Each year in August I eagerly search the magazine racks at stores looking for a publication titled “Holiday Crafts” by Better Homes and Gardens. It contains craft ideas for Halloween through Christmas. Some years I like the projects better than others but I usually find something in there that grabs my interest. This year it was a house and a church constructed of “lightweight cardboard”. It sounded to me like the perfect application for the chipboard from KNKUSA. Since my 15″ Maxx Air had recently arrived this was going to be a good project to use to learn my new machine.
The first challenge was to get the diagrams from the pattern sheet included in the magazine into the format I needed for cutting. That process involved scanning the pattern pieces into Adobe Photoshop Elements, combining pieces that wouldn’t fit in one scan, enlarging the pattern pieces to 150%, and saving the pieces in PDF format. I attempted to use the pixel trace feature of the Make The Cut software but found that even though the drawings of the pieces looked square and straight on the pattern sheet, after they were scanned and enlarged, they needed some adjusting. Using my KNK Studio software, I manually traced the pieces and adjusted them until I was satisfied with them. Then, since the Maxx Air can only cut from the Make The Cut software, I copied and pasted in place all of the pieces for the two buildings.
Finally I was ready to cut my chipboard. Using a blue cap blade (thick material blade) in my Maxx blade holder, a force of 165, a velocity of 85, a blade offset of .35, and two passes, it was done. After cutting all of the pieces from chipboard, I decided that I would like the look of the windows if they were cut from cardstock instead of the chipboard. So those were cut with a red cap blade (standard material blade) in my Maxx blade holder, using a force of 60, a speed of 150, a blade offset of .35, and one pass.
When everything was cut, this is what I had.
The pieces on the left side of the picture are for the church and those on the right side are for the house. At the top right of the picture are several long strips that have been scored down the middle. Those are pieces that I added to be use as ‘joining strips”. The pattern was drawn such that in most cases pieces would be glued together with only the thickness of the chipboard for gluing surfaces. To me that was courting disaster and frustration big time so I created the “joining strips” to be glued inside of the joins to reinforce them. The “joining strips’ were cut to the desired length and folded in half lengthwise so they were rather like angle iron inside of the building. Some of the areas I used them in are shown in this photo.
The chipboard pieces needed to be covered with patterned paper. I decided it was going to be easier to do that manually rather than attempt to create a cutting file that would accurately fit the pieces after they were assembled. Actually, the paper was applied during the assembly process for the 4 sided pieces such as the house, the chimney, the church, and the steeple. This is because when putting the paper around the piece, there needs to be additonal paper to go around the corners. So I glued paper on one side, folded the piece at the correct angle, glued the paper to the next side, and continued until all sides were covered. Then after the gule dried, I used a craft knife to cut out the openings using the openings in the chipboard as a guide. I would recommend using a “dry” adhesive rather than a water based glue when applying the paper. The water based glue soaks into the chipboard and it can end up warped a bit out of shape when it dries which doesn’t help when fitting the pieces together. Been there done that!
The edges of the pieces and the openings were darkened with some Walnut Ink by Tsukineko on a felt pad. The windows were glued into the openings and backed by pieces of velum. The buildings were assembled using a quick dry adhesive rather than the dry adhesive because I believed it to create a stronger bond.
Each building sits on a platform with sections of fence cut from the chipboard at the two front corners. These platforms are also covered with patterned paper before the buildings are glued to them. I added joining strips to the bottom edges of the buildings before gluing them to the platforms.
A little snow on the roofs (grated styrofoam stuck to some dry adhesive), some minature evergreen trees, and a tissue paper garland and the house and church were complete.
The tissue paper garland was created by cutting strips of ordinary tissue wrapping paper into 1″ strips, stacking 6 strips on top of one another, and using a sewing machine to stitch down the center over a light weight wire using a narrow zig zag stitch. The edges of the strips were cut like fringe almost up to the wire. The strips were applied to the edges of the platforms using very tacky double sided tape. The fringe was then fluffed out so it resembled snow.
There is an opening in the back of each building so a light can be inserted giving the structures a glow as in this picture.
This was a labor intensive project. The chipboard cuts well and is easy to work with. Maybe by next Christmas I will have found or created some patterns for different buildings so I can have a whole village.
Wishing all of you a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!