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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

 

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Love,

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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

Do you Need the New Cricut Scoring Wheel Combo Set?

Do you Need the New Cricut Scoring Wheel Combo Set? The new scoring wheels for the Cricut Maker machine have just been posted for sale! You can get yours here. But wait! Do you really need this tool? Read on to determine the answer to this question for YOU.

Cricut Scoring Wheel

Cricut Scoring Wheel

The new Cricut Scoring Wheel Combo Set is NOT for everyone! The scoring wheels will work only for those who have the Cricut Maker machine. If you think you need to have a tool like this, then you will need to consider purchasing a Cricut Maker if you don’t already have one. There are no other machines that have a tool set like this!

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.

What Scoring Choices do Cutter Users Have?

When you need to create score lines for an SVG cutting  project, you have several choices. Depending on the cutter you are using, and the availability of tools for use with it, you may choose to:

Cut dashed lines where you want the folds to be,
Use a scoring tool to indicate the locations of the folds,
Score with an embossing tool,
Engrave score lines with an engraving tool,
Use the blade set to a shallow setting with low cutting pressure,
Create score lines manually after the project is cut, or
Create the score lines with the new Scoring Wheel on the Cricut Maker.

Are you using one or more of the above techniques? Are they working well for you? If not, then you may want to consider the new option of Creating Score lines with the new Cricut Scoring Wheel Combo Set with the Cricut Maker.

Cutting Dashed Lines

Cutting dashed lines where you want the folds to be is a simple solution for score lines that won’t get a lot of use. For example, a single score line for a card folded in half can be cut right along with the other cut lines if it is set to cut dashed lines. Using this option, only the cutting blade needs to be used for cutting the project and creating the score lines in a single pass. However, if you are making a 3D project, box, or popup card, dashed lines in your project may weaken it. And the project could tear very easily. Dashed score lines also do not look nearly as nice as smooth, uncut score lines.

Using a Scoring Tool

Cricut Scoring Wheel

Cricut Scoring Stylus

Ideally, a dedicated scoring tool applies pressure on the material to compress the fibers along the line where a fold is needed. However, to do this well, the machine has to use a very large amount of pressure to create a nicely scored line. Most entry-level cutters do not boast enough down-pressure to produce a nicely scored line. These tools can create a visual line to show you where the score lines need to be. But you will most likely need to complete the fold by hand, or by manually scoring along the guide lines that your scoring tool made.

Scoring with a Cricut Machine

The Cricut Scoring Stylus creates a lightly scored line on Explore or Maker models. (It will not fit in the Legacy machines.) The Explore machines do not have enough pressure to create much of an impression for score lines. Even the Maker, with its vast amount of pressure, cannot access all of its pressure for use with the Scoring Stylus. The  extra pressure is available only with the use of the special tools holder. Cricut has now provided the Scoring Wheel Combo Set to make it possible for you to create excellent score lines in two different styles. These wheels can provide up to 10 times the amount of pressure for creating lovely scored effects, without cutting or tearing your project. You can choose between single score lines or double score lines.

Embossing Score Lines

Some cutter companies offer an optional embossing tool. There are also third parties who sell special embossing tools to fit the pen tool holders on different machines. If the embossing tool is used in conjunction with with an embossing mat with a soft surface, the embossing tool can create a reasonably nice score line. The downside to this option is that you need to emboss and cut on the same mat. Cutting on the embossing mat will ultimately reduce the effectiveness of the soft embossing surface. To emboss well, a machine needs to use very high pressure.

Engraving Score Lines

An engraving tool etches a very fine line onto the media. It does not require a lot of pressure, like an Embossing tool or Scoring Stylus. The effectiveness of engraving score lines varies, depending on the media being engraved, and the design of the engraving tool. I can get a very nicely engraved score line using Pazzles Engraving tool on heavy cardstock. The engraved line works much better than any of the other score line options on the Pazzles Cutters. However, I have tried using engraving  tools with other cutters that tear heavy cardstock. I would choose different scoring options with those machines.

Using a Regular Blade set to a Low Pressure and Low Blade Extension for Scoring

Using the blade with low pressure is a viable option for creating effective score lines. This option requires that you cut and score in separate passes, changing the settings between passes. When using this option with heavy media, it is best to cut your project first. Then reset pressure and blade, and cut the score lines. The blade does not cut all the way through the material, and the resulting lines are clean and very easy to fold. The folds remain strong for 3D projects and popup cards. To use this option on Cricut Explore or Maker models, you do not have control over the blade extension. You would need to select a cut  setting for lightweight paper to get a score line on heavy paper. However, Cricut Design Space does not allow users to change settings between cutting passes, and perfectly lining up two cutting passes with different settings is not practical.

Creating Score Lines Manually

You will achieve excellent score lines using a hand scoring tool after you have cutting out your project. I sometimes use the We R Memory Keepers Trim and Scoreboard or the Scor-Pal Measuring and Scoring Board. But truth be known, I rarely get them out. When I am cutting, I don’t want to do yet another step with another device. Sometimes it is obvious where the score lines should go. But sometimes, line placement is not so obvious, and score lines may not all be straight. So creating score lines manually is not always practical.

Create the Score Lines with the New Scoring Wheel on the Cricut Maker

If you are using the Cricut Maker for cutting your projects that need score lines, I think you need the new Scoring Wheel Combo Set! If you have multiple machines, the Cricut Maker being one of them, you may even choose to use this machine over the others because of this great new tool. This combo pack includes two professional-quality scoring wheels that give you extra-deep score lines and a flawless finish on everyday and specialty material projects. Your boxes will fold better and look nicer. Your popup cards will fold much more easily after being adequately scored.

Test Your Scoring Options with A FREE SVG Cutting File

Our FREE Resource Library contains a number of FREE SVG cutting files. Download any or all of them, and try some of the scoring techniques discussed here. A very simple project to try is the free 3D DIY Doily Treat Basket. Or try the Flip Fold Card. If you really wish to evaluate the effectiveness of your scoring method, try assembling a complex popup card like the Happy  Birthday Popup Card. Use what you have at your disposal. Evaluate the results. The types of projects you do, and the media you use will determine which scoring methods will work best for you.

So what is your conclusion? Do YOU need the new Cricut Scoring Wheel Combo Set?

Love,

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Make A Flip Fold Card

You can make a flip fold card using the FREE SVG cutting file in our Free Resource Library. This interactive, all-occasion card will be sure to Wow its recipient.

Flip Fold CArd

Flip Fold Card

When the card is closed, you will see the front of the card with its frame around the back side of the flipped center piece. You can decorate this with the included lattice label piece. Or you can use one of the included frames, or solid label pieces as decorations. When the card is open, the center piece flips to the back, and you see the sentiment, or a stamped image you have added to that side. This is really a fun card!

Supplies Needed to Make the Flip Fold 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!

Patterned Cardstock of your choice. Double sided Patterned cardstock is best. I used paper from this paper pack.
Coordinating Colored Cardstock for lattice, frames, or label layers
Electronic Cutter (I used Pazzles Vue)
SVG Cutting File from our Free Resource Library
Art Glitter Glue Dries Clear Adhesive

Free SVG cutting file from the FREE Resource Library

 

Cutting the Card

Import the SVG file for the card into your cutter software. If using Cricut Design Space, be sure to select the score lines, and change the lines to be Scored rather than cut. Select the card base and the score lines, right click, and select Attach. If using Brother Scan N Cut, be sure to resize the entire selected design to 11.481″ wide x 11.099″ high before cutting. The finished folded card will be 5.5″ square.

Flip Fold Card

Flip Fold Card Cutting Pieces

The paper that I used is printed only on one side. If you are using this or something similar, with a printed design only on one side, use the printed side for the inside of the card. Use the extra panel piece, shown above in light green,  to make the front of the card match the pattern on the inside of the card. Since the back of the paper is white, a white frame will remain on the front of the card, surrounding the flipped card image. Extra pieces are included for you to use as you prefer for decorating front or back pieces of the card design. Cut the pieces in colors of your choice. If you will be using stamped sentiments, add those to the panels before assembling.

Assembling the Flip Fold Card

Fold the base card on the score line, and crease with a bone folder. The score line on the left is a valley fold. The score line on the far right is a mountain fold. The remaining score line is a valley fold. Gently flip the center right label piece and fold it to the back. This part of the card will be facing up when the front part of the  card is closed over it. When you pull the right side of the card to the right, the center panel should flip, revealing the sentiment you have added there. Close the right edge of the card towards the center,  and that center piece should flip back to a decorated panel. If you decorated with the lattice piece, for example, then that lattice piece will be showing through the window on the front of the card when it is closed.

Flip Fold CArd

Flip Fold Card closed with lattice design showiing through the window.

 

Open the card, and you should see the sentiment you added to the inside of the card instead of the lattice. If you didn’t add a sentiment, the printed pattern would be showing on this piece. Placing a solid colored panel here would make it easier to stamp a sentiment. You may also add a frame around the window on the left inside of the card.

Flip Fold Card

Inside the Flip Fold Card

Glue the decorative panels you have chosen to the base card. There is room on the center panel for you to write a message. Or you can add additional  embellishments. These  will show only when the card is open.

Creating Your Own Custom Flip Fold Card Design

If you are interested in creating a Flip Fold Card Design with a different flipping shape, see the Video tutorial I posted on how I created this design using the Make The Cut software.  I would love to see a photo of your finished project!

Flip Fold Card

Completed Flip Fold Card

Get the FREE SVG Cutting File for the Flip Fold Card

To get the free SVG Cutting file for the flip fold card, go to the resource library and enter the password. I have included the password at the bottom of most of my newsletter emails. If you have subscribed, check your most recent email to find the password. If you have not yet subscribed, I hope you will, so that you can be informed as  I add more new projects to the Free resource library! Once you are in the Free Resource library, right click on the file name of the project. Next, select Save Link As or Save Target As. Now, save the file to your computer. Next you will need to unzip the file. To do that, double click on the file you saved to your computer to open it. Then, click on Extract All. Now, open your cutter software, and import the SVG file. Select the pieces you wish to cut. Load your paper onto the cutting mat. Do a test cut to find the best settings for you machine, and cut the pieces you need. Repeat with the pieces you want to cut from a different color paper.

 

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 Use the Regal Split Monogram Font

Learn to use the Regal Split Monogram Font in your cutter software to create lovely personalized gifts for weddings, anniversaries, and other occasions. You will find the FREE font in my Free Resource Library.

Regal Split Monogram

Split Regal Monogram on a Ceramic Tile

Supplies Needed 

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!

Regal Split Monogram font in TTF format from the Free Resource Library

12″ square ceramic tile
outdoor vinyl 12″ square
12″ square vinyl transfer tape
Alcohol wipe
Vinyl Pick Tool for weeding
Squeegee Tool

 

How to Download and Install the Regal Split Monogram Font

To use the Split Regal Monogram font, you will need to first download it. You can get the zipped font from my Free Resource Library. Save the zipped file to your computer. Double click on the saved file, and select Extract All. Now you can right click on the extracted font, and select Install. The font will be installed into your computer’s system fonts folder, and will be available for you to use in any software that allows use of True Type Fonts. You can use it in your cutter software, just as you use any other font.

How to use the Regal Split Monogram Font in your Cutter Software

Once the Regal Split Monogram Font is installed in your computer’s system fonts folder, you can access it from your cutter software. Select the font in your cutter software by clicking on the T. Scroll through the font list to the R fonts. Select the Regal Split Monogram1.ttf font. Now type the capital letter you wish to use for the monogram. The design for that letter should appear on your screen. Resize the design to 10″ with the aspect ratio locked. If your project will be smaller or larger, size the monogram to fit. Since my tile is 12″ square, I chose to size my monogram to 10″. This allows for some room under the monogram for additional text.

Using fonts in each software is slightly different, so I have made some video tutorials on how to use this Regal Split Monogram Font in the most popular cutter software programs. Click on the software name to view the video.

Cricut Design Space

Brother Canvas Workspace – Scan N Cut

Silhouette Studio

Pazzles InVue

Make The Cut

Sure Cuts A Lot

Adding Custom Text to the Regal Split Monogram

There is a space in the middle of the monogram for you to add customized text to the design. You will need to select a font from your collection for this text. I used Caslon BD BT for my text. Upper case letters may work easiest, although I used upper and lower case letters for this particular project. After you have selected the font you would like to use for the remainder of the project, type your text. I used the last name of the couple for whom I made this tile plus the word “Family” in the space in the middle of the monogram.

Resize Your Custom Text

Resize your text to fit the space in the middle. You need to unlock the sizing tool, and drag the text to fit the available width and height. You may slightly overlap the top edge and bottom edge of the text with the bars of the two sections. Then select All (Ctrl+A) and weld all pieces together. Another way to do this is to make the text slightly smaller than the opening in the middle of the monogram. The text can fit in between the two parts of the monogram. But I think the welded version is easier to weed and apply.

Adding Custom Text Below the Regal Split Monogram

You can leave space below the monogram design where you can add additional text such as an important date. My project is a wedding gift for friends, so I added their wedding date under the monogram design. I used the same font that I used in the middle of the Monogram. Once you have added the text of your choice, resize it to the same width you used for the monogram design. You can change the height of the text to fit your available space.

Save Your Completed Monogram Design

Next, give your design a name, and save the file in your software. I like to save the design before I weld the customized text, so that the design will be ready to use for another gift. But once the design is saved, I weld overlapping letters. It is also a good idea to group everything together. But if you are using Cricut Design Space, rather than grouping, you should select all, right click, and select Attach. This keeps all of the design together when you go to cut your project.

Cutting your Regal Split Monogram Design

Be sure to do a test cut on your vinyl before cutting the large design. See the post on Performing a Test Cut . You need a very accurate blade depth and cutting pressure for this project. Make sure that your blade cuts cleanly through the vinyl. The blade should NOT cut through the backing material on the vinyl. If the cutting pressure is inadequate, you will have an extremely difficult time weeding the vinyl that will not be used on your project. Too much pressure may also cause bunching and tearing of your vinyl. Use a slower cutting speed, as the monograms contain some very intricate, fine lines.

Regal Split Monogram

Cut the vinyl. Notice the test cuts in the lower right corner. The first two tests cut all the way through the backing.

Weeding Your Regal Split Monogram

Weeding involves removing all of the vinyl that you do NOT want to place on your tile. I put boxes around the text at the bottom and around the main monogram design before cutting, so that weeding was a bit easier. Use a sharp, pointed object to lift the unwanted outside vinyl pieces away from the backing. Use scissors to trim away sections of the vinyl that you are pulling away. Don’t allow vinyl pieces to attach themselves to portions of the design that will be placed on your tile. After you remove the large outer pieces, work very carefully to remove the tiny pieces inside of letters and designs. Be careful not to lift any of the design pieces away from the backing.

Regal Split Monogram

Weeded vinyl still on the backing.

Apply Vinyl Transfer Tape to the Weeded Vinyl

Apply a 12″x 12″ piece of vinyl transfer tape over the cut and weeded vinyl design, a little bit at a time. Avoid getting air trapped between tape and weeded design. Pull away the backing material slowly, while pressing down on the transfer material from the top.

Regal Split Monogram

Apply vinyl transfer tape over the weeded vinyl a little at a time.

Regal Split Monogram

Use a squeegee tool to burnish the transfer tape securely to the vinyl design.

Use a squeegee tool firmly across the front of the design to remove all air bubbles and wrinkles. Rub firmly on front and back of design to get the vinyl pieces to stick to the transfer paper. At the same time you want the backing to release the vinyl pieces. Check the front and back of your design to make sure that everything is firmly in place where it belongs on the transfer tape. This is the time to fix any crooked pieces of vinyl.

Pull up on a top corner of the transfer tape. Make sure that the cut vinyl pieces stick to the transfer paper as you slowly peel it away from the backing.

Clean the Tile and Apply the Vinyl Design

Remove all dirt and oils from the tile. Use an alcohol wipe to clean the entire surface so that the vinyl will stick to it.

Regal Split Monogram

Clean Tile

The large 12″ square design may want to jump onto the tile before you are ready. Once this vinyl sticks to the tile, it will NOT want to come up. So it is very important to place the vinyl exactly where you want it to be the first time.

Regal Split Monogram

Start placing the vinyl on the tile.

Place the backing paper over most of the tile to prevent the design from sticking to the tile prematurely. Place the lower edge of the design where you want it on the tile. Use the squeegee to remove bubbles and apply the vinyl design smoothly to the tile. Move the backing back little by little, as you press the cut vinyl to the tile. Inspect the vinyl to make sure that all air bubbles and wrinkles are smooth and flat to the tile surface. If you have some bubbles, use the squeegee to move the bubbles to the edges of the cut design. You may use a heat tool to remove stubborn bubbles or wrinkles. Poke smaller bubbles with a needle or tip of your pointed tool to let the air escape.

Remove the Vinyl Transfer Material

Once all of the vinyl pieces are in place on the tile, slowly peel back the transfer material 180 degrees over itself to remove it. Make sure that the vinyl pieces stick to the tile as you peel away the transfer material.

Regal Split Monogram

Remove the Transfer tape.

Check your vinyl to make sure it is all secure on the tile. You special gift is now ready to give. The vinyl will last for many years. Your project is sure to be a blessing for its recipient.

 

 

>> 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

10 Cutter Maintenance Tips

Does your cutter need maintenance? Here are some cutter maintenance tips that will help you know when, where, why, and how to maintain your electronic cutter. Regular maintenance of your cutter will increase the accuracy of your cuts. And it will greatly reduce the frustration that bad cuts cause.

Cutter Maintenance

Cuts before and after cutter maintenance

Have your cuts been inaccurate, ragged, torn, or bunched up in places like this one?

10 Cutter Maintenance Tips

Poor quality cut before maintenance.

 

And have these issues continued even after working through the usual trouble shooting steps? Reduce pressure, reduce blade depth, slow down the speed, try  a new blade and new mat, and try using good paper? If these trouble shooting tips do not fix your cutting issues, and  improve your cuts, then your cutter may need some maintenance.

Performing quick maintenance steps each cutting session will improve your cuts. Here are some important things to check before starting a major cutting session

Cutter Maintenance Tip#1: Machine Setup

Is your machine sitting on a firm surface with plenty of unimpeded space in front of and behind the machine? If not, be sure to  see this post about setting up your machine.

Cutter Maintenance Tip#2: Connections

Securely plug in all cords. Is the power cord plugged in to a surge protector? Make sure that cord is well-connected to the power box, and the other end is plugged in to the machine. Is your USB cable connected securely on each end? If using Bluetooth, is it working properly? If not, turn off your machine, unplug your bluetooth radio or disconnect it. Then plug the bluetooth radio or reconnect it and turn on your machine. Make sure that your bluetooth is properly paired with your machine by consulting information provided by the distributor of your machine via Customer Support.

Cutter Maintenance Tip#3: Clean Surfaces

Did you wipe down the main surface of the machine? Inspect the front edge of the machine and back edge of the machine where the mat comes out to make sure there is no adhesive residue build-up. Wipe it down with an oil-free wipe. If the movement of the mat in and out of the machine is hindered by sticky residue on these surfaces, the cuts will not be accurate. Also be sure to wipe down the front  and back side of the mat. Use alcohol free wipes on the sticky surface of your mat to remove all dust and bits of paper and other media that may accumulate there. Let the mat dry completely before use.

Cutter Maintenance Tip#4: Blade Holder

Is there debris inside of the blade holder? Take the blade out of the blade holder. Next check inside to make sure there is nothing inside of the blade holder that might prevent the blade from swiveling while cutting. Inspect the blade tip under a magnifying glass or microscope. Is  the tip of the blade chipped or broken? If so, replace the blade with a new one.

Cutter Maintenance Tip#5: Cutting Head, Wheels, and Rail

Is there dust or debris on the rail on which the wheels behind the head sit? Use an alcohol swab to wipe down the rail. Do not get alcohol on the belt that moves behind the raiIs. Can you see debris on the wheels behind the cutter head? Wipe down the wheels. Manually move the head to the other side, and watch for any debris on any part of the wheels as they track on the rail.

Cutter Maintenance Tip#6: Clean Environment

Is your environment free of dust and excess humidity? Keep pets out of the room, and do not cut outside where sand, wind, or moisture could cause damage to the machine components. Wipe down your mat with alcohol-free wipes before each cut.

Cutter Maintenance Tip#7: Cutting Strip

Inspect the cutting strip that is  directly below the blade tip, and runs all the way across the width of the cutting area. Do you  have some adhesive coming up? Is there an accumulation of dust or debris on the cutting strip ? Wipe down the cutting strip to remove all dirt and debris. Replace the cutting strip and tape if necessary according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Cutter Maintenance Tip#8: Bar and Rollers

Wipe down the bar behind the cutting strip to remove dust, rust, and debris. Use a damp alcohol swab to wipe it down. Check the rollers on the bar to make sure they are clean. You may manually rotate the roller bar forward or backward. Some cutters, such as Pazzles Inspiration and Vue have removable rollers. Remove each one and wipe to remove dust and particles. Some cutters have pressure levers that you raise and lower manually. Make sure that the positions of the rollers are directly over the grit rollers.

Cutter Maintenance Tip#9: Grit Rollers

Most importantly, check your grit rollers to make sure there are no tiny pieces of tape, paper, vinyl or other debris stuck on the grit roller.

Cutter Maintenance Tips

Debris on Grit Roller

Directly below the roller bar running across the front of the cutter are grit rollers. The rough surface of the grit rollers, working in conjunction with the rubber pressure rollers just above them, are responsible for pulling the mat in and out of the machine. If the grit rollers cannot grab the mat firmly to move the mat, then the cuts will not be made in the correct locations. The machine can miss a step, and this can cause many tears and bad cuts.

Removing Debris from Grit Rollers

Debris on the grit rollers can be very difficult to remove. This is especially true if there is any adhesive built up on the grit rollers. Use some tweezers with a sharp point to grab any tiny pieces stuck on the grit rollers. Manually move the bar a little bit at a time. This will ensure that all bits of paper, etc. are removed. You may need to use alcohol on a Q-tip,  cotton swab or Chalking Easy Tool to loosen any adhesive on the grit rollers.

A sharp vinyl pick tool for weeding may also be used to help remove debris from a grit roller.

For me, none of the previous tips resolved the cutting issues shown in the first photo of this post. But cleaning the grit rollers as described in Cutter maintenance Tip#9 resulted in a lovely cut of the same file. Isn’t it amazing what difference that cleaning the grit rollers can make in the quality of the cuts?

10 Cutter Maintenance Tips

Clean cut after cleaning grit rollers.asdfas

Cutter Maintenance Tip#10: Prevention

Prevent adhesive build-up on the grit rollers. When you resurface your mats, be sure not to get any adhesive on  edges of the mat where the wheels make contact with it. Also, avoid the use of tape along the mat edges. It is extremely difficult to remove tape from the grit rollers. This is where “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Take a few seconds before starting your cutting project to review  these cutter maintenance tips. They will save you a lot of frustration and wasted media. Your cuts will be more perfect, and you can reduce your overall project time.

Would you like to have a FREE Snowflake SVG cutting file to use as a cutting test?

10 Cutter Maintenance Tips

Snowflake design .

You can download the FREE Snowflake SVG cutting file as well as 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.

Thanks!

Julie, cuttercrafter.com

Importing and Using a Popup Card in Cricut Design Space

Importing and Using a Popup Card in Cricut Design Space can be a challenge. Here are some tips to help you learn how to prepare your popup card design to score and cut properly on your Cricut Explore or Cricut Maker using Cricut Design Space.

Cricut Design Space provides options for using two different tools with your Cricut Explore or Cricut Maker. A popup card is best created using an embossing tool in addition to the cutting blade. You need to let your software know which lines should be scored, and which ones should be cut. In addition, you need to attach all score lines to the design pieces which are being scored.

import and use a popup card in Cricut Design Space

Popup Happy Birthday Card

Importing Your Popup Card Design Into Cricut Design Space

First, you need to import the SVG file for the design you will be cutting in Cricut Design Space. To do that, open Cricut Design Space, and click on New on the left toolbar. Then click on the  Upload icon at the bottom of  this same left toolbar.

importing and using popup card designs in Cricut Design Space

Design Space Left Toolbar

Click on the Upload image button on the screen that opens.

Importing and using popup card designs in Cricut Design Studio.

Upload Images

Next, click on the Browse button to search for the file you wish to use.

importing and using popup card files in Cricut Design Space

Click on the Browse button to search for the design you wish to use.

Once you have found the SVG file on your computer that you wish to use,  select it, and the design pieces will open in Cricut Design Space to the following screen.

importing and Usings Popup Cards in Cricut Design Space

Check the file name, and add some tags.

The name of the image that you selected should appear in the Image Name field on the right side of the screen. You should add some tags that you can use in the future when you wish to search through your file collection to find this design. I added the tags Happy, Birthday, Popup, and Card. After entering this information, click on Save in the lower right corner of the screen. Your Recently uploaded designs will open on the screen. Click on the Happy Birthday Popup Card image. A green box will appear around the thumbnail image. Click on Insert image in the lower right corner of the screen to add this design to your main screen in Cricut Design Studio.

 

Importing and Using Popup Cards in Cricut Design Space

Recently Uploaded Image screen opens.

The grouped design pieces appear on your main screen. Congratulations! You have successfully imported a design into Cricut Design Space!

Importing and Using popup card designs in Cricut Design Space

Design pieces appear on your main screen in Cricut Design Space

Using your Popup Card Design in Cricut Design Space

There is some preparation of your design pieces that must be done in Cricut Design Space before you can score and cut them. The design pieces are all grouped together, so you need to ungroup them. Right click on your mouse, and select Ungroup. This will allow you to unstack all of the parts of the design.

Importing and Using popup card designs in Cricut Design Space

Ungroup the imported shapes.

It will help to be able to see all of the design pieces separately, instead of in their stacked positions while preparing the design for cutting. Drag your cursor around all of the green pieces and move them off to the right of the screen. Click on the tiny minus in the lower left corner of the screen to zoom out a bit. Move also, the lavender, green, and yellow pieces off to the side. There is a score line in the middle of the darker purple piece. Drag your mouse around the purple piece to select it and the score line. Right click and select Attach, to connect the score line to this piece.

On the Layers panel on the right side of the screen, find the score line above the thumbnail image of the purple piece. Since the score line does not have a color fill, this line is represented by the circle with a red slash through it.

Importing and Using popup card designs in Cricut Design Studio

Card Backing with attached score line.

Click on the scissors icon next to the red slash to open the Layer Attributes panel. Click on the Score icon on the tool bar to change this line to be Scored instead of Cut.

Importing and Using popup card designs in Cricut Design Space

Layer Attributes Panel

The icon on the Layers panel on the right side of the screen will now display the Score icon, indicating that the line on the purple card backing will be scored instead of being cut.

Importing and Using a popup card in Cricut Design Space

The attached line on the card back is now designated to be a Score line.

Right click on the white portion of the design, and select Move To Back.

Importing and Using Popup Card Designs in Cricut Design Space

Right click and select Move to Back

Attach score lines to the card.

Zoom in using the Plus icon in the lower right corner of the screen. Drag the group of score lines over the white card design. Line up the top score line with the two vertical lines under the word “Happy” at the top of the white card layer. The candle should be perfectly centered between the two horizontal score lines under the word “Happy”. The score line should rest exactly at the top of the two vertical lines to the right and left of the candle. This should place all of the score lines precisely at the tops and bases of the pillars as shown below.

Importing and Using Popup Cards in Cricut Design Space

Line up the top score line with the cutting lines under the word Happy.

Click away from the card, then click and drag your mouse around the entire white card and score lines to select them. Right click and select Attach. On the top of the Layers Panel on the right side of the screen, you should see a thumbnail of the white card. Above that is a circle with a red slash through it.

Importing and Using Popup Card Designs in Cricut Design Space

Change lines to score lines.

Click on the scissors icon, and select the Score icon from the Layer Attributes Panel so that these lines will be scored rather than cut. Congratulations! You have now attached all of the score lines to their corresponding designs, and you have changed the line attributes of the lines to be scored, so that the Explore or Maker will use the scoring tool on those lines instead of the blade tool.

Hide Any Layers you do Not want to USE

This particular popup card includes many extra number layers, giving you many choices for customizing the final version of the card. You may select the numbers that you wish to use at the top of the cake, then hide all of the layers containing numbers that you do NOT want to use. To hide layers, click on the Eye icon on each of the layers you do not want to use this time. The only green shapes showing on your screen after hiding unwanted layers should be the ones you DO want to use. This card is for someone who is celebrating their 101st birthday! Won’t she be surprised when she receives it? I move the 101st to the position at the top of the cake, in front of the candle.

 

Make It!

Now, when you click on the Make It button at the right top of the screen you will be taken to the Prepare screen with Six different colored mats. The first and last mats indicate that there are cutting lines and scoring lines on each of those. The other four mats have only cut lines on them.

Importing and Using Popup Card Designs in Cricut Design Space

Six mats ready to go.

Note: If you see a black mat containing only black lines, then the lines have not been properly attached to their corresponding pieces. Cancel the cut in that case, and on the main screen, select the white card piece with it score lines and attach. Then select the purple piece with its score line, and Attach. Now when you go to Make, you should no longer see a black mat.

Follow the prompts on the screen, and you are ready for using your Popup Card Design in Cricut Design Space.

Importing and Using Popup Card Designs in Cricut Design Space requires that you properly position and attach score lines to the card. Popup cards will not pop up effectively if the score lines are not positioned very carefully. When you follow these instructions, your popup cards should cut and score beautifully. See this video covering Importing and Using a Popup Card Design in Cricut Design Space on YouTube.

Would you like to have the FREE cutting file for this Happy Birthday Popup Card?
You can get it and some of my other FREE SVG projects 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.

Popup Flower Card

 Popup Flower Card

3D Peony flowers are the focal point for the front of this Popup Flower Card

You can make this lovely popup flower card for any special occasion. It can be a Mother’s Day card, birthday card, Anniversary card, Wedding Card, or serve as a beautiful gift for any special occasion. The 3D peony flowers on the front are beautiful, and the popup flower inside is a great surprise for your recipient. To see how these 3D peony flowers were made see the instructions included with the Lovely 3D Peony Gift Basket project. This card is a perfect card to go with the Peony Gift Basket with 3D Flowers as they both use the same printed paper and 3D flowers.

Popup Flower Card Inside

The inside of this Popup Flower Card will make an impact upon your recipient. As they open the card, the seven connected flowers spring open!

Popup Flower Card

Popup Flower Card Inside

The Popup Flower Card includes ready-to-draw sentiments for Mother’s Day and Birthday. You can add other sentiments using your favorite cutting software  to customize the card for other special events such as Anniversaries, Weddings, Thinking of You, Showers, etc. You can also customize the colors of the flowers on the front of the card, and select printed paper to match.

Get the SVG Cutting Files

The cutting files for this project include SVG, AI, and WPC formats. There are also printable,  step-by-step, illustrated instructions for creating this amazing project included here. Members of the Pazzles Craft Room can download this project for free! Those who are not members, may purchase the cutting files from Pazzles.

If you think you might like to have 4 or more of my projects or any of those posted by other design team members, it might be worth it for you to sign up for a single month of Pazzles Craft Room membership. That membership would allow you to download up to 40 projects every 70 hours for the entire month without additional charge. So for $19.99, you could download up to 400 projects in a month. Being a Pazzles Craft Room member is so worth it to me! You can browse through the projects here to see if very many are of interest to you.

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.

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.

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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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