Simple Thanks

Now is the season of weddings, graduations, transitions.  Giving gifts.  Sending thank you cards (if you have been schooled in politeness).  Why do so many thank you cards have to be bland and innocuous?

These are the thoughts that were running through my head when I designed this simple thank you card for an elementary school teacher.  Rather than give an end of year gift that might get re-gifted or take up space, we gave these cards, which will get put to good use.

Each  card uses two half sheets of different colored paper.  I used simple card stock and vellum for these.  Only one piece, the outside,  gets run through the cutter, the inside is blank and easiest to cut on a paper cutter and run through your score tool.

The design shown below is very simple.  But you can embellish by using different fonts, designs and papers.  Just make sure your papers are of similar weights.  This can be really fun if your outer paper has coordinating designs printed on both sides!  Remember to keep the inner paper solid, so that it can be written on.


Here is how to make one.

First, figure out your card’s size.  I made mine from half sheets.  To have overlap on each side in different colors I made the outside of my card with the cut design 1 inch shorter than the back of the card.  I made the inner solid piece  1 inch shorter in the back.   Here’s the math:

  • total card was 51/2 wide by 4 1/4 tall
  •  each sheet was a total of 5 1/2 x 7 1/4
  •  Outside that was die cut was 3″ in the front and 4 1/4 in the back
  • Inside that is blank was 4 1/4 in front, and 3″ in back
  • Glued together, total card was 5 1/2 by 4 1/4 tall

Begin by designing your outside using the dimensions above, or something equivalent.  Design the front of your card first.  It will look best if you make an irregular edge as it will be shown off against the inner paper.  In my case, I repeated the wave motif.  If you add text, be sure to “stencil” it so that you don’t loose your inner shapes.  Next, measure up about 1/4 inch from the bottom of your outer back piece, and type your message (I used the teacher’s name).  Make this about 1/2 inch tall.  Flip the text so that when you fold it in half, the text will read properly.  You should have 1/4″ margin above the text message (or design, it doesn’t have to be text) once you place the inner sheet in place.


Cut and score your inner solid (non-cut) sheet.  You DO NOT need to score your outer sheet.  Next you put spray adhesive on the wrong side of the outer sheet.  Lay your outer sheet with the bottom message side correctly facing up.  Using a piece of waste paper (boy, don’t we have a lot of that!) cover the message along the bottom to just a 1/2″ above to make sure that no spray adhesive adheres to it.  Spray rest of sheet with adhesive.  Remove waste paper.  Take the inner sheet, and lay the 3″ side just 1/4″ above the bottom message section of your outer sheet and match edges.  Your inner sheet will extend beyond the front section of your outer sheet by 1″.  Brayer.


Using your score mark from your inner sheet, carefully fold your card.  The outer sheet will naturally follow.


Have left over “waste”?  Don’t let it go to waste!  Make some other cards with it.


Mundane to the Maxx

Not every use for the KnK thrills and delights with visual inspiration.  Sometimes I use my KnK for things that have nothing to do with paper.  Actually, come to think of it, I have never used the Maxx for scrapbooking.

This past week I used the Maxx for something very mundane.  Tile templates.  I’m making tiles for a bathroom, and I wanted to be able to cut out the tile shapes and sizes according to the Fibonacci principal.  Using the Make-the-Cut software let me do this easily.  I created squares and circles with the size of their areas reflecting the differing Fibonacci sizes.

Fibonacci: take the previous number and add it to the current number to get the next number in the sequence

Fibonacci: take the previous number and add it to the current number to get the next number in the sequence

Now I can take those cutouts and place them on the floor and walls where I want to tile to see how they will fit, and arrange my pattern accordingly.  Once I have my pattern and tile count determined, I can then go back to the software, and enlarge each shape by the percentage of shrinkage of my clay.  I then cut  templates out of heavy mylar or acetate, and use them as the form that I put on my moist clay.  When they come out of the kiln, their size will be (if I calculated properly) the same as what I used to put up on the wall to work out my initial design.


Mundane?  Yes.   Useful?  Yes!


From Russia with Love


Needing to make a few party favors for a little girl’s birthday, I hit upon the idea of making Matryoshka – Russian nesting dolls.  I decided to make them out of felt, and needed sturdy pattern pieces to trace the design with.  I created the design in MTC, and then printed it out on oaktag as the pattern.  Using MTC was nice because I could easily resize to make a series of them later.  I could have cut them out with the cutter, but it was faster to do it by hand as I was using many different colors of felt to make each one unique.


The pattern was easy to make by using basic shapes and modifying some with the pen tool in the nodes mode.

While I was at it, I decided that this would be good to cut out of paper, too, so I added a few more pieces to the design to make it a paper piecing project.  I didn’t want to dig around for paper.  Ah Ha!   A few brightly colored paint chips were laying on the desk, a perfect size to use.  Now I’m not advocating  that you use paint chips, but hey, they are free and come in every color you want.  Just sayin.


Here are the steps in pictures.


Parts for the Matryoshka:  Top Row L to R – Base, hair, eye/hair, kerchief.  Bottom Row, L to R – mouth, face, flower color, dress.  Small pink piece in middle is a leaf for flowers.

Cut out your parts.  You’ll need a base, a dress section with flowers cut out, a solid dress section the color you want your flowers to be, face, hair if you want a color other than black, eye and hair section, mouth section, kerchief, leaves.

Step 1 - Glue flower color to base

Step 1 – Glue flower color to base

Glue the flower color of dress to base.  Then glue dress with flower cutouts over this.

Step 2 - Glue hair to eye color

Step 2 – Glue hair to eye color

Next make the face.  If you are going to have hair color other than black, glue it onto the black piece.  Then take the face and glue the mouth onto it.  Then glue this onto the hair/eyes.

Glue mouth to face

Glue mouth to face


face and kerchief

face and kerchief

Above you’ll see the completed face and the paint chip that I cut the leaves out of.  Save this piece, along with the leaves.  You will use it as a glue template.


Glue on the kerchief.


Now glue on the leaves.  Using the template (piece of paper) from which the leaves were cut, align it over the flowers, and place glue in each spot.

DSC_0018 Done!



Clover Pin

A few years back I found this post on how to make a Shamrock Pin.  It continues to inspire me!   I made a few pins, but I don’t have much luck with glue guns, I make a mess.  For me, it was hard to put a safety pin on the back and fasten it.   But each year I pull them out and my daughter and I wear them.  The instructions on the post include a free PDF download, and it would be easy enough to make this into a print and cut file and then make them.  But this post is not about how to do that.


orignal pins

orignal pins

With St. Pat’s coming up again, I was wondering what I could do for an inexpensive  project for kids, and the Shamrock pin came back to me.  With a little designing, I realized I could easily make the fixings for multiple pins that small kids could put together themselves, without a glue gun or glitter should they so choose.


clover pin components

clover pin components


The file is posted up on Make-The-Cut Gallery under “Clover Pin” for anyone to download.

if you make some, send me a photo and I’ll add it to this post.

Here’s what the finished ones looked like after some help from first graders.

finished Clover Pins

finished Clover Pins

And in case you don’t have MTC, below are directions for designing your own.  Quick, easy, and inexpensive.  What’s not to like?

Clover Pin Directions – Design and Fabricate

  1. Materials:
  • 6 sheets of card stock or heavy weight paper in mix and match colors
  •      it is a good idea to have the bottom clover of heavy weight stock.
  • #1 safety pins
  • ⅛” brads
  • tape
  • Optional materials:  glitter, clear or white glue, decorative brad.

Leaves:  Open your design software and make sure you have the grid turned on .  Now go to the “import basic shapes” icon (the examples below are from MTC).  Import one heart.

Heart from Basic Shapes

Heart from Basic Shapes

Line that heart up so the bottom point just touches an intersection of grid lines.  Copy and paste in place this one heart, and rotate this second heart until the horizontal grid line upon which the original heart is touching bisects the lobe of the heart. (the arrows are there just to help you visualize).

three hearts aligned to make a shamrock

three hearts aligned to make a shamrock

Make certain that the point of the second heart also just touches the intersecting grid lines.  Select the second heart, copy it, and paste it in place.  Then select this third heart you just duplicated, and without moving it, make a mirror image of it.  Why not move them manually via duplication?  Because they will be a little bit off, and when you go to the next step, welding, you will see that you have lost your symmetry.

Stem:  Using your design tool pen that draws straight lines and bezier curves, make a rectangle and modify one end  to swag to the side.  Alternatively you can import a basic rectangle, turn on show nodes, and modify from there.

Stem showing bezier curve handles

Stem showing bezier curve handles

Position your “stem” over your “leaves” until you are happy with it.

Stem and Leaves

Stem and Leaves

Then select all and weld.

Welded hearts and Stem

Welded hearts and Stem

Now that you have your first clover done, you want to size it.  We’ll layer 6 clovers of varying sizes together.  Just duplicate your first clover (I used 2.5 inches wide) and then make each successive clover about ¼ inch smaller than the last.  Put each clover into its own layer.  But place each clover on top of one another so that they are perfectly nested. Copy, paste in place, select duplicate, resize.  You get the picture. Use your grid lines to help you do this, and blow it up so you can really see it well.  Now you should have 6 layers, each with a clover.

Stacked layers

Stacked layers – note how the crosshairs on each are all over one another.

Brad Hole:  To put all the layers together, we will use a ⅛ inch brad.  Make a 7th layer, and put a ⅛” circle on it.  Align that circle with the intersecting grid lines so that it is right over the center.  You’ll notice it is too close for comfort  to the cut line of the smallest clover, so move it down a bit.  Select your lowest layer, and copy the brad hole and do a paste in place.  This will put the brad hole circle right where the original one is.  With all other layers locked except the lowest layer, select all, and do a Boolean join of B-A to pop that brad hole cut in the center.  Repeat for each clover, pasting in place, selecting all, boolean join.

Brad Hole

Brad Hole with Boolean join

Go back to your bottom layer.  This is where you’ll make your holes for the pin to go through.  I used a #1 safety pin (the size that seem to come home from the dry cleaners).  I made two ovals for the pin to fit through, and did the boolean join as above.

Now you can delete your brad hole layer, and you have 6 clovers.  Duplicate each clover to fit your paper, and cut them out!  If you download the file from the MTC gallery, you’ll find sheets already made to cut multiples from 8 ½ x 11 sheets.

Assembly:  The pins are so easy to assemble, that even a child can do it.  And that was the whole point of the project!  If you plan on doing glitter, do it before you assemble. Put your safety pin through the bottom layer.  Now take your brad, and push it through the smallest clover, stacking successively larger clovers, with the pin clover being last.  Open the brad.

Hope to see your creation!  If you send me a photo, I’ll post it below.

Happy St. Pats!



Valentine Kitchen

Remember making valentines when you were a kid?  Guess what.  Most kids don’t get a chance to do that any more.  But they did today at the Valentine Make and Take party.  It was an easy party to do, and one that can easily be repeated each year.  Just cut up the paper, put out the glue, and make cupcakes.  Come on in to our Valentine Kitchen and see what we cooked up.

Print and Cut - Printed and Cut!

Print and Cut – Printed and Cut!

It all starts a few weeks before the actual date.  You sit in your kitchen and start making your grocery list:

  • vintage die cut valentines
  • heart and cupid shapes
  • X’s and O’s
  • Scored and cut cardstock
  • lots and lots of heart shaped cutouts….
  • Cupcake toppers

Next, you have to do your shopping.  Cutting out hearts and cupids is an easy thing to do.  You can get images as easily as typing!  A quick browser search for “font valentine dingbat” will turn up fonts that have many images that you can use simply by tying within MTC.  No need to do a pixel trace!  How easy it that?  And remember, the simple shapes icon in MTC has many hearts you can easily manipulate.  Don’t forget to find a nice font to cut out your X’s and O’s!

I find that the internet has a great supply of Vintage Valentine images that are high resolution and no longer copyrighted.  Or you scan from your own collection.  Either way, you take those images and put them into Photoshop and make yourself a sheet of repeated images.  Save that as a JPEG, and import it into Make The Cut software.  Just make sure that your sheet image size is ½ inch smaller in length and width than the paper you are going to cut from so there is room for the registration marks.  So a 8 ½ x 11 paper becomes an 8 x 10 ½ JPEG image.

Printed sheets waiting for the cutter.

Printed sheets waiting for the cutter.

Doing so many sheets has made me very confident with Print and Cut.  The first photo in this post shows two cut out.  And take a look at these:

Perfect cutting on the cutter

Perfect cutting on the cutter

Here is my favorite one.  The resolution on it was great, and those little circles cut out are about the size of a pin.  You can see the dots on the sheet example above.  Below you can see that the cutter was accurate enough to cut them all out.  The final size of this was about 3 inches wide.

You can't help but love this one!

You can’t help but love this one!

Cupcake toppers are another easy Print and Cut.  There are lots of nice images to use.   I found some fun ones over at the Graphics Fairy blogspot.  I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t know the Graphics Fairy, but if you don’t, well get over there.  Your head will spin.  The flag cupcake toppers are ones I again manipulated in Photoshop to cram as much as I could on a page, then printed and cut.  The round ones you see below I just printed and used a circle punch.

Valentine Cupcakes with Strawberry Ganache frosting

Valentine Cupcakes with Strawberry Ganache frosting

Now that you have all your ingredients together, you just have to add friends.  In our case they were 4,5, and 6 year olds that created their valentines from the assembled ingredients.  Here they are picking out the items to take from the kitchen.

Choosing ingredients in the Valentine kitchen

Choosing ingredients in the Valentine kitchen

And here are some of the finished pieces hanging up to dry while the chef’s take a break and head out for cupcakes.

Final Valentines

Final Valentines

Lots of love from our Valentine Kitchen to yours!