Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Mother's Day Shrink Plastic Jewellery, Card and Gift Box

Hello, hello, Karen here with my March make and blog post.

I was lucky enough to be sent some scrumptious Silhouette printable shrink plastic which I thought would be ideal to make some jewellery as a Mother's Day gift.

STEP 1 - Designing your jewellary.

  • I started by looking through all my print and cut files to find a suitable one and chose this one from House of Three.
  • I resized it to 5.5ins wide for the broach and 2.5ins wide for the earrings. I also mirrored one of the earrings and added a .25in cut circle near the top for the earring wires to go through.

  • I printed onto the shrink plastic (matt side) using my inkjet printer and waited a couple of minutes for the ink to dry.  I then cut it out using my Silhouette CAMEO® and baked it in the oven for a few minutes.  As soon as I got it out I used a metal cake slice to press the pieces flat.  

  • Because I loved the design so much I decided to also make a matching gift box and tag.

  • Finally, I decided to make a card to go with the rest of the peices.  I removed the cut line from around the design and printed it I then used used a sketch pen for the border and writing. 

So there we have it - a broach and earring set to go into the cute little pillow box and a matching card all made with love for a special mother x



Monday, 20 March 2017

Easy Personalised Design for a Child's Apron

Personalize a cut design by Janet Packer for Silhouette UK.  Make a personalised child's apron.

Hello, Janet here with a quick and easy gift idea. Kids seem to love gifts with their name on, better still when combined with something else they adore.  So, needing a gift in a hurry, I decorated this plain apron for a young friend who has a tiny bit of a car obsession, using a design from the Silhouette Design Store.

Personalize a cut design by Janet Packer for Silhouette UK.  Make a personalised child's apron.

The design I chose was from a set from the Silhouette Design Store called Baby Toys Borders Set designed by StudioIlustrado. The designer has loads of similarly sized borders with a rectangular base, any of which would work for this purpose. Just search the store for 'Borders set' and filter by 'Studioilustrado' (note, just one 'L') and it will bring up pages of lovely designs - including tractors, seahorses, and even kitchen sets. I've linked to a small selection below.

I made a few minor adaptations to the file to incorporate the child's name and make a one-piece decal which makes it super easy to weed and align on a garment (or on a flat hard surface if regular vinyl is used). This would be ideal for anyone new to changing files, or to using heat transfer material.


Blank Garment (I used a navy polyester cotton apron for age 3 - 4 years)
Silhouette Flock Heat Transfer Material
Silhouette Universal Hook
Iron or Heat Press
Non-Stick Sheet (silicon sheet or parchment paper)
Downloaded Border File (e.g. #58515)
Downloaded Super Font File (e.g. #80746)


Work out the size you'd like the decal to be. I decided mine should be about 16 cm across, 12 cm down from the neck edge, with a 5 cm gap either side of the decal. You'd probably want a bigger decal on a larger garment.

Open the file and ungroup it (Object, Ungroup). You may need to repeat this until each design displays like this when they are selected.

Delete the designs that you won't be using or move them aside.

Reduce the size of the design proportionately by holding down Shift on the keyboard and clicking with the mouse on one of the small squares. Drag it towards the centre of the design until the width measurement is around 16 cm.

Click on the Edit Points Icon and a number of grey squares will appear around the design.

Holding down Shift on the keyboard, select the two lowest grey squares. Continue to hold Shift whilst moving the squares downward using the down directional arrow button on your keyboard. This will re-size just the lower rectangular part and not the remainder of the design.

Personalize a cut design by Janet Packer for Silhouette UK.  Make a personalised child's apron.

Click on the Text icon and type the required name. While the text is highlighted (blue), select a bold style of font from the drop down list (I used LW Super). 

Personalize a cut design by Janet Packer for Silhouette UK.  Make a personalised child's apron.

Place the text in the design and adjust size and character spacing until it looks balanced. Adjust the size of the rectangle using the Edit Points function again if necessary. If you wish to fine tune the spacing between the letters, ungroup the text and move individual letters (often 'A' and 'Y' need such adjustment).

Personalize a cut design by Janet Packer for Silhouette UK.  Make a personalised child's apron.

Select everything and group it. Move it to the top of the mat to match where you will place the vinyl on the cutting mat and reverse the design (Select, Object, Mirror, Flip Horizontally).
Select it again and click the Cut icon. Select the Heat Transfer Material Flocked setting and the correct blade.


Position the Transfer Material onto a cutting mat with the shiny surface toward the mat. Carry out a test cut if you haven't cut this media before. I used a scrap and so I used a piece of painter's tape to secure the media to the mat. Sent to Silhouette to cut.


Remove the media from the mat and trim around the design.  Remove all the excess material from around the design and the interior waste using a weeding tool.

Personalize a cut design by Janet Packer for Silhouette UK.  Make a personalised child's apron.


Position the design on the garment with the backing face up. The writing should read correctly. Place a non-stick sheet over the top and press with iron or heat press according to the instructions on the packaging and peel off the backing sheet (shiny).  Further hints and tips on applying the flock can be found in my tutorial Christmas Santa Sacks (Applying HTV to Rough Surfaces).

Personalize a cut design by Janet Packer for Silhouette UK.  Make a personalised child's apron.

There you have it - add a matching gift tag and your gift is ready.

Personalize a cut design by Janet Packer for Silhouette UK.  Make a personalised child's apron.

Of course, the same personalised design (not reversed) can be used on hard surfaces using regular vinyl, so you could make some more co-ordinating items too.

I hope you'll try this out.

Bye for now,

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Sunday, 19 March 2017

How Thick ? What does thickness mean in cut settings.

Happy Sunday everybody!
For today's post, I thought I would shed a little light on that cut setting that causes confusion "Thickness". Many of you know your cutter very well and know what works, however, if I asked you what thickness means could you describe it to someone else. This is the topic I am asked about most. What is the thickness setting?

 10 blade settings at 10 speeds at 33 thicknesses so there are 3,300 settings to set your cutter too when using the standard blade (not counting the double cut or track enhancing). It is amazing the choice we have at our fingertips.  

Presets are your friend.

Quite often I hear "I don't use the presets." said in a voice that sounds like its a bad thing to do. I wish I had all the presets when I got my craft robo back in the day. Presets are there to give you a start point, a suggestion of what the cut settings could be and while these may give you a perfectly decent cut, sometimes you need to change them to give you that crisp finish.
So you have picked out the media you want to cut and chosen an appropriate match for it in the cut settings window, after doing a test cut the results are not quite what you would like them to be. The cut hasn't quite gone through the media. Stop!!!! Do not dial up that blade! If you have set your blade to the correct setting and you increase the blade length, you run the risk of breaking the tip off your blade or cutting through your mat.

The correct blade setting for silhouette chipboard. 

More often than not the thickness settings can fix this problem.

All card is not created equal, if you were to look at a card from different manufacturers under a microscope they will look quite different.

 Although two cardstocks may have the same weight, the way they were made can be very different each being made up of different size particles, different binder holding it all together, using different dye or bleach, it may also be coated. The photos on the left show in order from top to bottom brown paper, silhouette chipboard, vellum and white cardstock, note the different fibers in all four. It is these differences that affect the Thickness settings that we need to choose.

Thickness refers to the density and more. If you imagine your in a swimming pool of water you can move along with some resistance you don't have to work too hard. This will be our number 3 setting now imagine someone comes along and puts custard powder in the water it becomes thicker and harder to move through. As more custard powder is added it get harder and harder to move through. Increased effort is required to move through thicker materials so thicker media requires a higher thickness setting so it will push harder while cutting, pushing harder does not mean deeper. The custard does not have to be deep to slow you down just thick.  this is why when you want to cut a heavyweight vinyl, the thickness setting needs to be increased although we would consider this a thin media as it has no depth, it can require quite a force to cut. When increasing your thickness settings give thought to your speed. if you are cutting with a high thickness setting you have an increased risk of damaging your blade as it takes a little longer for the blade to rotate in its housing. A slower speed will allow the blade to turn and change direction more effectively. For media not in the presets choose which closest matches your media and use a serious of test cuts to determine the best settings, write down your results on the packaging in a notebook or save them to your computer. Test cut test cut and test cut getting the settings right will save you a lot of cardstock.

So next time your thinking of which settings to use consider, custard.