Sugar Skull Banner

 

When a beloved co-worker and best friend moves on to pursue exciting personal opportunities, what do you do? Have a surprise party and wish them the best! Staff and close friends were asked to contribute to fill a treasure box with cards and small gifts to show our love and appreciation for her service. Cathy has many signature styles in her art and many of the gifts reflected these themes. One recurring theme in her work is sugar skulls, so I decided to make a banner to decorate her studio.

I collected sugar skull SVGs from several websites and modified them where necessary to cut well in paper. Then I created two shadow layers of each skull, one smaller and one ¼” larger. The skull and the larger shadow layer were cut twice, both in white and black cardstock. The smaller shadow layer I cut in a brightly colored cardstock.

Materials

Cardstock, Ribbon, Glue and staples

Maxx Air Settings

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

Force = 75, Speed = 200, Passes = 1, Blade Height = 25

Assembled the skulls by sandwiching the inner color layer between the skull front and back. To create the hanger for each skull, I cut a 1” x 5” strip of card stock, folded in half and attached at 8” intervals along my hanger ribbon. The hangers were centered on the back of the skulls and glued in place. Added some bright ribbon tassels on the ends to finish off the banner.

 

Cathy was overwhelmed by the treasure box and has added all our gifts to her studio décor as a daily reminder of the friends that support her in her new venture. I hope she smiles every time she looks at her sugar skull banner.

 

Rock-It Rhinestone Flock

 

Who doesn’t like sparkles? Adding rhinestones to a quilt gives it an extra pizzazz and grabs your attention. Rock-It Rhinestone Flock makes creating hundreds of rhinestone designs easy.

Hot fix crystals are a fun way to add sparkle to your quilts, but it can be tedious applying thousands of crystals one by one. Using a rhinestone placement template, you can recreate a design across several areas of your quilt while applying multiples all at once. On most of my quilts I average 3000 to 5000 crystals in various sizes. Rhinestone templates help speed up the process by days!

Rock-It Rhinestone Flock is easily cut with KNK cutting machines. Rhinestone SVG files are designed replacing cut lines with small holes corresponding to the standard crystal sizes. Most cutting design software programs like Sure Cuts A Lot, have a rhinestone tool to help automate this process turning a regular design or font into a rhinestone outline or even a filled object.

Materials

Rock-It Rhinestone Flock

Rhinestone Transfer Tape

Maxx Air Settings

Blue Blade, Force + 60-75, Speed = 400, Passes = 2, Blade Height = 25

Force Settings

KNK Force Thick Material Blade, Blade Tension = 2, Passes = 2, SD = 50, CD/ED = 50, CS = 25.

Remove the flock material from the backing sheet and apply directly to the mat before cutting. This helps the weeding much easier as when you pull the flock from the mat the circles remain.

Once the template is cut and weeded, apply the sticky side of the material to a backing board. You can use cardstock or the original carrier sheet for your backing. To use the template pour some rhinestones on and sweep into the holes with a brush. Pick up your design out of the template with a sticky heat resistant Rhinestone Transfer Tape. This allows you to place your crystal motif onto the quilt and use an iron to heat set the crystals all at once!

Vinyl Sorcery for Disney MagicBands!

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We took a family trip with our adult kids to Disney World during Christmas vacation. Instead of tickets and hotel keys, Disney issues these wristbands called MagicBands, that interact with the park entries and hotel rooms. They can even be used to purchase food and souvenirs at the parks.

You can purchase special MagicBands with Disney characters, but what is the fun in that? I can make it myself! So, I decided to make the trip more memorable by customizing our MagicBands to suit each family member.

We each chose a Disney movie or favorite park attraction to personalize our MagicBands. In all the designs, I sought to invoke the feel of the theme, not a direct copy of a licensed Disney graphic. Finding inspiration was easy, scaling the designs to fit a 7” by ¾” canvas was not! I played around with a few templates I found free online and finally redesigned one that works great, which I have provided as a free file.

Materials

Disney MagicBands

Vinyl – I used several different types of vinyl I had on hand. Such as Gemstone Metallics and Oracal 651

Clear Transfer Tape

 Maxx Air Settings

Force = 42, Speed = 300, Red Blade, Passes = 1, Blade Height = 25

  • Open the MagicBand Templates project/SVG file.
  • Select your graphics and size to fit the template. You can choose to size your graphics or text to fit within the borders of the template or to hang over the edges for an overlay effect. (Note that one side of the MagicBand has holes for the closure. You can create a design that avoids them or just punch holes through the vinyl after application.)
  • Join all your graphics. Place the template on a separate layer and hide.

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  • If you are doing an overlay effect, join all your individual graphics. Next select both the graphic and the template and perform a Boolean Join – Intersect.

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  • Add a weeding rectangle and join.
  • Cut!
  • Weed excess vinyl. Apply Clear Transfer Tape and then transfer vinyl to MagicBand. Since the MagicBands are curved and cannot be laid down flat, I draped them over my roll of transfer tape to support them while applying the vinyl. I also found it was easier to apply the Mickey head separately from the band design.

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Our MagicBands were a fun, unique fashion accessory customized for each family member. We got many compliments at the park on our wearable works of art!  Can you guess the movie or park ride the bands represent? magicband-detail-all_opt

 

Merry Christmas Cards – Mylar, Foil and Bling, Shiny!

In this day of electronic communication, I still like to say Merry Christmas the old fashion way with Christmas cards. Since getting my KNK Maxx Air, I love to make my own special cards for family and friends. This year I took some purchased SVG cut files designed by Daniela Angelova and added my own shiny touches to them with foil and Mylar.

Mylar cards

Materials

Embossed Cardstock
Mylar
Foil
Pre-cut card base
Adhesive (I used my Xyron sticker machine)
Embellishments
SVG Cut Files from; http://digiplayground.com

Maxx Air Settings

Pearl Embossed Cardstock
Force = 70, Speed = 300, Red Blade, Passes = 1, Blade Height = 25
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  1. Using pre-cut 5″x5″ cards, I printed the Merry Christmas sentiment inside the cards with a laser printer.
  2. Layer heat reactive foil over the words and run through Minc machine, or a laminator machine to activate the foil adhesion and make the words shiny!
  3. Set up SVG files in Make the Cut to maximize paper. Cut shapes using the appropriate settings for your paper type.
  4. Run cut shapes through Xyron adhesive sticker machine, or use the glue of your choice.
  5. Apply cut shapes to metallic Mylar and trim to outer edges of shape.
  6. Run through Xyron again (or apply adhesive to back of Mylar that is now adhered to the cut shape).
  7. Apply to card base (Pre-cut 5”x5” cards). I set up a jig to make sure I lined everything up just right.
  8. Add any additional embellishments for a special touch!

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Adding the shine really made my project stand out. This card project was fun and an easy way to use many of my creative “toys”!

Custom Quilting Line Stencils

I am working on new class samples for a workshop I teach, Custom Cuts, which introduces quilters to the many ways a computerized cutting machine can be a valuable tool in their quilting studio.

Stencils for fabric painting or wax resist work are often closed shape objects where you need to mask off the negative space. Quilters however, also use stencils to mark the lines of stitching used in quilting the three layers of a quilt together. You can purchase many designs from quilt stencil vendors, but if you need a special size or an original design, you will need to make your own. Traditionally, this is achieved by hand-cutting with a stencil blade the narrow channels that represent the stitching lines.

The challenge to do this by machine is to draw these channels or slots that the marking pen rides in without too much distortion. One of the fastest is to simply create a shadow layer of the object that is ½ the width of the desired channel size. Note that your design must be an open, not closed object. You want to create a shadow around the line itself not the design.

  1. In Make The Cut!, I found that a shadow layer of .025” produces a channel wide enough to accommodate a standard quilt marking pen, and a shadow layer of 0.017” works well for fine line marking pens.
  2. Separate the original design from the Shadow Layer and hide.
  3. Using the Eraser Tool in the Node Editing toolbar, erase portions of the shadow line to create the breaks necessary to hold the cut portions of the stencil together. I used an eraser width of 1 mm.
  4. Join the edited design to a rectangle to complete the stencil.
  5. Note that once created, the stencil SVG cannot be resized as that will also change the size of the marker channels.
  6. Cut!

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I tested on a few different materials, a pliable quilters stencil plastic that comes in a roll and a more rigid stencil plastic. Both material types are readily available from sewing and craft stores.

Best results are achieved when using the Extra Sticky Mat (Green Grid) to firmly hold the plastic sheets in place. I also taped the edges for extra security.

Maxx Air Settings

Blue Stencil Plastic (pliable)

Extra Sticky Mat (Green Grid), tape edges

Force = 110, Speed = 270, Red Blade, Passes = 1, Blade Height = 25

Hard Stencil Plastic

Extra Sticky Mat (Green Grid), tape edges

Force = 130, Speed = 80, Red Blade, Passes = 2, Blade Height = 25

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To use your new stencil, lay it over the area of the quilt top you wish to mark, insert marker into channels and mark quilt. Now you have lines to follow to add some special quilting designs to your quilt!