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!

Name Tags Plus

These name tags were intended to be used for a Fourth of July celebration.  In reality they could be made in any color and used for almost any occasion.  They are very simple and quick to make. Optimized-TagwRibbons Materials Used:

Cardstock in Red, White, and Blue

Paper Glue

Ribbons in various colors/patterns

Silver Glitter Pen

Settings:

Machine Used: KNK 15″ Maxx Air

Cardstocks – Blade=Red cap standard materials blade, Force=50, Speed=100,Passes=1, PIN=25

Instructions:

The three colors of cardstock were cut and layered with the paper glue.  The top layer was stamped with ‘patriotic’ rubber stamps and black ink.  Instead of stamping the top layer, items such as stars or star bursts could be cut from vinyl and used.  The name was cut from white cardstock, embellished with a silver glitter pen, and glued to the top layer.  The name could also be cut from vinyl instead of cardstock.  A hole punched in the upper left corner provides a place to attach ribbons and a bow.

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The longer ribbons can be used to tie the tag to all sorts of things such as a napkin wrapped set of utensils, a drinking glass, a small gift, etc. and serve as place cards.  The tags could also be used as worn name tags by attaching a pin to the back.

You could also make some Fourth of July cupcake wrappers from the files that are on Sandy McCauley’s site.  You will need to scroll down a bit to find the link.  It is a zipped file in several formats and contains other occasion cupcake wrappers in addition to the Fourth of July ones.

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Cutting files for the Flag Tags are here.  Flag Tag Cutting Files_JudyKay

Paper Lantern for a Beach Wedding

CWest_BN_Wedding Reception_Table

My daughter got married last weekend and I crafted my fingers off, creating special gifts and décor for the wedding beach theme. Custom paper lanterns for the reception tables was one of the more complex tasks made easier with my KNK Maxx Air cutting machine.

Materials

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

Force Embossing Tool

KNK Zing/Zing Air large 14″ X 24″ Mat (Blue Grid)

Stardream Cover Weight 105# Paper

Bazzill Cardstock

Gold Vellum

Xyron Adhesive Machine

Double Sided Tape

EK tools Chisel Tip Glue Pen

LED Tea Lights

Adhesive Velcro

Wood bases; ⅝” plywood cut to 5½” squares

Adhesive Velcro

Wood bases; ⅝” plywood cut to 5½” squares

I designed the lantern frame in Make The Cut! and used several purchased SVG files for the overlay units.  (Get your free lantern frame file here! Tall Rectangle Lantern)

After creating a shadow layer of the sand dollar and starfish units. I then welded the shadow layer to the frame along with the coral branch.

Weld

The completed frame was then embossed and cut from the Stardream 105# paper. The score fold lines were embossed first using the Force Embossing Tool and after changing to the Red Blade, the cut layer was executed.

The seahorse, sand dollar and starfish were cut from the Bazzill cardstock in their original sizes. Since the vellum was just simple rectangles I just cut them with a ruler and rotary cutter so I could cut multiple layers of vellum.

I needed to make eleven lanterns. My lanterns were 10” tall and 11.8” wide on each lantern side, so I cut them out in halves. Therefore, I needed to cut 22 lantern halves and each half fit on one piece of the custom size paper I ordered. In addition, each frame needed to be embossed and cut, so machine settings had to be changed at each layer. I also needed 22 seahorses, 22 sand dollars and 22 starfish overlays to complete the project.

That is a lot of mat and paper changing. So to help me remember the settings for each step, I kept the information for each paper type and tool in the Project Notes in the Make The Cut! workspace for the project file. This proved invaluable to help keep the project moving along and it is documented for future use as well.

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Maxx Air Settings

Lantern: Emboss/Score

  • Blade = Force Embossing Tool
  • Force =185
  • Velocity = 200
  • # Passes = 4
  • Blade Offset = 0
  • Lantern: Cut
  • Blade = Red Blade
  • Force =117
  • Velocity = 200
  • # Passes = 2
  • Blade Offset = .25

Seahorse, Starfish and Sand Dollar

  • Blade = Red Blade
  • Force =90
  • Velocity = 200
  • # Passes = 2
  • Blade Offset = .25

Lantern Assembly

  • Pre-fold all score lines on the lantern halves before attaching together.
  • Run the double sided tape on the inside of the lantern around the outside of the rectangle openings in the frame. Apply your vellum “glass”.

Vellum

  • Apply Xyron adhesive to the overlay shapes and then apply to the outside of the frame and vellum.

Assembly

  • Apply double sided tape to a tab and circle the rest of the tab with the liquid glue. Line up and press to adhere. Apply adhesive to the remaining tab and complete lantern.
  • Mount the LED tea lights to the wooden base with Velcro so you can remove them to turn the lights on and off.
  • Slide the completed lantern on the base and you are done!

Bases

The lanterns were a fair bit of work since I did eleven of them, but the tables looked wonderful with the soft glow from the lights. This lantern can be customized to any theme by welding shapes for your special occasion to the lantern frame.

CWest_BN_Wedding Reception_Table

 

 

 

 

 

Woven Backgrounds

I recently saw pictures of some clever cards that used a background of woven strips of paper.  Even though I spend a lot of time cutting pieces of fabric with a ruler and rotary cutter, I knew I would not be able to cut the quantity of same sized strips that would be needed to create a woven background.  But I knew my 15″ Maxx Air would do the job for me.  And it did!!  Quickly and beautifully!

Here is a picture of the first weaving piece.

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Materials Used:

Cardstock

Settings:

Machine used:  15″ Maxx Air

Red (standard material) blade, Force – 70, Speed – 200, 1 pass, 25 PIN

Instructions:

The first thing I needed to do was to create a file of parallel lines which were the distance apart that matched the width of the strips I wanted to create.  This was so very easy using Make the Cut software!

Begin by drawing a straight line the length that you want.  I used the pencil tool and held down the Ctrl key as I moved my cursor to keep the line straight.  If the line isn’t the length you want, you can unlock the padlock for the object dimensions, type in the length, and press enter to change the size of the line.

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To make multiple lines, use the Duplicate function and specify the spacing as the width of the strips.  Remember to add one to the number of lines to get what you want.  For example, if you want 20 strips, draw 21 lines.

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Then position your shape where you want it based on the size of your paper.  I chose to cut 11″ lines on 12″ cardstock so I would have a border all around the strips.  Then I could decide which borders I wanted to remove.  It is much easier to do the weaving when the strips are attached at one end than when they are all loose.  Of course, you can line them up and put some painters tape over one end to hold them also.

Here are some examples of the results of my attempts at weaving.  I used two different colors of cardstock that I thought would photograph well.  You could use more than two colors for your weaving or even use some printed papers instead.  For a formal occasion card it would be attractive to use metallic or even glittered cardstock/paper. Keep in mind that the heavier the paper is, the more difficult it will be to snuggle the woven strips together.  If you are very creative, you could weave a plaid background.  Or even use strips of different widths.

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The two pictures with the pink base are two different pieces of weaving.  The two green photos are actually the back and front of the same piece.

As you can see you would want to put some kind of a frame over the weaving to neaten or dress it up.  To give you some ideas, I used the Cookie Cutter tool in my Adobe Photoshop Elements to “cut out” some shapes,

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So now it is up to you to make your own woven creations.  I remember making paper lanterns when I was in grade school.  By leaving a border all around and cutting strips in the center of your paper you would have what you needed to create a lantern.

Have Fun!!!