Saturday, 30 January 2016

A5 'Dress Up Mice' Unmounted Rubber Craft Stamp (SP005097)

Just a quick word this morning to let you know of an exciting development!

I've often looked at polymer stamp collections and thought I could do that - and indeed I do make them for my personal use. However, it is just not viable to make them for sale unless I were to charge more than I think people are willing to pay. So I have teamed up with a British company, providing them with designs to put on products.  I am an artist at heart but getting art out there in the big world is not an easy thing.  This way, I provide the designs and they make the products, I get a small commission on each one sold but then, I don't have any costs to consider, other than my time.

Anyhow, I think this Un mounted Rubber Stamp Set is as cute as can be, I hope you do too.

Let me know what you think!

Friday, 29 January 2016

Make an Elevated Pop Up Card

It seems that February for me, is full of Birthdays! I think I have more in this one month than any other. So, it is a challenge to find a card type that I didn't send out last year, something with a surprise to it.
This time, I have gone for different types of card for each person, one of them is getting an Elevated Pop Up card. These cards have a platform inside, that holds all the pop ups, while the card base folds
out completely flat when opened. Neat hmm?

  Now the card base may look simple in construction, as indeed it is - but there are pitfalls when making for the first time. I have made a Video to explain some of them - and two more before that, dealing with the designing of the base file and image types you may want to use for the inside.






This card is finished off with only some simple cut outs, sentiment, a few gold stars and some gold foam (helps to weigh the ends down!) but you can make it as complicated as you wish.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

How to Design an Accordion Flip Card in Sure Cuts a Lot

I have made a video to go with these instructions.  I wouldn't say they are hard to make but if you go about it the wrong way it can be a lot harder than it needs to be. It is more the order of doing things that makes a difference!

This will show you how to design your own file to your own size and shape requirements, and keep a base file to use in future.


  1.  Create the basic shapes all in one go to save time and frustration.
  •  Outer frame     x3
  • Inner frame      x3
  • Float shape       x2
  • Hinge pairs       x2
  • Tab for float    x2      

    2)   Create both a horizontal and vertical line and centre them to the page. Lock them in place.

   3)   Create outer frame by centering to the page, lining up the hinges as you wish and then making a union. Lock that shape.

  4)  Centre the float to an inner frame and check the sizing. Keeping it centred, exclude the path. Position the tab and subtract one path from the other (for some reason mine thinks the tab is behind!)

  5) Centre the result of that to the page.

  6)  With eraser set to circle 1.5cm and keep closed paths box ticked - erase a centre path for the swivel (as in the video). Do this at the centre of inner frame, centre top of shape and also at the resulting point between the two.  This dimension is just the right size to provide a sturdy swivel mechanism. The arrows on the diagram below point at the 3 places to erase on the lower part.

Notice on this one I had not locked my vertical line, so part of that vanished too!


  7) Unlock the horizontal guide and use it to make the tiny cuts in the swivel area (as in the video). Duplicate the cuts for the bottom one, and flip them upside down before locating.

These tiny cut lines are what allows the swivel action.
  8) Use the vertical guide in the same way to make the SCORE lines. Remember to change the colour of these so you don't cut them by accident! Mine are in pink here. The guide line is already going through the centre, where you need it.

There are numerous videos on how to do the actual construction but basically you keep adding as many panels as you want, leaving the last one without the hinges.

Decor panels can be made from the bits left over - remember to think if you need to make offsets of these. You may want to make the panels a fraction narrower to accommodate the hinge but if you do, separate the inner and outer frame to make sure you don't make the inner one smaller too!

Now that you have created your version, you should find you still have the original parts to save as the start of another. It will save you time in the future.

EDIT :

You can even do a double spin, or more if the card is large enough!  To make that less complicated to fathom out, ignore the above tiny cuts and score marks and do those by hand after cutting, it will only take a minute.
Just add another 'frame' shape and knock through the middle of it with the eraser. Like this
Unused tabs are trimmed off, they are only necessary for the hinged section, panels are kept with the tabs on the right only.

And this is what you get..
This is where the tabs are joined. Depending on shape and size of your tab, you can squeeze them together or overlap and fold the middles.

Obviously, you would normally use matching or toning card and decorate it - but this is the plain cut - out of scrap double sided card. Note the tabs on the right have been trimmed off - leave them on for more pages.




Here it is folded flat.





Friday, 22 January 2016

Flip/Swing Cards

I've noticed that there are companies out there making dies for Flip/ Swing cards. There are various tutorials on using them and more again on people using dies they already have for doing the same thing.

For us plotter users though, there did not seem to be much information around as to how to design one for yourself, with whatever shape you like.
Well, we can't have that, can we?

These cards are, if you take a close look, relatively simple but they do have a few specific things to take care of.  The most important thing is that your cut out shape needs to be symmetrical - at least side to side, for it to work well.



The fold on the left needs to go through the centre of your cut out shape, the other one can be moved around. (Note - this diagram is NOT a finished design!)  You will need to play around with the position of the cut out and work out where you want it to be but generally it is near the left edge of the card.




The other main issue is cutting designer papers to accommodate the folds and the cut out shape. In the video I show the process using the Knockout feature of SCAL4, which makes it so much easier to line up!
WARNING!  If you are using a patterned card base and a lining paper, you need to take account of the fact that plotter users generally cut things face up. If you are doing that, your lining may need to be reversed in the software or cut upside down, one or the other. For example, even if using a circle, if you don't have it positioned in the centre vertically, your paper may not fit the right way up!

Video

 So have fun with these, they can be very effective. This is one that I forgot to centre the cut out on.
Looks ok like this..

But not quite right when closed...:)



Monday, 18 January 2016

Product mentions - not sponsored!



Phew! It has been a busy time, family over for Christmas and a friend over shortly after!

So it has been quiet on here even though I have been crafting, I've not had chance to post.

My Christmas list was, as usual, full of craft items - hey if I don't give out ideas, I may get odd things like clothing or something!

I now have a completed set of markers, which is absolutely fabulous and more of my polymer stamp making liquid..

A couple of other things I got, a set of Pearl Ex pigment powders from Jacquard and some Pilot Parallel pens for calligraphy.

The powders are pearlised pigments in a very fine powder form. They can be mixed into any liquid medium or brushed dry onto something damp. They do not contain a binder, so you add that yourself.

I think they are great fun, beautiful colours and create interesting effects. Great for those who want to add some colour and shine.

In the video I also show you a little gizmo I found, just right for stamp cleaning.

Now, the Parallel pens, also in the video, have a bit of an issue, in that the ink feathers badly. I have written to the company to ask for assistance, I shall wait to see how they reply.

UPDATE - The reply from the company said that it is partly due to the amount of ink the pens put down and partly the paper. Although they could not recommend any in particular, they suggested using watercolour paper for its absorbency.

Here are some recent cards.



This heart one is my version of a Jennifer McGuire card, she really is a great talent!

The lady getting this one, loves owls. We found some owl pegs and I have added magnets to them too! The card is a designer one that is normally hard to find a use for but it suits this beautifully.



A simple mat of the tag provides just the right amount of focus.

Simple, effective and quick, made from scraps, cards suitable for men!


Friday, 8 January 2016

Two in One Post!

Well, the Christmas season is now over and things are beginning to get back to normal - although I have another friend arriving on Sunday for  a week!

The first bit of this post is about box cards, the type that looks like a jack in the box. Now I am not going into the making of them, just a mechanism to make them pop up when they are taken out of the envelope.

A file  for it is here, it's simple to make and gives a great result. See what it looks like in this video here


The second thing I wanted to talk about is POLYMER stamp making.  Now I have done a couple of posts before on this, but having got some new resin and practised for quite a while, I wanted to update the information. So there is a new video.

The normal method of making a negative for making these stamps is using a special OHP film, designing the lines in white and printing the negative of them.

While I agree, this is most likely the best option for easy results, it is not always an option. In Spain, this stuff is hard to find and expensive, not to mention the amount of printer ink that would be used. Add to that, my newish printer does not support printing on it! (I checked with Canon).

So, I needed to find a way to make the negatives by cutting with my Silver Bullet.

I found a good quality black vinyl (be wary, not all are equal - and some are very transparent if you take the backing off!) that is easy to cut and blocks MOST light. Maybe not as good as a professional negative but still usable. I cut it out by taking off the backing, sticking it on to transparent plastic and kiss cutting the design.

The design is cut out so that the lines I want to stamp are weeded out, leaving the black surrounding it. You want to leave a good border to stop excess light getting in when under the lamp.

The sandwich is made with a glass square,  the design (plastic side up, so reverse the design in software); the damming strip containing the resin, another piece of plastic and finally another piece of glass.  If you forget to reverse the design, you can use it face up, it just takes more effort to clean it if you think you may want to re use it! This resin is REALLY sticky. Think honey on steroids.

This is put under the lamp for 27 seconds on the back, then 2 min 10 seconds on the front, if I am doing fine lines. For bulkier designs, I take it down to 20 or 25 seconds on the back.

In the video, I do explain that the process is a bit time sensitive and go into more detail.

After the time is up, the stamp is washed out and then cured again for a few minutes and peeled away from the plastic backing.

(It is worth noting that if you have any shop bought polymer stamps that are too sticky, putting them in a very shallow water bath under the lamp will make them less so.)  The lamp is a standard nail gel UV lamp.

Doing this is really ONLY for the enthusiast with time to spare. Getting the timing right will depend on the quality of your negative (my front timing has to be cut to the bone or it will lose detail); the type/brand of resin you use, the lamp (older lamps will take longer) and the temperature of the gel to start with! Many variables. I always pre warm my lamp for 180 seconds before getting the gel out.

There is no way you are going to make money at this with this amateur set up, you can't make enough at a time for a start but it is quite satisfying to see your own work take shape before your eyes. Even with the help I give here, it will be a case of trial and error before you get a working stamp.

If you do try it and succeed though, there is nothing quite like the feeling of satisfaction! It appeals to the kid in me, the reveal when you find out if it has worked or not..:)