Custom Sized Boxes in a Hurry

Need a custom box in a hurry and don’t have the time to design one yourself? There are hundreds of free box templates on the internet, but if you need an odd size you may have to stretch and tweak so much, you might as well draw it yourself. Fortunately, there is a free box design tool called Template Maker. Template Maker is an online tool for making all kinds of boxes. Sandy McCauley made an awesome video on how the Template Maker works, which is how found this tool for my toolbox. Sandy McCauley Template Maker Video

I recently started a new business venture with a laser cutting machine, making custom products I cannot cut with my KNK Maxx. And while it certainly could cut paper for boxes, I did not purchase the Print and Cut upgrade for it (major big bucks!) I wanted a nice presentation box to hold this product for shipping. So, my KNK Maxx Air is far from retired, but is a valuable partner in my business.

I started with the dimensions I needed to hold fifty units of the product and used the Template Maker tool to design the box. One of your options is to download the result as an SVG. Since you are working with a SVG file you can use any cutting design program on the market to customize and cut your box.

I added my logo and text to describe the contents of the box, positioning these objects within the fold lines of the box. Next, I set up the file as a Print and Cut and moved the print, emboss and cut lines to different layers so they could be executed in turn.

After printing on cardstock and mounting to the mat, my first process was to emboss the score or fold lines using the Embossing Tool. Switched to the Standard Material Blade to cut out my box, once again using the Print and Cut operation.

Using a creasing tool while folding the sides and glue flaps of your box helps keep the box rigid. I did notice that the glue flaps were a little bit small and I will increase those in my cutting software next time. Apply glue to the appropriate flaps and form your box.

My custom product fits perfectly and will help protect the contents during shipping.

My Maxx Air allowed me to create a professional presentation of the completed custom job for my client! Be it business or pleasure we all need unique custom sized boxes occasionally. Having our KNK cutters makes the task easy!

 

Materials

KNK Zing/Zing Air/Maxx Air Standard Material Detail Blade

Embossing Tool

Cardstock

Paper Glue

 

Glass Etching Frosted Treat Jars

Small gifts for friends and family are on every Christmas crafting list this time of year. Try this easy glass etching project for a gift that is sure to impress!

I found some small jars at the Dollar Tree store (every crafters’ favorite place!) perfect for holding candy or other small treats. Decided to etch designs into the glass and add a chalkboard vinyl label so that after the original contents are gone, the label could be changed easily.

Materials

Glass jars – Dollar Tree Classic Storage Jars

Armour Etch – glass etching cream

Circut Chalkboard Vinyl

KNK Zing/Zing Air/Maxx Air Standard Material Detail Blade

Craft Vinyl

White chalk pen or Uniball Signo Broad gel pen

Painter tape and plastic gloves

Maxx Air Settings

Craft Vinyl settings – Standard Material Blade, Force = 42, Speed = 200, Passes = 1, Blade Offset = .25, Blade Height = 25

Pen settings – Force = 10, Speed = 250, Passes = 1, Offset = Disabled, Pen Height = 25

Chalkboard Vinyl Settings – Force = 55, Speed = 300, Passes = 2, Blade Offset = .25, Blade Height = 25

Process Details

Measure the area of the jar you want to etch and create a design mask to cut out of the craft vinyl. Cut and weed the vinyl mask and apply to the jar. Tape off any areas of the jar that you do not want to etch with the painter’s tape.

Apply a generous coat of the Armour Etch over your vinyl mask. Wear gloves and protect surfaces as this stuff is very caustic! Let it sit for at least 15 minutes. Remove any excess etching crème and return it to the jar (it is re-useable!). Wash off remaining cream with water. Remove your mask and wash again with dish soap. Dry thoroughly.

Set up your label design with a writing layer and a cutting layer. Close the cutting layer and insert your pen in the blade holder, send to cutter with the WYSIWYG option.

Remove pen and insert blade. Close the writing layer and open the cut layer. Send to cutting machine with the WYSIWYG option.

Wait a few minutes before weeding to allow the writing to dry properly. Weed the labels and apply to the jars.

Now fill up with gifts or sweet treats and you have a gift that is sure to please!

 

Deco FILM® Paint FX


Cool weather is finally arriving in Florida and I wanted to embellish a long sleeve t-shirt for Thanksgiving Day. Finding fall colors this time of year is nearly impossible, everything is already Christmas in the stores! I did snag a lovely purple top and wanted something shimmery but not too sparkly for my design. Deco FILM® Paint FX was perfect! This heat transfer vinyl comes in six beautiful metallic colors. The effect is a soft shimmer. And it is thinner than regular HTV molding to the fabric, so the designs look screen painted rather than laying on the surface. Wish it came in all the colors!

Materials

Deco FILM® Paint FX  I used the Champagne color.

T-shirt

Maxx Air Settings

KNK Zing/Zing Air/Maxx Air Standard Material Detail Blade

Force = 42, Speed = 200, Blade Offset = .25, Blade Height = 25

Process Details

This vinyl cuts just like every other heat transfer vinyl, minimal blade exposure, mirror the design, weed the negative and carrier side adhered to the mat. The weeding was super easy, comes up cleanly and with little effort.

Heat press with a firm pressure at 310°F – 330°F for 17 to 20 seconds. Then remove carrier sheet while warm, and with a Teflon® or parchment paper covering the design, repress for 2 seconds.

Deco FILM® Paint FX is a great alternative to the glitter metallic heat transfer vinyl products, for when you want a subtler shimmer and shine. Love it!

Batty Halloween Wreath at a Spooktacular Price! Free!

I don’t know about you, but I am going batty this time of year with a packed quilt show/teaching schedule. Halloween is my favorite holiday and I love all the spooky decorations. I designed this Batty Halloween Wreath for my small cutting group using elements from one of my quilting design collections converted to SVG and some bare tree branches from the MTC User Gallery. And I am sharing these files with you free!

While it is a Halloween wreath featured here, you can easily use the wreath base in different colors and add other seasonal cut files to adapt it for any holiday. A brown twig base for fall with leaves, a green one for Christmas. And how about Easter or Valentine’s Day? The possibilities are endless!

Materials

Cardstock – Halloween patterned and at least 4 sheets of black solid.
Foam Core Board – Black about 12” square.
Fuzzy Craft Wire (pipe cleaners).
Glue – Hot glue gun and basic paper adhesives.
Seasonal Embellishments – Let your creativity go wild!
Free Files! – Batty Halloween Wreath

Maxx Air Settings

KNK Zing/Zing Air/Maxx Air Standard Material Detail Blade
Machine settings depend on the cardstock papers you choose.

Process Details

Wreath Form – I used foam core board to provide a stiff sturdy base for my wreath. Unfortunately, we cannot cut foam core board in our cutting machines due to its thickness. I did manage to get a piece into my Maxx Air by moving three of the pinch wheels to the far left and was able to lower one partially on the farthest left grit wheel. But you can only score the board with a blade or use a pen to draw the circle base, so it is safer to use the template method. Using the Wreath Form SVG, cut a template out of cardstock or chipboard, and trace onto foam core board. Cut foam core board manually with a circle cutter tool or X-Acto type knife.

Wreath Base – Cut one Wreath Base and glue to the wreath form, centering the form beneath the base.

Branches – Cut at least two sheets of each branch size. Layer branches over the wreath base to form a pleasing twig branch wreath look.

Bats – I cut out lots of bats! I only wanted bats on mine so I cut few from every patterned cardstock I had. (17 to 20) Cut them all from one paper or divide number needed over several different papers. Finger fold the wings as desired for a 3D effect. Glue a short length of black pipe cleaner to underside. My friends Joanne and Karen also cut some cats to add to theirs.

Assembly – Punch holes through completed wreath with a stiletto or ice pick. Thread the pipe cleaner through hole and bend over form back, securing with hot glue. Shape front of wire to position bat as desired.

Add other sparkly or spooky embellishments as desired to make the wreath your own! This is a fun crafting activity for a group. Even though we all cut the same basic wreath our personal design choices made each one different.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are no mistakes, just experiments!

Life is full of experiments, not mistakes. This holds true especially when you are embarking on a cutting project with new-to-you materials. All the material setting charts, tips and tricks are but starting points on your artistic journey. To be successful with your machine, you must give yourself permission to make a few mistakes and use up some material to get the best results. Today’s project was a prime example of this truth and here is the tale of my journey.

The Project

My daughter is a new theatre teacher and she wanted some unique and durable hall passes for her students. She initially thought of laminated cardstock passes that would be hung from a lanyard. I designed a playful twist on the iconic Playbill magazine for her hall pass. Time spent = 3 hours

Version 1 – Printed on cardstock and laminated was the easiest, but the least durable. The thinner the cardstock, the less rigid the pass. Thicker cardstock did not seal well along the edges of the lamination. Time spent = 1 hour

Version 2

Base

    • Decided to use a plastic for the pass base and adhere the design to it. The pass needed to be double sided with a white base, but where to get a suitable plastic sheet material in one day? (did I mention I only had a weekend to produce this?) After stops in 4 stores both hobby and home improvement, I resigned myself to a For Sale sign from Lowes. The plastic is rigid but not too thick to be cut with my cutter. Problem was there is only a 5” x 20” space of white on the sign, so there is a great deal of waste. (I may be able to use the leftovers in another project that is one sided.) Time spent shopping = 4 hours.
    • I have since found several sources for this plastic, white ASA Styrene, online. Mainly from model building companies.
    • This plastic was a breeze to cut on my KNK Maxx Air. Time spent cutting = 1 hour.

Design Layer

  • Any material I printed the design on would need to be water and smudge resistant. I had found some Silhouette Clear Sticker Paper and some Water Slip Decal paper that was ink jet printable last time I cleaned my office, so I thought I would try them. Both materials printed nice and bright, cutting however proved to be a bear. The clear sticker paper was thick, more like a craft plastic instead of a vinyl. I started with a vinyl cut setting and eventually worked my way up to the same settings I use for .007 craft plastic. A range of force from 42 to 140. The decal paper was a little easier, but still much more force and blade exposure than I anticipated. Time spent = 3 hours and double the materials needed.
  • After adhering these units to the base they needed to be water proofed. The decal paper came with its own special spray, which did not spray so I tossed that material. For the clear sticker paper, this meant the arduous process of spraying several light coats of clear epoxy on both sides and waiting 30 mins in between each coat to dry. I confess I am not very good at spray painting, too much and it runs, too little and no coverage. I was not pleased with the results. Time spent = 3 hours

Version 3

    • There has got to be a better way that takes less time and no waterproofing! Woke up the next day and started over. Sent husband to the store for more plastic and tested more materials. Then it hit me, Ink Jet Transparency film. A material that is not commonly seen in stores anymore since the rise of digital projection, but still available. I have quite the inventory of it as it makes great fussy cutting templates for quilt piecing units.
    • You print in reverse on the treated side of the transparency, so the ink is protected by the plastic. Flipped my Print and Cut project and cut using the same settings as I do for thin .007 craft plastic.
    • Since the transparency is crystal clear with no backing sheet, you need to slip a white piece of paper underneath your mat to be able to see the registration marks for the Print and Cut process.

  • After cutting, I ran the cut shapes through my Xyron sticker machine to apply permanent adhesive on the back of the units.
  • Adhered to the plastic bases, making sure to brayer and squeegee any air bubbles out. Time spent = 3 hours

 

I spent a total of 15 hours over 2 days on this project. I went through 2 -3 times more material than what was needed for the actual end product. Seems excessive for such a simple thing, right? But that whole time, I was learning about new materials and machine settings, problem solving until I had a product that I know will stand up to daily use.

And that is how it is in life, you learn by doing, to not try or give up at the first setback means you never get anywhere or achieve your dreams. So, don’t fear your machine. Keep trying and testing, give yourself permission to make mistakes, because they are just experiments, not failures!

 

Materials

ASA Styrene Sheet – I used the For Sale sign, but blank sheets can be sourced online. White Styrene Sheets .020

KNK Zing/Zing Air/Maxx Air Standard Material Detail Blade

HP Premium Inkjet Transparency Film

Xyron Sticker Machine

 

Maxx Air Settings

Force = 125, Speed = 300, Passes = 1, Blade Height = 25