During my prolonged absence, I did one additional recent experiment that I haven't mentioned. I've been toying with the idea in my head but wasn't sure it was possible and wanted to try it before I told anyone! :) I haven't seen anyone else doing this, but maybe someone else has thought of this idea too, so I hope I'm not stealing anyone else's concept! I did hear that there's nothing new under the sun...;)
I finally found a local stamping/craft store near me a few weeks ago. I was so happy because I found several items there that my own big box stores (Joann's and Michaels) don't carry, such as Ranger Cut and Dry, Copic markers - and some acrylic craft sheets to cut with the Cricut. I was pretty excited to find those, because I have been seeing some beautifully creative clear albums lately and have been wanting to try cutting one, but once I finally found them, they turned out to be about $2 each 12"x12" sheet! Not exactly afffordable to play around with! They don't seem very sturdy, either. They're protected with a blue plastic on both sides, and are sitting in my craft room, staring at me like the Geico eyes...
I was too chea- I mean frugal to buy more than a couple of their sheets but started looking at my laminating machine and wondering how that might work out. I bought one last year @ Sam's for only about $20, along with a 50 ct package of laminating pockets for less than $6, I believe. I've mostly been using it for my business cards (for special customers only!) and am still planning on using it for a project I saw on DIY once...laminate the paper item in such a way to be able to peel the sheets apart afterwards, then dampening the paper until all rubs off but the ink. The remaining transparent ink transfer is water-resistant and well-adhered to the laminated plastic and can be used in making cards and such.
ANYWAY. I was in Michaels one day recently and (enabler alert!) and saw some items in the scrapbook paper department (most likely in your local Michael's, too) that I thought might work with the Cricut. Graphix Clear Craft Plastic (shown below, next to the laminating pouches I used) - twenty-five 8.5"x11" sheets for $9.99 - seemed just what I was looking for. A bargain with their 40% off coupon @ $6! They also have 12"x12" sheets but I think they were $6.99 for either 4-5 sheets. A little pricey to me; the smaller sheets seem a far better bargain. And since I was working with my laminating pouches at the 8.5"x11" size, that made up my mind for me.
I didn't think they were sturdy enough by themselves, so my plan was to laminate the sheets in the pouches. Which is what I did! It seems to work very well, although some sheets came out a little cloudy. I'm not sure why that is or how to prevent it happening, but once they were cut out and covered, I'm not sure anyone could tell or would even notice. The thermal sheets are very flimsy at first, but become clear and much sturdier once laminated.
The sheets cut beautifully in the Cricut, especially once I decided to use a new blade. Some had to be cut more than twice, some less. All in all, a successful experiment! Below, find my completed results. The first and last white books have three pages each. That's because I changed the SCAL pattern I made in the middle and those pages matched each other best! I wasn't going to waste anything, heh. I picture those being used for a new baby or even a memorial page for human OR animal! The silver one, I think would be beautiful for a special anniversary. I haven't decided what to do with them yet, though I guess I'd like to sell them. Please look through the photos below, and drop me a comment with your thoughts on these projects!
These three projects all incorporate flourishes I downloaded from multiple spots on the Internet and cut in SCAL. I wish I could give some credit, although I'm sure Penny and Paulo are responsible for most of them! I used sticky rhinestone flourishes for embellishments also, and a small feather boa or eyelash ribbon to trim the edges. I also edged the sheets with Stickles but they didn't adhere very well. They're a little too stiff on such a flexible page, too, and some flaked off in spots.
Remember to click on the pictures for a larger view! I love the silver eyelash type ribbon I found in my stash...it went perfectly with the rhinestones and silver Stickles edging, below. The wings were my own design in SCAL. This set has more detail feathers in the first wing, seen below. They were cut with the Cricut and edged with Stickles. I didn't add the Angel text to this page as I did the others.
I love the delicacy of the flourish in the upper part of the photo below! I cut and used several of those in these 3 projects. All the white embellishments are made of vinyl, btw. Much easier to use with clear pages instead of glue, although you have to watch for bubbles on the larger pieces. I did get a few, but I feel that photos will probably cover them anyway. I did try to pop them with a needle and then burnished them flat with an old credit card.
I love the page below. The clear acrylic letters really add to the transparent feeling. I took these pictures of the silver book with the pages laid out singly so they'd be easier to see. I used plain book rings from Walmart to connect everything, btw, and added some matching ribbon to them.
Here's my favorite flourish again. I think this one is actually two combined; one I messed up and decided to use it anyway! The project I mentioned above, where you make a clear transfer of anything you like with the laminating pouches, would be a cool thing to use here...a clear photo, so the flourish shows through.
My final book to show you. I have a tiny angel punch from the dollar store that I punched out of vinyl and used to embellish the first page. One is holding a rhinestone near the top of the page.
I really loved the fur trim. I used a hot glue gun (sparingly!) to attach them. I tried to use Ranger Glossy Accents but it didn't hold well. The paper is very glossy! I didn't want to sand anything, though. Since the plastic can take the heat of the laminator, though, the sheets didn't have a problem with the heat from the glue gun! I was very happy about that!
Don't the wings remind you of a heart when the book is opened? :)
I don't know if the laminating pouches are acid free, but I imagine they would have to be. This was just a fast experiment, but there are so many additional possibilities with this technique! If you are making a scrapbook for a specific person, for instance, the photos and what frames you use for them could be laminated right inside the pouches and then cut out on the Cricut...if you're careful! There's always making a plain rectangular page with no cutting, too!
Another cool idea would be to make a children's book, and have all the paper items laminated inside, but provide embellishments adhered with temporary adhesive that the child can use to make their own stickerbook. The pieces could be removed from the glossy plastic and used over and over and placed where they want. I could think of some cool games and gamepieces you could make for kids OR adults with this technique, too! (Bridal shower, anyone?!)
I think you could also use alcohol ink on the sheets before laminating, too, but that's an experiment for another day! Personally, I love the clear with either white or silver! But I love color, too, so maybe once I try it...
BTW, I did make some pages without using the Graphix plastic sheet inside the pouch...I just laminated the empty pouch. It was a bit sturdier with the other plastic sheet inside, though, and I think it would take the weight of the embellishments better. I did NOT try laminating two laminating pouches together, though!
Oh, and the other item I saw at Michaels that might be used with the Cricut is also put out by Graphix. It's chipboard sheets, I believe the package of 6 was $5.99. The package says Medium weight and acid free. I haven't tried to use them with the E yet and they may be too thick, but I'll let you know when I try it!
As always, thanks for looking, and happy cutting!