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How to shape your SVG files with confidence.

Can I change an SVG? How!?

YOU definitely can manipulate an SVG shape. It may look complicated, but it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it. If you want an introduction to the SVG file format and why it is so fantastic, check out the first part of this series: SVG file format for Crafters.

When you first try to edit an SVG, it may seem like a very strange object. Unlike your typical image editor on the computer, the svg files are not all about pixels but about points and angles. Each point and the way it is connected to the other points is recorded in the definition of the file. Each of these points is called a node and each node has one or more handles.

What is a NODE?

So, what is a node? I am so glad you asked. I was just dying to explain it!

Wink, wink…

A node is a point on the plane that contains your SVG shape. Many nodes make up each shape. The way these nodes connect to each other defines the path that creates your SVG shape. Each node can have two “handles” on it extending to their own points in the plane. These handles define the slope of the curve of the path for the mathematical equation that generates the lines of the shapes.

This way, instead of storing the pixels of a line, the data is stored in a discrete number of points which your computer can use to compute the lines and structure of the shape.  We could go into more math here if you would like (I do have a mathematics degree after all) but I have a feeling the majority of my readers would prefer some practical information for editing the SVG files they have. But, if I am wrong just let me know, I would be happy to let my inner nerd shine out.

This manner of storing information is what makes the SVG file format stand out. It doesn’t matter how big you make it. It will always look sharp.

If you do like the math behind it, I found this little article here which delves into the math a bit. https://people.gnome.org/~federico/news-2016-11.html

Also, I borrowed his handy diagrams:

First, we see the SVG path without any markup. Second, if you go in to edit the SVG path, you will see the nodes. Lastly, if you click to edit the nodes, you should see little “handles” with “control points” on the end pop up. These will move the path without moving the nodes. If you like, you can think of the nodes as anchor points for the shape. Here is another illustration for you.

Well, I suppose that may be enough on the terminology of the SVG format.

You are probably asking me how can I actually DO anything to edit these SVG paths?

Shaping and Editing SVG shapes?

Would you like to edit a design? Do you have a path or a file that you got that just needs a little tweak? Would you like to make and edit your own shapes? You can do it!

Here are 7 operations you may need to use to accomplish your designing goals. Usually, I use Adobe Illustrator and then import my files into Silhouette Studio Designer Edition. I resisted the Designer Edition of Silhouette studio for a long time, but I finally did upgrade. Checkout why in this article:

Why I finally bought the Designer Edition of Silhouette Studio » Kabram Krafts

Why I finally bought the Designer Edition of Silhouette Studio » Kabram Krafts

However, if you would like to edit your SVGs in Silhouette Studio or in Inkscape (a free SVG editor) I have included little GIFs of what that looks like as well.

  1. Move an Individual Node (this looks the same in almost any program)
  2. Change the curve of the path between Nodes (this also looks the same in almost any program)
  3. Make a Node either a point or a curve
  4. Add a new Node
  5. Delete a Node
  6. Break a path at a Node
  7. Join a path at two Nodes

Apply it!

Now you know the basics. Congratulations. You can now edit your own files with confidence. Let’s look at an example.

In this example, my 5 year old had choosen a ballerina she wanted for the shirts we were making with heat transfer vinyl. Well, in my humble opinion, the body shape of the ballerina wasn’t quite appropriate for my 5 year old daughter. A couple of node deletions and moves, and all was fixed. Everyone was happy and no unrealistic body images had been memorialized.

What SVG files have you tried to change? Is there a file you are thinking of right now? Go do it! I know you can. Show me the results!

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SVG file format for Crafters

What is an SVG?

The SVG file format stands for “Scalable Vector Graphic”. Let’s break that down.

First, “scalable” means that making the image larger or smaller does not change the image. Imagine you have a photo and would like to make it much larger. Chances are that your image will come out grainy and lose much of the detail you can see in the original. This is not the case for the SVG file. No matter how big or small you make it, an svg file will maintain its original detail. This is fantastic because we can take the same file and make it exactly the size we want for our crafting project and it won’t change how the image looks.

 

Second, the word “vector” indicates how this scalability is achieved. Allow me a moment of indulgence as I was a mathematics major. A vector is simply a term to indicate a line of a certain length and direction. A vector is usually situated within the Cartesian plane (you know, the grid with x and y). To achieve scalability, the SVG file is saved in terms of a bunch of vectors at certain points going certain directions at certain lengths. Therefore, if you want to make your SVG image bigger, the computer just has to multiply all of these vectors by the correct scale which is a simple task for the computer.

Lastly, the ‘G’ in SVG stands for “Graphic”. That is, the image or object in the SVG file. I don’t feel like this warrants much more elaboration.

 

Why should I care about the SVG file format?

the SVG file format for CRAFTERS by Kabram Krfats

Well, why do we care? You can probably be a wonderful crafter without ever delving deeply into this subject. However, if you ever have an image that would be better with a tweak or an extra spike, then knowing a little bit about the SVG file could come in very handy. The SVG file is a natural choice for the hobby and professional level cutting machines precisely because of its natural scalability.

 

What cutting machines use the SVG file format?

Silhouette Studio Designer Edition

As far as I know, all of the current generation of common hobby cutting machines can process the SVG file format. The only hiccup you may run into is that some companies will make you upgrade to their paid software in order to open the SVG file format rather than their own proprietary file format. For example, I upgraded to the Designer Edition of Silhouette Studio precisely for this reason. Check out my reasons in this post.

Other Programs for editing SVG files

In addition to Cricut design Space and the DE and up of Silhouette Studio, there are a few other programs that can open and edit the SVG file. My favorite of these programs is definitely Adobe Illustrator. Once I started Adobe’s subscription based Creative Cloud program, I loved it and don’t wish to go back. If you have the budget for it I would highly recommend looking into it. Not only do you get the ability to edit your SVG files in Adobe Illustrator, you also get access to Photoshop, Lightroom, and a slew of other top of the line programs. Seriously, it is super awesome and even comes with companion apps for your phone. The graphic above was made using one of Adobe’s apps. It is addicting and productive at the same time!

If you do decide it is right for you, make my day and purchase it through my affiliate link. 😉 I earn a small (pretty small sadly) commission for the referral at no cost to you.

If your budget is not up for the Adobe software package, have no fear. I used Inkscape for years and it is definitely a great option as well. Plus, it is freely available!

I found it useful to make, edit, and save SVG files though either AI or Inkscape rather than through the cutting machine’s software itself. First, the software that accompanies your machine often can’t save in the SVG file format even if it can open it. Second, I like having the ability to catalog and backup my files separately from the machine software itself in case I change machines or lose access to it for any other reason.

 

Are there other formats I can use?

There are other formats that are scalable. One that I have used is the DXF file format which stands for “Drawing Exchange Format”. It was developed for use with the AutoCAD program. I have used it in the past before I purchased the Designer Edition of Silhouette Studio as it is a format that can be read by the basic (free) edition of Silhouette Studio. However, it is not as widely used and it isn’t as reliable in my experience. If you want to read more about my experience with DXF, read my post on why I purchased the Designer Edition of the software.

Another format that is used is the EPS file format. This stands for “Encapsulated PostScript” and is also scalable and vector based. It is the standard format for vector images created by Adobe Illustrator. You probably will have no reason to use the EPS format.

What is next?

Learning more about the SVG file is important if you want to have more control over your designs.

 

Please be on the look out for the second article in this series. I plan to cover the details of actually editing an SVG file in various programs. Also, I will go over what a node is, what the handles are and how to add and delete nodes. These are very useful skills!

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Free Father’s Day SVG Cutting Overlays for making your own Cards!

Well, Father’s Day is almost upon us again! Time goes by so fast it is hard to keep up with things!

Speaking of time, I don’t know if anyone actually notices when I have been absent for a while, but I have been. Sorry!

We have been moving. First, we moved from a large house in Michigan (Michigan has great prices on housing if you plan to be there a while). Then, we were then in a one room hotel room in Colorado for the summer with our two young girls. Then we moved into an apartment near my husband’s new job. Now, we are finally back in a house! Yay!

However, all that moving has put a serious cramp on my crafting and blogging time, so I apologize. I did however manage to make a new father’s day card overlay. My first was tool themed for my dad, then I made a fishing themed one last year, and now I present my gold themed overlay!

What does your dad like to do? I would love some inspiration for other overlays. Actually, I really like this collection of svg files. After all, a one cut and adhere card that still looks great is an awesome time saver!

 

Previous Father’s Day Cards

Take a look at the card I made a couple years ago. My dad was always fixing my toys, working on a project, or just being a handy man. He even built me doll bunk beds one year!

So, this is the card I made for him several years ago.

 

Father's Day Card

Last Year’s Father’s Day Fishing SVG Overlay

While I do not fish and no one I know fishes, these fishing images were just too cute. Plus, Father’s Day makes me think of dads and fishing!

So, for all of you with fishermen in your lives, this card overlay svg file is for you. I haven’t had time to test cut it out, so let me know if you run into any snags.

Check out this file and the blank template in this post.

Happy Father's Day

This year’s golf themed Father’s Day Free SVG overlay file!

Does your dad love to golf? Check out this new overlay. I think this one is cute too. Please make your father and awesome Father’s Day card.

 


Happy Father's Day Template

 

Happy Father’s Day to all the great Father’s out there!

And… be sure to check out my other SVG freebies!

 

 

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DIY Stencils for your Silhouette Cameo or Cricuit – Use ANY design!

Have you ever tried to make your own stencils with your cutting machine? If you have, you know that your design options are limited. No fancy fonts, only stencil fonts. You can’t have any designs that have inner details, or they will not be connected to your finished stencil. Unless you want to hand position each and every element, you have to be very careful in creating or selecting your stencil design.

THE RULE FOR STENCILS

In summary, there can be no inner shapes or details in your finished stencil. If you are having trouble understanding this, think about the letter “O”. If you cut out a stencil for the “O” there will be an outer circle and an inner circle. The inner circle will simply fall out. This is why every stencil font has at least one, usually two connections to the middle of the “O”.

 

 

For example, the following is an excellent stencil design. It will cut out easily with no inner parts left to fall out.

 

 

 

 

 

On the other hand, this design is not so good:

 

Then, what if you really want to stencil a more complex image on your card? How can you create more detailed and intricate stencils? You need a stencil that looks impossible, and you need it now! Luckily for you, now you can.

A Stencil Solution

While I am sure I am not the only person to do this, it was a light bulb moment for me. Reflecting on it, I have seen videos of spray paint artists using a series of stencils to make awesome composite pictures. This method is very similar. The idea is to use two stencils instead of one so that you can have details that you can’t get with just one stencil.

Just a note on stencils in general. If you want to make one car with an image like the tools above, you are probably better off just cutting it out of card stock without any hassle converting it to a stencil. However, if you want to put the image on a bunch of things you may want to use a stencil. That way you only have to cut and weed your image once (or twice for these two part stencils) instead of over and over again.

As I outline my solution, I will illustrate with the letter “O” as a simplified case to demonstrate how it works.

My Method

    1. First, open up your image in your editing software. Typically, I open mine in Adobe Illustrator. If you don’t have access to this, Silhouette Studio, Inkscape, or Cricuit Design Space should work just fine. Here, I will illustrate with Silhouette Studio.
    2. Create a thin rectangle in a contrasting color to your design and place it over your image.
    3. Select both your design and the rectangle.
    4. Copy and paste the two objects. Keep them in the same relative position.
    5. Open the modify panel (or the tools to modify paths if you are working with another software). Working on just the first copy with both the “O” and the rectangle selected, Click “Subtract”.
    6. Now, select just the rectangle on the second copy of your design. Be careful not to move it out of place.
    7. Open the offset Panel. We need to enlarge it just slightly to ensure a little wiggle room in our finished stencil. Create an offset. This is something you will have to judge for yourself. I used a distance of .05 inches and square corners.
    8. Select both rectangles and weld them together. You should now have a rectangle that is just slightly bigger than the original one.
    9. Select both the rectangle and the copy of the “O”, which should still be in the same relative position. Using the Modify Panel, click “Intersect”. NOTE: If, like me, you have the whole thing disappear when you click “Intersect”, it is likely that one or both of your images are not paths. Select them, click “Object -> Convert To Path” and then try the previous step again. If you got it right, it should look something like this:
    10. Select these pieces, right click, and hit “Make Compound path”. Do this to the original pieces of the “O” as well. Here are your two paths now:
    11. Change the color and overlap them if you want to see what the finished stencil will look like.
    12. Cut your finished pieces out on separate stencils. Then use one stencil followed by the other to create an “O” with no lines through it!

    Going Further

    While the “O” was a very simple case, this method can be expanded to more complicated images. In theory, it could even have many more than two stencils to make the finished image, although I have not tried it.

    Here is an example of a turkey that I have made into a two part stencil using an extrapolation of the method I outlined above. The key is creating enough rectangles to overlap any inner parts, there should be no islands in your finished stencils!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Stencil Time

    I have just a few parting remarks about stencils for you. First, there are stencil materials to consider. Both Silhouette and Cricuit make “stencil” blanks and rolls. I have not tried them because I haven’t found their materials to be high quality in the past. Freezer paper (usually found near foil and wax paper) does work fairly well as a stencil for fabric. You can iron it lightly to get the waxy side to adhere, but you have to be careful not to get the stencil too wet with paint or it will bleed through.

    However, my favorite and economical stencil material is simply overhead transparency paper. It is thin and flexible and can be reused as long as you are careful. If needed, I spray the back with a light adhesive spray to adhere it to my project. You will want to play around with your cut settings, but once you get them set it cuts really well.

     

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Bin Labels HTV DIY – Organize your life!

Move Complete!

Have you moved lately? Well, we just moved from Michigan to Colorado! It is lots and lots of work. And requires a lot of good organization. All of which is made better by these adorable bin labels!


If you missed me, that is where I have been. Packing. Unpacking. Packing. Unpacking. Repeat.

Having grown up in Colorado, I am happy to be back and near family again.

Unfortunately, since Colorado is so awesome and everyone else wants to be here too, housing prices are much steeper here. Not just a little steeper. I’m talking 7 or 8 times steeper! For example, coming from our lovely 6 bedroom house on 4 acres in Michigan, we will have trouble finding a condo for the same price!

 

Getting Organized with Bin Labels

Downsizing was actually some amount of fun, until we got to our apartment and realized that getting rid of half our stuff wasn’t enough! So, that is what I have been doing the past month or so. Organizing. Getting rid of stuff. Organizing is the fun part though.

Knowing this, you can see where this project came from. It was born of necessity and the desire to have my children put their toys away so that I can preserve my sanity in our new 2 bedroom living space! Thus, the idea for our new bin labels was born. Well, it was actually in my head for quite a while. It was going to be one of my finishing touches on the playroom I was working on in Michigan. Take a look at how awesome it was!

Playroom in Michigan

Alas, it was time to move on. Hopefully someone else will move in and enjoy the fun colors and the animal alphabet that I left on the wall!

Do you also have seemingly hundreds of toys underfoot? Are you constantly frustrated with different types and sets of toys getting jumbled into one big mess? Do your kids need help knowing where everything ought to go? Then you need some of these bins and these adorable bin labels!

Take Stock of Your Items

First, you need to take stock of what you are trying to organize. For me, this meant categorizing the toys in my girls’ room and putting them in different bins. Undoubtedly, they have too many toys. However, once in bins and labeled with these cute bin labels, it looks much more manageable. Also, remember to try to match the number of categories to the number of bins you have available.

Here are the bin label categories I came up with for the toys we have:

  • DOCTOR
  • DRESS UP
  • CALICO CRITTERS
  • PLAYMOBIL
  • BOOKS ON TAPE
  • LEGO
  • MUSIC
  • CARS
  • DOLLS
  • BLOCKS
  • LITTLE PEOPLE
  • DISHES
  • FOOD
  • TOOLS

In addition, I added each of my daughter’s names so that they could have a bin of their own. Next, I looked for a simple, cute design for each category. The idea was to have a cohesive looking set of images that helped my not yet literate daughters identify each bin on their own.

Most of the images I found doing a quick google image search. Some I had to work more on to get what I wanted. The font I used is called “Mail Ray Stuff”. I really like how the images turned out. I am especially fond of the cute baby on the “LITTLE PEOPLE” bin.

 

Create your Bin Labels

Feel free to use my labels and images for your own personal use. However, I do not recommend using them for commercial uses as I am not positive on the copyrights of each one.

 

REMEMBER TO CUT THESE OUT IN REVERSE ON YOUR HTV!

 

 


 

REMEMBER TO CUT THESE OUT IN REVERSE ON YOUR HTV!

 

Quality Materials

Since this was my very first Heat Transfer Vinyl project, I wanted to use the good stuff. And, from what I hear, Siser Easy Weed is where it is at. I found a roll at my local Michaels and it was on a great sale to boot! All in all, I was very impressed by the stuff. Also, it is actually much easier to weed than Oracle vinyl that I am used to working with.

So, back to the project.

Decide how large you want things and cut it out! This is on you. Then cut out each label and weed out the extra. Your image is reversed, right?

Finally, the fun part – ironing the bin labels on and seeing the results. I followed the directions on the packaging of my HTV and used a grill mat to place over the images while ironing.

Results – Bin material matters too!

If you look at my results, you can see that some of my bins turned out spectacular. Unfortunately, some have nice imprints of the iron. This was largely due to the bins themselves. My nice large fabric IKEA ones look great. No iron imprints, just clean and crisp.

 

 

My cheap polyester bins which came from who knows where, did not hold up well. Since I didn’t want to buy new bins, I just went with it. They still work. Some are just much prettier than others!

 

 

 

 

Now, sit back and admire your work. Wait, scratch that. Go get to organizing!

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Father’s Day Cardmaking with your cutting Machine!

Well, Father’s Day is almost upon us again! Time goes by so fast it is hard to keep up with things!

Previous Father’s Day Card

Take a look at the card I made a couple years ago. My dad was always fixing my toys, working on a project, or just being a handy man. He even built me doll bunk beds one year!

So, this is the card I made for him several years ago.

 

Father's Day Card

Now, I made a new version! Complete with a the bones of the template in case you want to make your own with a different Father’s Day theme.

Father’s Day Fishing

While I do not fish and no one I know fishes, these fishing images were just too cute. Plus, Father’s Day makes me think of dads and fishing!

So, for all of you with fishermen in your lives, this card overlay svg file is for you. I haven’t had time to test cut it out, so let me know if you run into any snags.

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day Template

Well, what about your non-fisherman father?

I have you covered! If you can think of a hobby or theme that he likes, put it on his Father’s Day Card! Just download the empty template and start loading it up with files relating to your theme.

Go ahead, go crazy! Just find anything you can that is adorable and relates to your theme. Size it, spin it, and put in place. That is all there is to it.

As a tip, just make sure that your images touch the inner and outer borders and then “union” the paths. Look up tutorials on this if you don’t know how to, or let me know if you really get stuck.

 

Happy Father's Day Template


Happy Father's Day Template

 

Happy Father’s Day to all the great Father’s out there!

And… be sure to check out my other SVG freebies!

 

 

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Hand Lettered Art on a Watercolor Background – Free Hand Lettered SVG file too!

DIY Hand Lettered Art Project

Welcome to my website and today’s journey through my hand lettered artwork project! Have you tried hand lettering? With all the amazing hand lettering on Pinterest and Instagram, I just couldn’t stay away. Such pretty lettering ought to be admired by imitation, in my opinion! 

Well, my hand lettering led to water brush pens and watercolors, which led in turn to watercolor doodles. Then, I saw this on Instagram. Watercolor hexagons! Perfect, I thought, I can usually make patterns and I love playing with the colors. Of course, I didn’t attempt the project free-handed, like the lady I saw as my inspiration. We’ll save that for a later date.

Instead, I drew nice little evenly spaced guidelines for myself. I used the materials listed below. These are Amazon affiliate links, but buy wherever you like! I generally buy new supplies at the craft stores with coupons. I love coupons.

Very, very relaxing, at least for me! Try to leave a little border between the hexagons. I found that it helped to put a dot where each corner ought to go and then connect the dots. You can also add a little extra color to the hexagon while it is still wet to get some fun variation!

Adding a Hand Lettered Word, Saying, or Sentiment

I don’t know if it is a craze right now or not, but hand lettering is highly addicting! For my piece of craft room artwork, I thought “Create” would be an apt word to add. I used my Pentel water brush again to letter this on another piece of watercolor paper with the plan to cut it out and put it on top of my hexagon masterpiece.

create watercolor

As a sidenote, I have also been playing with brush markers for hand lettering practice. Take a look at my Instagram feed if you want to see what I have been up to in my spare time.  Here are the pens I have been playing with (there are many more that I want to try as well!):

Hand Lettering Tools I have been playing with lately

 

After it dried, I cut the watercolor paper down a bit and stuck it on my PixScan mat for my Silhouette Cameo to cut out.

create watercolor on pixscan mat

After several tries, it finally registered and cut. While it went through and cut smoothly, it was off a bit. I took it off and played around with it a bit on top of the hexagons.

create watercolor

It would have been okay, but I didn’t really like the look of it on top of the hexagons anyhow. So, I scrapped it, and kept just the outline.

When in doubt, use Glitter!

Glitter to the rescue! I found this lovely piece of VERY THICK glitter paper in a nice dark gray. It looked like it would go well, so I set about to cut out my lettering. Does anyone know if this particular glitter cardstock is thicker than normal?

 

I have not previously cut out glitter cardstock. Looking in the materials list on my silhouette, I found and choose the “glitter cardstock” settings. After running the file through the cutter, I pulled it out. Sadly, it was not cut all the way through.glitter in my blade

So, I stuck it back in the Silhouette Cameo for another double-cut run through. Took it out, and it was still not cut through. This time I checked my blade to find it filled with glitter.

finally it cut through!

After cleaning it out, I upped the blade depth a bit and stuck it back in. Almost this time! Cleaned out the blade again. Fourth time was a charm and it looked great!

create cut in glitter cardstock

Persistence paid off and I was very thankful that it stayed aligned despite its many trips in and out of the machine. I then did a quick offset and cut a second one out of another piece of white cardstock. Isn’t it pretty?

Look at how pretty it looks on top of the hexagons! I am thrilled that the 4 times through the Silhouette Cameo paid off. Just in case you didn’t put this together, that is 8 cutting passes since it was set to double cut!

Now, it just needed a little extra depth. For this, I turn once again to my large supply of cork scraps. Use anything with a bit of thickness, I just have a lot of cork scraps lying around from making coasters!

In fact, if you need some coasters, please head over to my Etsy shop and take a look. I welcome custom orders if there is something in particular you are looking for!

Etsy Shop: API reponse should be HTTP 200
API Error Description: Expected int value for 'limit' (got 'string').

Also, check out the other pictures I made for my playroom using this same technique.

Except, this time, I just sprayed the cork on both sides with spray adhesive. That seemed to do the trick nicely! Also, I didn’t get any photos of this, but I adhered the glitter cardstock to the offset white cardstock cut.

Almost Done! Now just position your lovely hand lettering on your lovely hand painted background

Beautiful! All set to frame.

A nice little glamour shot of my framed artwork next to my Silhouette Cameo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, if you were waiting for this, I’m sorry for the long post. Here is the FREE HAND LETTERED CUTTING FILE! Just click the link below and the free SVG file should download.

 

 

 

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DIY Pillowcases!

DIY Pillowcase Fun

This DIY Pillowcase project was relatively simple and a great project for the licensed fabrics that we ended up with on our last outing to the craft store. Do you bring your husband along when you go to the craft store? Well, I end up bringing him because we are often out of town together when I have the opportunity to go.

Shopping with the whole Family

What happens when you bring your whole family to the craft store? This happens:

craft store receipt

As you can see, we ended up with lot of licensed character fabrics. While the Star Wars fabric is still waiting to be made into pillows for the man cave, the girls’ Dory and Frozen fabrics made it into these cute DIY pillowcases. (Do you like my awesome table? It is a giant 4 foot by 8 foot piece of melamine board!)

Since I am a beginner at sewing, I followed this lovely tutorial on My Childhood Treasures Blog. While she said it only took her about 10 minutes for each pillow once the fabric was cut, mine took at least 30 minutes each. So, your timing may vary depending on your ability, but mine still came out quite adorable.

how to make a pillowcase
Tutorial at My Childhood Treasures

In this DIY pillowcase, the cuff is sewn on all at once while the body of the pillowcase is rolled up inside. Although envisioning how all the layers work is a little tricky, the sewing itself was straightforward. For my first ever pillow cases, I was very pleased with how they turned out.

Cutting the Fabric

Also, I used my new rotary cutting tools for this DIY pillowcase project. While I got them to cut squares from my rolls of cork, they made cutting the fabric out for this project super simple! If you give a girl several 60% off coupons, she will use them. So, while I recommend you get them with coupons from one of your local craft stores, here are the tools I used on Amazon. Actually, looking at the current prices on Amazon, I see that they really aren’t that much more than getting them 60% off at the craft store. While I love the craft stores, I do feel like they mark things up significantly!!

What do you think? Do you have different methods? How about customizing them with names or applique? For a long time now I have wanted to use the Silhouette Cameo for doing applique. However, I am intimidated by the sewing half!

My adorable girls enjoying the results. No hesitation here…

Story: “If you bring your family to the craft store, they will want to buy some fabric.”

Moral of the Story: “Don’t bring your family unless you are prepared to make pillows.”

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How To Make Button Art – Fun and Easy!

Fun With Buttons

Do you have a lot of buttons? Well, I have at least a modest amount stowed away in a small jar. I feel like it is a collection that will increase over the years. Perhaps someday, I will be a little old lady with a hoard of buttons. At any rate, I was definitely happy to find a bag of pink and green buttons for $0.99 at the thrift store. I love thrift stores. They have loads of potential. At any point, you could round the corner and find the best deal you have ever seen. Granted, it is probably going to be an awesome deal on something you probably don’t need, but it will still be awesome. See how pretty my bargain buttons are?

Wonderfully, the buttons I found on this particular occasion were perfect for my next project because pink and green are the colors of the playroomI have been working so diligently at the past year or so. Buttons, buttons, and more buttons!! Sitting around in my craft room waiting for some love were white letters to decorate for the playroom – I had picked them up at JoAnn Fabric at some point, on a big sale of course.

Consequently, here are the letters I started with, the link will take you to Amazon but know that they do exist at the craft store if you have a coupon burning a hole in your pocket!

Now for the fun part. While I used the lighted cardboard letter shown above, you really could use almost anything. And I mean almost anything. As long as it can take the heat of hot glue, you can probably cover it in buttons.

How to Make Your own Button Creations

DIY Button ArtWhat could you use? Other forms of letters like wood ones, paper ones, plastic, your own cardboard shapes, canvas, paper you will frame, vases, decor items, candles, and the list goes on. Have you decorated anything with buttons?

Materials I used:

  • Buttons – I got mine at the thrift store for $0.99, yay!
  • Lighted Cardboard Letter, or whatever object you would like to decorate. Mine probably cost around $5 with a coupon or sale. (I used this one: American Crafts Letter Kit, E)
  • Hot Glue Gun (I already had one)
  • Scrap paper or covering for your workstation

Time: about 30 minutes for this letter.

Total Cost: About $6 for my materials, but could be more or less depending on what you decorate and what supplies you have on hand.

Tips:

  • First of all, layout at least a few buttons ahead of where you are so that you can arrange them how you like.
  • I put the glue on the project, not on the button. I don’t know which would be best though. Any hot glue gun experts?
  • While my buttons do not overlap because I wanted to ensure that the lights would have enough room, if you don’t have this constraint, you don’t have to stick to one dimension! Overlap those buttons, place some on top or in between to add more dimension.
  • Choose your colors wisely. I picked a pink and green theme (to go with an existing room theme). You can use any button if you want an eclectic look, or go with only one or two colors in different shades. While it doesn’t matter what you go with, just put a little thought into it before you start.
  • Now you have fun and don’t be shy! Just start gluing. Don’t be afraid, the buttons can’t hurt you. 🙂

Do you have any tips for button art? I would love to here them or see any of your projects or creations. Here is some more inspiration from pinterest. I LOVE the button animals!

 

 

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How to Make and Use a Freezer Paper Stencil

Hello Kitty.

Initially, I was very negative about Hello Kitty. I’m not sure why, but I think it has to do with my knee-jerk negative reaction toward anything popular. However, I have come to terms with the fact that my 1 and 3-year-old little girls are all about Hello Kitty. They love it. My one-year-old will say “kitty cat” repeatedly whenever she glimpses something with the Hello Kitty brand on it. Yep, branded characters work.

Well, enough of that. My girls love Hello Kitty, so we made a Hello Kitty dress together. I happened upon a very nice 4T dress at the thrift store. I love thrift stores. It is 100% cotton, long sleeved for winter, pink, and only $2. Oh, and it has pockets. Dresses with pockets are the best thing ever. It was a great deal, and it made the perfect base for this project. Since I knew the item didn’t cost me much, it allowed me to go forward without fear of ruining something valuable.

If you have a cutting machine like the Silhouette Cameo and you don’t have freezer paper, you are missing out on some great projects. I don’t have the latest version of the machine, but it is still going strong. You can buy freezer paper in most grocery stores. It should be near the other rolls of waxed paper, parchment paper, etc. It has a paper side, and a glossy plastic coated side. The reason it is so neat for crafting is that the plastic melts slightly when heated and makes a temporary bond with fabric. That is to say, you can use your iron to make your stencils stay put! If you can’t find it at your grocery store or prefer to buy online, Amazon sells it here.

 

 

Next, I searched for an appropriately simple little image for the dress. This is the one I found.

hellokitty
Hello Kitty File Picture
Click image for Free SVG File Download

 

Once you find the image you want to use, open it up in Silhouette Studio or in Inkscape. I actually did this in both programs, because even with the Designer Edition of Silhouette Studio, it won’t let me export SVG files. Boo! But it does let you open them…

Anyhow, once you open the image, you need to trace it. Here are the two variations I use most often. There are tutorials on both of these if you search the web, but feel free to ask in the comments if you need help with this.

 

In Inkscape, use the “Trace Bitmap” dialogue to create an svg file from your image.

 

 

In Silhouette Studio, use the Trace function to select your image and create your cut file.

 

 

Once your image is traced, you should have a cutting file like the one above. It looks the same as the image, but it is made of lines that scale and is a file your machine can cut out.

 

 

And finally, how to actually use your stencil and create your image! These are roughly the steps I took.

  1.  Prepare your image for cutting (described above).
  2. Cut a piece of freezer paper down to the size of your cutting mat. I placed mine with the coated side upward. If your mat is especially sticky, you may want to place it the opposite way. The important thing here is that your design will be right side up when the coated side of the paper is placed on the fabric. If your image has text (like mine) this is especially important. Hopefully you will not have to cut yours out twice like I did to get it right!
  3. Cut out your design and carefully remove it from the mat.
  4. Place the pieces of the design that you DON’T want painted onto your fabric. They will keep the paint off these spots and help form the design. Iron them in place with a medium hot iron, it only took a few seconds for me. Also, it may help to do one piece at a time. If you have text, don’t forget the insides of letters like ‘o’.
  5. Once your design is in place, make sure all the edges that you don’t want painted are covered and place it in a good spot for painting. I used a big box and several plastic bags for this.
  6. Paint! My knowledge of fabric paint is fairly limited. However, I spotted these fabric spray paints on sale at the craft store and thought I would try them out. They seem to have worked fairly well if you account for my impatience between coats. I knew I ought to follow the directions of using light coats and waiting 5 minutes between them. I knew it, but I didn’t follow it. I think this is the main culprit for the slight seepage of paint I got around Hello Kitty’s bow.
  7. Once paint is dry (or at least mostly dry!), peel away the freezer paper and admire. The paint I used said it would be ready to use in 30 minutes, but not safe to wash for at least 72 hours.

Here is the final result, and my cute little model. She loves it, of course.

Have fun making cute clothes! If you want to make a cute valentine’s item, check out some of my Valentine’s Day cutting files. I think they would probably make cute shirts!

HeartCard

Heart Overlay

Heart SVG Cutting File

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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