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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cropped Recap

I was lucky enough to get to go to Wisconsin to be a part of the live Cropped event last weekend.  Even better I got to be in the "Pro" Cropped Challenge that was held on Saturday.  (I think it's pretty funny that Megan considered me to be a papercrafting "pro")

The first round of the Challenge was to create a card in 25 minutes using the mystery products provided.  The mystery package included: white cardstock, Kraft cardstock, a roll of Snazzy tape, a sheet of Sili-Craftz and....a pop can tab.

Here's the card I made:

I used the Kraft cardstock as the base, wrapped the Snazzy tape around the white cardstock, used a punch to cut the heart shape from the Sili-Craftz sheet, tucked the pop tab behind it and attached it with a brad, and cut the sentiment out of the Snazzy tape using the Expression2.  A little Megan Elizabeth Ink Edgerz in Limelight and some more brads and I was done.

Here are the other 3 entries:
Created by (from left to right): Abbey from the Craft-e-Corner blog, Shawn from Craftychics, and Carrie from Craft-e-Corner.

This round was a tie between my card and Abbey's.  The tie-breaker judge selected my card as the winner for the first round.  Carrie was the first participant "Cropped" from the competition.

The second round of the Competition was to create a scrapbook layout with a fall theme in one hour using the mystery supplies provided.  We were given some fall themed scrapbook paper, 2 sheets of Paperlayerz by Megan Elizabeth, a rhinestone sheet...and a Coca-cola can.  This time I came in second place.  My layout is below on the left.  The cute one on the right is Shawn's from CraftyChics:

Where's the coke can you ask?  I took a little creative license and used the can to round out the corners of the layout.  (Shawn actually cut the word "nice" out of the side of the coke can - genius!)

Abbey won the round with this layout:


Since Shawn came in 3rd place, she was the next one "Cropped".  It was down to just Abbey and I for the home decor themed third round.

We were given a shadow box, some Christmas themed paper, Candi's, puzzle pieces, gold thread, Megan Elizabeth Alpha Stickerz, bubble wrap and only one hour.

Here's my Christmas themed shadow box:

Abbey and I both used the bubble wrap to "stamp" on our projects.  The ornaments and Noel were cut from the Close To My Heart Artiste cartridge.  I made the tree by folding strips of paper and attaching them one on top of each other.  The puzzle pieces are stacked under the tree to give it a little height.

Here's Abbey's very clever project:

She wrapped her shadow box like a present, using the puzzle pieces inside so they made noise when you shook the package - just like a real present!

The vote for the third round went in my favor and I was named winner of the "Pro" Cropped Challenge!  What an exciting and totally fun event!  I hope to be invited back for the next one so I can defend my title :)

Now...Go Scrap Something!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Heat Transfer Vinyl Tutorial

I've been posting on my Britten Linn facebook page all the t-shirts I've been making for myself (and a few for Megan too!) to wear to Cropped! this coming weekend.  Lots of you have asked how I made these shirts, so I've put together a picture tutorial for you that will take you step-by-step through the process.

I have used both my Silhouette Cameo and my Cricut Expression to make t-shirts, but since more people have a Cricut, for this tutorial that's what I'll be demoing.  I'm also going to show you how I did this using my Gypsy, but it's not something you have to have.   I like making my own designs or modifying ones that already exist, so I usually use either my Silhouette software, my Gypsy or even Cricut Craft Room when designing my shirts.  But again....software isn't necessary if you are cutting some of the more basic images.

So here's what you'll need to get started:
1.  T-shirt - preferably cotton or a cotton/poly blend
2.  Heat transfer vinyl.  I buy my vinyl at expressionsvinyl.com for several reasons.  I like the Siser Easy Weed heat transfer vinyl they carry, they offer coupons fairly often, shipping is free over $75, and if you order early they ship it out the same day.  
3.  Iron 
4.  Cricut or other electric die-cutting machine and the image(s) you want to cut.

Today I made a shirt for my friend's daughter.  She loves Monster High and this girly skull from the Rock Princess cartridge is one of my favorites.  Here it is on my Gypsy with her name under it.  The font is Alphalicious.  (I didn't realize at the time that I didn't have her name properly centered.  I'll show you how I fixed that in a minute.)


Since the heat transfer vinyl has to be cut face down, I had to flip the text so Keagan's name would be right when I placed it on the shirt.  I decided to flip the skull too.  On the Gypsy, this is easily done by selecting everything and then hitting the flip vertical button as shown below:


I cut it out in paper first to make sure the sizing is right.  I always cut my t-shirt images out in paper first, just in case I have to make adjustments.  I hate wasting vinyl!  So here's the image and text in paper:


I'm happy with the size, so I get my vinyl ready.  I buy mine in a roll, so I cut only what I need.  Another thing I like about this vinyl is that even though it's stored in a roll, it flattens out completely, which means it sticks nice and even to the Cricut mat:



Heat transfer vinyl has two sides: one shiny and one matte.  The shiny side is the clear, sticky, carrier that the vinyl sticks to until it's transferred.  The matte side is actually the back of the vinyl...the part that is adhered to your shirt.  Make sure you place the vinyl on the mat SHINY SIDE DOWN.  I tried to take a pic of the two sides together, but it's hard to see here.  When you have the vinyl in front of you, it's very easy to see which side is the shiny and which is the matte:


The next thing that I always, ALWAYS do is to do a test cut to make sure I am only getting a "kiss" cut.  You do NOT want to cut all the way through so your image pops out.  You only want to cut the vinyl...not the clear carrier on the bottom.  In the pic below, you can see I tested my blade and pressure settings by using a scrap piece of vinyl and cutting a few circles.  See how I've peeled back the circle?  Under that is the clear carrier (you can see my finger underneath).  This means my blade and pressure are correct.  My blade is currently VERY dull so I had the blade on 4 and the pressure on 3.  A newer blade would've cut straight through everything, so always be sure to do a test cut to avoid wasting vinyl and time.


Once your image is cut, you will need to do some weeding.  Weeding means that you are going to carefully remove the pieces that you do not want on your shirt.  In this case, I'm removing the eyes, nose and bow on the skull.  I'll also remove the inside of some of the letters in Keagan's name (the e, a's, and g).  There is a "weeding tool" that you can buy, but I find that using my paper piercer to pull up the vinyl away from the carrier works just fine.   You will also need to remove all of the excess vinyl around the edge of the image.  All that you want left is what is going to be placed on your shirt.



Since I wanted to include a bow in a different color, I cut one separately using a glittery heat transfer vinyl (I was gifted this vinyl and am not sure of the manufacturer, so I apologize).  Unlike the white Easy Weed vinyl, the glitter vinyl is very thick and does not lay flat on the mat, so I had to tape it down:


When I had everything cut and placed on the t-shirt, that was when I noticed Keagan's name wasn't centered.  No big deal...I just cut it off from the rest of the image and placed it where I wanted it.


Now you're ready for the heat!  Most vinyls can be transferred with a regular household iron and firm even pressure, but make sure you check with the manufacturer before purchasing...just to be sure.

My husband found a professional heat press for me on Craig's List some time ago.  This rusty old dinosaur of a machine sat in the garage for many, many months before I moved it to my craft room so I could really start testing it out.  If you've ever gone on vacation - especially to the beach - this is what the souvenir shops use to make the t-shirts with the funny (and usually inappropriate) sayings on them.



Here's the shirt all lined up on the press.  Expressionsvinyl.com also sells a re-usable paper sheet for .80 that I put over my designs before applying the heat.  (I think it's just parchment paper but I'm not entirely sure).  This step isn't really necessary for one layer designs like this, but I like the thought of protecting the shirt and design a bit:

I had already set the temperature (based on what the vinyl manufactuerer recommended) on the press earlier, so it was hot and ready to go.  I lowered the top of the press and locked it in place.  Mine has a timer, but since it's only 13 seconds, I just count it out:


When the time is up, remove the paper protector and carefully peel away the clear carrier sheet.  It is HOT so be careful!  If you find that some of the vinyl is sticking to the carrier and lifting away from the shirt, carefully place it back down and re-press for a few more seconds.


And here is Keagan's finished shirt.  I hope she likes it.   I love that pink sparkley bow!

This vinyl is machine washable.  I wash mine inside out in cold water and hang to dry.  

What do you think??  Think you'll be giving this stuff a try??

Now.... Go Scrap Something!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Altered Tins

In keeping with my recent obsession with all things Halloween, I fell in love this Magic Potions stamp set from Close To My Heart.  It coordinates with the new CTMH Artiste Cricut cartridge which has quickly become my #1 favorite out of the 60+ cartridges I currently own.

I knew I wanted to make some home decor with these label stamps so I started looking around for inexpensive glass bottles that I might be able to attach these to.  But then my friend Darlene and I were browsing Michael's last week and I spotted these tins in the clearance aisle for just $.99 each:


I have a rooster-themed kitchen anyway, so I liked them just how they were. But then I realized they would be perfect for my Magic Potion labels.

Here's how they turned out:
Aren't they adorable?!?!?

The pattern paper, stamps, ink and baker's twine is all from Close To My Heart.  The orange cardstock is Coordinations.  The black lace and dimensionals are Stampin Up!.  The bat is from Creative Imaginations and the tiny black pearls are KaiserCraft.

Here's some more pics:




Now...Go Scrap Something!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Upcycled Halloween Tray

I've been holding onto these wood trays from a couple Melissa & Doug puzzles my girls have....just waiting for the right project.  Here's what they looked like before:
I was going to paint both and make two trays for Halloween, but I decided to just use the yellow one for now and save the pink one for another holiday (I'm thinking Christmas maybe...?)

I bought a can of black spray paint at Walmart for a buck and just kept layering coats of paint until the yellow was fully covered.  I found the easel at the Dollar Tree but it was brass, so I spray painted that too.

Then I just started crafting!  I was gifted with the Lost & Found Halloween collection from My Mind's Eye at Summer CHA, so I went with those colors as my theme.  I had also just bought the Howlstooth & Scaringbone Designer Paper from Stampin Up! and those colors coordinated perfectly with the MME set.  I unearthed some fabulous Halloween-ie embellishments from my stash - like this felt tree from Close To My Heart:


I also knew I wanted to make some embellishments from my new CTMH Artiste cartridge...like this 3-D coffin and the tombstones.  The orange and white Chevron paper is from SU! and I love it so!



All of the metal emellishments - like this crown, the cross on the coffin and the gargoyle next to the tombstone- are all brads from Marah Johnson that I picked up at a Scrapbook Expo years ago for $1.  I love when I have the chance to scrap my stash!


Here's the fancy Instagram pic of my finished tray:


Do you get all crafty at Halloween too?  I have a serious fascination with making Halloween decor.  I just love the colors and the spooky themes.   Here's a link to what I made last Halloween - which included a mini version of this tray in different colors.

Hope you enjoyed!

Now...Go Scrap Something!