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How to Prepare Cutting Files with Intricate Detail for use with Cricut Design Space and Scan N Cut

You may love cutting lovely projects with lots of intricate detail as I do.  But sometimes the cutting files for those projects load very slowly, if at all, into your cutter software! In this post you will find some tips for making your SVG cutting files easier to use.  Learn to prepare SVG cutting files that are optimized to load quickly and cut more efficiently in Cricut Design Space and Scan N Cut Canvas Workspace.

Note: this post may contain affiliate links.

Here is a cutting file for a popup card with intricate detail that could be problematic for use with some cutters, if it were not properly prepared.  You can find the free cutting file for this project in the Free Resource Library.  Before you go any further, download the zipped files to your computer, double click on the downloaded file, and select Extract All. Then you  can follow along with this tutorial.

Valentine Popup Card

Valentine Popup Card by Julie Flanagan

What can you do if the cutting files won’t work correctly or require lots of tedious editing? This can be very frustrating.  Sometimes details do not load properly into the software.  Lines or shapes may be missing, or they show up in very odd places on the screen. What can you do to prepare your cutting files so that they load easily into your favorite cutting software?

You may wish to learn more about third party software that can be used for creating your SVG cutting files on this blog post.

What do Good Cutting Files look Like in Cricut Design Space?

Upload an SVG cutting file into Cricut Design Space

Now that you have downloaded and unzipped the cutting files for the Valentine Popup Card,  upload the SVG cutting  file for CDS to Cricut Design Space .  Cricut Design Space is a free program that you can use, even if you don’t own a Cricut. Open a New page in Cricut Design Space.

"How

Click on the  Upload icon at the bottom of the left toolbar.   A window will open allowing you to search your computer for the file you wish to use.

"How

Click on the Upload Image button.  Then click on Browse, to search for the file named ValentinePopupCard2-CDS-JulieFlanagan.svg  that you saved to your computer. Double click on the file name, and it should open in the next window you see in Cricut Design Space.

 

"How

Add as many tags as you might like to use when searching for this design once it has been loaded into Design Space. I use popup, card, valentine, heart, scallop, lattice, JulieFlanagan.  I can search using these tags later.  Now, click on the green Save button in the lower right corner of the screen. Another screen opens allowing you to select the image you wish to use.  Click on the image you just uploaded, and you will see a green outline around the image.

Click

"How

Select the green Insert Images button in the lower right corner of the screen.  The design will now appear on the Cricut Design Space Canvas.  Your cutting file is now open in Cricut Design Space. But it is not quite ready to use.

"How

Preparing to Cut a Design in Cricut Design Space

Before doing anything else to this design, notice the Layers on the right side of the screen. There are four layers, two with score lines, and two with the card shapes. You first need to click on the score line layer at the top of the panel. This highlights the score lines on the popup portion of the card.  Currently these lines are designated as cutting lines. You need to change them to score lines.  Under Linetype at the top of the screen, select Score.  Now these lines will not be cut. You will be directed to use the scoring tool with these lines when you go to Make the project.

"How

Repeat this process with the second score line layer for the card back.  Select Score from the Linetype drop down menu.  Now all score lines will be scored rather than cut when you send the file to cut.

"How

Attaching Score Lines to their Cards

Before you can cut your project, you still need to Attach the score lines to their cards. You cannot do that yet, because all design pieces are grouped.  Right click on the shapes on the Canvas and select Ungroup.  Now on the Layer panel on the right side of the screen, hold down your Shift key, and click on both of the layers, Score and Cut for the popup portion of the card (light pink in this case.  These two layers will now be highlighted, and you will notice that both layers on the Canvas are now selected.

"How

 

Now select just  the backing card (Burgundy) and its score layer from the Layers panel on the right side of the screen while holding down the Shift key. Right click your mouse, and select Attach.

Ready to Make It

Click on the green Make It button in the upper right corner of the screen.  You should now see only two mats ready for scoring and cutting.

"How

 

Other Files Not so Ready for Use in Cricut Design Space

You may have experienced SVG cutting files with Intricate details that need a whole lot more preparation for use in Cricut Design Space. If you are making your own SVG files in third party software, you may have run into some frustrating issues in preparing them for cutting in Cricut Design Space. Are your files very slow to load? Do you get error messages indicating that the design is too large to load? Are each of the tiny shapes in the design on its own layer?

"How

 

Are each of the many tiny score lines of a popup card on its own layer, and needing to be changed to score in the Linetype window? These tiny lines are very hard to select either from the Canvas or from the layers.  Changing each tiny line from cut to score takes way too much time!

"How

How to Prepare Cutting Files with Intricate Detail for use with Cricut Design Space 

There is a solution for this issue. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all of our multi-layered, intricate projects would import into Cricut Design Space in just a few simple layers, instead of hundreds of layers?  The solution lies in the preparation of your files in your design software.  Not all cutter software includes the necessary editing features to achieve this. What is the secret?

Design

Layers or Line Colors.

Create your designs with score lines on different layers  from the cutting lines. An alternative is to assign one line color to score lines, and use another color for the cut lines.  If you need to cut pieces out of different colors,  keep the score lines for each colored piece separate from score lines on other colored pieces.

Select by Layers or by Line Colors

Once you have arranged your design pieces by layers or assigned line colors, you need to be able to select all the same linetypes by layer or by line color in your software.  Not all software can do this.  For example, The Valentine Popup Card has blue lines for mountain folds, red lines for valley folds, and black lines for cut lines. However, the score lines need to be on different layers or different line colors from those used for the backing card.  For my design, I needed four layers or line colors; two cards, and two sets of score lines.

For example, you can select by line or fill color using Illustrator, Inkscape, and Silhouette Studio. You can select by line color in Pazzles software. You can select by layer in Make The Cut and Sure Cuts A Lot.

Make Compound Paths from Selections

Once you select everything that has the same line color (stroke) or the same layer, you need to make a compound path (Illustrator and Silhouette Studio), or use Combine (Inkscape), or Group with Transparency (Pazzles) or Join (Make The Cut) or Merge (Sure Cuts A Lot).  Most cutter software includes a simple group or ungroup feature, but Cricut Design Space does not recognize all groups in imported SVG files.  Properly designed Compound Paths should import into Cricut Design Space in fewer layers, making it easier to select the layers that need to be assigned a different line type.  Cricut Design Space does appear to recognize compound paths.  Those compound paths may not be broken in Cricut Design Space, so keep that in mind.

DPI sizing for SVG Files in Cricut Design Space

If sizing of your project is important, then the SVG file needs to be exported with a DPI of 72 for it to import into Cricut Design Space at the correct size. This is the standard DPI exported by Adobe Illustrator, Pazzles InVue software, and Silhouette Studio Business Edition.

Sure Cuts A Lots has the option to export SVG for Cricut Design Space, which automatically exports at 72 DPI.

If you want your SVG export from Inkscape or Make The Cut to import at the correct size into Cricut Design Space, you will first need to Select All (Ctrl+A) in your software, and reduce the size by 80%. To do this in Make the Cut, lock the aspect ratio for the Height and Width fields at the top of the screen. Type in 80% in either the W or H field and press Enter. Now export SVG (Ctrl+Shift+S) and import SVG into Cricut Design Space. It will import at the correct size.

 Additional Tips

For tips on how to cut and fold popup cards, see this blog post. 

To learn more about importing and using cutting files for a popup card in Cricut Design Space, see this blog post.

 

Learn how to prepare cutting files with intricate detail for use with Scan N Cut

The built in software on Scan N Cut machines is limited in the number of shapes or layers that it can use. It may not recognize all of the tiny details, and tell you that the file cannot be used. Brother Canvas Workspace software, a free software download,  may also give you a message that tiny details may be lost when a design with intricate detail is imported.  As a side note, my CM350 would not load some detailed files, while the newer SDX225 loaded it fine.

Avoid overloading Scan N Cut memory by using the same suggestions listed above for making compound paths in your design software, before trying to import into Brother Canvas Workspace or before trying to import your cutting file designs directly into the machine.  By making compound paths in your design, you should have much less difficulty getting your Scan N Cut machine to handle your designs with intricate detail.

Page Size Limitations for Scan N Cut Machines

When creating cutting files for use with Scan N Cut, it is very important that all design details fit on a single canvas, either 11.5″ wide and 11.5″ long, or 11.5″ wide by 23″ long. Any design pieces outside of this workspace will cause the design to be automatically resized to fit the workspace. All design pieces in the cutting file will be reduced in size so that all of them fit within the cutting boundaries of the virtual mat.

While many cutter software programs allow designers to move pieces off of the virtual mat so that all of the pieces of a huge project are in the same file, this practice will be problematic for Scan N Cut users.

Larger designs need to be broken up into several separate files. Select all design pieces that will fit on one virtual mat, and export as SVG as  a page, such as PopupCardPage1. Then select the next set of pieces and export with the same file name, but with Page2, such as PopupCardPage2.  Then you can place all of the necessary files for a single project together in a single folder on your computer.

DPI sizing for SVG Cutting Files for Scan N Cut

If sizing is extremely important for your designs, make sure your SVG files are exported with a DPI of 96 for use with Scan N Cut.  If the DPI is set to the Illustrator standard of 72 DPI, then the design pieces imported into either Canvas Workspace or directly to the Scan N Cut machine will be too small.

Inkscape SVG exports are automatically sized to 96 DPI.  SVG cutting files exported from Make The Cut follow Inkscape parameters, so those files import into Canvas Workspace and Scan N Cut at the correct sizes.

Sure Cuts A Lot has an option to save your designs in the native FCM format for use with Scan N Cut. FCM export is better for use with Scan N Cut. The DPI sizing will automatically be correct, and FCM files will often load more quickly and efficiently to the Scan N Cut.

Converting Files from SVG to FCM

Using Brother Canvas Workspace, import your prepared SVG file by going to the File menu in the upper left corner of the screen. Select Import.

"How

Now you need to assign the score lines layer to draw instead of cut. To do that, click on the Layers icon, third icon down on the toolbar on the right side of the screen in Canvas Workspace.  To do that, click on the blade icon on a layer that appears to be black, You will have a cut or draw option. Select Draw for those layers which you want to score rather than cut.

 

"How

Your Layers panel should now show a pen icon on each layer that you want to score rather then cut, and a blade icon on each layer that you wish to cut.

"How

Now, you can go to the File menu, and select the option to Export FCM file.  You may get a Warning: “Tiny objects are automatically removed when converting to FCM because it is too small to cut.”  Ignore this warning if you have prepared your SVG file with compound paths. Click on OK. You will not lose Intricate or tiny details in your cutting file, if you have properly optimized it in your design software. 

"How

A window will open, allowing you to type in a File name and to select a location where you would like to save the FCM file.  Click on the Save Button.

"How

You can now share this FCM file, or add it to a thumb drive you plug into the USB port on your Scan N Cut. Then you can load the file from the USB thumb drive to your Scan N Cut.

Sending your prepared file to the Scan N Cut Wirelessly

You do not have to export your design in FCM format if your Scan N Cut has wireless capability.  All SDX models have wireless capability. Older Scan N Cut models may require the purchase of a wireless card in order to send files wirelessly from Canvas workspace directly to the machine.  To send wirelessly, go to the File menu at the upper left corner of your screen and select Transfer FCM via Internet.  You will get a message indicating the the file is ready to use on your Registered Machine.

Turn on your machine, place your media on the mat, and load the mat.  Select the option to Retrieve Data either from USB thumb drive, Machine, internet wifi or USB cable.

After you  load thedesing into your machine, edit the design. Next, select the portion of the file you plan to cut this pass.  Indicate whether you will be drawing or cutting. You may use an embossing tool in the universal pen holder. Or you may use the Brother embossing tool for your score lines. Select Draw for the score line portion of the design. Then select Cut to cut the cutting lines.

Assemble Your Popup Card

When you have finished cutting and scoring the popup card, you repeat the process to select the card backing. Then cut and score it. Fold it and assemble it.

"How

Additional Tips for using SVG files with Scan N Cut

See this blog post for more tips for using SVG files with Scan N Cut.  See also this blog post for more help with folding popup cards.

Make a Valentine Popup Card

"How

Cut and assemble this card. Create and use a topper, sentiment, or image of your choice on the front of the card. I would love to see a picture of your creation! You can send me a picture in the CutterCrafter Facebook book, so others can see it.  If you have any further questions, please let me know! If you enjoyed this post, please share on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Be sure to follow my blog for more great tutorials and free cutting projects!

 

>> 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.

Julie

 

 

 

 

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

Review of Gemini Die Cutter/Embosser

This review of the Gemini Die Cutter/Embosser covers tips  for cutting thin dies made by various companies. The Gemini is a must-have electronic machine for cutting very intricate dies in a single pass! You can get this amazing machine from Amazon for a great price. This is the full size version. There is also a Gemini Jr available for those who need a smaller, more portable size. But I prefer the larger size of the Gemini, as it can cut a lot of dies in a single pass, up to 9″ wide and 12.5″ long!

Gemini

Boxed Gemini

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.

Unboxing the Gemini

Right out of the box, this machine is ready to go. It needs  a space of 14″ wide, 8″ deep and 6.5″ tall for storage. When in use, it needs some room in front and in back of the machine for the cutting plates to move in and out. So plan on a stable working surface area of 14″ wide by 34″ deep. The machine itself weighs 14.6 pounds. You should be able to move it easily for storage unless that weight is too much for you. I like the hand grips on the sides of the machine that make it easy to lift.

In the box you will find the Gemini Die Cutter & Embosser, an assortment of plates, some metal dies, an embossing folder, User Guide, and power cord.

Gemini

Gemini Review and Tips

Gemini Plates

The Gemini ships with a nice assortment of plates. These plates all measure 9″ wide by 12.5″ long. The opening for the sandwiched plates measures just under 5/8″ (19/32″) high by 9″ wide. Included are two clear cutting plates. One of these goes on the bottom of the sandwich, and one goes on the top. Also included are a metal cutting plate, a magnetic shim, a plastic shim, and a rubber embossing mat. Suggestions for which plates and shims to use are included in the User Guide.

Gemini User Guide

The User Guide is a nicely illustrated, six page set of instructions. Instructions in French, Spanish, German, and Dutch are also included. Operating the Gemini is simple. Use a single power button on the back of the machine, and three buttons on top of the machine. The User Guide provides simple explanations of the functions of these buttons. Operation of the machine is automatic. As you insert the sandwich, the machine starts automatically, grabbing the sandwich,  pulling it through, and stopping when the cutting is complete.

In addition to the Operation instructions, there are sections covering several types of metal dies and embossing folders, including the following:

Cutting Thin Metal Dies
Cutting Very Intricate Dies
Deep Multi Media Dies
Embossing with Crafter’s Companion Dies
Embossing with 2D Folders
3D Embossing Folders
Cut & Emboss Folders

Pressure

The Gemini is a very powerful cutting machine which has much more pressure than its competitors. It was designed to exert enough pressure necessary for cutting very intricate dies that other die cutting machines do not handle well. Since not all thin dies are made with equal thickness, the pressure may need to be adjusted. The Gemini pressure can be increased or decreased using different combinations of plates and shims.

Buttons on the Machine

Gemini

Gemini Buttons

The button on the left is the power button. The center button is a Pause/Resume button. Use this button to stop the forward motion of the platforms. Press this button again to resume feeding the sandwich into the machine. The button on the right reverses the platforms out of the machine. The machine will automatically stop if the stack of platforms is too thick. After a few seconds, it will automatically back the stack out. If you have paused using the center button, you can use the reverse function to back the platforms out of the machine

Getting Started with Cutting Dies

The Gemini is shipped with a number of dies. The particular dies included may be different, depending on where the machine was purchased. HSN markets machines with a unique combination of dies, not available elsewhere. Machines purchased elsewhere will include a different variety of dies and embossing folders. It is good to do some practice cuts with the dies that came with your machine. Start with the sandwich suggestions in the User Guide for the type of dies you are using. Please note that dies with intricate detail require a different sandwich than those that are simple shapes.

Tip: Plan an uninterrupted time to become familiar with how the Gemini handles each of the different types of dies in your collection. Take notes! It will help to put a sticky note on your machine with a description of the sandwich that works for each of your most used die types.

Cutting Very Intricate Dies

There is a recommended Sandwich for use with very Intricate dies in the User Guide. Please be aware that as your clear cutting plate is used, it will warp. The sandwich may change if you are using a warped clear plate. The clear cutting plates must be positioned on top and bottom of the sandwich. The inner stack may differ, depending on what you are cutting. When using a die with very intricate inner detail, be sure to use the metal plate under the paper and  die, with the cutting edges of the die facing toward the metal plate. It helps hold the die in place if you include the magnetic shim under the metal plate.

Tips:

Although different from the suggested sandwich in the User Guide, it is also helpful to use the magnetic shim under the metal plate, smooth side towards the metal plate. The metal plate should snap to the magnetic plate, and the metal die(s) should be held in their positions on the metal plate.

Place your paper or other medium on top of the metal plate. Place the die, cutting side down toward the metal plate. Then place the cutting plate over that. On the bottom of the stack, you will need another clear cutting plate. This sandwich may or may not require the addition of the plastic shim. Try it without the plastic shim first. If the cut was not quite clean, add the plastic shim under the magnetic shim. If the addition of the plastic shim makes the sandwich too thick to pass through the machine, use a couple of sheets of 110# card stock folded in half, instead. You may also need to send an intricate die through the machine two or three times in order to cut through all of the tiny detail.

Cutting with Thin Metal Dies

Your machine came with some thin metal dies that do not include intricate detail. It is important that you do NOT use the metal plate with these open shaped dies. The use of the metal plate with these may cause them to warp.

Tips:

If you are using a thin metal die to cut around a stamped image, it is OK to flip the recommended sandwich so that the die blades are face down over the stamped image. This allows you to carefully line up the die over the edges of the stamped design. You may need to use some tape to hold the die in place. Under the stamped image, place the cutting plate. Add the plastic shim over the top of the die, and a cutting plate on top of the sandwich. If this is not thick enough, you can add the magnetic shim or 110# cardstock shims between the plastic shim and cutting plate. I do not like to place the magnetic shim directly on the die, as the die may put unwanted cuts or indentations in the magnetic shim.

Alternative for Cutting around Stamped Images

If you do not want to use tape to hold down your die, there is an alternative to try. From bottom to top, make a sandwich as follows:

Clear  plate on bottom,
3 or 4 pieces of 110# cardstock next,
followed by the Cuttlebug Magnetic Cutting Plate,
paper with a stamped image facing up
Die with cutting blade down,
Clear Cutting plate on top.

Magnetic Cutting Plates

The magnetic shim that ships with the Gemini is not suitable as a cutting surface. However, the Cuttlebug Magnetic Cutting Plates are thicker, and  designed to be cutting plates. These are not destroyed when a die is cut with its blade down on them. They are not stiff,  so they can be bent back into shape if the high pressure of the Gemini causes a bit of a curve. This alternative will work, and eliminate the need for taping down stamped paper or non-intricate dies. I do not recommend using this  alternative with very intricate dies.

Deep Multi Media Dies

The dies made by some companies come with deeper cutting edges than the traditional thin metal dies. The standard sandwiches may be too thick to fit through the Gemini with these dies. Do not use the metal plate if the die is not intricate. However, if the die is intricate, follow the sandwich suggestions for cutting very intricate dies. You will not likely be able to use the plastic shim, as it may make the sandwich too thick. I use about 4 layers of 110# cardstock in place of the plastic shim for these deeper multi media dies. The thickness of the media you are cutting will determine how many shims you need to use.

Tip: After sending your deep intricate dies through 2 or three times, and you still have some areas of a die that did not cut through, use a scrap of paper over that particular uncut area. Send it through the machine again.

Consumables

When using any die cutting machine, you will find that you will need to replace the cutting plates from time to time. The cutting plates warp. The dies leave a mark on the cutting plate with each pass, and the plates become very scarred with much use. Because the Gemini exerts much more pressure and force against its plates, warped plates will need to be replaced more frequently than plates on other machines. To reduce warping of all plates and shims, it is recommended that you rotate or flip  them after each use. This allows each of the four corners to be exposed to like amounts of pressure. Warped plates may still work for some cuts, but severely warped plates may not feed through the machine. Portions of intricate dies may not cut well if the plates are warped.

Purchase Extra sets of Cutting Plates

You are going to need extra cutting plates. This may happen sooner, rather than later. Purchase a number of cutting plates before you need them. You don’t want to be working on a special project, and get stuck because your cutting plates are too warped to be used. Some people have posted ways to remove some of the warping on plates. These techniques may work. But you will eventually need to replace your warped plates. Having extras on hand will save you frustration.

Tip: I try to keep three good sets of plates on hand at all times. When one gets damaged, I order a replacement while I still have a couple of good ones. Since working with my Gemini, I realized after only a couple of weeks of use, that I needed to order more. I ordered 4 extra cutting plates for both the Gemini and Gemini Jr. I know I will be needing them.

Optional Smaller Plates

Many people prefer to use the smaller plates and shims for the Gemini Jr. with their full size Gemini machine. There are some advantages for using these plates. First, the Jr. plates take only 8 seconds rather the 13 seconds to pass completely through the Gemini. Secondly, the smaller plates tend to warp less than the larger Gemini plates. Thirdly, these smaller plates serve as backups when your other plates need to be replaced. If using the Gemini Jr plates, you need to place them into the Gemini along the longer edge. The Gemini will not grab the shorter edge of these plates. If you do not need the larger cutting area of the Gemini plates, the Gemini Jr. plates are excellent options.

Tip: Using smaller plates means that you need less table surface space of only 26″ deep.

Alternative Shim Solutions

Keep in mind that you can use chipboard, paper, and card  stock as shims. If what you are using is not working, you can always use a substitute combination of plates and/or shims. Write down your special combination so that you won’t have to figure it out again. Also, if you are using alternative shims, you still need to use the clear cutting plates on the top and bottom of your sandwich.

Tip: I keep a sticky note on my machine where I write down my favorite sandwich stacks for my favorite die types.

Compatibility

The Gemini is the best die cutting machine I have tried for use with very intricate  thin metal dies. Getting excellent cutting results with this type of die in other machines requires more muscle strength than I have for cranking  the very tight stack through them. Since the Gemini is electronic, I don’t have to worry about cranking tight sandwiches. Gemini also boasts more cutting pressure to handle those dies more efficiently. Therefore, I reserve intricate thin metal dies for use with my Gemini.

No Steel Rule Dies

You cannot use steel rule dies with the Gemini. The opening is not high enough for dies such as theregular  Sizzix, Accucut, Big Shot,  or Go dies to fit. The Gemini opening measures only 14 mm. The opening is also not high enough for use with the flower shaping molds by Heartfelt Creations. Also, any die that is wider than 9 inches will not fit in the Gemini. You will need to use your other machines for these dies and flower shaping molds.

Third Party Cutting Plates

Tip: I do not recommend using most cutting plates for your other die cutting machines with the Gemini. I may try testing some if the need arises, and report on the results. They were not made for the extra cutting pressure exerted by the Gemini, so they might warp. This would make them unusable in your other machines. I reserve my other cutting plates for my other machines, so that they will work when I need them for projects that I cannot do with my Gemini. The one exception right now, is the Cuttlebug Magnetic cutting plates. I will use those with non-intricate dies to eliminate the need for taping dies or paper for precision cuts.

Intricate Dies from other Companies

Intricate dies that I have used successfully from other companies with the Gemini are:

Tattered Lace,
Anna Griffin,
Heartfelt Creations,
Cuttlebug,
Ellentina,
Spellbinders,
Crafters Companion
Die’Sire
Tim Holtz Sizzix thin metal dies

Additional Supplies

You will need the Spellbinders Tool in One or a similar brush with your intricate dies. The roller brush tip helps remove the cut materials from the dies. Place the cut pieces with the die on a foam pad, and brush the back side of the die. Use the pointed tip of this tool to poke through the holes on the back side of the die to release the cut pieces from the die. You can purchase additional accessories for this tool such as the embossing tips and brayer tip, if you do not already have those tools.

The other very necessary tool when cutting intricate dies is a trash can. You can avoid a lot of vacuuming by removing your intricate dies from the cut projects over a trash can.

Tip: Tap the die gently against the edge of your desk or table to loosen tiny pieces trapped in the die. Do this over the trash can!

Pros

Gemini cuts with greater pressure than any other die cutting machine.

Fewer passes are needed with this machine, as compared with thin dies used on other machines.

The machine is simple to use, as it is motor driven. This is great for those with limited mobility in hands, arms, or shoulders.

The maximum die width for use in the Gemini is 9″.

The 12.5″ cutter plate length allows you to cut many dies at the same time.

Gemini can use thin metal dies and embossing folders from many different companies.

You can use dies to cut around your stamped images by reversing the recommended plate order.

The Gemini automatically rejects a stack of plates that is too thick to cut.

Cons

Cutting plates do not last long. So purchase extras! If you place dies, blade side towards the metal cutting plate, you will need extras of those as well.

Gemini is NOT compatible with plastic or wooden steel rule dies. They are too thick to pass through this machine.

Gemini cannot be used with Flower shaping molds. The molds are too thick to feed into the machine.

Be careful with the way you stack the plates and shims, as it is easy to ruin them. Cutting blades with material to be cut, must have a clear or metal cutting plate next in the stack!

 

Love,
Julie, cuttercrafter.com

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Make an Oval Accordion Card

Oval Accordion Card

Make an oval accordion card.

 

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

Supplies Needed to Make the Oval Accordion Card

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

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

Software Requirements

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

Paper Choices

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

Cutting Instructions

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

Score Lines

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

Oval Accordion Card

Basic panels for oval Accordion Card

Oval Accordion Card Assembly

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

Oval Accordion Card

Decorated Panels

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

Oval Accordion Card

Panels Glued Together

Folding the Card

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

Oval Accordion Card

Glue oval tab to neighboring oval.

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

Oval Accordion Card

Connecting Oval Tabs

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

Oval Accordion Card

Card Folded Flat

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

 

Oval Accordion Card

Oval Accordion Card completed

Love,
Julie, cuttercrafter.com

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Will the Cricut Maker Cut Felt?

Will the Cricut Maker Cut Felt? Will it cut even inexpensive, loosely woven felt that has not been stiffened or backed? I purchased some felt in a variety of colors to do some test cutting from here. This is a 9″x12″ piece from a package of 10 sheets in different colors. I can cut felt on my other cutters if it is stiffened, backed with adhesive, or Heat n Bond, ironed between two layers of freezer paper, or cut on a very sticky mat. Cricut advertising for their Maker with the rotary cutting wheel and 4000 grams of available cutting pressure indicated that this machine would not require that fabric, felt included, be stiffened, adhesive backed, ironed between layers of freezer paper or cut on a very sticky mat.

Finding a Project to Cut in Felt

In order to cut to the Cricut Maker, users must sign in to the free Cricut Design Space software. No other software will cut to the Cricut Maker. There are Apps for use of this software on tablets as well as Windows or Mac computers. You can select a ready to cut project from Cricut Design Space called Felt Flower Wreath since this project was designed specifically for use with felt. You don’t have to cut all of the flowers for this project if you just want to experiment with cutting felt. This project is free to Cricut Access members. You may follow the instructions posted with the file for cutting and assembly of your felt flowers.

Cutting the Felt

Cricut recommends the use of the pink cutting mat that ships with the Cricut Maker for cutting fabric. You may use an older Cricut cutting mat if you prefer. I used an older cutting mat in case I had difficulty getting the felt residue off of the mat. This mat had very little adhesive left on it.

Will Cricut Maker Cut Felt

Old Cricut cutting mat with felt placed on it.

In the Cricut Design Space software, select Make It. Select just the Turquoise mat # 8 to cut. Make sure that your rotary blade is installed in the machine, and select the rotary blade option from the software. Select Felt as the media. Load the mat, and press the Start Button. The machine will cut the flower shapes.

Will Cricut Maker Cut Felt

Remove the excess felt from the mat.

The excess felt lifts away from the cut flowers easily and cleanly. Each flower layer is perfectly cut.

Will Cricut Maker Cut Felt

Felt flower layers cut cleanly.

The felt flowers lifted off of the mat nicely. They were all cut out perfectly with no snagging. Even though the mat was not very sticky, the cut pieces did not move around on the mat during cutting. The Cricut Maker Cut felt perfectly.

Cleaning the Cutting Mat

When the felt flowers are removed from the mat, they leave behind a residue that will not come off with a scraper tool.

Will Cricut Maker Cut Felt

Felt residue left on mat after cutting.

However, you may use alcohol-free baby wipes to remove this fabric residue. The old mat will clean up nicely with these wipes.

Will Cricut Maker Cut Felt

All Felt residue is gone using alcohol-free baby wipes.

The mat is ready to use again. You may notice that there are some excessively deep cuts in the mat where the roller blade cut circles. Cutting this type of felt may  be cut using less pressure to avoid gouging the mat like this. The extra pressure cutting into the mat is not good for the blade either.

Use Hot Glue to Assemble the Flowers

Place hot glue on the tab of each flower layer to give it a cupped shape. You can use two or three layers for each flower, placing hot glue around the center of each layer to adhere the next smaller layer to it. You can glue one of the small cut circles to the center of the top layer, and embellish as you like. I used a pearl sticker in the center of each of my felt flowers. The cut felt flowers are ready to add to your favorite DIY craft project such as cards, home decor, hats, hair ornaments, and 3D projects.

Will Cricut Maker Cut Felt

Cut and assemble felt flowers.

Will the Cricut Maker Cut Felt?

Yes, the Cricut Maker cuts felt very well! Cricut Maker does a better job cutting felt than any of my other cutters, faster, with much more ease,  and much less expense. Very inexpensive felt can be used, no backing or stiffening is required, and results are exquisite! I purchased the Cricut Maker because of this exceptional feature.

Will Cricut Maker Cut Felt

Cricut Maker Cuts Felt

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

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You can make a Lovely Floral Gift Box

Would you like to make a lovely Floral Gift Box for someone special in your life? That someone is sure to be wowed by a lovely handmade creation such as this. After making this floral gift box, topped with this special heart flower, I filled it with chocolate bon-bon candies, and gave it to my Step-Mother as a birthday-Valentine’s gift. She absolutely loved not only the chocolates, but she also appreciated the handmade heart flower that I used instead of a bow to decorate the top of the box, as well as the lovely box that she can now use to hold jewelry or other small household items.

Two part gift box with decorative 3D Heart Flower ornament

Two part gift box with decorative 3D Heart Flower ornament

The floral gift box has a magnetic closure to  keep it closed. You might want to decorate your floral gift box with more masculine papers for male recipients. The flower may be used to decorate other DIY projects such as cards, frames,  scrapbooks and more. You could even make an entire bouquet of these flowers and place in a vase for some lovely home decor.

You can make this box out of ordinary cardstock, which cuts nicely on electronic cutters such as Pazzles Vue or Inspiration, Cricut, Silhouette Cameo, Scan N Cut, KNK Zing, Zing Orbit, or Force, Silver Bullet, or other cutters that have software that can use SVG, AI, or WPC file formats. The heart flower ornament can be cut out of cardstock or from lighter weight paper. I used some lovely iridescent text weight paper for mine.

Illustrated, printable, step-by-step assembly instructions accompany the cutting file, to make the assembly process quick and easy. It amazes me that we can make such gorgeous gifts out of something as mundane as paper! Do you need a box for a gift for a special occasion coming up soon? The box measures about 3.5 inches square, and it is 1.5 inches high, making it a perfect size for a watch, jewelry, a special sweet treat, as well as a gift card. I hope you will give it a try  for an upcoming occasion.

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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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