Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Harvest Wreath Stencil Table Topper Tutorial

Here is a tutorial for a stenciled Thanksgiving table topper 
using this new wreath design
available from SnapDragon Snippets 
through the Silhouette America online store.
The original design size is just under 12"x12", but it is also presented as a quarter "repeatable" design portion for making a larger wreath in sections.

The tutorial will focus on creating an enlarged wreath that is 
larger than the cutting mat can contain.
Registration markings allow the quarter section to be
cut separately, then carefully placed one by one around a quarter-marked 
fabric center and stencil painted.

1. Download the file, ungroup so that the quarter section
can be manipulated by itself, then scaled (size enlarged or reduced).
This screen shot shows the original quarter section on the right,
and the enlarged (or scaled) section on the cutting mat.
By comparing the whole wreath size (approx. 11.9" wide)
to the size I want to make (14" wide), I can run the formula to determine 
the enlargement percentage.
(Formula: target size 14" divided by beginning size 11.9" = 117% approx.)
This 117% is entered into the scaling tool percentage box 
(visible in the right hand panel above).

2. Arrange the adjusted cut file on your Studio screen for best use of vinyl product you are using. Change cut setting for vinyl, and send the job to cut. (You will need to cut four for the complete wreath.) I like to use a cutting mat when I cut vinyl, and I have left my vinyl roll uncut. I will trim efficiently once the design has been cut.

3. This tutorial uses clear stencil vinyl from Silhouette America's online store (or Archivers also carries this product in some stores). It unfortunately is fairly expensive, and only 9 inches wide. Clear transfer tape is included in the same package. For my 14" wreath with 4 nine inch repeats to cut, I will use the entire 36" length.

4. Weed the cut stencil design from the "background". This is "backwards" from the process of preparing regular vinyl, so it may require some steady and concentrated thinking to leave the parts that MASK OFF the surface where the paint in the project SHOULD NOT BE APPLIED.

5. Locate the cross lines and single line registration marks on the cut vinyl. Use an ink pen (ball point may smear less than a felt liner) to mark the cuts for better visibility when aligning on the media later in the process.

(I am using a straight edge in the image, but this is not really necessary.)

6. Remove paper backing from the clear transfer sheet and smooth transfer sheet into place over the weeded stencil vinyl design. I like to release a little of the transfer sheet along one edge, apply it to the side of the design vinyl, then continue to apply and release across until it is all in place. It is easier to handle and avoid having one "grabby" sticky sheet.

7. Use a scraper tool to burnish across the whole design. This will help the vinyl adhere to the transfer sheet.

8. Remove the vinyl from its paper carrier by carefully rolling off the transfer sheet. Because this is a delicate design, watch to make sure all the separate shapes (leaf vein, pod top scallop shape and crescents, acorn sawtooth inner shape, etc.) transfer in correct position.

9. Find the center of the surface to which the stencil will be applied. To do this with my linen fabric square, I fold in half and then into quarters and crease the corner through all folds by finger pressing.

Here you can see the center cross hair creases that mark my center.

10. Place a temporary piece of tape at center and ink a cross exactly over the folds for better visibility.

Use a gridded ruler tool to extend the cross hair markings to approx. 8" beyond center on each of the four "directions". I have placed another piece of masking tape to hold my marks temporarily.

11.  Locate the center cut/inked mark on the vinyl. For this project and vinyl section, the mark can be seen near my thumb.

Position the vinyl center mark exactly over the tape/penned center mark, and at the same time align the side registration line on the extended tape/penned line mark.

Apply pressure over all the stencil, and burnish well with a scraper tool or credit card edge. Peel back the transfer sheet to reveal the stencil, taking special care at all the tiny individual pieces and delicate edges to make sure they transfer, and do not tear. 

12. Use masking tape to tape across the edges of the stencil to protect the non-covered portion of the media (fabric in this project) from stencil paint. Apply more tape rows if a larger margin is desirable for adequate protection.

13. Apply your stencil medium. I am using acrylic stencil paste by Delta, with a stencil brush. 

Use conventional stenciling brush technique (brush toward the center of an open design area to avoid scraping paint under the stencil surface). In the image you can see how the paint is coloring the fabric, but is masked from the vinyl-covered areas. This step is a bit like magic! So fun to see the design "re-appear"!

14. When the first section is dry, remove the stencil and protective tape at edges. You will need to use a tool like the weeder, or tweezers, etc., to remove the small separate pieces like the leaf vein seen still in place here. 

Repeat the prep and placement process for stencil section 2, paint, let dry, remove stencil. Then repeat for sections 3 and 4, one at a time.

15. Here is my completed stenciled wreath. 

Of course, the easier way to complete the stencil is by cutting the whole design as one unit. In that version, you would need a larger size Silhouette cutting mat, and also a stencil medium that is that wide. Though I have no experience to back the notion up, I believe regular stencil vinyl would also work for the process. It is NOT clear, but is wider.

Hope this process presentation provides some fuel for your imagination. What other stenciling designs would you like to see in the Silhouette online store? Either request a design through the online store, or email me with your request or idea, and we will see what can be done. hearthsewnpatterns(at)yahoo(dot)com

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Maple Leaf 3D Box Tutorial

Dimensional maple leaf box is cut and built from card stock
using a purchased design download from SnapDragon Snippets
through the Silhouette America online store.
Separate echoed accent shape goes on the top. Follow the tutorial
steps which follow to prepare the box, then use it to hold treats
or trinkets for yourself or a favorite friend or love one.
This design is especially nice for helping our neighbors to the north
celebrate the maple leaf motif!

If you want to decorate the box lid for individual style,
check out the four maple leaf assortment cut file
that includes a Canadian tribute.

Or decorate the box lid with purchased silk flower blossoms
and ribbon as you see here.

Step 1. Identify and cut the box pieces you will need. In this image is the largest leaf shape for the LID and the echo leaf shape for the lid accent. The boxing strip shapes for LID surround, in the approximate TOP, RIGHT, BOTTOM & LEFT positions where they will be attached. Small symbols within end tabs show which ends join. The BASE has nearly the same cut shapes, including a leaf shape that is slightly smaller than the LID, with wider boxing strips that also have symbols to match for glue-up order.
Here you can see the difference in sizes of the larger LID leaf and the slightly smaller BASE leaf shapes.

(The BASE will be illustrated in these steps.)                                                                           Step 2. Join the boxing strips in symbol-matched order into one long strip, starting with bottom strip (square & hexagon). Fold the strips at perforations following the outward (points) or inward (valleys) folding direction that matches the leaf shape. One good way to do this is to find the center of the bottom strip that aligns at the bottom of the stem, then match the perforations and the angles workings away from center on each side. Fold top rim tabs back and glue in place at each section between perforations, LEAVING  the "no-tab" end unglued.

Re-fold and pinch to crease the strip to give folds a crisp crease.

Step 3. Attach tab to backside of BASE leaf shape stem. apply pressure until glue is secure. 
 Step 4. Apply glue to the pair of tabs next to the stem. Fold/push back into alignment with corresponding edges of leaf shape and attach to backside.

 Fold/push back into alignment with corresponding edges of leaf shape and attach to backside.

Apply pressure until glue is secure. Once the "solo" end pair of edges are attached, work on the opposite side of the stem to attach pairs of strip tabs to corresponding leaf edges.

As the construction continues, use a long skinny tool like a knitting needle to help provide pressure along the tab(s) being glued into place.

Step 5. Continue to glue the edge tabs to the BASE leaf shape working in pairs. When you reach the end of the strip, apply glue to the last bottom tab AND to the end tab at the same time. Slide the tabs and edges into place simultaneously, and apply  pressure until glue is secure.

NOTE that the rim reinforcement tab at the upper left remains unfolded. It will be folded and glued in place in the next step.

Step 6. Apply glue and fold the last rim tab over into place. Hold in place. 

Step 7. Repeat the process in Steps 2-6 for the LID. When complete, apply glue to the accent leaf shape and attach to the outside top surface.

Step 8. Slide the BASE shape into the LID to complete the box.

Here is the box with both top and bottom pieces in place.
This is how the completed box looks from the back.

 Hope you had fun constructing your box.
We'd be happy to hear your suggestions for other 3D boxes
or other shapes that you would like to see in the online store.


Monday, October 21, 2013

Pumpkin Block 3d Box Decor Construction Tutorial

Looks like it is made of wood blocks,
but it is really constructed of card stock, and it is nearly as durable!
Cut and assemble three base-and-lid rectangle boxes, fit the parts together 
(with stem assembled and inserted through LID of center section).
Insert notes, lightweight treats, etc., before closing, if desired.
Or glue the three boxes together.
Flip-out hole-punch tabs on the back of the outer boxes
provides a stringing hole to help keep jute or ribbon in the two-thirds up spot.

Step 1. Cut the three box bases and lids, plus the stem, as shown above.

Step 2. Fold the base and lid pieces at perforations of sides and tabs as "mountain" folds (fold back). This image is showing the star cutout on the tab which indicates that the piece is a BASE (or smaller to fit inside the LID) piece.

All lids and bases are constructed with the same process. These images are using the center box to demonstrate construction. Differences between the center and side boxes are: A) center box LID includes the irregular hexagon opening for inserting the stem piece; B) side boxes include the flip-out hole tabs on the back side.

Step 3. Apply glue to the tabs. It may be best to work with the two tabs on one end in one gluing step, then the other two tabs in a second gluing step.

Step 4. Bring the tab perforation and the adjacent side cut edge together and align them exactly. Hold and apply pressure until glue is secure.

NOTE that this piece is the center LID with the hex cut out hole.

Join all four corners in this process.

Step 5. Complete all LID and BASE pieces as illustrated above, gluing corner tabs and adjacent side cut edges.

When working with the side LID pieces, flip the hole tabs out to accept the tied-on string or ribbon later.

(If you don't want or need these tabs, use your Silhouette Studio tools to ungroup, unweld (release compound path) and move or delete these lines and shapes.)

Step 6. Fold the stem on side perforations and top tab perforations as "mountain" folds. Fold the bottom tab perforations as "valley" (outward) folds.

Step 7. Apply glue to the face surface of the long side tab. Bring opposite cut edge and perforation together, align and apply pressure (insert fingers into ends, distorting roundish shape as needed) until glue is secure.

Step 8. Apply glue to upper end tabs.

Step 9. Fold lid hexagon down into place, push against side edges to "squash" and re-align the perforations to match the shape of the hexagon, then apply pressure to edges until glue is secure.

Step 10. Apply glue to face surface of lower tabs.

Step 11. Insert stem top first through hole from inside to outside of center LID box. It will be a snug fit, but once top end which is rigid fits through, it will slide into place easily. Push all the way into the hole until the tabs with glue are flush against the back inside of the box top. Apply pressure holding both layers until glue is secure.

Step 12. Fit the BASE into the LID as shown. Do this for center (pictured here) and for each of the side boxes.

Step 13. Before further assembly, fill the boxes with notes, gifts, treats or goodies as desired. However, if the block box is for decorative purposes ONLY, you will want to insert the nozzle of your glue applicator and apply a couple of dabs of glue toward corners. Use liquid glue sparingly as it can soak through the paper or card stock and affect the appearance from the outside of the boxes.

Step 14. Assemble the "block" by placing the side boxes on each end with center box in the middle. (For decorative purposes, you may want to attach the boxes with glue.)

Here you can see the back of the assembled block with the side tabs extended outward ready for the ribbon or string.

Step 15. Bundle string (or use single strand of string or length of ribbon, etc.) and insert one end through the tab holes in sequence. Pull the string through so that it is centered.

Step 16. Bring ends to box front and tie in a neat bow or knot at desired.

Box is complete!