Monday, January 5, 2009

Design Studio

There are many who prefer SCAL and its flexibility, but DS can be flexible, too. I have a feeling that now that I have SCAL I won’t be using this technique so much, but perhaps someone else out there can benefit!

A couple of Christmases ago, Martha Stewart featured a popup Christmas Reindeer card. I had just gotten the baby Cricut and DS, but had no idea I could create my own file to cut out this cool card, and spent hours cutting out 8 of them by hand! The head and legs aren’t so bad...but those antlers..!

Later, once I started browsing on Cricuts message boards, I found that people were using DS and basic cartridge shapes to create some really cool projects, and decided to redo the reindeer cards, using DS. This wasmy first attempt, and I thought it came out well, but the recent update for DS will help make this type of designing easier, because being able to deselect portions of the cartridge graphics is GREAT!

I used George, Speaking of Winter, and Stretch your Imagination for this project. I printed out the templates from Martha’s site and used them for size approximation. Here’s the screenshots:
I'm not that happy with the antlers but I did like the swirls to hang the tiny ornaments from! (Refer to the original project templates for more info, as I didn't do the ornaments on DS, although I could've!) As you can see from the pictures, it's mostly done with shapes available on the cartridges resized for my needs. TIP: I had a hard time finding a straight line to cut a slit in the design below, so I just used a rectangle, then used the handles to make it as skinny as possible! With the new updates, I understand that you don't have to do this but maybe that discovery will help someone! The other shape I wouldn've liked is a rounded one, like a single parentheses, but at the time I was creating this project, you couldn't deselect the one Parenthesee (?) so it wouldn't cut.

Here's another card I did with the same technique.

The little trees at the top and bottom of the photo are only there so I could cut a tiny wedge at that spot to tell where the fold goes! The horizontal lines on either side of the tree use my skinny rectangle technique. I also created the star at the top of the tree with tiny skinny rectangles so that the star won't cut completely out...the bottom point remains attached to the card. Whatever size sheet of paper you put on the mat will determine the size of your card, it just needs to be centered on the mat and not too narrow or long so it will cut correctly . Of course, this could be altered and have a square added around the entire mess that cuts the card shape out too.

There is a valley fold about 1/4" under the tree connecting the two long slits, another at the center points (marked by the tiny trees at the top and bottom of the photo) from the edges of the card to the slits, on both sides, and there's also a valley fold where the left end of the slits are, connecting the two. About a quarter inch above the treetop is a mountain fold...leaving the star unfolded and standing upright...A nice rectangle of shiny paper goes behind the tree...since that is clear as mud, here's an example card. The example is from an experimental early version, so no star...

Bonus Project!: You can also see the sparkly shrink plastic snowflake I cut (mostly) on the Cricut! The machine just can't seem to get all the way thru the material, so rather than dull the blade anymore by MORE multicutting, I finished by hand, mostly by flexing the plastic back and forth till it separated at the cut....WARNING: The plastic is very delicate before it's shrunk, so be careful you don't break your design! A craft knife or scissors are helpful, too.

I cut out almost a full shrink plastic sheet with the filagree angel and another with the filagree wings from the Christmas solutions cart, and squeezed the snowflakes in anywhere that fit, to reduce waste...the snowflakes started off about 3" wide. SIDE TIP: after shrinking your plastic, you can sprinkle it with embossing powder while it's still hot, and return to the oven to melt - don't use the heat embossing gun with this technique unless you LIKE having glittery embossing powder everywhere!

Final tip: People on my messageboards have asked if SCAL can be used to cut DS or cartridge files. IF you follow a few steps, yes, you can. BUT you'd have to have the cartridge (or know someone who does!). (Especially since the cartridge examples have been removed from Cricuts site!) Take a screen shot of your DS screen (OR cut out the pieces and take pictures of them, then import into SCAL after transforming with Inkscape. How's that for a cheat???

I have not included any cut or scut or svg files. I don't think they can be hosted here anyway, but as you can see from the pics, most of my designs are simple enough to make yourself! I guarantee you'll learn far more if you try to make these simple projects yourself! :D Later...