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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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From Photo to SVG

Turning your Photo to SVG file has satisfying results

From Photo to SVG: The topic of taking a photo and making an SVG is one I keep coming back to. Perhaps it is because custom images from your own photos are simply delightful. Also, it is a great way to get some adorable silhouettes just in general. Whatever your reason for wanting an SVG from your photograph, you can do it! It may take some patience and attention to detail, but it is totally worth it.

My first attempt at a silhouette was one of our bunny rabbit Geronimo. It came out nicely, but wasn’t a very hard shape. With this shape I basically made a bunch of little shapes and then combined them with the path merge tools.

from photo to svg Geronimo the bunny silhouette by kabram krafts
Geronimo the Bunny

Then, for my second attempt I created some custom artwork for my girls’ playroom. These images were definitely more complex and took a lot longer, but with spectacular results. I used a different approach for these images. First, I edited the original photos to make them as black and white as possible.

gif of silhouette studio trace function from photo to svg

Second, I traced the images using Inkscape (you can also use Adobe Illustrator or your cutting machine’s software). Lastly, and most tediously, I hand edited the nodes of the path until it was just the way I wanted it. At last, you have converted your photo to svg.

From Photo to SVG

While I am not going to go into detail in this post as it is not my first on this topic, I will hit a few important points.

Check out this post if you want the details!

First, you need to find the right photo – a crisp, clean silhouetted photo with nothing in the background will be much easier to create a custom silhouette cutting file from than one that has a lot going on.

Second, you want to use a photo editing software to get it as close to a silhouette as you can from the start so it will be easier to trace. Like the ones shown below.

image edited for contrast with father and daughters ready for converting photo to svg
image edited for contrast of girls in tunnel ready for converting photo to svg

Third, you trace the image using a Vector capable software to go from your photo to svg file. I have used Silhouette Studio, Inkscape, and Adobe Illustrator.

Lastly, unless you are really lucky, there will be some hand editing to do to get it just right. And sometimes, when the background of the image just won’t cooperate, you may just have to use the path tool and trace your image point by point!

From Photo to SVG: my latest results

While I haven’t cut these images out yet, I can’t wait to do so. From pictures of my daughters swinging, I arrived at these adorable cutting files. One was begging for extra detail and ended up not being a true silhouette. I tried my best to make it all one connected path, but couldn’t see a way to connect in the facial details without compromising on the cuteness!

example of detailed photo to svg project

For the second image, I went true silhouette all the way. There is enough detail in the overall shape that you can still tell what is going on in the image.

from photo to svg despite a cluttered background image

While they may not hold the same emotional signifigance for you as they do for me, I am posting my final SVG files here because they are simply so adorable. Feel free to use them for your own personal projects if you so desire or make your own silhouettes using some of these photo to svg methods!

My silhouette cameo is my go to for creating beautiful home decor from these files!

To download these files, just click the DOWNLOAD button below.

from photo to svg free svg images of girls on swings

Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful April!

FROM PHOTO TO SVG
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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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Mother’s Day Card Making with the Silhouette Cameo

Happy Mothers Day

Mother’s Day!

Hello to all you of you mothers out there! This image of a mother and baby is beautiful, don’t you think. I really want to make it into a cutting file, of course, but haven’t captured it well enough in my attempts yet. I will share my results though if I do succeed!

Good news if you create your own cards – there is still time to get that Mother’s Day card out of your head and onto the paper for your own mother. Especially if she lives nearby!

Also, though a bit more somber, I wanted to acknowledge all the bereaved mothers out there too. There are many women who are mothers, but do not have a child to hold. This day may hold its own meaning for them as well. Please think of them this week and don’t be afraid to say something to acknowledge them and their pain. At least, this is what I have learned from an article I read recently shared by a friend who knows this pain!

Hand Lettered

On a lighter note, here is the pretty little watercolor lettering page I started this process with. Just recently I have started playing with watercolors. I just started, so don’t judge too harshly, but I am having a lot of fun! And, I am also having fun with hand lettering.

More particularly, I have discovered the water brush pen! It is a pen. It is a brush. It is full of water. Awesome.

If you want to play with one, these are the two I have currently. I think I like the Pentel one better, but I’m not sure.

  1. Pentel Medium Brush Pen 
  2. Ranger Ink Water Brush Pen Fine Detail
  3. A lot of other ones online look great, but I just got the ones I could find in the craft stores immediately. No patience here!

Simply moisten some water color ink, dip your water brush pen in and have fun.

Mom Mother Mother’s Day on the Screen

Next, I traced my lettering in Adobe Illustrator. In the past, I have used Inkscape forthis and it works well too (and is free!). There are plenty of tutorials on this around, but I may add my own at some point as well. Here is what I ended up with in Silhouette Studio at the end of the day.

Once I cut it out, I realized that the “HAPPY” and “DAY” parts of my lettering were too tiny for me to hassle with. So, I opted to just hand-letter those words in on my final cards.

Mother’s Day Card Construction Time!

Then, construct your card. Many of you, I’m sure, have more card making experience than I. However, a few layers, a little texture from my embossing folders, and these sentiments made for a pretty nice looking card.

I also cut out a few of the butterflies that came with the Silhouette Cameo (I think).

Thought I wanted this in silver, but I changed my mind. Sharpie to the rescue!
Thought I wanted this in silver, but I changed my mind. Sharpie to the rescue!

Here is my finished product and the cutting file for the sentiments too!

I made two cards. One for me to send, and one for my husband. Who knows if my mother-in-law would get one otherwise? Plus, she loves butterflies.

 

Mothers Day Card on Green

 

Mothers Day Card on Purple

If you need ideas for the card base, take a look at this card. She makes absolutely gorgeous free cutting files! Or, take a look at the pretty floral cards I made a while back. You will need to scroll to the end of this post.

And, what you might have been waiting for all along, the promised Mother’s Day cutting file!



 

And, what would a post be without a nice little picture for Pinterest?

 

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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 Custom Silhouette Cut Outs

Do you love a custom silhouette as much as I do? I recently made some artwork for my girls’ playroom and received a lot of questions on how I did it. This article won’t go into too much depth as the process varies remarkably depending on the photo that you start with.

DIY Custom Silhouette from Photo

A crisp, clean silhouetted photo with nothing in the background will be much easier to create a custom silhouette cutting file from than one that has a lot going on.
Silhouette Cutout DIY FROM Photo to Frame kabramkrafts.com

 

First, take a look at the two photographs that I started with. In the first one, I caught an adorable moment of my husband and daughters holding hands. In the other, I have a mostly silhouetted view of my girls running through a tunnel at a playground.


custom silhouette image of father and daughterscustom silhouette of girls in tunnel
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can you guess which one was easier to convert into a custom silhouette svg cutting file? Yep, the one on the right. While the second image is already well on its way to being a silhouette in its own right, the image of the three holding hands has a lot going on in the background. When there is a lot in the background, you aren’t going to be able to trace the image to get a nice crisp outline. So, this is the first thing you need to resolve if you want to get a nice svg cutting file from your photo.

First Step: Edit your image in some variety of Photo Software

While I just signed up for a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud and am having a great time with it, the cost may be prohibitive for some. If you don’t have a go to image editing software, I highly recommend GIMP. It is a free software and can do quite a lot – almost as much as Photoshop if you know how to work it.

As I mentioned before, it is hard to give explicit directions for this step as it can vary so much between images. However, the goal is always the same. You need to make your image into a black and white image with lots of contrast and you need to remove as much of the background noise and distraction as you can.

image edited for contrast with father and daughtersimage edited for contrast of girls in tunnel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is what my images looked like after I had played around with them for a while and cleaned them up as best as I could. Because the one with my two girls in the tunnel was a cleaner image to start with, it was already starting to look like a cutting file. On the left, however, the image with the three holding hands still needed a lot of work.

Second Step: Trace the Image

There are several ways to approach this next step. You can use the built in trace function in Silhouette Studio, however I typically prefer to use Inkscape. Here is a demonstration of using the trace function in Silhouette Studio to produce your custom silhouette image. As you can see, the result is quite messy and would require quite a lot of processing to make it as nice as my final draft.gif of silhouette studio trace function

Now, here is a different way to generate your custom silhouette using Inkscape. Inkscape is a free software available for download and is quite versatile. Notice how the resulting custom silhouette trace is much cleaner. This means there will be a whole lot less cleaning up by hand to do and it will take a lot less time. Remember, your time is valuable! In addition, I have also found Inkscape to be much more responsive and kind to me when I edit cutting files node by node.

 

gif of inkscape trace bitmap function

If you look closely in the GIF above, you will see that the “Trace Bitmap” function has lots of options. Take your time and play around with these features. For my image, the “Brightness Steps” option seemed to work the best. I then separated the layers it gave me and picked the best one. I didn’t take the time to go into detail regarding this feature, but there are lots of tutorials on it already if you poke around. Here is one that I found. And, another good site if you want to learn more about Inkscape.

Adobe Illustrator also works with SVG files and will probably be something I play around with more in the future. In the meantime, please enjoy these GIF images and feel free to ask me any more detailed questions you may have regarding the process.

Third Step: Clean it Up

While this step is the most tedious, it is also very crucial to getting a nice clean cut. Basically, you need to go into your traced cutting file and do a few things. Let me see if I can list them out.

  1. Delete nodes that you don’t want (you can see there were a lot of cluttered points on my images above).
  2. Connect the paths where the trace didn’t get it quite right. For me, I needed to reconnect the girls’ ponytails to their heads!
  3. Alter any shapes that seem a bit off if you desire.

With some practice and a LOT of patience, you can end up with a file that looks something like this one:

Custom Silhouette of My Girls

Click to download FREE SVG file.custom silhouette svg of girls in tunnel

Fourth Step: Cut it Out

Finally, we get to the fun part! Now that you have your file all ready to go, open it up in Silhouette Studio. I have the designer edition and can open SVG files directly. If you do not, you can save your file as a DXF from Inkscape and import it from there. cutting out the final custom silhouette imageAs a caution, I do warn that I have personally had struggles with this method and recommend you read my experience with it before you invest too much time into trying to cut out your files.

The file with the custom silhouette of my two girls that I show above I ended up separating into two cuts. My other file, wibackground image cut outth them holding hands, only took one cut.

Since their playroom is all decked out in pink and green, I used a pretty pink 12″ x 12″ cardstock I had on hand. While this playroom has been a long time in process, it just keeps getting more exciting (in my humble opinion, of course). Feel free to check it out.

For the two layer cut, I cut the tunnel background into the pink layer and cut the girls out of the white cardstock. On the other cut I just used the pink as a solid background.

Once you get your images cut out to your liking, weed them and get them looking just right. Take a minute to sit back and admire them! If you made it this far, congratulations! I know this is a long tedious process, but you can get such fabulous custom silhouette results!

 

Fifth Step: Frame It!

Don’t let your beautiful silhouette just sit there on your craft table. Get it off the table and into a frame! I promise, this part is really no so hard. You will need:

  • A frame large enough for your cutout. Some I found on Amazon.
  • A decorative background paper.
  • Something to add dimension behind the cutout. I used scraps of Cork that I had on hand.
  • Adhesive I used a tape roller from the scrapbooking section of the craft store.

Decide where you want your background. Mine was slightly smaller than the frame, but larger than the mat. In order to ensure it wouldn’t slip around, I adhered it centered to the example insert they always have in the frame. Next, add your cork (or something with similar dimension) to the back of your custom silhouette cutout. Then, adhere it to the background. Center your art in the frame and close it up. It is really that simple.

Father and Daughters finally in their frame!
Father and Daughters finally in their frame!

 

My sweet little girls all settled in their frame.
My sweet little girls all settled in their frame.

Well, I suppose that is all I have for today. Have you made any custom silhouette artwork? I would love to see it! Oh, and please excuse the quantity of social media images that follow, I really can’t put down my new CC apps!

 

 

 

 

Custom Silhouette Cutout DIY from photo to frame kabramkrafts.comCustom Silhouette Cutout DIY from photo to frame kabramkrafts.comCustom Silhouette Cutout DIY from photo to frame kabramkrafts.com