Monday, August 30, 2010

Playing with the Cricut

Back at the beginning of this month, I mentioned that we purchased a Cricut Expression cutting machine.  As much as I've wanted to post something about using it, I didn't have much to share until now.  There's a bit of a learning curve with this new toy.  Cutting different types of paper and vinyl take very different settings and I'm still learning how to set it up right.  The cutting mat was losing it's stickiness and I found a wonderful post about using a particular kind of non-permanent glue in a 50/50 solution with water to coat the surface of the mat.  Unfortunately, that special glue is sold out everywhere....even online!  I did some more research and discovered that cleaning the mat with some rubbing alcohol would help a bit.

One of the items I created was this hummingbird.  I did it in two layers so I could cut my friend's name and a heart out of the top layer.  After gluing it to a card, I added some little tatted flowers.  It made a nice gift when she was having a tough time last week.

etched glass vase
My husband has been doing some amazing artwork with Native American dancers.  We have done some test runs with the art and have had to make a lot of adjustments to get better results.  He is used to using finer detail, but the Cricut definitely has limits on what it can do.  Giving it thin or tiny pieces to cut can result in ripped paper or vinyl.  In some cases, we just had to widen things a bit or change a pointed end of a line to a blunt or rounded end.  We are so glad we purchased the Sure Cuts a Lot software. There are no cartridges that can do the kind of amazing art my husband does.

Experiment - not for sale
One finished project is now listed in our shop.  Hubby used the vinyl cut from his design as a stencil to etch a glass vase.  An experiment with another piece turned into a framed piece of art.  It will not end up on Etsy due to some problems I had along the way.  I had purchased a picture frame from Ikea and went to place the vinyl design on it.  I had removed some protective plastic from one side of the "glass" (plexi), but didn't notice there was plastic on the other side as well.  Of course, that's where I applied the vinyl....disaster!  I managed to put the transfer paper back on the vinyl and carefully peel it all back off, but the vinyl stretched some along the way.  I got it back on the "glass," but it wasn't as smooth as it should have been.  I put a sheet of metallic coated paper in the frame behind the design and it looks pretty good (from a distance).  I'm excited about doing more of these designs.  At work, we are having a Gala in October to raise money for scholarships and I will probably be using the Cricut to create some decorative items for that.  To help with the learning process, I've been following a lot of blogs about Cricut and paper crafting.

Mom Owned Business Monday

2 mad comments:

Cindy said...

Just a tip. If you clean your mat thoroughly with baby wipes and let it dry it gets sticky again to last until the glue comes in. There is also a "top" side to your mat cover(the plastic). I label mine top before I take it off as I see no difference, but it helps your mat stay sticky longer. I use the 50/50 glue mixture and it works great--just make sure to stick it to your clothes a few times before you use it or it's too sticky! Been there done that!

Karen Tapahe said...

Cindy, thanks for the advice. I had no idea there was a right and wrong side to the plastic cover...oops!

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