent pressure rollers, and four more rollers that are removable when cutting thicker media.

There is an accessory tray on top of the machine as well as three slots for additional tools. A support tray for the mat is built in to the front of the machine. You slide it out when using the machine. Then push it in when done.

Pazzles InVue Software Overvue

Cutter Software

Pazzles InVue Software

The InVue software  ships without additional cost to you with your purchase of the machine. It has many outstanding features. For that reason, we will touch only on the highlights. The software has special features not only for cutting, but also for drawing, piercing, embossing, engraving, distressing,  and converting to rhinestone designs. My favorite tools are the replace with a line, and replace with an arc.

The software will import and export SVG files. It will also import and export WPC  files. The image gallery connects to your online account with Pazzles. This allows you to download all new files easily. The software automatically stores these downloaded files in the correct topical file folders on your computer. Downloading files from the online library requires an Internet connection. But once they are saved to your computer, no internet connection is necessary for using them.

Software Pros

There are a variety of welding options in the software. One that is unusual to see is the WYSIWYG weld function. This allows you to arrange design pieces as you wish to see them. Then you use WYSIWYG Weld to get rid of all overlapping lines instantly. It has a nice inline/outline feature. It also has a nice Duplicate feature that lets you fill your page with the selected images.

The software will also convert images to cutting lines. There is a nice Fit text to path feature, which allows you to select any path for the text to follow. I love the Vertical/Horizontal tool, and the corner rounder features as well.

Text

The software will access any fonts installed in your computer’s system fonts folder. It will also access single stroke fonts that you have installed. The software has a very nice text preview window. This allows you to type in text and preview how it looks with any of your installed fonts. I love being able to see the text in  different fonts in a large size before I select  one. Once you have added your text to the layout, you have many options for spacing and kerning. Thickening fonts is easy in this software. Creating mats for  text is also easy. So you can make some lovely word art quickly and easily with this software.

Software Cons

Features that I miss in the Pazzles InVue software are freehand draw, fit object to path,  and  blackout shape. I miss the scissors cuts we had in Inspiration Studio Pro 2010, and the Create a Font option. This software is missing the word envelopes, simplify paths, and smooth small angle tools.

I go back to Make The Cut to use its better tracing options, its Conical Warp, and Texture Snapshot features. The MTC measuring tool and Lattice functions are some tools that I miss as well. Thin paths, Fuse and Weld and the Tiler functions are also features that I still go back to Make The Cut to use.

I go to Sure Cuts A Lot to make instant Knockout Text. We can do this using InVue software, but it takes a few more steps. Viewing and using alternate glyphs in  the private use area of fonts is another feature of Sure Cuts A Lot that I use on occasion. I go to CorelDraw to use the envelope for fitting text to a shape and for creating True Type fonts. CorelDraw and Illustrator have useful batch conversion utilities that come in handy from time to time. Sure Cuts A Lot does a batch convert for Brother FCM files. Pazzles InVue software does not have any batch conversion features.

The nice thing about the Pazzles InVue software is that even if you go to other software to use certain features, you simply export the files as SVG, import into InVue, and you are ready to cut. You get the best of all of the software choices this way.

Conclusion

Now you have an idea of some of the great things that the Pazzles Inspiration Vue can do for you. You need to figure out what your specific needs are. I have 14 different cutters in my collection. Each one has its own special purpose. I select the one that will work the best for the project on which I am working . You need to determine if the Pazzles Inspiration Vue or another machine meets those needs better. Study your options. What do you like to do the most? Get the best machine that you are able to afford that will work the best for your purposes. So the most important thing is for you to use what you have until you can get something better. You won’t really know exactly what you need until you start using what you have!

Free Thankful For You Tag SVG Cutting File

I have created a new cutting file for you using my Pazzles InVue Software, and I cut it on my Pazzles Inspiration Vue cutter. But you can use the FREE SVG cutting file with your own software and cutter. You can get the FREE Thankful For You  Tag  SVG cutting file in my FREE Resource Library. See the link at the bottom of the page.

 

Pazzles Inspiration Vue

Thankful For You Tag

 

>> HOW TO ENTER THE FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY <<

This resource library is open to everyone for free. All you need is the password to get in, which you can get by filling out the form below.

If you already have your password, enter the resource library here.

Love,

Julie, cuttercrafter.com

Baby Crib Popup Card FREE SVG

A Baby Crib Popup Card FREE SVG file is available for download now in the free Resource Library.

Do you need a nice card for a baby shower or gift? This lovely card is decorated for a girl, but it could just as easily be decorated suitably for a baby boy. The card folds flat for delivery. When it is opened, the crib pops out. There is plenty of room inside for you to write a message and sign the card. You can put a gift card inside as well. The card measures 5.25″ wide by 7″ tall. You can resize the card according to your needs.

 

Baby Crib Popup

Baby Crib Popup Card

Supplies Needed for the Baby Crib Popup Card 

Please note: Some supplies may include my affiliate links. I am an affiliate only for products that I use. Your purchase from my links will not cost you any more, but they will help support my blog. Thanks!

Free SVG file for Baby Crib Popup Card

Recollections 110# cardstock for popup card backing

81# text weight Stardream Quartz metallic paper for small Magnolia Flower

81lb Text  Green  Metallics paper for card mats and Pink Metallics paper for the front sentiment and the crib skirting.

80# white cardstock for Crib

12″ 1/8″ wide white satin ribbon

80lb Text Botanic Green Curious Metallics paper for Small Magnolia Flower leaves.

Small dogwood Flowers – Free SVG cutting files from CutterCrafter.com

Dries Clear Art Glitter Glue: Heartfelt Creations

Pearl Stickers

 

Assembly Instructions for the Baby Crib Popup Card

Cutting Instructions for the Baby Crib Popup Card:

Cut out all pieces in your choice of colors. If you wish to resize the card, select all, and resize proportionally so that all pieces fit together well. When importing the SVG file into your cutting software, check the sizing, and resize as necessary. The outside card measures 10.625″ wide by 6.875″ tall. The crib pieces together measure 10.5999″ wide by 3.791″ tall. The sentiment pieces measure 4.973″ wide by 3.182″ tall. The crib skirting piece measures 10″ wide by 1.579″ tall.

The red lines are score lines, set to cut with tiny dashes. If you are importing the design into Cricut Design Space, ungroup all first. If you prefer to use a scoring tool rather cutting dashes, you can import the score line from Shapes, and place those over the dashes. You can then delete the dashes, or hide them on the Layers toolbar. Next,  select each piece with its score lines, right click, and select Attach.

In case you need to change the sentiment, or add more cutting text, the font used was  GE Curviture. 

Folding Instructions for the Baby Crib Popup Card

Make valley folds for the score lines on the outer and inner cards. Make mountain folds on the white crib pieces and the skirting piece. Crease the scored lines using a bone folder or other folding tool.

Shaping and Assembling the Magnolia Flower

See the instructions for shaping and assembling the small Magnolia flower included in the Tips for Cutting Basswood on the Cricut Maker blog post. Scroll down to the paragraph on Decorate Your Cut Basswood Tree. The cutting design for the flower is available in the Free Resource Library.

Glue Crib Pieces

There is a tab on one end of each of the crib piece. Glue the end without the tab over the tabbed end of the other piece. When dry, glue the plain end of the crib over the tabbed end. This will form a 3D box. Press the box flat from side to side to make sure it folds and unfolds easily. The skirting, the piece with the scalloped edge, is next. Glue the plain end over the tabbed end. Place the skirting inside of the crib piece so that the scalloped edge show below the crib rails. The straight edge of the skirting is visible through the crib rails. Glue the skirting at each of the corners formed by the legs. Also, put a dab of glue in a few other places along the bottom crib rail to hold the skirt in position.

Putting the Baby Crib Popup Card Together

Glue the inside mat piece to the inside of the card. Be sure to line up the score lines. Make sure that the card opens and closes easily. Glue the sentiment for the front of the card on to its mat. Glue the mat to the front of the card. Put glue on the back side of the crib. Line up the feet of the crib just inside the bottom of the card. Glue the back side of the crib, with the back left corner snugly in the center fold of the card. Add glue to the left end of the crib piece. Next, close the card, and hold firmly in place. When dry, check to make sure the card opens and closes properly.

Decorate the front of the Card

Add pearl stickers to the ribbon strips. Now glue the ribbon to the top and bottom of the front of the card. Fold three of the butterflies that were cut out of the inner mat piece, and glue just their centers over the butterfly shapes connecting the sentiment on the card front. Next, add a row of 4 pearl stickers to the center of each butterfly. Now, assemble a small magnolia flower, and glue it over the ribbon on the bottom front of the card.

Add Pearl Stickers to the butterflies  on the Inside of the Baby Crib Popup  card.

Place the pearl stickers across the centers of each of the cut out butterfly shapes on the inside card mat. If desired, use more butterflies with folded wings and pearl centers on the front side of the crib. Add any additional greeting on the inside. Now your card is ready to bless its recipient.

Baby Crib Popup

Baby Crib Popup Card

Get the FREE CUT FILES FOR the Baby Crib Popup Card and the Small Magnolia Flower 

You can get the SVG cut files for the Baby Crib Popup Card and the Small Magnolia Flower as well as  some of my other FREE SVG projects from my FREE Resource Library.

 

>> HOW TO ENTER THE FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY <<

This resource library is open to everyone for free. All you need is the password to get in, which you can get by filling out the form below.

If you already have your password, enter the resource library here.

Love,

Julie, cuttercrafter.com

Make an Oval Accordion Card

Oval Accordion Card

Make an oval accordion card.

 

You can make this oval accordion card using the FREE SVG cutting files posted in our Free Resource Library. Make it using as many or as few panels as you like. There are several layers which you can use for the center of each panel, or you can use the base oval for trimming a photo to fit. Add photos and/or sentiments, or  journaling  to the front and back side of each oval as you prefer. The card’s height is 6″, but you may adjust the size according to your needs. You may even add lots of panels to create a mini album. The card folds flat for mailing, with a complete size of 4.5″ x 6″ . It stands alone for display.

Supplies Needed to Make the Oval Accordion Card

Please note: Some affiliate links may be used in this post. I am affiliated only with products that I use. When you purchase products using my affiliate links, it does not cost you any more, but I will share some commission. Thanks!

Digital Paper from Pazzles.
Medium  Weight white Cardstock for printing digital papers
100#110# white cardstock for card base pieces
Colored Cardstock for oval layers
Electronic Cutter (I used Pazzles Vue)
SVG Cutting File from our Free Resource Library
Pop Dots if desired for layers
Art Glitter Glue Dries Clear Adhesive

Software Requirements

The SVG files are suitable for use with Make The Cut, Sure Cuts A Lot, Pazzles InVue software, Cricut Design Space, Brother Canvas Workspace,  Scan N Cut,  Inkscape,  Silhouette Studio DE, Illustrator, CorelDraw, and any other software that will import SVG files. Also included is a PDF file containing assembly instructions.

Paper Choices

Decide how many panels you want for your card. Then select papers for any layers that you wish to use. Print any digital paper you plan to use for the rectangular frame on each panel. You can use printed papers, or solid. If you are using photos,  trim them to the size of the largest oval in the file, or to any size that you prefer. There are several layers to choose from. You can use some of the panels for titles, sentiments or journaling. Select heavy cardstock for the base panels, as they will stand alone better, and be more sturdy for displaying. Use lighter weight cardstock for the oval layers. You do not want these to be too heavy to put unnecessary weight on the upper and lower hinges on the ovals. You may use pop dots to give more dimension to any of the layers.

Cutting Instructions

The cutting files include a single panel for the left side of the base card. The left and center panels are the same. Make multiples of the center shapes for as many extra panels that you need. The panel for the end of the right side of the card is different from the others, as it has no folding tab for the right side of the card. You need only one of these panels. This panel is rotated in the cutting file so that it will fit  better on the cardstock for cutting. You will need an extra printed layer for the front of the card, if you plan to close it flat. Also consider cutting extra oval layers if you plan to use the back sides of the ovals.

Score Lines

The score lines for the side tabs are better created as shallow solid lines, as opposed to cut dashed lines. You can use a scoring tool, embossing tool, engraving tool, or the blade set to a low extension, and cut at a low cutting pressure. You do not want the blade to cut through, but rather to just scratch the surface so that the tabs fold more readily.

Oval Accordion Card

Basic panels for oval Accordion Card

Oval Accordion Card Assembly

It is easiest to decorate the base card pieces before folding. Use glue around the edges of the back side of each layer. Next glue the layers onto the base card. Make sure the rectanglular layer does not overlap the score lines.

Oval Accordion Card

Decorated Panels

After you have decorated the panels, fold the flaps. The panel on the left has the flap folded up with a valley fold. The center panel has the flap folded back with a mountain fold. If you have more panels, the folds will alternate. The panel on the right does not have a flap. Next glue the left edge of the center panel over the flap of the panel to its left. If you have additional panels, repeat this process. Glue the final panel over the flap of the panel to its left.

Oval Accordion Card

Panels Glued Together

Folding the Card

Use a bone folder to crease the panels in the direction of their folds. Between the first two panels there is a valley fold. Between the last two panels there is a mountain fold. Now, place glue on the tiny square tabs between the ovals and the outer frame. The oval on the left comes over the valley fold to meet the the oval to its right. Glue the tab to the back of the neighboring oval, and fold the tab with a mountain fold. The tab on the center oval goes behind the mountain fold of the base card to connect to the back side of the oval to its right. Make a valley fold on this tab. The ovals should end up touching each other. Hold the tabs in place until the glue dries.

Oval Accordion Card

Glue oval tab to neighboring oval.

Fold the ovals in the opposite direction of the folds in the base card. Then burnish creases.

Oval Accordion Card

Connecting Oval Tabs

Fold the card flat. The tabs at the top and bottom of each panel should fold naturally as you help the base card and ovals fold correctly.

Oval Accordion Card

Card Folded Flat

Burnish the folds so that they are creased well. Now you may decorate your card with additional embellishments if you would like to do so. I might add a 3D flower from my collection, depending on who I plan to give it to.

 

Oval Accordion Card

Oval Accordion Card completed

Love,
Julie, cuttercrafter.com

>> HOW TO ENTER THE FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY <<

This resource library is open to everyone for free. All you need is the password to get in, which you can get by filling out the form below.

If you already have your password, enter the resource library here.

Best Software For Designing SVG Cutting Files

What is the best design software for creating SVG cutting files? There are a number of design software choices available. Learn which is the best for you. The most important factor in your design software choice is that it works with your cutter. The design software does not have to have drivers to cut directly to your cutter. But the design software does need to have options to export designs that will work with your cutter. So the cutter you are using, and its software requirements will be a huge factor for you in your design software choice.

Cutter Software

Design Software

Software for SVG Designing

Cricut Design Space

Design Software

Cricut Design Space

Cutters are usually shipped with software that works with the machine. But not all software is created equally. Some machines come only with the drivers necessary to make the machine work. This is true with many professional vinyl cutting machines. Other cutters come with some very basic free design software, such as Cricut Explore and Cricut Maker. Software required to work with these Cricut machines is Cricut Design Space.  Design Space allows you to save your designs on their Cloud, but you cannot save them to your computer or export then for use with other cutters.

You may be satisfied with cutter software that allows you to use only designs provided by the cutter distributor for awhile. But eventually you will want to spread your creative wings to make some of your own designs. Some companies do not provide software with their cutters. They prefer to give you a option of purchasing the software of your choice. In this case, you need to make sure that the software you purchase has drivers for your particular machine.

Brother Canvas Workspace

Design Software

Brother Canvas

Some cutter software allows you to open or import files that you or others have created. But they provide only basic software features. They have very little in the way of creative design and editing tools. For example, Brother has provided the free Canvas Workspace software for Scan N Cut and Design N Cut users. It includes basic design features. But you will likely need to use what is called “third party software”, software made by another company. This third party design software can be used to create your cutting projects. In order for third party software to work with your cutter, it needs to have the option to export designs that will work with your cutter.

Software Import and Export Options

Silhouette Studio

Design Software

Some cutters are provided with full featured design software. This software allows you to import, customize, and create cutting files. But the software may not allow you to export your work in formats that can be used with other cutters. For example, the free basic version of Silhouette Studio is excellent design software, but importing and exporting files in other formats requires paid software upgrades. Being able to export cutting files from your cutter software will be important if you want to use your cutting files with more than one cutter, or if you want to share or sell your files with someone else who uses a different cutter. Be sure to check the import and export options of the software you choose. Another thing to keep in mind is that Silhouette Studio does not allow the export of purchased designs from their online store in SVG format.

Cutters with Full-Featured Design Software

Finally, there are some cutters that are shipped with full-featured design software, that allows you to import and export cutting files. For example, Pazzles includes full-featured design software with the purchase of their cutters. Their software, InVue, (which may be purchased separately from a machine) allows you to import, create, customize, and export your cutting projects in SVG format. It included basic and advanced design functions. Therefore,  this software serves as an excellent low-cost, third party cutting software.

Cutter Software

While there are excellent cutters that do not have these important software options, it is essential that you consider creating your designs in software that does have these options. Therefore using additional design software may be necessary. In this case, make sure that the software you have chosen for your design work will work with the software provided with the machine you plan to use.

Design Software Options

The best time to evaluate software options is before you make your cutter purchase. This gives you more freedom as you consider design software options. So  if you are looking into purchasing a new cutter, now is the time to consider your design software options. Every design software has a learning curve. So once you select a design software, you will need to stick with it for awhile. Learn all of the basic functions in the software that are needed for creating projects for your cutter. Then you can learn to use many of the advanced features in the software. Have patience as you learn.

Free Design Software

Inkscape

Design Software

Inkscape

Inkscape is  open source software that is free. This software has no plugins for cutters, so it is used strictly for designing. It does have many import and export options. Many cutter crafters use Inkscape for creating their cutting files, then export their designs in a format that can be imported into  cutter software. Most cutter software will import SVG or DXF files that Inkscape can export.

Learning Inkscape

The down side to using Inkscape is finding adequate support for using it for cutting purposes. There are many more tutorials available covering Inkscape features today than there were in past years. Inkscape is so full of features for designers of all types, that finding the tools needed specifically for designing cutting files can be hard to find. The best course I have found for learning to use Inkscape for designing cutting files is one produced by Jennifer Maker called Cut Above SVG Design Course

 

Affordable Design Software for Sale

Pazzles InVue Software

Cutter Software

Pazzles InVue is the most affordable third party design software for sale. It is excellent software for designing SVG cutting files. It cuts directly to the Pazzles Inspiration and Pazzles Vue cutters.InVue also allows for importing and exporting SVG and WPC cutting files, making it a great option to use as third party software for use with cutters that have more limited design tools.

Learning InVue

The Pazzles Craft Room offers excellent video training for using this software. You can find some free video tutorials for using this software on my YouTube channel.   I also offer free Cutter Software support for this and most cutter software at the Cutter Software Facebook Group (Join to access free files and discussion group.)

Some third party design software will cut directly to a number of different cutters. This is handy, as you can design and cut your projects from the same software.

Sure Cuts A Lot (SCAL)

The most up-to-date of these software options is Sure Cuts A Lot version 5 . You can download a free trial of this software for 15 days to see how you like it. Even if you cannot cut directly to your particular cutter, you can still create your designs in this software, and export your projects in most common formats, including SVG, SVG for Cricut, and Brother FCM. It can also import a large number of embroidery file types.

Design Software

Sure Cuts A Lot Cutter Software

Learning Sure Cuts A Lot

ScrappyDew has an excellent course  called SCAL Classroom covering how to use Sure Cuts A Lot, including a User’s Manual. There is a special offer for a discount for this course when you purchase the software.

Make The Cut (MTC)

Design Software

Make The Cut Software

The Make The Cut software is excellent software for designing SVG cutting files. You may download a free trial of this software on the download page to get a feel for how the software works. This trial does not expire. Make The Cut is full featured cutting software that will cut directly to many different cutters. It includes many advanced design features. The software imports and exports many different file types. There have not been updates to this software in several years, so plugins for newer cutters are not available. But the software is still quite competitive in the market for those designing SVG cutting files.

Learning Make The Cut

Support for  Make The Cut software is available in the free User’s Manual as well as at the Make The Cut Forum,  at the free MTC-Tuts Yahoo Group (join to access free  tutorials and cutting files), and at my YouTube channel.

Popup Card Studio

Those interested in making popup card designs will appreciate the option to copy and paste designs from the software to its companion software, Popup Card Studio (PCS).   There is a discount available for those who purchase both Make The Cut and Popup Card Studio at the same time. There are free YouTube tutorials for creating popup cards using Popup Card Studio on my YouTube channel. One great perk for owning Make The Cut is the inclusion of  of over 15,240 user contributed cutting files in its Gallery. Popup card studio includes designs for 127 popup cards in its Online Gallery linked within the software. There are some amazing designs included.

 

Not So Affordable Software For Designing SVG Cutting Files

Adobe Creative Suite

Design Software

Adobe Illustrator

Illustrator is the professional vector design software. This cloud-based software includes tools for a wide variety of design professionals in many fields. Hence, it is quite complicated, and difficult to learn the specific design tools we need for designing SVG cutting Files. Illustrator does not offer plugins for direct cutting to cutters. But the files created in Illustrator can be exported for use with other cutter software. Illustrator became popular among crafty cutters who use MAC computers, when most cutter software did not offer support for MAC. Now it is more common to find cutter software that includes MAC support.

Learning Illustrator

Those aspiring to become professional designers may want to dive in to learning to use this software. Comprehensive support for cutter users is severely lacking for this software. I do recommend that if you want to be a design professional, that you get the entire Adobe Creative Suite, as you will likely need more than just Illustrator. I find that I use Adobe Photoshop and Acrobat Pro as much or more than Illustrator. If you plan to tackle Illustrator for designing SVG cutting files, I highly recommend Jennifer Maker’s Cut Above SVG Design Course . Jennifer is extremely diligent to provide personal help for her students in learning to use advanced software tools to create some amazing cutting projects.

Corel Draw

Design Software

CorelDraw

The CorelDraw suite is another expensive vector design software that imports and exports files in many formats. Many professional cutters use this software, especially those who work with laser cutters and wood cutting machines. However, there is not much support for home cutter crafters using CorelDraw.

Favorite Features of CorelDraw

There are only a couple of features that I use in CorelDraw for my design work. My favorite is the Word Envelope that automatically fills a shape with text. See my video tutorial on how this works. The other feature in CorelDraw that I use is their TTF file export. I use this for creating fonts. CorelDraw does  not provide plugins for cutting to our craft cutters, but many laser and CNC machines are shipped with plugin software that works with CorelDraw. If you have a machine that requires the use of CorelDraw, then you will need to invest in this software.

Design Software for Cricut Machines

Your older Cricut machine did not come with design software. You learned to use designs available on cartridges to create some amazing scrapbook pages, cards, 3D projects, and decorations for events. But there are times that you have some very creative ideas that you would like to try with your cutter, and you cannot find exactly the right cutting files in your cartridge collection. So perhaps it is time to learn to use cutter software so you can bring those creative ideas to life.

Cricut

Cricut Expression

There are some older software versions that work with your older Cricut, including Cricut Craftroom, Make The Cut 4.1.0 or earlier, Sure Cuts A Lot 2.0, and FairyCut. But those are no longer being produced, and Cricut Craftroom is being closed. If you happen to have one of these, it would be a good idea to start learning to use it. Even very basic software can be used to create some amazing projects. The latest versions of Make The Cut and Sure Cuts A Lot allow you to use the latest and greatest software features, and transfer your designs to the older software so you can cut to your machine.

Cricut Upgrades

After Cricut Craftroom closes in mid-July, 2018, you will need to make some decisions. If you have a huge collection of cartridges to use with your older Cricut, you might want to consider upgrading to a Cricut Explore or Cricut Maker. Cricut Design Space, which is required for using these machines, does allow you to register your cartridges. Hence you can use all of your cartridge images and fonts on the newer machines. Cricut Design Space does have some nice design features to help you use your cartridge design collection more creatively. The software also allows you to import images and SVG files from other sources. For more information on how to use SVG files in Cricut Design Space see my post on How to Use SVG files in Cricut Design Space.

Do You Need a New Cutter?

You may need a new cutter if your creative needs have outgrown the features available with your current setup, or if support for your cutter has been discontinued.

Cutters

Discontinued Cutters

If you decide you do need a new cutter, it is important to consider your cutter software needs as well. Take some time to research the options available to you. An electronic cutter requires some kind of software to drive it. You need to make sure that the machine and software combination suits your needs. If you already have a favorite software for designing SVG cutting files, will it work with the cutter you are considering?

Note:  Some affiliate links may be used in this post. I am affiliated only with products that I use. When you purchase products using my affiliate links, it does not cost you any more, but I will share some commission. Thanks!

Julie

 

Would you like to see some of my FREE SVG projects? Check them out in my FREE Resource Library.

 

>> HOW TO ENTER THE FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY <<

This resource library is open to everyone for free. All you need is the password to get in, which you can get by filling out the form below.

If you already have your password, enter the resource library here.

 

Impossible Butterfly Popup Card

You can make this lovely Impossible Butterfly Popup Card with the SVG cutting file from the Free Resource Library. It will make a lovely gift for someone special. The card base is made from a single piece of heavy cardstock, and yet the center pops up in a seemingly impossible way! This special Impossible Card includes a dimensional butterfly, whose wings pop out from the card base. The card makes a lovely conversation piece when displayed on the mantle or coffee table.

Impossible Butterfly Popup Card

Impossible Butterfly Popup Card

 

Supplies Needed to Make the Impossible Butterfly Popup Card

Please note: Some supplies may include my affiliate links. I am an affiliate only for products that I use. Your purchase from my links will not cost you any more, but they will help support my blog. Thanks!
Digital Paper from Pazzles.
Medium Weight Cardstock
1 sheet 110# cardstock
Strips of Double-Sided sticky tape 1″ wide
6”x6” grey square jpg file included with the cutting file.
Electronic Cutter (I used Pazzles Vue)
SVG Cutting File from our Free Resource Library
Pop Dots
Art Glitter Glue Dries Clear Adhesive
The Font used for this project is Aubrey Script

 

Printing Instructions

I used Digital Paper from Pazzles. But you may use printed papers of your choice.
Resize the digital paper to the following measurements, and print on medium-weight cardstock.

Impossible Butterfly Popup Card

Printed Digital Papers

Light Pink paper is cut from Stripes resized to 8.5”x7”
Yellow pieces are cut from yellow paper resized to 8.5”x6”
Blue resize to 8.5″x5″
Dark pink resize 8.5″x3″
Print the 6”x6” grey square jpg file.
When printing, use the Best Quality setting on Plain Paper in your printer Preferences.

Print the sentiment on pink paper and cut around it using the piece for it in the SVG cutting file.

Impossible Butterfly Popup Card

Printed Sentiment

SVG files are provided All in one file or in three separate files for your convenience. However, if using the All in one file, you do not need to use the separate files.

Impossible Butterfly Popup Card

Cutting Pieces

Cut the File Pieces

First cut the file pieces with the black lines on 110# heavy cardstock using the chipboard setting. Next, score the red line without removing the mat from the machine. Do not move the cutting head. You may use a scoring tool, or cut the score line with a retracted blade and lower cutting pressure.

Impossible Butterfly CArd

Cut Card Base

Folding Card Base

After you finish cutting and scoring the card base, remove it from the cutting mat. Then fold the center portion of the card towards the front, and use a bone folder on the crease.

Impossible Butterfly Popup Card

Twist right side to back

Now, twist the right section of the card to the back, and press the side portions flat, allowing the center to pop up.

Impossible Butterfly Popup Card

Twist right side to back

Make Glitter Paper

See detailed instructions for making Glitter Paper in a previous post. In this project I used 1″ wide double stick tape instead of a sheet of scor-tape.
Use double sided sticky tape over the entire printed grey piece that you printed. To use it, first remove the backing. Next, adhere the sticky strips to cover the grey paper. Then Remove protective layer off the front of the tape.

Impossible Butterfly Popup Card

Cover the grey paper with double sided sticky tape strips.

Sprinkle the sticky tape with glitter. Next, brayer over the glitter. Now, rub the glitter with your finger. Finally, sprinkle off the excess glitter, and pour it back into the jar.

Impossible Butterfly Card

Glitter paper ready to cut.

Next you can cut the large and small grey butterfly pieces, as well as the sentiment mat from the glittered paper. Use your poker tool to remove small inside pieces that did not stick to the mat. See the resource document for information on cutter crafting tools in the Free Resource Library.

Impossible Butterfly Popup Card

Cut Butterflies

Assembly of the Impossible Butterfly Popup Card

Now, your cut pieces are ready to assemble.

Impossible Butterfly Popup Card

Cut pieces are ready to apply to the card.

Butterfly Assembly

Bend the butterfly wings forward. Glue only the center body part of the butterflies when assembling layers.
Next, glue body of the large lacy butterfly to the solid pink butterfly. Then glue the body of the pink butterfly to the striped mat. Finally, glue that mat to the blue mat, aligning the tops of the pieces to each other.

Impossible Butterfly Popup Card

Assemble the butterfly layers.

Now you can glue the butterfly layers to the card base, aligning the tops of the design. The edge of the bottom layer should line up with the score line.

Impossible Butterfly Popup Card

Glue the butterfly layers on the card.

Next, center yellow panels to the card base and glue in place.

Impossible Butterfly Popup Card

Add decorative panels.

Tag Assembly

The larger tag and mat for the back side of the card is for writing your personal greeting. First, glue the yellow journaling piece to its mat. Then center the tag on the back side of the card with the edge flush against the fold line to give support for the butterfly popup. Now, glue in place. Finally, to finish the back side of the card, glue the striped panel to the back side of the butterfly.

Impossible Butterfly Popup Card

Back side of the card.

Card Front Embellishments

Now you are ready to add the embellishments to the front of the card. First glue the long narrow rectangle to its mat. Center it on the front bottom part of card. Then glue in place.

Impossible Butterfly Popup Card

Front panel

Now, add pop dots to the back of the sentiment, and place on the grey mat. Then glue the assembled sentiment at an angle on the left front side of the card over the decorative strip.

Impossible Butterfly Popup Card

Add the Sentiment

Next, bend the wings of the small butterflies upward. Then glue the body of the smallest butterfly to the pink butterfly. Finally, glue the body of the pink butterfly to the bar on the front, over the open space.

Impossible Butterfly Popup Card

Small Butterfly Embellishment

Finished Impossible Butterfly Card

Now you can display your finished card.

Impossible Butterfly Popup Card

Finished Impossible Butterfly Popup Card

When it is folded flat, the card will fit in a 7″ square envelope for mailing.
The recipient of your card is sure to be encouraged by your lovely card.

Love,
Julie, cuttercrafter.com

>> HOW TO ENTER THE FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY <<

This resource library is open to everyone for free. All you need is the password to get in, which you can get by filling out the form below.

If you already have your password, enter the resource library here.

How to make and use glitter paper for Patriotic Decorations

Now is a great time to make some patriotic decorations for your Independence Day celebrations.

Patriotic Decorations

Patriotic 3D floral centerpiece with DIY Glitter Paper

I saw some lovely glitter paper projects at a Stamp and Scrapbook convention, and I thought you might like to learn how to turn an ordinary piece of patterned paper into a sparkly paper. The glitter paper can then be used to create lovely 3D craft projects. This 3D flower, embellished with DIY glitter paper works perfectly for patriotic decorations for a variety of projects. Vinyl can then be used to add detail to the cut project.

Patriotic celebrations in the US call for Red, White and Blue decorations.  Pazzles Craft Room has a nice set of digital papers, and among them are some papers in these colors. Take a look through their digital paper collection when you need some seasonal papers for your projects.

Supplies Needed to Make Glitter Paper

Please note: Some affiliate links may be used in this post. I am affiliated only with products that I use. When you purchase products using my affiliate links, it does not cost you any more, but I will share some commission. Thanks!

White Cardstock- 65# Recollections 8.5”x11”
Pazzles Americana Digital Paper design 8.5”x11”
Scor-Tape 6”x6” sheet double sided adhesive, acid free and heat resistant.
Transparent Micro Fine Glitter 
Flower Shaping Tools – Large ball Embossing tool, foam pad
Designer Dries Clear Adhesive Glue
Black Vinyl
Pearl Sticker(s)
Red, White and Blue Ribbons
Tray, coffee filter or folded sheet of printer paper
Optional: Hair Clip, Flowers, Mug, Electric Candle, Card or Scrapbook page as you prefer.

How to Make Glitter Paper

Making Glitter Paper is easy with the correct supplies. First, print the paper you wish to use, or select a piece from your own paper collection. Then cut a selection from the paper that is a bit larger than the project that you wish to cut. Next cut a piece of scor-paper to fit the paper that you cut. Remove the backing from one side of the score tape, and stick it to the paper. Now  place paper in a tray, coffee filter, or on a piece of printer paper, folded in half. Remove the protective coating of the adhesive sheet.

Sprinkle Micro fine glitter over the entire surface of the adhesive sheet. Brayer over the glitter to press it into the tape. Rub the glitter paper with your fingers to make it smooth and add bling from the oils in your fingers. Tap off the excessive glitter onto the tray or printer paper. Finally, pour all excess glitter back into the bottle from which it came.

You now have some custom, DIY glitter paper in exactly the right colors for your project.

Cut Your Project Pieces

Perform some test cuts for each part of the project. Cut the flower layers from printed glitter paper on your cutting machine, glitter side up, using the cutting file. The cutting file is FREE for Pazzles Craft Room members. The file is also availabe to purchase in SVG, AI, and WPC formats, if you are not a member.

Create a Vinyl “Press and Peel” Outline

Cut the black portions of the design from black vinyl, being careful not to cut through the backing. Weed out the vinyl pieces that will not be used on the finished piece. Place vinyl transfer tape over the weeded design, and use a brayer and squeegee to adhere the vinyl to the transfer tape. Lift the transfer tape with the design off of the backing. Carefully line up the black vinyl design over the cut and glittered flowers. Burnish the vinyl, and remove the transfer tape.

Shape the 3D Flower

Place the flower layers color side down on double layered foam mat. Roll the large tip of the embossing tool around the center of each flower layer, and press
the tool from the outside of each petal towards the center. Turn the flower on the foam mat to have the right side up. Roll the embossing tool around
the center of each flower. Press down firmly in the center to lift the petals on each layer. Curl the tip of each petal back, using the small end of a small paint brush.

Assemble the 3D Flower

Place glue on the center back of the smallest layer. Put the smallest layer in the center of the medium layer, offsetting the petals. Place glue on the center back of the medium layer. Place in the center of the large layer, offsetting the petals. Press firmly down through all layers to lift petals. Place a large or five small pearl stickers in the center of the top layer of the completed flower.

Embellish A Project

Embellish the project of your choice with your completed 3D flower. Not only does the 3D Flower make a nice ornament for a vase centerpiece, it can be hot-glued to a hair clip to create a lovely patriotic decoration for the hair. Add some colored ribbons for a festive look.

Glitter Paper

Patriotic Flower Hair Ornament

Or you can add the DIY Glittered 3D Flower to  a jar to make a patriotic luminary to add to your patriotic decorations. Add an electric tea light to the jar, and glue the flower to the top of the jar. You can make a number of these to decorate and light up for an evening celebration.

Patriotic Decorations

Patriotic Decoration – Flower Topped Luminary

More Patriotic Decorations for Your Celebration

Patriotic Decorations

Exploding Box Centerpiece

You can make the title of this patriotic centerpiece shine with the addition of DIY Glitter Paper. I am sure you can think of lots of ways to make your patriotic celebrations sparkle by using some homemade glitter paper on your projects.

These Patriotic Decorations work well not only for Independence Day celebrations, but also for Memorial Day,  and Veteran’s day. You can add to them for next year’s celebrations as well!

Please show off some of your Patriotic Decorations in our CutterCrafter Facebook group!

Thanks,

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

>> HOW TO ENTER THE FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY <<

This resource library is open to everyone for free. All you need is the password to get in, which you can get by filling out the form below.

If you already have your password, enter the resource library here.

Perform Test Cuts on New Cutter

You have received your new cutter, made a place for it on your desk, and now you need to test your new cutter to get started using it. If you need help setting up your cutter, see  this document called Get Your Cutter Out Of The Box. I know you might be afraid of hurting your machine, but you don’t have to worry about that if you follow the steps provided here on how to do some test cuts. If your machine has issues, now would be the best time to discover them, while it is still under warranty, and you still have all the packing materials handy should you need to send it back to your place of purchase. I will walk you through the tests that I perform on each of my new machines as I get to know their capabilities and become familiar with what they can and cannot do. Your tests will reveal cutter accuracy, maximum cutting width, where it cuts, where cuts start, what media it cuts, and what settings work best for the types of projects you want to make.

Loading Your Mat

Before you can make some test  cuts on your new cutter, you will need to load your mat into the cutter. Cutting machines designed for crafters usually include a cutting mat. The exception would be if you are cutting vinyl with a backing. Dedicated vinyl cutting machines do not require a cutting mat, because vinyl has a protective adhesive backing, through which the blade should not penetrate. Vinyl on a roll may be fed through this type of cutting machine without using a cutting mat. Multi-purpose cutters such as Pazzles, Cricut, Scan N Cut, Silhouette, KNK, and Silver Bullet are shipped with cutting mats that allow crafters to not only cut vinyl, but also to cut other media that does not have a protective backing.

Mark the Mat Cover. Test Cuts

This Side Up

The cutting mats have adhesive on them to keep the media in place as cutting progresses. The adhesive is protected with a cover that should be removed before using. Before removing the cover, mark the top side of the cover with the words “This Side Up”, as sometimes the covers are different on each side. After cutting, scrape the mat clean, wipe down the mat with non-alcohol wipes, and replace the protective cover with the correct side up. Store the covered mats flat so that they do not become warped.

Some machines such as Silhouette, KNK, and Silver Bullet allow users to cut vinyl without a mat, or to use a mat for other types of media. Other machines such as Pazzles, Cricut, and Scan N Cut require users to always use cutting mats. These machines have an auto-load mat feature. To load the mats into these cutters, simply press the edge of the mat firmly against the rollers, and press the Load button. The mat will feed into the machine automatically, and position the cutting head at the proper start position.

Test Cuts

Pazzles Mat in position to load.

Mat loads against the roller. Test Cuts.

Scan N Cut Mat ready to load.

Test Using A Pen

Cutting mats vary greatly in thickness, stiffness, and weight. It is possible for an incorrectly set machine to cut all the way through a cutting mat, and thus ruining both the mat and blade. For this reason it is important to do test cuts on your cutter. Your first tests may be done using a pen in the carriage instead of a blade. You can use paper on the mat for doing these tests. Use an inexpensive piece of 12″x 12″ paper or card stock on the mat for the initial tests. Because the adhesive on new mats can be quite strong, card stock may be easier to remove  from the sticky mat than light weight paper. Align the corners of the paper on the grid lines printed on the mat, and press the paper firmly in position. Check your pen to make sure it writes by hand. Place the pen in the carriage according to the Quick Start instructions provided with the machine. Load the mat into the machine. Some machines require an optional pen holder for using pens.

The first test cut is to find out the cutting boundaries of the machine. The cutting mat is marked to hold a 12″x12″ piece of paper, but some machines cannot cut the full 12″ width. The manual for your cutter should indicate the maximum cutting width for your machine. Open the software designed to work with your cutter.

Add a square from the basic shapes in your software and resize it to 12″ square. Line up the upper left corner of the square on the screen to x=0 and y=0. Set the software to draw. Send the file to cut. If there are presets for drawing pressure, use the default setting. If your cutter will draw a full 12″ square, notice where the square was drawn. Did it draw directly on the edges of the 12″ square paper? Did it draw any of the lines way off of the paper? Where did the drawing start – upper right or upper left? Lower right or lower left? Measure the drawn lines. Did the height of the square measure the same as the width of the square?

If your machine will not test cut a full 12″ width, you will receive an error message. Resize your square to 11.5″, and send it to the cutting window. If there are presets for drawing pressure, use the default settings. If the square is drawn on the paper, check to see where the square was drawn. Did it draw where you expected it to be drawn? Where did the drawing start? Measure the drawn lines. Did the height of the square measure the same as the width of the square?

How accurate are your test cuts ?

Resize your square to 10″. Send it to draw. Measure each of the sides of the square that were drawn. Are  all sides  exactly the same measurements? Measure with a metric ruler. If your measurements are off even 1 mm, you will get lopsided circles, scallops, squares, and cards and frames won’t be perfectly square. If you want to cut around printed images precisely,  you will need accurate cutting.

Are there options in your software or on your machine to fix this problem? Are perfect cuts important to you? Every machine is mechanically different. I may get perfect test cuts on my machine, but your machine of the same brand may not have the same results. Contact support for the company from which you made your purchase for help in making adjustments for these mechanical differences. One company that I contacted provided instructions for adjusting the step size to fix the inaccurate cutting. Another company told me that if I needed perfect cuts, that I should probably send the machine back for a refund, and purchase a more professional machine.

Where will cuts be made?

Now, resize your square to 1″, and duplicate it so that you have four 1″ squares. Place the upper left corner of one of the squares at x=1″ and y=1″ . Place another at x=10 and y=1, another at x=1 and y=10, and the last at  x=10 and y=10. Send it to draw. Did the squares all draw at the precise locations on the cutting mat where they  appeared on the screen? It is possible that one of the squares drew in the correct place, but perhaps ones that were further away from the starting point were not drawn as close to their screen positions. Make note of your test results .

Test Cuts

One Inch Squares Test

It is important to note how far off the shapes were drawn. You will frequently need to cut scraps. Knowing where to place the design pieces on the screen in the software to correspond with the location of the scraps on the cutting mat can help you maximize the accuracy of your cuts. If a design calls for six or eight small pieces of different colored papers, you may be able to position pieces of each of the colored papers on the mat in specific locations to have all of the pieces cut in a single pass.

If your 1″ squares all drew within 1/2 inch on the mat from where they appeared on the screen, allowing an extra inch  in height and width of paper  for each design piece to cut on a scrap should be sufficient. For example, if you want to cut a 2″ flower from a scrap of yellow paper, you may need to use a 3″x 3″ piece of yellow paper on the mat to have a little extra room  to get the flower cut out completely. But if your squares all drew precisely on the mat where they appeared on the screen, you may be able to use a scrap just slightly larger than 2″. It helps to have an idea in advance of how much variance there is between screen and mat locations.

Test Cuts With a Blade

For optimal cutting with the least waste of media, and the least wear and tear on blades and mats, small test cuts should be made prior to cutting each project. Some software has built in test cuts, and some machines have built in test cut functions. You can make your own small test cut file to use and add it to your projects before sending them to cut. I like to use a small, five-pointed star inside of a small square. I resize the square to about 1/2″, grouping it together with the star. This small cut can be added to a tiny bit of unused space on every project. It is easiest to check your test cuts if you place them somewhere near the bottom of the mat rather than near the top where they will be difficult to check without unloading the mat or moving the carriage.

Test Cuts

1/2″ square with a 5 point star centered within it for test cuts.

Start with a bit less than the recommended blade extension, speed, and cutting pressure or “force” for your first test cuts. Your goal will be to use the least amount of blade extending from the blade housing, and the least amount of pressure necessary to make good clean cuts through the media you are using for your project. Too much blade, or too much pressure will cause media to bunch and tear. Too little blade or not enough pressure will result in parts of the design not cutting through the media.

After doing your test cut with the tiny star in a box, check the points of the star. Does the star lift out of the box easily and cleanly? Are the points of the star bunched or smooth? Is the box cut cleanly so that it lifts out of its position? Did the cut leave a small attached tag between the start and end of the cut? Did the cut leave a gouge in the cutting mat? If both pieces of the test cut do not lift out easily, then move the test shape, make adjustments in blade or pressure, reduce the speed, and try again.

It is normal for the blade to leave a slight scratch on the surface of the mat, but it should not cut deeply into the mat. Retract the blade in its holder if it has cut too deeply into the mat. Slower speeds produce more accurate cuts. Repeat the test cuts multiple times, each time making a small adjustment. Once you have found a blade depth that cuts cleanly through your media, you can make additional adjustments in the pressure, up or down as necessary.

Record the Results of your Test Cuts

Use a chart to record the best settings you used for each media type. Refer to your chart to determine the best settings to start with the next time you need to cut a similar media type. Get a free copy of the Personal Media Settings Chart  from the Free Library.

Doing test cuts can save you lots of time, money, and frustration. Recording the results of your test cuts will save you time for future reference. Environment, changes of media type or color, blade condition, and mat condition can all effect the quality of your cuts. Make test cuts and necessary adjustments frequently to avoid damaging your blades, mats, and media.

 

 

>> HOW TO ENTER THE FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY <<

This resource library is open to everyone for free. All you need is the password to get in, which you can get by filling out the form below.

If you already have your password, enter the resource library here.

Make a Special Cupcake Gift Box

My latest Pazzles Design Team project post will help you to make a special floral cupcake gift box for someone special. The 3D lilacs on top of the box add a special touch for your female recipients. Do you need a gift for a special graduate, or for birthday celebration? This project is easy to make with the cutting files posted with it  here:   https://www.pazzles.net/wordpress/2018/04/18/beautiful-cupcake-box
This cupcake gift box  could work as a Mother’s Day, Father’s Day,   Anniversary, or gift for other special occasions. You can make this box with or without the acetate window on the front. You may use the 3D lilac flowers on top, or leave them off.

Cupcake box without 3D Lilacs

The handles on top make it easy to carry the box, and the tray inside of the box has a tab to help you pull the cupcake out of the box.

You may leave the box plain for masculine recipients. They will be surprised by its contents when they open the box. The  cupcake is not likely going to last long!

Would you like to have some FREE SVG cutting files for a variety of projects?

Get the password for the Free Library with free SVG files  by filling out this form:

 

 

 

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>> HOW TO ENTER THE FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY <<

This resource library is open to everyone for free. All you need is the password to get in, which you can get by filling out the form below. If you already have your password, enter the resource library here. Forgot your password? I put the password at the bottom of nearly all of my emails. But if you can’t find one of my emails to you, you can either fill out the form above again or email me at hello@cuttercrafter.com Password Tip: I recommend you copy and paste the password in to avoid any accidental mistakes. If you ever forget your password, please email hello@cuttercrafter.com Not working? If you enter the password and the same page refreshes, without any contents, that means you put in the wrong password. Double-check your email, copy the password, and paste it in to the link above. Still not working? I promise the password works—I haven’t changed it since I opened the library.   Try the copy/paste method again and make sure the URL you are going to has https at the start of it (that’s a secure page and it makes a difference). If that still isn’t working, try a different web browser.
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