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How to Make an All-Occasion Tri-level Popup Card

Create the Tri-Level Popup Card

In this post, you will learn how to make an All-Occasion Tri-level Popup Card. The FREE SVG file for this card is available in the free Resource Library.

 

Tri-Level Popup Card

Tri-Level Popup Card ready for decorations

Supplies Needed for the Tri-Level Popup Card 

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

Free SVG file for the Tri-Level Popup Card

100# white cardstock for popup card

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

81lb Text Fairway Green  Metallics paper for inside card mats.

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

Dark green cardstock for card Backing

Decorative sentiment for outside card: Heartfelt Love Paper Collection by Heartfelt Creations

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

Dries Clear Art Glitter Glue: Heartfelt Creations

Pearl Stickers

Transparent Micro Fine Glitter

Cut out the Card, Card Backing, and Mats for Inside Overlays

The FREE SVG cutting file for this card may be imported into the software used with your electronic cutter. You may resize the project once you have it imported. I resized the main card backing to 6″x 12″. The popup portion of the design measures  5.5″x11″. The finished card measures 6″x6″ when closed. Cut the black lines first. Without removing the mat from the machine or moving the cutting head, change from the blade to an embossing tool, or set the blade depth and cutting pressure to low settings.

Next, select the red and blue lines and score them. Now cut the light green pieces from the paper that you want to use as mats over the popup card. Cut the dark green lines from the card stock you wish to use for the card backing. Cut any pieces that you wish to use to decorate the inside and outside of the card.

Tri-Level Popup Card

Cutting pieces for the Tri-Level Popup Card

Folding the Popup Card

Pinch the center fold line of the popup card from the back side to create a valley fold. Nudge all of the popup pillars up in the opposite direction of the center fold.

Tri-Level Popup Card

First Folds, Center sides of popup card.

Before folding the remaining parts of the popup card, glue the mat pieces in place. It will help to keep the cut pieces on your cutting mat so that you can see where the pieces go on the card. Remove one piece at a time, add some glue on the back side around the edges of the piece, and place on the card. Repeat with each mat piece until all pieces are in their proper positions.

Tri-Level Popup Card

Mat Pieces glued in Place.

From the back side of the card, pinch on the valley folds at the top and bottom of each popup pillar. Then pinch from the front side on the mountain fold on each pillar. Carefully fold the card closed all the way.

Tri-Level Popup Card

Closed Popup Card

Tri-Level Popup Card

Mountain and Valley folds on the Popup Card

Glue the Popup Card to the Backing Card

Now you are ready to  glue the top side of the popup card to the inside top of the backing card. Add glue only to the back side of the top portion of the popup card. Avoid getting glue on any of the pillars, so that they can pop up properly. Line up the center fold of the popup card into the center fold of the backing card, glue side up. Next, carefully close the backing card over the popup card. Press firmly in place until the glue is dry.

Turn the card over, open the backing card, and apply glue to the white popup card. Again, apply glue only around edges of the card, making sure that you do not get any glue on the popup pillars. Close the card and press down until the glue is dry. Now you can open your card and inspect it to make sure that it folds open and closed correctly.

Tri-Level Popup Card

Print and Cut Some Clipart

After you have cut out the pieces for your card, and assembled it, you can decorate your Tri-Level Popup Card for any occasion. Simply add the decorative elements to the panels that pop up, as well as on top and bottom inside of the card, and the front of the card. You can add the titles and sentiments of your choice. Here is how I decorated my Tri-Level Popup Card on the inside. I used some clipart posted for free download this week from DesignBundles.  There are so many designs from which to choose. These are the design pieces that I used. Size your design pieces to fit the card. The widest pieces should be no wider than 5″ wide in order to fit well on the card. Duplicate pieces that you would like to use as layers over the base designs.

Create a 3D Decoupage Effect by Layering Pieces

Cutting two of each design pieces will give you the option to layer pieces for a 3D Decoupage effect. You can see a video tutorial on how to do this using a Pazzles Cutter with the Pazzles InVue software, or using Make The Cut software. I use the Pazzles Software when creating files for use with Cricut Explore or Cricut Maker, and Make The Cut software  for use with Scan N Cut , KNK Zing, Cameo, and older Cricut machines. The two wider pieces are downloaded as bouquets. Individual flower elements are cut and layered over the flowers in the bouquets to give the design more depth.

Shape Your Printed Flower and Butterfly Pieces

To get a dimensional look with your printed designs, use Flower Shaping Tools and a foam mat. Use a medium size embossing tool on the back sides of the printed flower shapes. Tap the tip of the embossing tool on the back side of each petal, and roll in circles in the center of each flower to give the edges some life. Turn the flower over on the foam mat, and press the embossing tool firmly in center. Shape the larger bouquets in similar fashion. Put a dot of glue on the center back side of the flower, and place it over the corresponding flower in the bouquet. Hold in place until the glue is dry. Repeat with as many layers as you like. You may add small lines of glue on your design pieces, then add some glitter to them to make them sparkle.

Tri-Level Popup Card

Butterflies and Flowers Clipart from DesignBundles

Decorate the Inside of the Tri-Level Popup  Card

You are now ready to glue your 3D decoupage designs onto the popup card.

Tri-Level Popup Card

Decorated Tri-Level Popup Card

Decorate the Outside of the Tri-Level Popup Card

And this is the outside of my tri-level popup card, decorated as a card of encouragement for friends who are having a hard time right now. I used some paper from  Heartfelt Creations Love Collection. I also used the small magnolia flower from our Free Resource Library on the front of the card. You can use some of the same paper you used for the mats on the popup card, to create a mat for your chosen sentiment. Add some decorative elements such as the Small 3D Magnolia flower, and tiny pearl stickers. Or you can use other decorative elements that you have on hand.

Tri-Level Popup Card

Outside view of decorated Tri-Level Popup Card.

Please share your decorated cards with us.

 

 

>> 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.

If you found this post helpful, please share, comment, and like  with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and groups that you are in. Send them here to get all the details, and free resources.

Thanks!

Julie, cuttercrafter.com

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

How to Use SVG Files with Scan N Cut

Learning how to use SVG files with Scan N Cut is important. Not all SVG files work well with Scan N Cut. In this tutorial you will learn how to make sure that your SVG file will work well with your Scan N Cut. ScanNCut SVG files need to be no larger than 11.75″ x 11.75″  using the standard sized mat, or 11.75″ x 23.75″ using the long mat. The DPI size also needs to be correct. Make sure that the ScanNCut SVG file has a minimum number of nodes. This tutorial will address all of these issues.

ScanNCut SVG

Scan N Cut

How was the SVG file Created?

SVG files may be created in any number of software programs. Some software allows the designer to add many different “pages” of file pieces on a single screen. This is fine if cutting from that software directly to a supported cutter. That software will allow you to select the specific portions of the designs to be cut in a given pass. SVG files of this type will work in many programs for many different cutters. However, any SVG file imported into the Brother Canvas Workspace software will be resized to fit the mat on the screen. When all pieces of the file are selected, and the width or length of the selection is greater than the screen mat size, the pieces will be resized to fit. So all of your design pieces may shrink to a very tiny size in the Brother Canvas Workspace or on the LED screen of your Scan N Cut.

FREE Rose SVG Cutting File

There  is a Free Large 3D Rose cutting file in SVG format in my Free Resource Library for you to use as you work through this tutorial. When it is cut and assembled, this rose has a width of about 7″.

ScanNCut SVG

Large 3D Rose SVG Project

The cutting pieces for this project measure over 17.5″ wide when selected in their original size. The largest petals measure 3.45″ wide.

ScannCut SVG

Original Size of Large Rose Cutting File – 17.5″ wide

But when you import this same design into Brother Canvas Workspace, you will receive a message that the design was resized to fit the Canvas Workspace.

ScanNCut SVG

Warning Message in Brother Canvas Workspace about Size

The resulting imported design in Brother Canvas Workspace was resized to be 11.75″ x 11.75″ and the largest petal measured 2.03″ wide. This size is about 58% smaller than the original. The final assembled flower would measure about 4.12″ wide. Now if this adjusted size is OK with you, then you can go ahead and cut the project to make the smaller rose.

ScanNCut SVG

Large Rose SVG file was resized in Canvas Workspace

Vendor Remedies for ScanNCut SVG Files

Some software vendors are aware of this issue, and save their larger SVG projects into multiple SVG files with a maximum width so that they will work with all software, including Scan N Cut. They will add all of the project SVG files to a single folder, and zip them up for a single download. You will need to unzip the folder once you have saved it to your computer, by clicking on the zipped folder, and selecting Extract All. Then you will be able to import one SVG file at a time to either Canvas Workspace or directly to your Scan N Cut via the Bluetooth connection, or via a thumb drive plugged in to the USB port on the machine.

How to Make Size Adjustments for ScanNCut SVG Files

If you have determined that you need to retain the sizing of the original file, how do you make the necessary size adjustments in the file so that it will work with the Scan N Cut? One option is to contact the original designer of the file, and ask them to limit the sizing of their SVG files to a width of 11.75″. However, that is not always practical for you or for the original designer. You can learn to make the necessary adjustments in the file so that it will work on your machine.

The best option is for you to use a third party software for making changes in your SVG file. Software that exports designs with the sizing of the original design are the free Inkscape ,  Make The Cut,  or Sure Cuts A Lot (using the 96 DPI export option or Save as FCM). SCAL is the best option for MAC users.

The Large 3D Rose file is a good place for you to start. Select one of the above software programs to use for editing your SVG files. Plan to stick with it for all of your editing needs. You will need to learn how to use it for many different purposes. Each has its own learning curve. See my video tutorial covering use of each of these three programs for making the small changes that this file needs.

How to Reduce the Number of Nodes for a ScanNCut SVG File

Whenever you change file formats for a cutting file, it is possible that extra nodes will be added to the design. If a design has too many nodes, or construction points, it may not load into Canvas Workspace or the Scan N Cut. It is therefore important to reduce the number of nodes in the design before exporting as SVG. In Make the Cut, you can use Ctrl+Shift + X to view path detail.

Reducing the Node Count in Make The Cut

ScanNCut SVG

View Path Detail in Make The Cut

In this file there are only a total of 434 points, and 182 Nodes, as indicated on the top line of the window. This number of nodes is not a problem for Scan N Cut. Some files with lots of tiny detail can have upwards of 30,000 nodes. That would be too many. To reduce the number of nodes in Make The Cut, select all (Ctrl+A), Join (Ctrl+J), Auto Simplify Paths (Ctrl+Shift+Z). The number of nodes will be significantly lower if there are too many nodes.

Reduce the Node Count in Inkscape

If you are using Inkscape, and your SVG file has too many nodes, select all (Ctrl+A) and Simplify (Ctrl+L) as many times as needed to get rid of excess nodes, a few at a time. This file does not need it. You only need to reduce nodes or simplify paths if you get an error when trying to load your SVG file into Canvas Workspace or into the Scan N Cut machine.

ScanNCut SVG

Warning when attempting to transfer a design with too many nodes to Scan N Cut.

Reduce the Node Count Using Sure Cuts A Lot

To reduce the number of nodes in a file if you are using Sure Cuts A Lot,  go to the Path menu at the top of the screen, and select Simplify. A window will open allowing you to see the nodes and reduce the number of nodes if there are too many. This design does not have too many nodes, so simplifying would actually add nodes as shown in the image below.

ScanNCut SVG

Use the Path Simplify tool to view the number and to reduce them if necessary.

Import your ScanNCut SVG Files into Scan N Cut Canvas Workspace or into the Machine

Once you have edited the SVG files to have its objects fit on a single design page in the software of your choice no wider than 11.75″,   reduced the number of nodes if necessary, and exported the files as SVG for FCM using the proper DPI settings, then you are ready to transfer your files to your Scan N Cut machine for cutting. You can copy the files to a thumb drive, and plug them in to the machine’s USB port, or import them into Canvas Workspace to Transfer to your Scan N Cut.

Cut the pieces for your ScanNCut SVG Large 3D Rose, and you are ready to assemble your flower.

ScanNCut SVG

Large 3D Rose SVG Cutting File

You can get the FREE cutting file for this project as well as additional 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.

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

Easy DIY Tool Organizer

You can make an Easy DIY Tool Organizer to keep your most used tools for cutter crafting handy on your desk next to your cutter. This is a great first project to try after you have set up your cutter  and  finished performing some test cuts.

Easy-DIY-Tool-Organizer

Easy-DIY-Tool-Organizer

You will find the cutting files for this project in the Free Resource Library. There is also a special file in the Free Resource Library with a list of Five Must-Have Cutter Crafting Tools  which you likely have around your home already. This Easy DIY Tool Organizer will provide a place to keep these important tools so that they don’t get lost, and they remain handy while you cut and craft!

Supplies Needed to Make the Easy DIY Tool Organizer

Two sheets of heavy 12″x12″ cardstock
Glue that dries quickly.
Cutting File from the Free Resource Library
Five Must-Have Cutter Crafting Tools 

Assembly Instructions for the Easy DIY Tool Organizer

To make this Easy DIY Tool Organizer, use the heaviest cardstock that you have that your cutter can cut. Be sure to do a test cut to determine the best pressure and blade extension for the cardstock that you have chosen. Since the cardstock is heavy, it is important that you use a brayer or other similar implement to press the cardstock firmly on the cutting mat. Heavy pressures can cause the paper to move around the cutting mat during cutting if the cutting mat is not sticky enough.

 

Easy-DIY-Tool-Organizer2-cuttercrafter

Adhere cardstock firmly to the cutting mat.

Cutting the Easy DIY Tool Organizer

Download the zipped cutting file from the Free Resource Library and Extract All. Open your cutting software and import the appropriate file. Most cutter software can use the SVG file, but there are other formats included for those who need them. Follow the instructions for using SVG files with your cutter. If you are using Cricut Design Space, see How to Use SVG Files in Cricut Design Space. If you are using Scan N Cut, open the FCM files. There are two files for Scan n Cut users. See also How to Use SVG Files with Scan N Cut. Open the MTC file to cut the design from Make The Cut. Or see this video tutorial on how to find and use SVG files with Make The Cut. Open the PVGC file to use with Pazzles InVue software. If you are using a Silhouette or Cameo machine, open the Studio2 file. If you are using Sure Cuts A Lot, open the SCAL4 file.

Once you have the file open in your software, send it to cut. There are two design sections, represented by two different line and fill colors. Select one portion of the design and cut. Remove the cut pieces for that cut. This piece may require a 24″ long mat. However, if you place your 12″x12″ paper strategically on your cutting mat, you may get it all to cut on the standard cutting mat.

Easy-DIY-Tool-Organizer3-cuttercrafter

Cutting file part 1 pieces.

Now you are ready to cut the pieces for the second part of the Easy DIY Tool Organizer.

Easy-DIY-Tool-Organizer4-cuttercrafter

Second part of the box.

Fold and Glue First Box

Fold on all of the score lines using mountain folds, folding towards the back of the pieces, for the first part of the Easy DIY Tool Organizer.

Easy-DIY-Tool-Organizer5-cuttercrafter

Fold towards the back on all score lines on this piece.

Put glue on the outside of each of the glue tabs for the main box. Fold up the side pieces, and hold the tabs in place until the glue is dry to form a box.

Easy-DIY-Tool-Organizer9-cuttercrafter

Glue the tabs to the end pieces of the box

Add glue to the outsides of the tabs on the dividers, and place inside of the box, about 3/4″ from the ends of the box, or wherever you wish to place them to fit your tools.

Easy-DIY-Tool-Organizer10-cuttercrafter

Glue the dividers inside of the box.

Fold and Glue Second Box

Fold on all of the score lines using mountain folds, folding towards the back of the main box piece. The long narrow strip has folds that alternate between mountain and valley folds, as shown in this photo. From left to right the folds are as follows: valley, mountain, mountain, valley, valley, mountain. The partitions on the left side of this box are larger than those on the right.

Easy-DIY-Tool-Organizer6-cuttercrafter

Fold tabs for Box 2 as shown.

Glue the tabs on the main box piece to the end pieces. Hold in position until the glue is dry, forming a box.

Easy-DIY-Tool-Organizer7-cuttercrafter

Glue the second box together.

For the inside partition piece of this box, place glue on the two flat sections where they will line up against the front and back of the box. The small tabs need glue as well, where they attach to the main box. Make sure you have the narrower compartments on the right side. Place the right side into the box, lining up the tab with the front right corner of the box. Make sure the the sides of the compartments are straight. Then hold in position until the glue is dry.

Easy-DIY-Tool-Organizer8-cuttercrafter

Partitions inside of the second box.

Assemble the Easy DIY Tool Organizer

You may use the two boxes separately, one on either side of your cutter. I like to use strong double stick tape to adhere the boxes securely to the cutter end caps.

Easy-DIY-Tool-Organizer11-cuttercrafter

Use a box on either end of your cutter if you like.

But my current setup makes it easier to access my important cutting tools by having them both on one side of  my cutter. To make the two boxes into a single unit, glue the back of the smaller box to the front of the taller box. Be sure to line up the bottoms of both boxes against your desktop.

Easy-DIY-Tool-Organizer12-cuttercrafter

Glue the two boxes together to make a single Easy DIY Tool Organizer

Now you can fill your Easy DIY Tool Organizer with the tools you use the most in your crafting. Be sure to see the special file in the Free Resource Library with a list of Five Must-Have Cutter Crafting Tools  which you likely have around your home already. This Easy DIY Tool Organizer will help you to organize those Must-Have cutter crafting tools.

Easy-DIY-Tool-Organizer13-cuttercrafter

Place your most used tools in the Easy DIY Tool Organizer

Decorate Your Easy DIY Tool Organizer

I used one of the large peony flowers that I made for my Lovely Peony Basket. You can decorate yours with any number of beautiful ornaments from your supplies.

Easy-DIY-Tool-Organizer16-cuttercrafter

My Easy DIY Tool Organizer on my desk.

Completed Project

Here is my finished Easy DIY Tool Organizer. I would love to see yours! What are you going to put in it?

Julie, cuttercrafter.com

Would you like to see some more 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 Make a Lovely Peony Gift Basket

Learn how to make a lovely peony gift basket adorned with six 3-D peony flowers. Use your craft cutter – Cricut, Pazzles, Scan N Cut, KNK, Silhouette, Silver Bullet, etc.- to cut out all the pieces for the project. The basket is easy to assemble. Color and shape the flowers, glue to the basket, and fill with goodies to make it ready to give to someone special for Mother’s Day, Anniversary,  Birthday, Graduation or other special occasion.

You can make Peony Gift Basket with 3D flowers

Peony Gift Basket with 3D Flowers

There are two small  and one medium-sized peonies on each side of the handle. The basket is made from white cardstock, and it is lined with pieces cut from printed digital papers available in the Pazzles Craft Room. I plan to fill this basket with my mother’s favorite Sees candy, and give it to her for Mother’s Day. You can fill yours with special treats for someone special in your life for a special occasion such as a birthday, wedding, baby shower, anniversary, graduation, Mother’s Day, etc. There is a matching card available in the Pazzles Craft Room, the Popup Flower Card.

Assembly Instructions:

Make six 3D peony paper flowers, 4 small and two medium. The SVG, WPC, or AI cutting files include flowers in three different sizes. I used the small and medium flowers on my basket. I am placing the larger flowers that I made inside of the basket with the treats that I use to fill the basket.

Cut two medium petal layers, and two smaller petal layers, and one set of leaves per flower.

Add water color to the lower half of each petal. I used water color pencils to scribble some lines on the lower portion of each petal, then swirled a water brush pen around each petal to blend the color. You can use inexpensive watercolor paints and small paintbrush dipped in water to blend the colors.

How to Make a Lovely Peony Gift Basket

Watercolored Flowers

Shape the Petals

Place small petals, color side down, on the slots for the small size petals of the Heartfelt Creations Basics flower mold. Place the larger petals color side up on the slots for the medium size petals. You may layer up to three of the petal layers per slot in the mold.

How to Make a Lovely Peony Gift Basket

Flower Mold

Place the cover over the petal-filled base, and run through your Cuttlebug, Big Shot, or other embossing machine using a cutting plate sandwich that works with your machine according to the chart available at Heartfelt Creations. I used the Fiskars Fuse machine with 2 -B and 1- C adapter plates along with the cutting plate.

How to Make a Lovely Peony Gift Basket

Use an embossing machine with the flower shaping mold.

Remove the petals from the mold and let them dry.

How to Make a Lovely Peony Gift Basket

Let the Shaped Petals Dry

Place the dry petals on an embossing mat, medium size petals color side up, and small size petals color side down. Press firmly in the center of each petal layer using an embossing tool to lift the petals. I used the 5mm tip in a small circular motion in the center of each petal layer to add more lift as needed.

How to Make a Lovely Peony Gift Basket

Use flower shaping tools

Assemble the Flowers

Place some hot glue in the center of the uncolored side of one of the small petal layers, and place a small faceted bead in the glue. Add some more hot glue to two of the petals and squeeze them around the bead. Add hot glue to just the bases of the remaining petals, and wrap them around the bead. Place some hot glue in the center of the other small petal layer and position the bud in the center. Squeeze the petals of this layer around the bud.

How to Make a Lovely Peony Gift Basket

Flower Bud

Shape the larger petals in the same manner. Place some hot glue in the center of one of the petal layers and place the second petal layer in the center, with petals alternate of those in the first layer. Place glue on the bottom and around the bottom edge of the bud, and place in center of the larger layered petals.

How to Make a Lovely Peony Gift Basket

Completed Peony

Shape the leaves using the paint brush handle, and make a valley fold down the center of the leaves.

How to Make a Lovely Peony Gift Basket

Shaped Leaves

Place some glue in the center of the leaves and place the flower in the center of the leaves.

How to Make a Lovely Peony Gift Basket

Peony with Leaves

Make the Basket

Cut the white pieces for the basket from heavy cardstock. The basket is formed using three sections that are glued together by the side tabs. The cutting file includes panels (shown in pink below) that will be cut from patterned paper and glued inside of the basket after it is assembled. Be sure to do a test cut on your paper before cutting the delicate basket design.

How to Make a Lovely Peony Gift Basket

Basket Pieces to Cut

Print the digital paper, or use printed paper that you have, and cut the inside pieces, show in pink above. Glue the pink pieces to the white pieces before assembly. The square pieces go on the back side of the white pieces. Fold the top flaps forward on the score lines, and glue the pink scalloped pieces under the folder flaps as shown below.

How to Make a Lovely Peony Gift Basket

Pattern Paper glued to inside pieces of basket.

Glue the front side of a side tab to the back of the untabbed side of another basket section. Repeat with the remaining basket piece.

Shape the pieces into a hexagon shape, and glue the final tab to the remaining open side.

Turn the box upside down, and fold the flaps towards the center of the basket.

Place glue around the edges and around the inside of one of the hexagon pieces as shown below in blue.

Press the prepared hexagon, glue side down into the bottom of the basket.

Glue the other hexagon to the bottom of the box, covering the tabs.

Gently stretch the handle pieces with your fingers into curved shapes.

Glue the printed strip in the center of the handle piece. If your patterned paper was not a full 12 inches long, center it on the handle piece. The bottom inch on each end of the handle will not be visible once glued to the inside of the basket.

Use hot glue to attach each end of the handle inside the basket. The ends of the handles should go about one inch down from the top edge of the basket.

Use hot glue on the back of each flower to attach to the basket. Glue the larger flowers on center of the outside flap opposite the handles. Then glue the smaller flowers on the flaps, on either side of the larger flower.

How to Make a Lovely Peony Gift Basket

Finished Peony Basket

How to Make a Lovely Peony Gift Basket

Side view of the Peony Gift Basket

Fill the basket with the recipient’s favorite treat, and delivery to someone special. They are sure to love it!

Would you like to have the FREE SVG cutting file for a smaller version of the same 3D flower that was used in this project, as well as 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.

Make A Fabric Doily Bonnet with 3D Fabric Flowers

You can make a fabric doily bonnet with 3D Fabric Flowers suitable for Easter, weddings, parties, and special events. Do it yourself to create a designer bonnet in the color scheme for your event. Use your electronic craft cutter to create a lovely craft project. This bonnet is made entirely of fabric and ribbon. Even the 3D flowers on top of the bonnet are made of fabric

Fabric Bonnet with 3D Flowers

Fabric Bonnet with 3D Flowers

Supplies

Electronic Craft Cutter

SVG Cutting File

Fabric Mat
Brayer
1 yard Wired ribbon 2.5″ wide
Cotton Batiks Fabric 1/3 yard from Vogue Fabrics
Low Temp Glue Gun
¼” elastic – 12”
Low Temp Glue Sticks
1/2″ Curling Iron
Terial Magic Fabric Stabilizer
2 Gallon Ziplock baggie
Iron
Ironing Board
Pressing Cloth

Assembly Instructions

  • Prepare the Fabric.

Place the fabric in a two-gallon Ziplock baggie.

Spray enough Terial Magic Fabric Stabilizer on the fabric in the baggie to saturate the fabric.

Allow to dry until just barely damp.

Place a pressing cloth on an ironing board. Place the damp fabric on the pressing cloth. Place another pressing cloth over the damp fabric.

Set the iron to a high cotton setting without steam.

Iron the fabric until it is dry and stiff.

Cut the Stiffened Fabric

Import the SVG cutting file into your cutter software. Place the stiffened fabric on an extra tacky cutting mat. Use a brayer over the entire surface of the fabric to ensure that it is securely adhered to the mat. Use a new blade in your cutter or one that has only been used for cutting fabric. Perform a test cut to determine the best pressure and blade extension to use for cutting this project. Use two passes and a slow cutting speed when cutting fabric. Cut the doily first. Then cut the flowers.

Assemble the Flowers

Layer 1, Bud – Put hot glue along the side edges of one of the flower petals, and wrap these petal edges to the edges of a petal across from it to form a bud. Add hot glue to the sides of another petal, and place around the bud. Add hot glue to the final petal edges, and place it around the bud.

Layer 2. Place some hot glue in the center of another flower layer, and place the bottom of the bud in the center of this flower layer. Add some hot glue half-way up each of the petals and glue to the bud.

Layer 3 Add some glue to the bottom of this flower layer, and place in the center of another flower layer. Add hot glue only to the base of each of petals on this layer, and press up around the previous layers.

Layer 4 Repeat instructions for layer 3.

Layer 5 Place a dot of glue in the center of the final layer. Place the bud and previously added layers to the center of this final layer. Do not add hot glue to the petals on this layer.

Center Bud piece –  Curl the single petal around itself to form a tiny cone. Place hot glue on the inside tip and place inside of the flower.

Use a hot  curling iron to Curl each of the two sides of each petal towards the outside of the flower. Add more hot glue if needed to form the finished flower. You will need three finished flowers for this project.

Assemble the fabric doily bonnet with 3D Fabric Flowers

Glue the flowers to the center of the ribbon, and glue the ribbon to the center of the cut doily.

3D Fabric Flowers

Finished fabric flowers glued to ribbon .

Glue the piece of elastic near the edge of each side of the bonnet. This elastic will go behind the ears, and under the hair to hold the bonnet in place. Curl the long edges of ribbon to hang down the sides of the bonnet.

Fabric bonnet with 3D flowers

Curled ribbon hangs down the sides.

Here is a top view of the fabric doily bonnet with 3D Fabric Flowers.

Doily Bonnet with 3D Fabric Flowers

Top View of the bonnet with 3D Fabric Flowers

Your DIY fabric doily bonnet with 3D Fabric Flowers is now ready to use for Easter, weddings, parties, and special events. It makes a lovely gift accessory! My little friend loved wearing her new hat for Easter!

 

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

 

>> HOW TO ENTER THE FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY <<

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

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

Perform Test Cuts on New Cutter

You have received your new cutter, made a place for it on your desk, and now you need to test your new cutter to get started using it. If you need help setting up your cutter, see  this document called Get Your Cutter Out Of The Box.

Warranty Issues

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

Loading Your Mat

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

Mark the Mat Cover. Test Cuts

This Side Up

Storing Cutting Mats

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

Cutting Without a Mat

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

Test Cuts

Pazzles Mat in position to load.

Mat loads against the roller. Test Cuts.

Scan N Cut Mat ready to load.

Test Using A Pen

Cutting mats vary greatly in thickness, stiffness, and weight. It is possible for an incorrectly set machine to cut all the way through a cutting mat, and thus ruining both the mat and blade. For this reason it is important to do test cuts on your cutter. Your first tests may be done using a pen in the carriage instead of a blade. You can use paper on the mat for doing these tests. Use an inexpensive piece of 12″x 12″ paper or card stock on the mat for the initial tests.

Placing Paper on Mat

Because the adhesive on new mats can be quite strong, card stock may be easier to remove  from the sticky mat than light weight paper. Align the corners of the paper on the grid lines printed on the mat, and press the paper firmly in position. Check your pen to make sure it writes by hand. Place the pen in the carriage according to the Quick Start instructions provided with the machine. Load the mat into the machine. Some machines require an optional pen holder for using pens.

Cutting Boundaries

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

Test on a Square

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

Resizing Designs

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

How accurate are your test cuts ?

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

Calibration

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

Where will cuts be made?

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

Test Cuts

One Inch Squares Test

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

Using Scraps for Cuts

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

Test Cuts With a Blade

For optimal cutting with the least waste of media, and the least wear and tear on blades and mats, small test cuts should be made prior to cutting each project. Some software has built in test cuts, and some machines have built in test cut functions. You can make your own small test cut file to use and add it to your projects before sending them to cut.

Shape for Test Cuts

I like to use a small, five-pointed star inside of a small square. I resize the square to about 1/2″, grouping it together with the star. This small cut can be added to a tiny bit of unused space on every project. It is easiest to check your test cuts if you place them somewhere near the bottom of the mat rather than near the top.  At the top they will be difficult to check without unloading the mat or moving the carriage.

Test Cuts

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

Blade Extension and Pressure

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

Checking your Cuts

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

Blade Depth

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

Record the Results of your Test Cuts

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

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

 

 

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Get Your Cutter Out of the Box

You were so excited to purchase a new electronic cutter so you could start creating fabulous projects. Is that Cricut, Cameo, Scan N Cut, Pazzles, Klic N Kut, Silver Bullet, or other fine cutter still sitting in its unopened box? It is time to get your cutter out of the box!  Don’t let the warranty expire on your machine before you even have a chance to use it! Do you need some help getting started using your cutter? Do you want to make some of those lovely projects you have been admiring for so long? I have helped many crafters get their cutters out of the box, set up, and started using them. If you  live near me in the Pacific Northwest, you might want to come for a visit. Or perhaps you can attend a class that I am teaching in your area. Alternatively, the following tips can help you get started. You can begin to create some of the projects you envisioned when you invested in your cutting machine.

Cutters are great tools for crafters if you use them.

I was frightened to take my cutter out of the box when I first received it, about 13 years ago. It took me 4 months to actually start using it! Some private help from the company who sold me the cutter gave me courage to get my cutter out of the box. Perhaps you don’t have the advantage of hands-on help where you are. If not, I hope I can help you a bit here to get you started. Here are some steps to help motivate you get your cutter out of the box, and set up. Then you can get started using it for some creative and fun crafting!

  • Prepare a Space for your Cutter .

    While you are waiting for your new cutter to arrive,  decide where you will be putting it once it arrives. This is a great time to prepare a space for your cutter. You need a space as wide as your cutter, and about 36 inches deep. Your machine  can sit on a desk, or under a shelf on your desk. Leave some room behind and in front of it to allow the cutting mat to move in and out  of the machine smoothly without interference. If you don’t have room on your desk, you can set up a sturdy table, stand, or rolling cart behind or beside your desk. Cutters equipped with bluetooth may be used further from your desk after you get it set up. You will find it much easier to get bits of crafting done if you don’t have to worry about taking care of these details each and every time you want to create something. You will use your cutter more if it is within arm’s reach of your computer work space, plugged in, and ready to use.

    Ready to Craft

    Cutter on Desk near Computer

    Cutter ready to use on desk.

  •  Prepare a place for your cutting supplies near your cutter. Having a shelf above the cutter could be a workable solution. Do you have some space under or near the table, stand or rolling cart where you can keep your cutting supplies? You will need a place for your mats, blades, and frequently used tools. Mats need to be stored flat. I keep my covered mats stacked neatly on top of my drawer cubes. Get the free list of Five Must-Have Cutter Crafting Tools in the Free Library.
  •  Learn while waiting for delivery day. You can watch some unboxing  YouTube videos . Find the company’s support page, join some cutter support groups, and learn about your new purchase. Unboxing videos will help you to warm up to the idea of getting your cutter out of the box, and  become  friendly with the possibilities waiting for you with this new tool.
  •  Delivery Day! Think about why you purchased this machine in the first place as you head toward that box. Place the box on a large table with room for all of its contents.

    Big Box

    Cutter has arrived!

  • Unpack the Box

    . You can use scissors, a box cutter or knife to cut through the packing tape and open the box. There is another box inside of the shipping box, so you don’t have to worry about damaging the machine when you are opening this outer box. You may see a packing list which you can check as you unpack the contents of the box.

    Packing Sheet

    Inside the Shipping Carton

  • Remove the inner box from the shipping carton. You may need help pulling it out. It may be easier for you to get the inner box out by turning the carton on its side or upside down to  pull the outer box off.

    Inner Box

  • Open the inner box.  The cutting mat is often wrapped loosely around the body of the machine. Take it out and allow it to lie flat  while you unpack the remainder of the box contents.

    Inside the Inner Box

  • Remove packaging. The machine is wrapped in plastic foam or bag to protect it from moisture during transit. Remove this wrap and other packing material used to stabilize the machine during shipment. Save all packing materials. If you ever need to ship your machine for service or repairs, etc.,  it will be much easier to ship if you have the original packing materials.

    Wrapped Machine

  • Look for the “Quick Setup” instructions that are most likely near the top of the box. This will guide you through each step of setting up your new machine. Continue unpacking the contents of your box, to make sure everything is present that you will need. Your Quick Start Guide will list everything that should be in the box.

    Quick Start Guide

  • Power Cord and Converter Box. The converter box may look like many others that you have around the house. However, this one is unique to this cutter. Do not use other power supplies intended for other cutters or devices, as not all electronic devices have the same input and output power ratings. Use some tape to label these cords with the cutter name to avoid confusion in the future.

    Power Cord and Converter Box

     

    One end of the black cord plugs into a surge protector strip, and the other end plugs into the black box. You should invest in a surge protector power strip if you don’t already have one, in order to protect your machine from sudden surges of power that could destroy your machine.

    Labeled Box

     

  • USB Cable   If your cutter connects to a computer via USB, it probably shipped with an A toB USB cable, similar to one that a printer uses. One end of the cable plugs into the cutter, while the other plugs into a USB port on your computer. Plan to use a primary USB port on the back of the computer, rather than an auxiliary port or hub. If a hub becomes necessary, use only a self-powered hub. Even if your machine is equipped with blue tooth wireless technology, you may still need a USB cable when first setting up your machine. Check your instructions and follow the recommendations for setting up the machine and software used to run it.

    USB Cable

    Software – If your cutter purchase included software, there may be a software CD in the box. Some companies provide software downloads in lieu of an installation CD. Software frequently requires updates, so even if you do have an installation CD, you will need to install software updates once your machine is set up. If there is a registration number in or on the CD packaging, be sure to put that number in a safe place. Be sure to register your machine and software with the company. This software has the License Key number on the back of the CD envelope.

    Software CD

    Software License Key

    Warranty

  • Don’t let your warranty run out without doing some test cuts on your new machine. There should be a warranty document included in your box. Take a look at that to see if you have any warranty time left, if you delayed in opening your box. Most electronic cutters come with a one-year warranty. If that time is drawing short, you should plan to dive right in to using your cutter as soon as possible! There is likely a warranty registration card. You should definitely register your machine right away, either by sending in the card, or registering its serial number online with the company.

    Support and Warranty Information

    Find and record the Serial number on your machine. You will need this number to register your cutter. It is usually found on the bottom of the machine.

    Serial Number

  • Remove packaging Tape. Moving parts of your cutter may have been taped down for protection during shipping. Your quick setup instructions should direct you to locate the positions of the tape or other packing materials, so that you can remove it before starting to use your craft cutter.
  • Blade Setup

  • Insert the cutting blade into the blade holder, and insert the blade holder properly into the carriage on the cutting head. The blade should barely be peeking out from the end of the blade holder for most cutting purposes.

    Cutter Blade Holder

    Insert blade into the blade holder as instructed.

    Cutter Setup

    Blade holder sits in the carriage.

    Be sure to position the blade holder in the carriage so that the depth setting is visible from the front of the machine. This will make it easier to make adjustments to blade depth without having to remove the blade holder from the carriage.

  • Plugging in your Cutter

  • Take a look on the machine to find the power port. The USB port will be located near the power port. Plug in the power cord to the converter box. Plug the other end of the power cord into the machine, and plug in to a power source. Don’t turn the power on until you are directed to do so by the instructions that came with your machine.

    Plug the USB and power cords into the machine.

    •  You may  find some extras in your box such as sample materials to cut, depending on the machine package that you purchased.
    • Software Installation

  • Install the software that will be used to drive your machine as directed by the manufacturer’s instructions. Some cutters use online software, while others come with stand-alone software that you will install on your computer. Some also have apps for your mobile devices. Go ahead and get the software loaded on your computer and/or your mobile device.
  • Once you get your cutter power plugged in and get it to connect with your computer or mobile device, you may be directed to do some firmware updates. Most cutter manufacturers provide updates for the machines they produce. You may need to access the most recent Firmware updates for your machine online. Firmware is the programming that is built in to the machine. The update process is usually simple, and often it runs  automatically. During the  software installation process, the drivers necessary for your computer to communicate with your cutter will be installed as well.
  • Get Support if Needed

  • Don’t let this process get in the way of setting up your machine. You can always contact the company from which you purchased the machine for direct help in setting it up. Don’t be afraid to call them, email them, fill out a support ticket on their web site, or post your questions in online forums. Even if your machine is now out of warranty, most companies are willing to provide the help you need to get your machine and software up and running.

Congratulations!

You now have your cutter out of the box, set up and ready to use! Don’t forget to grab your free  list of Five Must-Have Cutter Crafting Tools from the Free Library, and get them  in their new home near your cutter. Then you are ready to move on to making some test cuts and get started on making some of those great projects you have envisioned!

Would you like to have the free list of Five Must-Have Cutter Crafting Tools  as well as some FREE SVG cutting files for a variety of projects?

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

 

 

 

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>> HOW TO ENTER THE FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY <<

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