Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tags, Bags, Boxes and ... well, More.

So you may have noticed me referencing this particular Cricut cartridge (Tags, Bags, Boxes and More 2) before.  Well, I've used it so much lately that I decided it was due its very own post.  Sorta. :)  You'll see.

Well first off, last week I had some good friends flying in for a sort of "pre-wedding" celebration with friends back east (where they met and went to school) before they headed back west to get married.  Because I figured they wouldn't have much room for gifts, I opted to get them a small, and easily packable gift card.  But dare I give these friends their giftcard in a boring old envelope?  Not so!  Not these friends!  And certainly not when I have all these awesome crafting machines at my beckon call.  So instead they got a boring giftcard in a simple and cute little box...like...thing. :)

First, I decided on a cute two-sided print paper because the box design I chose would end up showing some of both sides of the paper.

Hint: Be sure to look in the assembly instructions booklet at how to assemble your box before you cut it so you that can see which way you'll be folding and glueing the paper, thus letting you decide which side of the paper you'll want to put face-down on the cutting mat.  (Instructions booklet comes with your cartridge, and is available online.  See bottom of this link under "Cartridge Resources, digital handbook.")This will differ for each box, so don't just assume it is always the same way. For this particular box, the side I wanted most shown needed to be placed face-down for cutting.

While this was cutting, I also had my Silhouette Studio going, using my Silhouette sketch pens to create a little paper label for my box.  This can also be done with your Cricut and Cricut Color Inks pens, but I had a specific shape in mind to use, which I knew I had in my Silhouette library.  Use whichever you have.  (Or get some from our website using the hyperlinks above.)

Getting your image written and cut out is fairly easy, though it may sound a bit tricky or complicated on your first read-through.  For Silhouette Studio: First, I created the image and sizing I wanted for the label to be cut, based on the space I had measured from my box (already cut out using my Cricut), as well as for the written/drawn portion.  I created all of this using the gird-spacing and my Silhouette Studio software.  (I often use this to design my images, finding the font I like or that fits best, etc.)  For this label, the outside line was to be cut out, using the blade, and the inner portions I wanted drawn using the gel pen.  


To do this, I first deleted the "label" portion (the outside line I wanted it to cut) and then sent what was left to my Silhouette, using my sketch gel pen to do the writing.  (Click on "Sketch Pen" when you send it through, in the "change settings" section.)  After I had the written portion done, I just hit "undo" in Silhouette studio, bringing back the outline of the label I wanted cut, and then deleted the written portion (which the Silhouette had just previously drawn using the sketch pen).  I reloaded my mat--without having removed or changed the paper--and then sent the label through the machine to be cut.  Out came my little cut out label, with my written design drawn on the inside of it.  This may sound more complicated than it really is.   I believe if you play around with it some, you'll find a method that works well for you.  Cricut gives you some pretty specific instructions in their newer booklets for how to use their sketch pens on cards, etc.  Again, for Cricut, the placement is something you'll have to play around with more since you aren't quite positive where exactly it will start drawing your image on your sheet of paper.  Just play with it some.  More on this a bit further down.

Finally, I just glued on a bird image I also had in my Silhouette library, tied a bow through the holes, and used some white chalking ink around the edges for a bit more of a finished look.  Oh, and I added a little "reinforcing" tape on the side of the box to keep it shut since I had cut my Cricut box image just a bit too small for the giftcard I had purchased. It was literally bursting at the seams with all that generosity inside. ;)  (I had my Cricut dial set at 6 inches, and probably should have gone with 6 1/2.)  I still found it worthy of gifting, and I believe the recipients would agree with me.  When giving a giftcard at a wedding or birthday, something like this serves as a nice way to differentiate your gift from all the other envelopes. An extra little "touch" of love.  


My next little project for Tags, Bags, Boxes and More 2 was to make a box for holding a small gift for a family that I nanny for, whose mother had just had a new baby boy.  I wanted to give their daughter, the child I mostly nannied, a small gift to open up along with her mother so that she didn't feel like she was lost amidst all the joy over the new baby.  (Incidentally, I gave her a jumpdrive with all the silly videos we'd recorded on my phone together over the past year since she loves to watch videos of herself. :) )

I used Tags, Bags, Boxes and More 2 to cut out the "onesie" box.  I then used my Silhouette again to write out the words since it's easier for me to do this with placement.  

Use sketch pens to write on small scraps of paper to use as part of your designs

Now, one of the things that I love about Silhouette is that I can use any old scrap of paper, as long as I know it's big enough, place it wherever I want on my cutting mat, and as long as my image is in that same spot on the mat in Silhouette Studio, I know it will cut it.  Thus, I can keep and use small scraps of paper that are still very useful.  I had that very small scrap of yellow paper that I wanted to use, so I positioned it on my mat, made sure my font would fit inside of it using Silhouette Studio and checking it on the grid, and then had it draw away.  Nice, huh?  I love that.

One of the nice things about your Cricut cartridges, however, is that the images and ideas are already created for you.  I wouldn't have thought to look for a "onesie box" in the Silhouette Online Store, but this great Cricut Cartridge gave me the idea to use it.  They come grouped, generally in themes (whether subject themed or design themed), and with clear ideas for each cartridge.  I like that too.  Luckily, I have and can use both. Trade-offs! :)

Hint: To store scrap pieces for further use, try using sheet protectors and an old binder.  I put similar colored scraps inside one sheet protector, with separate sheet protectors for print papers vs. solids.

Now, because I wanted to use this stork image from my "Cricut Sampler" cartridge (also found on the cartridge "Best Images of 2006"), I decided it was time to play around more with how I could use odd shaped scrap paper in my Cricut. I wanted to trick my Cricut into letting me use them.  Sometimes you'll have a piece of paper plenty big for what you are going to have it cut, but because the cartridge is programed to cut it a certain way, you have to get a little creative.  Like so:

After cutting out the base of my stork image, I tried placing a scrap white piece of paper in the same postion on the mat where the Cricut had just cut out my foundation/base layer.  (To make this image you use layers, with the base layer cutting out the whole image, and the subsequent layers just cutting out portions of the image.)  Because the next overlay was the same size, and in relatively the same postion (it appeared, in the book), I tried placing my scrap paper right where the base layer had been cut and setting my paper size as if it were the same size as the other paper.  So, even though my white layer paper wasn't really 6 inches by 3 inches, I told my Cricut it was.  This allowed me to use a triangular piece of scrap paper that I knew the image would fit on, but that otherwise would have been hard to guesstimate where the Cricut would try and start cutting it and if it would think it large enough.  I hope that for you Cricut users out there, this is making sense.  Maybe I'll stop typing and let the pictures do the talking:

I did this for each subsequent layer, and then finally glued it all together.  I think the finished product turned out cute.  What do you think?

I think...I want to say hooray for Tags, Bags, Boxes and More (2) for making my life a little easier, and these gifts a little more cute.  Hooray for you. :)  I hope they liked them too.

Note:  I see that Cricut now has a new design program that you can use to help with paper placement and such, making my trickery not necessary, it would seem.  I haven't tried it yet though, so anyone have feedback on how that's working for you?  I'd love to hear!  Thanks!

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