Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wordbook Tips AND Sierra and Dominic Wordbooks for DOWNLOAD!

I have had some requests for Sierra's book to be available as a download. I have my own methods of designing and cutting that may be different from other peoples, so I thought I'd explain what I did/do when making these books.

Many people probably know how to design a wordbook in DS already. If so, please skip this section! The design part is easy. I LOVE DS for wordbooks, prefer it to SCAL for this, because of the separate pages. I know I could use layers in SCAL but this seems easier. I love the George font, but Storybook seems to have an Old West quality or something. It's definitely more macho than George! George is more modern, though...

I open DS, make a page for each letter, rename each page for that letter, decide what size I'm going to use, then turn on the shadow feature and type the whole name out on the first page, one letter at a time, so they aren't connected. I like to align them at the top if I'm trying to cut two letters on one sheet of paper later. After I get them lined up and spaced out so they look as they will once the book is put together, I copy each letter individually and paste each letter to its own page. Then I delete the extra letters on the first page. Use the eye to see your results as you go! And save, save, save!

I make a rectangle from George and size it to match the letter. I line it up a little to the right of the left cutting edge of the mat, and make sure the right side touches the letter. Make sure you turn on welding for both the letter and the square!

I copy the rectangle once I'm happy, and paste one on each page. Then I go to each page and stretch out the rectangle on the right so it touches the letter and make sure welding is turned on for both. That way all the pages will be the same height and line up correctly once it's all bound together.

The problem with this method is that you can't move the rectangle and the letter together. And in order to cut more than one letter per page, you'll have to move the squares and letters manually so they'll fit on your mat/paper efficiently. It has to be done this way, though. If you paste your copied rectangle, resize it, and then type in a letter to attach to it, the letter comes out stretched, too. It doesn't look right. So when you're moving everything around to cut as many letters on one page as you can, at the end before you cut, keep the original version on the old page so you can make sure you're rearranging all the squares/letters the way they lined up the first time correctly. This will ensure all the pages/letters line up correctly once they're cut.

For the lettering, I add a new page, turn off the shadow feature and type in the letters, keeping each one separate, and make sure they fit the pages I've already set up. Sometimes I've had to narrow the letters, for example the M that's so wide, so it will all fit within about 12". (I don't like going over 12" because that's the cardstock size I have! Although I'm sure you could use two sheets and just cover the join with a ribbon or something. I just haven't done it yet!) So the non-shadowed letters have to fit the welded ones correctly. Use the eye button in DS to check. Once the letters are the right size, you can move them around the mat to use your paper the most efficient way. No need to worry about welding for these letters.

Then I start gathering paper. For this project, my heavy paper was 11" x 15", 150 lb watercolor paper bought at Michaels. I decided what patterned cardstock to use and put it all near the E. I decided to make the pages approx 10" tall and no longer than 11.5". I cut the watercolor paper first, I believe I had to cut it multicut x4 twice. One time worked on some of it, just check that the paper is completely cut out before you remove the mat from the machine. I use a deepcut blade in the regular green bladeholder. I usually like to use vinyl for the letters but I used shiny cardstock on my Dominic book for the AI cut great, btw! The Dominic book was cut on the same type/brand of paper, but on a larger sheet, 12" x 18".

Some of my projects allow me to place more than one letter per page when actually cutting. I didn't do that on the Sierra file because my letters were so tall. Most of my other projects are less than 6" tall (like the Dominic one) and I can cut at least two letters with 12" paper. This Sierra file is larger than that, however. I would just pay attention to the grid when laying out paper for this project. Especially on the "A", note where the paper should be placed on the mat. The A is not in line with the rest of the letters and will hang over a 12" mat, so either needs to be moved to the left on the DS screen or use a 24" mat and place the paper accordingly. It's sticking out a bit because I used it to size for the box.

On the Dominic file, I believe all the pages but the box top and bottom cut on 12" paper. The C is tight but will fit on the 12" mat.

If you cut the box on either file you WILL need to use a 24" mat, because it's a bit too large to work with a 12" sheet. And you'll have to use larger paper than 12"x 12". The 11"x 15" 150lb paper worked fine for my Sierra project, and as long as you buy it on sale or with a 40% off coupon, it's not too expensive! The Dominic file used 12" x 18" paper, a little more expensive but I used less by cutting more than one letter to a sheet, three sheets instead of five. Of course the book is shorter, too.

Another tip: If you use the score lines, make SURE you turn the blade upside down first!!!!! VERY IMPORTANT! You'll cut two box halves, top and bottom, on the Sierra file, both are the same size, I just changed the spacing of the scorelines for the top and bottom, so the bottom is folded a tiny bit smaller and the part that folds on the boxtop is a tiny bit shorter than the bottom folds are.

So my box cutting method is, cut 1 box half, do NOT remove mat, just reload paper, flip blade, "cut" the score marks, remove mat, change to second sheet of paper, load mat, "cut" the correct scorelines for the second half of the box and THEN flip the blade back around and cut the diameter. That makes for less fussing around flipping blades. I let it multi"cut" the score lines and it seemed to help them fold better, btw. I think I prefered it scoring the lines before the actual cutting better, anyway. Less chance of slippage. I did tape the edges down on the larger sheets of watercolor paper, btw, and when I scored after cutting I had to retape the cut edges down before it scored. But my mat was a little lacking in the sticky department!

Once the heavy paper is cut and seems to look and fit right, then I cut the cardstock. Just remember to flip the paper over (so the white side shows) for sheets that will go on the back of each page so it will cut out right!

I don't really make notes or plans for most of the crafts I do, but when I'm doing this part I like to know what order my pics will go in and try to use paper that accents or matches the photos. Like birthday cake paper and party photos, for example. Coordinating the color on adjacent pages is a good idea, too. If the back of the S (in Sierra) doesn't match the front of it, I don't care, but I do want it to look good next to the I!

I also don't really plan the photos *exactly* but see how they look with each other. For instance, on Dominic's book, the pic where he's laying down on the ramp was originally going to go with the other pics with him on his little 4-wheeler, but it looked much cuter where it ended up!

And at this point I'll hunt around in my stash drawer for stickers or doodads that go along, like palm trees for beach stuff, etc. My paper had frames precut that matched but this is also where I'd cut frames for the photos if they were needed. I like using punches on them, like my new MS train border punch I used on one photo.

After everything's cut and laid in order, I'll line up and punch the holes with my Crop a dile and secure the 3 layers of each page with eyelets. This, to me, helps keep everything together before I glue it all down...sometimes I need to wait until I have my pictures ready to glue the letters with openings together, for instance. But using the eyelets keeps all the layers organized better.

I used smaller eyelets on Dominic's book, but I have a great new tip for binding these books! The smaller eyelets won't work with my tip, unfortunately, and I had already attached them before I found this out. I don't have any other method of binding, like a Bind it all, or I'd use it! But this is quite inexpensive and easy!

At Walmart, in the stationary section, they have book rings that work beautifully for these books! They had some silver ones for $1.88 but some COOL colored ones for only .88! You just have to make sure the eyelets you use are big enough for the rings to fit through. Learn from my mistake! :)

The rings themselves are a little large, but you need your rings to be at least the width that the eyelets are apart when two adjacent pages are next to each other, with an additional tiny gap for leeway. For the Dominic book, I made my own rings with heavy brass wire, wrapped around a magic marker and cut with my jewelry cutters. That worked too, but I probably should have hammered them a bit to toughen the metal.

I used some glue that isn't supposed to wrinkle the paper on some items, like the lettering, and double stick tape for the photos. The finishing touch was deciding what yarn/ribbon/string/leather to use to tie it shut. I even considered the colored plastic lacing that kids use for braiding key fobs, etc. On Sierra's books, I used pink yarn and/or ribbon, tied to a hole/eyelet attached at the center of the A. Then I just wrapped a longer end around the book and tied a bow.

Dominic's had to be a little more macho than that! I loved the button on Dominics book that I got at Big lots (made especially for tie downs), but I imagine ANY button would could sew one on, hiding the thread between layers, or even possibly use brads to attach it. I have also considered using Velcro, but I haven't tried it yet.

I guess my only other tip was using the hot glue gun to make the box with. It sure made it easy and fast to put together!

Okay, I think I've explained far more than anyone needs to know so I'll close here. Let me know if you need anything clarified! Enjoy the files, and if you make a book with them, I'd love to see them completed! Happy cutting!

Dominic's book

Sierra's book

p.s. I have one last tip, this one as my computer tech self! If you'd like to print out my wordbook tutorial (or anything on the web in Internet Explorer, for that matter!) and save some colored ink by not printing all the extraneous stuff, here's how you do it: Highlight the text you want to print, from start to finish. Then in IE, click File, Print, and about halfway down the left side of the print window, make sure Selection is chosen. That will only print the part you've highlighted!