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How to Emboss Vellum with the Cricut

Many have asked how to emboss vellum with the Cricut.  You can also create flowers that pop out from the embossed background.  Then you can add some lovely petals for a 3D effect to make a gorgeous  card. In this tutorial I will share how to make this lovely card using your electronic cutter.

 

Embossed Popout Daisy Card

Embossed Popout Daisy Card

Using Electronic Cutters to Emboss Vellum

You don’t have to have a Cricut in order to make this card.  The SVG, PVGC, and FCM  cutting files for this project are available that can be used in most electronic cutting machines. You can find them in the FREE Resource Library. Download the free cutting files.  You can right click on the file link, and select “Save Link As” or “Save Target As”. Save it to your computer. When the download is complete, double click on the downloaded file and select Extract All. Then open your preferred cutting software, and import the cutting file. There is one file that contains all the design pieces. If you are using a Scan N Cut machine, use the FCM file.   Those using Pazzles InVue software will use the PVGC file. All others should use the SVG file.

Note: this post may contain affiliate links.

Supplies Needed to Emboss the Vellum Popout Card

Heavy Translucent Vellum Cardstock
Electronic Cutter – Pazzles Vue, Scan N Cut, Cricut Explore or Maker Silhouette Cameo, or other cutter that uses SVG files.

If you wish to add foiling to your design, you will need foiling tools. I used the We R Memory Makers Foil Quill and silver foil but you may use a metallic pen instead if you don’t have the foil quill. I used the bold tip for this project.
Embossing Mat- Pazzles,or Scan N Cut Embossing Kit, or  SNC Embossing Mat 
Embossing Stylus –Pazzles Embossing Tool
or
Hand Embossing Stylus or Scan N Cut Embossing tool
Dries Clear Adhesive
Low Tack tape
Pearl Stickers
Embossed Vellum Popout Card cutting files from the 
Free Resource Library 
Pop Dots

Limitations to Emboss Vellum With Cricut

Embossing vellum with the Cricut Maker is not as straight forward as it is with other electronic cutters. This is due primarily to the fact that Cricut does not allow any options for adjusting the pressure of tools using  the A slot on the Cricut Maker or Cricut Explore cutting head.  Cricut Explore does allow use of a special pen holder in the blade holder slot. With that  holder in the B slot, the pressure can be adjusted up to the maximum under Custom Settings to 340-350.

Pen Holder for Cricut Explore

Pen Holder for Cricut Explore

While the Cricut Maker boasts of up to 4000 grams of cutting pressure, this pressure is only available in the B slot on the cutting head. And a hand-held embossing stylus is not recognized in the B slot. Maximum pressure is needed to get an excellent embossed effect on vellum cardstock.

The only pressure options on the Cricut Maker head A are the automatic settings for either drawing or scoring.  Pressure for drawing on the Cricut Maker is inadequate for embossing. The pressure for scoring is adequate, given the right embossing stylus and mat. The Cricut Scoring tool tip is not broad enough for embossing. It has a tendency to tear through delicate vellum cardstock.

Paper to Use to Emboss

Selecting to best paper to use for embossing with your cutter is very important.  Lighter weight papers will emboss more readily on cutters, than cardstock. It can take massive amounts of down pressure to form nicely embossed shapes on cardstock.

What is Translucent Vellum Cardstock?

Vellum is a type of coating that is used on some papers. The type and weight of vellum is very important for this project. While our cutters cannot make a very good embossed impression on most cardstock, one exception is to use translucent vellum cardstock to emboss with your cutter. The cardstock should be translucent enough to be able to see through it.  When using translucent vellum cardstock, an embossing tool will create white lines on the Vellum.

Best Weight of Transparent Vellum Cardstock to Use

For the Embossed Popout Daisy Card, you need to use Transparent Vellum Cardstock that is neither too heavy nor too light. The popouts will work better with Vellum that is still. But if the cardstock is too thick, the embossed design will not be the pretty white color you are wanting. If the cardstock is too thin, the design may tear during cutting or removing from the cutting mat. I found that 36# translucent vellum cardstock works best for this project.

Embossing on Legacy Cricut machines

Those using any of the legacy Cricut machines  (Original Cricut Personal, original Cricut Expression, Cricut Cake, Create, Cricut Cake Mini) will find that the Pazzles Embossing tool fits perfectly in the blade holder of these older machines. You can emboss on these machines if you have an embossing mat and embossing tool.  Unfortunately, the Pazzles Embossing tool is too large to fit in the Cricut Explore or Cricut Maker.

Pazzles Embossing Tool

Pazzles Embossing Tool

 

Cricut has simplified the cutting process by providing automatic settings wherever possible. But this is an example of how automatic settings can limit creativity.  Perhaps one day Cricut will add full embossing functionality. Until then, you can use the techniques I have used to make this card.

Embossing Stylus

To emboss, you need to be able to use an embossing stylus. The stylus needs to fit the pen tool holder. In addition, the stylus tip needs to be long enough to extend deep enough through the pen holder to reach the mat.

Testing Hand-Held Embossing Tools

I have tested a number of different hand-held stylus tools. Unfortunately, most of the ones I have collected through the years will not work in the Cricut machines.  The length of the tips of most were too short.

I did find one that works in the Cricut Explore or Cricut Maker. This one has a metal tip that is a full 1″ long.

Hand

Hand Embossing Tool

I still have to wrap 5 inches of blue painter’s tape around the center of the handle to make it a bit thicker to fit snugly in the pen holder.  Place the tool with the larger ball tip down into the A tool holder of the Cricut Explore or Cricut Maker. Other cutters than have pen holders may also use a tool like this for embossing.

Hand Embossing Tool With Tape

The tip of the embossing stylus needs to  be quite close to the mat surface, as shown in my photo below.

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Embossing Stylus In Cricut Maker

Embossing Stylus In Cricut Maker

Embossing Mat

In order for an electronic cutter to effectively create embossing designs on vellum, it is essential to have a cushion under the paper on the mat. Too much of a cushion may result in tears in the delicate vellum. And not enough cushion may result in unsatisfactory embossing.

Some cutter companies provide embossing mats that work with their brand of cutters. Other companies do not. Thin craft foam that is .8mm to 1mm thick may serve as an embossing mat in some cutters. Others have found that using faux leather provides an adequate surface for embossing.

With the foam or faux leather options, you will need to apply some adhesive to the top in order for the vellum to adhere to it during embossing and cutting. Too much adhesive may cause the popout petals on the card to tear when removing it from the mat. Too little adhesive may allow the vellum to shift during embossing and cutting. Taping edges of the vellum down without adhesive on the mat does not work due to the intricate detail of this project.

Embossing Mat Testing Results

Pazzles Embossing mat works well with the Pazzles machine. It is a bit too wide to fit Cricut machines. However, the Pazzles embossing mat may be trimmed down to work with Cricut machines.

Bosskut Gazelle made an excellent embossing mat that works with a number of different cutters.  It will work with Cricut machines as well, but Bosskut is no longer in business.

I found the Scan N Cut Embossing mat to be a workable solution for How to emboss vellum with Cricut machines. A sticky Cricut mat holds the embossing mat in place. And the top surface of the embossing mat is sticky, and able to hold the vellum in place while the cutter is embossing and cutting.

Scan N Cut embossing mat on a Cricut mat.

Scan N Cut embossing mat on a Cricut mat.

When combined with a hand embossing tool, the Scan N Cut mat worked well to emboss vellum with the Cricut machines.

Silhouette users who would like to emboss vellum will need to use the Silhouette Curio cutter. This is because the Cameo and other Silhouette machines do not have adequate pressure for embossing. They also do not have enough clearance between the mat and roller bars to fit an embossing surface between the mat and vellum.

Foiling in Lieu of Embossing

In the event that you do not have an embossing tool and embossing mat that work to Embossing Vellum with your Cricut machine, you may elect to use the Embossed Popout Daisy Card design with a foil quill and foil. The background design of this card foils nicely. This is an option for those using Silhouette cutters as well.

Foiled Cricut Popout with Daisy Card

Foiled Cricut Popout with Daisy Card

How to Emboss and Cut the Embossed Popout Daisy Card

If you are using a Pazzles or Scan N Cut machine to emboss and cut the popout daisy card, you will find that all lines in the cutting files are designated as either draw or cut. Choose the Draw lines first and emboss the Draw lines using your embossing tool and mat.  Use maximum pressure when embossing.  Do test cuts to determine the best settings for cutting.

Do not remove the mat or move the cutting head after the “drawing” is complete. Simply replace the embossing tool with the cutting tool, and select “Cut” to use with the cutting lines. Cutting on the embossing mat will not ruin it it you have set the blade depth appropriately.

 

How to cut and emboss with the Cricut

The process is a bit different when using Cricut Explore or Cricut Maker.  First, import the SVG file into Cricut Design Space. To do that, open Cricut Design Space. Click on Upload, the bottom icon on the left toolbar. Next, click on Upload Image. Browse to the place where you saved the Embossed Vellum Popout Card file on your computer. Click on Save. The design you just uploaded will be visible now. Click on it to select it,  and click on Insert Image.

Get the Design Ready in Design Space

Ungroup the design pieces by right clicking on the design, and selecting Ungroup. Next, click on the white emboss portion of the the design, and designate it as “Score” at the top of the page. Select both the score and white cut layers, right click and select Attach. Click on the top score layer and the next group layer on the right toolbar. Right click, and select Attach.

Now click on Make It.  Move the entire design in and down 1″ from top and left sides of the virtual mat. This will reduce tearing along the edges of the vellum.  Select Continue, and select your machine.  Set materials to Vellum. Next, Set tools. Select the Scoring Stylus for the embossing.

Place your vellum on the embossing mat, and load the hand embossing tool in the A tool holder. Load the mat into the Cricut, and press the Go button on the machine when it starts blinking.  It will take about 30 minutes to do all of the embossing and cutting on the vellum. Get the paper for the mat and card base ready. Be very careful when lifting  the cut design from the mat to prevent the petals from tearing.  Finally, you can cut the remaining card pieces.

How to Assemble the Embossed Vellum Popout Card

Embossed Popout Daisy Card

Embossed Popout Daisy Card

The side that is facing up on the mat is the Debossed side, as the embossing tool has pressed the design down into the vellum. The opposite side is the embossed design. You may use the side that you prefer on your card.

Fold the base card in half. Next, glue the mat to the center of the card front, or use pop dots to raise the mat a bit off of the card base. Add small dots of Dries Clear Adhesive on the back side of the vellum, only on places that are white from the embossing. Let it dry. Gently lift the cut petals up, away from the card, to give dimension.

Add the 3D Daisies

Embossed Popout Daisy Card

Embossed Popout Daisy Card

If you wish to add 3D daisies to the card, place a daisy piece on a foam mat, and press down firmly in the middle of the daisy to lift the petals. Repeat with the next daisy piece of the same size. Place a dot of glue on the back of one of the daisy layers, and center it over the other daisy layer of the same size. Make sure the petals are opposite the first layer. Add a drop of glue on the center back of each 3D Daisy layer and adhere to the center of one of the popout daisies on the card, again, keeping the petals opposite the bottom layer.

Repeat with all three flowers.  Glue a pearl sticker to the center of each of the 3D Daisies on the card. You card is now complete! Add a sentiment of your choice to the inside of the card, and give it to someone special!

How To Emboss Vellum with the Cricut

How To Emboss Vellum with the Cricut

Be sure to go to the Resource Library to grab the free cutting file for the Embossed Vellum Popup Daisy Card cutting files. If you like this project, please comment, share, and pin!

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

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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

 

 

 

 

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

Why You Might Need a Brother Scan N Cut

Scan N Cut

Brother Scan N Cut

Unique Features of the Scan N Cut

Here are some reasons why you might need a Scan N Cut electronic cutter. It has a built in wide format scanner. The scanner allows it to cut around stamped or printed images. No computer or Internet connection is necessary. Scraps can be used efficiently. It can fill fonts with solid or patterned fills to be drawn or embossed. Free design software is available for download to your computer. You can use your SVG file collection with this machine.

Wide Format Scanner Built into the Scan N Cut

Do you need a wide format scanner? If you do, then the Brother Scan N Cut 2 might be for you. With it you  can scan a full 12″x12″  image, save to a USB thumb drive in JPG format in up to 300 DPI resolution. Wide format scanners can be extremely expensive. This wide format scanning feature alone makes the purchase of a Brother Scan N Cut a worthy investment. The built in scanner in the Brother Scan N Cut machine allows you to scan a design into the machine, and then have the machine cut around the printed design. The machine knows exactly where your images are on the mat to create a perfect cut. This is a great option for scrapbookers who create layouts in up to 12″x 12″ size, as they can scan their completed pages and share them with others online or even have copies printed.

Cutting Scraps with the Background Scans

The background scanning feature is genius. You can put your different colored scraps down on the mat. Then do a background scan . Finally, place your cutting designs exactly where you want them to cut. There is no guessing about where the shapes will be cut. You can make use of even the tiniest of scraps without worrying about where to place the designs on the screen.

Cut Around Stamped or Printed Images

You can stamp an image with a rubber stamp, scan it into your Brother Scan N Cut, and  the machine will cut around the stamped image. No additional software is necessary. This is a great option if you want to select the Direct Cut method on the machine to cut around the outside of the stamped shape. Quick and easy. You will need to play a bit more to master the machine’s more advanced Scan to Date option.

No Computer or Internet Necessary for Using the Scan N Cut

The Brother Scan N Cut can operate fully independent of a computer. There is with no need of expensive cartridges. With the addition of the optional wireless card, you can connect from  the free Canvas software on your computer to your Brother Scan N Cut. This machine is an excellent option for those who do not have ready access to high speed Internet service. It can be operated without a computer, and without Internet service.

There are hundreds of  cutting designs built in to the machine, ready to edit and cut. There are also hundreds of free cutting projects posted online at the Brother site that can be saved to a thumb drive. Then you can cut them on this machine. My grandchildren preferred this machine over all the others in my studio. I worked on my computer and cut to my Pazzles or Cricut Maker, and they were very content to cut their projects on my Scan N Cut without help. By the way, they are ages 11, 9, and 7.

 

Free Design Software

Design Software

Canvas Workspace

The Brother Scan N Cut can use SVG files created in the free  Canvas Workspace software, or any other software that provides an SVG file export. SVG files can be opened in the Canvas Workspace software and saved in FCM format, or it can be sent directly to the Brother Scan N Cut machine to cut, via the wireless connection. Or you can save your SVG and FCM cutting files on a USB thumb drive, and plug it directly into the machine’s USB port. The built in software allows you to load the design, edit it to the perfect size, and cut the design.

Drawing with Pens and Fills

Another unique feature of the Brother Scan N Cut is the option to draw text or a shape with a pen or embossing tool and fill it automatically with a solid fill or design. This can be done with software on other cutters, but this feature is actually built in to the Brother Scan N Cut machine.

 

SVG File Compatibility

The Brother Scan N Cut is compatible with third party software. Vector art programs such as Illustrator, CorelDraw, Inkscape, Sure Cuts A Lot, Make The Cut, Pazzles InVue, Silhouette Studio, Funtime Scrapbooking, and others that can be used to create SVG files that can be cut on this machine.

Amazing Cutting Pressure for Heavy Media

In addition to its unique features, the Brother Scan N Cut boasts cutting specifications that rival top-of-the-line cutters in the home crafting market place. At the same time, its price is comparable to entry level cutters. Its 1250 grams of cutting pressure is exceeded only by a couple of other more expensive cutters in the home crafting cutter marketplace. With this pressure,  it can cut through most any media up to 1.5mm in thickness.

Hints to Get Started with the Scan N Cut

Protect your Mat

Since the Scan N Cut is a heavy duty cutter, it can cut straight through your cutting mat. The mats are expensive. So spare yourself some agony and expense by setting your cutting pressure to -1, and don’t change it. Change the blade depth instead.

After you order

Check this document while you wait for your machine to arrive. Find a home for it.

Go to the Brother site. Download all of the documents pertinent to the Scan N Cut. There is one chart in the manual that I referred to constantly. It includes suggested blade settings for a variety of different media. I printed a copy of it and attached it to my machine for quick reference.

Browse through the hundreds of free cutting projects at the Canvas Workspace site.  Download the ones you like. There are new free projects posted there regularly.

Watch some video tutorials.

Once your machine arrives, do some test cuts. 

Go for it!

If you need a wide format scanner, an electronic cutter that does not require the use of a computer or the Internet, or a powerful craft cutting machine at an affordable price, the Brother Scan N Cut may be for you! Once you get your Scan N Cut, be sure to try cutting some of the projects included in our Free Resource Library.

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

Thanks!
Julie, cuttercrafter.com

PRIME DAY DEALS FOR CRAFT LOVERS

Prime Day Deals Crafters

Prime Day Best Deals for Crafters

Best Prime Day Deals for Crafters  to Check Out on Amazon.

Amazon Prime Day

Amazon Prime Day is Monday, July 16, and Prime Day deals have already started! If you haven’t heard about Prime Day before, it’s a once-a-year HUGE sale at Amazon — like, 100,000 items get put on sale. It’s bigger than Black Friday for Amazon. I’m a Prime member (and you have to be to get these deals) and I’ve been shopping Prime Day for a while now. But I recently learned that it is possible to find out in advance what things are going to go on sale. I looked and I found some really interesting DIY & CRAFT deals. I’ll be adding to my shopping list for myself and my family — and I thought you might like to know about these deals, too. But be warned — it’s addicting.

This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more)!  

What to Expect, How to shop,  and Get Ready

  • Check out the amazon.com/primeday page every day to stay up to date on Amazon’s best deals and offers of the year.
  • Don’t forget to sign up for Prime, as Prime Day deals are exclusively available to members!
  • You can try it for FREE for 30 days! amazon.com/tryprimefree They also have a special deals for students. 
  • Make a Wish List and watch for email notifications when items go up for sale. You can use my list as a starting point. Wouldn’t this make a great crafter’s Christmas in July shopping list?

Links to Prime Day Deals for Crafters

Scan N Cut2  – Price has now gone up some.

Brother SNC Universal Pen Holder

Scan N Cut Standard Blade

Scan N Cut Standard Mat

Scan N Cut Online Activation Card for WiFi connection

Silhouette Cameo 3

Cricut Maker  New LOWEST price ever!

Cricut Explore Air Rose new low price for this bundle!

Cricut Easy Press

Cricut Easy Press Mat  Half off right now from Cricut. 

Cricut Cuttlebug

Cricut Bright Pad

Cricut Ultimate Fine Point Pen Set Assorted

Stamp set

Prismacolor pastel color sticks

Prismacolor colored pencils

Sizzix Extended Cutting Plates

Super Doodle 50 Gel Pens Set

Arteza Watercolor Premium Artist Paints Set of 24 Colors

Gemini Die Cutting/Embossing Machine Great price for a power machine! I ordered one, plus the plates for the Gemini Jr to use with this.

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

Heartfelt Creations Deluxe Flower Shaping Kit I use this kit for shaping my 3D flowers.

Spellbinders Tool In 1 Great for brushing the tiny pieces out of intricate cuts.

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

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

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

110# White cardstock Great for 3D projects

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scor-tape Sheets

Modeling Clay, 24 colors plus tools 

Flameless Candles 

Set of 88 Alcohol Dual Tip Markers with case

Cricut Rotary Blade Kit

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

Tim Holtz Distress Oxide Inks

Portable 4T External usb Drive

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

Blendtec Blender – My favorite Smoothie Maker at a great price! Prime Day price updated at checkout.

 

See EVERYTHING available during Prime Day here

Note that you need to be a Prime member to take advantage of these deals. But the good news is that Amazon Prime offers a free 30-day trial to those curious about trying the service. To access it simply click this link and follow the on-screen prompts. This is how I ended up with Prime — I signed up for a free trial and stuck around because of the free 2-day shipping and free movies. Tip: Anyone with a valid .edu email address can sign up for a 6-month free trial for Amazon Prime Student here.

Tip: I recommend you click “Watch Deal” for anything that interests you. Then you can monitor your deals on this page.

I will add to this list as I find more deals I think could help you. Set your alarms and have fun shopping! Let me know what you scored.

Learn to Use Your New Crafting Machines

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

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

 

>> HOW TO ENTER THE FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY <<

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

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

 

 

Best Software For Designing SVG Cutting Files

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

Cutter Software

Design Software

Software for SVG Designing

Cricut Design Space

Design Software

Cricut Design Space

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

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

Brother Canvas Workspace

Design Software

Brother Canvas

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

Software Import and Export Options

Silhouette Studio

Design Software

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

Cutters with Full-Featured Design Software

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

Cutter Software

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

Design Software Options

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

Free Design Software

Inkscape

Design Software

Inkscape

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

Learning Inkscape

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

 

Affordable Design Software for Sale

Pazzles InVue Software

Cutter Software

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

Learning InVue

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

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

Sure Cuts A Lot (SCAL)

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

Design Software

Sure Cuts A Lot Cutter Software

Learning Sure Cuts A Lot

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

Make The Cut (MTC)

Design Software

Make The Cut Software

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

Learning Make The Cut

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

Popup Card Studio

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

 

Not So Affordable Software For Designing SVG Cutting Files

Adobe Creative Suite

Design Software

Adobe Illustrator

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

Learning Illustrator

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

Corel Draw

Design Software

CorelDraw

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

Favorite Features of CorelDraw

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

Design Software for Cricut Machines

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

Cricut

Cricut Expression

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

Cricut Upgrades

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

Do You Need a New Cutter?

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

Cutters

Discontinued Cutters

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

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

Julie

 

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

 

>> HOW TO ENTER THE FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY <<

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

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

 

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

Tips for Cutting Basswood on the Cricut Maker

Here are my tips to cut basswood on the Cricut Maker while making a lovely 3D Family Tree bursting with small magnolia flowers!

Cut Basswood

3D Basswood Tree decorated with names on hearts and 3D Magnolia Flowers.

Supplies Needed to Make the 3D Family Tree

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!

One Basswood sheet 3/32″ x 8″ x 24″
Cricut Maker
Knife Blade holder and blade for Cricut Maker

Cricut Strong Grip Mat
Blue painters tape or masking tape
3D  Family Tree design by JenniferMaker.

Glue that dries quickly.
Heartfelt Creations 3D Rose Shaping mold 
Magnolia Flower Cutting File from the Free Resource Library
Cricut Printable Sticker Paper

Hot Glue Gun and glue sticks

 

Cricut recommends using basswood no thicker than 1/6″, but all I had was 3/32″ basswood. I used it to cut a lovely free 3D  Family Tree design by JenniferMaker.

Tips for Cutting Basswood on Cricut Maker

3D Basswood Tree

Preparation for Using the Knife Blade to Cut Basswood

First, If you have the Cricut Maker, order the Knife blade, and an extra blade. Basswood was hard for me to find locally. You may have to order some online. The other thing that would be good to order is the 2mm chipboard for the Maker. I noticed that this is an excellent quality chipboard. Not all chipboard is created equally. Some shreds easier than others, and cuts poorly. This chipboard is thick, firm, and a good cutting quality. It measures only 11″x11″ . Thicker media for cutting with the knife blade needs to be no wider than 11″.

After you receive your new knife blade, be sure to follow the instructions for its proper use. You need to calibrate the knife blade in the Cricut Maker machine. This process is easy  and quick. Then, move the white star wheels on the roller bar over to the right. I neglected to do this, and the wheels marked up the length of my wood. Do some small test cuts! See my post on how to make test cuts.

Cuts using the knife blade need to be no smaller than 3/4″, or about the width of a pencil. A few pieces of my 3D tree broke after removing them from the mat because they were on the thin side. Basswood is more sturdy than balsa wood, but it can split if you are not very careful handling it while removing it from the mat.

Use the heavy tack mat, and use painter’s tape or masking tape on the edges to keep the wood in place during cutting.

Cut Basswood with the Knife Blade

Heavy media takes many passes, and may take a very long time. Thick basswood required about 14-15 passes. The 3D tree took two hours to cut. There were two  large pieces to cut, and each piece took an hour. Stay near the machine during the cut, as the blade did get stuck about 4 times on each of the pieces. When the blade runs into tiny pieces of “dust”, cutting stops, allowing you to brush away the debris. You click on the C button to resume the cut at this point. No time is lost, and the machine does not miss any steps in the process. Since I was cutting media that was thicker than what was recommended, that may have been part of the reason for the blade getting stuck so much. But the cuts were still perfect!

You do have the option to add extra passes, one at a time, after the cutting is done, in case the wood is not cut all the way through. You simply press on the C button on the machine to have it cut again. Do not do this too many times, as the knife is capable of cutting all the way through the mat.

To remove the cut pieces from the mat, remove the tape first. Then roll the mat away from the wood. You don’t want to bend the wood, because it can crack and split.

Assemble the 3D Basswood Tree

You cut two pieces. One of them has a slit at the top, and the other has a slit at the bottom. Handling very carefully, slide the piece with the slit in the bottom as far as it will go over the other piece that has the slit at the top. The pieces will fit together very snugly if you are using Basswood with 3/32″ thickness. The cut pieces are fragile. The tree will stand on its own if the two pieces are aligned correctly.

Cleaning the Mat

Using a scraper tool on the mat after cutting wood is not a good idea. The bits of wood can get caught in the grooves of the cuts in the mat, ruining it. It is recommended that you wash the mat and use a brush with a circular motion to get the tiny wood pieces off of the mat. Then you can let the mat dry, or wipe it down with a soft cloth or paper towel. My mat cleaned up nicely. The knife blade did produce some pretty deep cuts on the mat, though.

Decorate Your Cut Basswood Tree

You may decorate your cut basswood tree according to your plan for its use. I decided to make my tree into a 3D Family tree, with names of family members printed on sticker paper, cut into heart shapes. To do this, you can print the names on Cricut Printable Sticker Paper, and use your electronic  cutter to cut around the printed names in the shape of hearts. Be careful not to cut through the backing sheet of the sticker paper. Performing a test cut on the sticker paper before proceeding is important.

Next,  adhere the heart stickers to the assembled tree. There are 72 small hearts onto which you may place stickers. Add  small  magnolia flowers on the tree branches. This is  a smaller version of the flower used on the lovely peony gift basket. Assembly of the small magnolia flowers is very similar to the peony flowers on the gift basket.

Instead of shaping the small flowers as a peonies with small beads in the centers, shape them as  more open Magnolia flowers. To do this, Instead of using the 3D Floral Basics  Shaping Mold from Heartfelt Creations, use their 3D Rose Shaping Mold. Use two petal layers and one leaf layer for each flower you wish to place on the tree. I used 32 flowers on my 3D tree, so I needed 72 petal layers. Use quick drying glue inside of one of the petals, and insert the other with petals alternating. Shape the leaf layer, add some glue to the center, and place the petal layers in the center of the leaf layer. Adhere the flowers to the tree branches so that they do not obscure any of the printing on the heart stickers,  using a dot of  hot glue on the back of each flower.

 

Cut Basswood

3D Basswood Tree decorated with names on hearts and 3D Magnolia Flowers.

 

You can use this lovely 3D Family Tree design as a nice table centerpiece, or decor for a special event. It can be a part of a 3D village, or it can be a special gift. For weddings you could have each guest sign a blank heart sticker, then you can place the stickers on the tree later. This idea would also work for baby showers or wedding showers. Another idea is to use this as a necklace organizer. Use colors and decorations to match the theme of your special event!

Get the FREE CUT FILES FOR THE Small Magnolia Flower 

You can get the SVG cut files for 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

How to Fold Popup Cards

Learn how to fold Popup Cards.

Some folds are mountain folds, and some folds are valley folds. Fold them carefully in the correct direction so that the card will close and open smoothly. Patience is important, as the folds should be made slowly and methodically. This article will walk you through the steps.

Here is a diagram showing the score lines. Red lines indicate valley folds, while blue lines indicate mountain folds. Black lines are to be cut. Decorative overlay pieces are filled with lavender and pink . The card backing is the darker purple, which shows through the openings cut in the white base card. Refer to this diagram as you are folding your popup card.

How to Fold Popup Cards

Folding Lines for the Happy Birthday Popup Card

Select Heavy Cardstock for Popup Cards

The first step to fold Popup Cards is to select heavy cardstock for the project before cutting. Folding  popup cards will be much easier to do if the cardstock is heavier. The first popup card below was cut from 80# cardstock. Notice how the columns look very study, and the score lines are clean and crisp.

How to Fold Popup Cards

Happy Birthday Popup Card cut from 80# cardstock

This next card was cut from 65# cardstock. It did cut well, but the columns in the design are weaker, and the score lines do not hold up as well as those made from heavier cardstock. You should use the heaviest cardstock that you have available when making popup cards. The heavier the cardstock, the easier it will be to fold the card neatly.

How to Fold Popup Cards

Popup Card made with 65# Cardstock

Make Solid Score Lines

To ensure that your score lines will be strong, and not tear during folding, make your score lines solid rather than dashed. Use a scoring tool, embossing tool, engraving tool, or set your blade to a very shallow depth (as for cutting lightweight paper) and a very light pressure, and cut with your blade. Use a bone folder to make clean folds on the score lines. Popup Card templates or cutting files generally distinguish between mountain and valley fold lines using colors. You may not see a distinction between the different types of folds in an SVG cutting file. The following steps will help you know how to fold a popup card after cutting the SVG file on your cutter.

How to fold popup cards

Scored and Cut file ready to be folded.

Fold Popup – Valley Folds

The valley score lines at the center of the card should be folded first. Pinch the card from the back side of the card on the center fold line. Then find the score lines at the top of each main layer and pinch them from the back as well. Use a bone folder on each of the score lines to make a nice, crisp fold.

How to Fold Popup Cards.

Pinch the valley folds from the back side of the card.

Each of the folds at the bottom of a pillar is a valley fold as well. Pinch these folds from the back of the card.

Fold Popup – Mountain Folds

Pinch the mountain folds together on the score lines from the front. Mountain folds are at the top of each pillar, and at the center of the top layer. Make sure that each of the folds are at a 90 degree angle before trying to close the card.

How to Fold Popup Cards

Pinch the score lines for mountain folds from the front of the card.

Fold Popup – Gently Press the Back of the Card Towards the Front

Check all of the folds from front and back sides.

How to Fold Popup Card

Check all folds from the back side of the card.

Gently press the back of the card towards the front of the card with many small movements, until the card folds flat. Check all inside folds to make sure each fold is going in the correct direction, and each piece is in place. Open and fold the card to make sure that the card opens and closes as it should.

How to Fold Popup Cards

Gently press the back of the card towards the front.

Check both sides of the card.

How to Fold Popup Cards

Check folds on front and back.

If everything is in place, burnish all folds so that the card lies perfectly flat.

Fold Popup – Open and Close the Card

Open and close the popup  card to check it, and make sure that it opens the way it should. It should stay open on its own, before adding the backing and decorations.

How to fold a popup card.

The open card should stand on its own.

 

 

Add the Backing to the Card

Fold the card backing along the score line and burnish well so that it folds flat. Open the backing card. With the popup card closed, line up the folded edge of the card with the center of the open backing.

How to Fold Popup Cards

 

Line up the folded card with the center of the backing card.Next, add glue around the outside edges of the card, as well as around the portion of the card that  will not be popping up. Close the backing over the glued inside portion, and hold in place until the glue is dry.

How to Fold Popup Cards

Glue Outside card to popup card.

Open the backing to the other side. Add glue only to the portion of the inside card that is not popping up. Avoid getting glue on the column pieces.

How to Fold Popup Cards

Glue the other side of the card to the outside card.

Close the card and press it flat until the glue has dried.

How to Fold Popup Cards

Close the cad and hold in place until the glue is dry.

Open Card

How to Fold Popup Card

Card ready to decorate.

Decorate Your Popup Card

How to Fold Popup Cards

Alternate numbers for customizing card.

How to Fold Popup Cards

Another version of the same card.

The free cutting file includes all of the alternate numbers and letters to customize the popup birthday card for your needs. You can download the free SVG, MTC, PVGC, and FCM cutting files from the library here. 
Would you like to have the FREE cutting file for this Happy Birthday Popup Card?
You may 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.

Julie

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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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