Thursday, 19 October 2017

Using Custom Watercolour Patterns as Backgrounds and Fills in Silhouette Studio

Hello, Janet here with some fun ideas for making gorgeous prints and cards from an original watercolour pattern.  This does include some actual painting, but no advanced skills are required.
I'll show how to bring the painting into the Silhouette Studio software, and how versatile the resulting pattern can be by combining it with files from the Silhouette Design Store.

What You'll Need

A painted/printed/inked background
Digital Camera (Camera, Phone or Tablet)
Silhouette® Studio (Designer Edition and above)

The Background

The technique I'm showing here should work for backgrounds created in all sorts of media such as stamping or printing inks, powdered pigments, or acrylic paints. Here I've used a panel painted with the watercolour paints and a flat watercolour brush. It was created from a series of horizontal brush strokes in two colours. Using one of the colours, paint from the centre upwards, in lines of diminishing length, and increasing dilutions of water.  Blend the second colour a little in the centre and work down the paper, roughly mirroring the shape and paint dilution of the first colour. Perfection is not required, nor necessary.

The only real requirement is that the resulting background painting is flat, so either use a thick watercolour paper, as here, or thinner paper that has dried flat.

Once the painting is dry, take a photograph with a camera, phone, or tablet held parallel to the paper to reduce distortion. Transfer the image to your computer and ensure that is saved in jpeg file format. For ease of transfer, save the image to your desktop.

Take the Image into the Silhouette Design Software

With the Silhouette software open, reduce the size of the program by making the window smaller (click and drag the bottom right corner toward the centre of the screen a little).

Move the window around until the image file icon on the desktop is visible.
Click and drag the image into the Patterns folder in the Local Users section. The image will then appear in the patterns preview window. 

The newly imported image will also appear with the other patterns in the Fill Pattern tab in the Fill panel.

Using your Imported Pattern

Open any file with a cut line on your screen and drag the imported image onto the shape that you want to fill. Here I've used the Spotted Succulent file by Nic Squirrell.

Then you can use the Fill Pattern options and make adjustments. The image can be manipulated in all sorts of interesting ways once it is taken into the software as a fill pattern. It can be mirrored, rotated, scaled, re-centred (panned), and made more transparent. These features are accessed in the Advanced Options in the Fill Pattern panel. Further adjustments, including recolouring the fill, can be made from the Image Effects panel. Play with the options and discover what works well with your pattern.

Alternative Images

The new fill pattern an be used in many images. Here I've shown some other Nic Squirrell designs from the store. In the first image, rather than fill the image, I've filled a circle behind the image.

Agapanthus Flower Border

Spotted Succulent

Using the Filled Images

The filled images can be used for many different projects. I love to print them onto paper to make  prints for framing, and onto printable cotton to adhere to stretched canvas, and of course, they are great for quick and easy notecards. I'll have step-by-step tutorials for these projects in the coming months.

I hope you'll try this out - the possibilities are endless!

Bye for now,

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Monday, 16 October 2017

BIG Birthday Card for a BIG birthday

Hello, Janet here with a post about a very versatile accordion card I found in the Silhouette Design Store recently; the Expanding Birthday Candle Card by Marji Roy. It is a fantastic design for important birthdays, as it can include a candle for every year of the birthday person's age. This is done by adding whole 'pages' of eleven candles, and then trimming away the flames of the surplus candles.

This was the perfect card to take along to a combined birthday party we've been invited to recently - a 130th Birthday. Perfect, that is, except for the number of candles required. This was the ideal time to use adhesive-backed cardstock, a real time-saver! The designer has an excellent tutorial on how to put the card together and how to calculate the number of pages needed (link in the file listing in Silhouette Design store). In this post I've shared some additional tips including how to further personalise this card design.

Using Self-Adhesive Cardstock

I used the Silhouette Adhesive Cardstock which comes in 12 inch square sheets. I didn't have any orange, so I made my own, using Silhouette's double sided adhesive sheet on the back of a piece of textured orange cardstock (that's why it has yellow backing in the picture below).


I followed the designer's instructions, but found it easier to apply the red part of the flames BEFORE the white candles as the candles overlap the red part of the flame slightly.

Adding Ages

By way of explanation and to add more interest, I added the ages of the birthday couple.  The file comes with numbers, and I added a plus sign. To find a suitable font I typed the plus sign and then scrolled down my font list and stopped when I found one of similar thickness to the numbers (sorry, I didn't make a note of the font name).

Then I added an offset to the numbers and mounted the original and the offset on to the card front.

Amending the Sentiment

Although not strictly necessary, I liked the idea of making the 'Happy Birthday' sentiment plural.  I ungrouped the sentiment provided and added an 's' using the same technique as for the plus sign above.

This time 2 offsets were needed to match the original.

Adding a Greeting Panel

I made a greeting panel to attach onto the back of the card, with 3 coloured layers and one white layer.  On the white layer I added a quotation about candles and sharing, attributed to Buddha (incorrectly, according to some websites) which seemed appropriate for this occasion.

I used the Sweet Pea Sketch font and a green/blue glitter pen from the Silhouette® Sketch Pen Starter Set. The whole layered panel was then attached onto the back of the card.

The finished card is pretty BIG, but a fun card to take along to a BIG birthday party!

Do let me know in the comments if you've used this file. I'd love to know what 'extras' you added to it.

Bye for now,

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Sunday, 15 October 2017

Going Big - Outlined & Underlined Title

Hello, hello Karen here with yet another title idea - yes its big but at the moment I absolutely love big statement titles and this one doesn't disappoint.

I came across the quote on Pinterest and thought that never a truer word had been written!

I started by writing the title in Ariel - it has to be a font that has the option of underlining. (I noticed that I have written the word GIVE instead of GIFT and changed it after step 2!)

Next I highlighted the text and added an underline, changed the font size to 110 pt and adjusted the line spacing to 85.

The next step was to make the text a compound path.

You now need to add an external offset of 0.125 to the text.

And there you have a lovely large title ready to cut.

Friday, 13 October 2017

The Crafty Girls: Using the Subtract Tool

Hey there! Niki here with you today with a tutorial on how to use the substract tool to crop a background into a shape.

I started off by choosing a background I wanted to crop into a shape and also choose the shape I wanted to crop it into.  The background is on the cutting mat and the heart shape I have chosen, is to the right of the mat.

The heart shape is part of another shape, so I have released the compound path of that shape and am going to take the outline to use as my shape, and delete the other parts of that shattered heart design.

Now I have my heart shape but I want this plus an outline, so I have selected the shape and created an offset at 0.200 using the Offset window.

I have now selected both the heart and the offset, and gone up to the Object window and clicked Arrange, Send to Back. This ensures that the two heart shapes will be behind my background.

 I have now re-sized the two hearts and moved them over to my cutting mat. They are behind the background rather than on top. I made sure the hearts and the background were lined up and I was happy with where the pattern was.

Now I have selected the internal heart and the background.

With both the internal heart and the background selected, I then went to the Modify window and clicked Subtract. This then crops the background into the shape and leaves me with a totally perfect cut file, filled with the original background I chose.

The final step is to select the whole design and then either 'group' or 'Make Compound Path'. I usually make a compound path but it makes little difference here really.

I then cut my heart shape out of whit card and created this layout with it. I have used Paige Evans 'Turn the Page' collection to backfill the petals and embellish the layout.

Thank you so much for joining me today and I hope you will give that tutorial a go - the possibilities are endless! 

Circles Petals Background by Paige Evans
Heart Geometric Lace by Jamie Koay. This design does not appear to be available any more so there is an alternative by Sarah Hurley here: Geometric Heart