Jan 28, 2010

Bonjour mein amigos! Finally, a new tute!

I want to show you a few things today. The first is how to make an embossed background (as seen in this ATC) without a nifty cuttlebug-type machine.
First you need a stencil.
Some embossing tools (the purple one is actually a clay tool). I used a thin piece of foam for my base surface.
Put your paper on the foam (the soft surface is key to bringing out the images), and your stencil on the paper. Using embossing tools, outline and/or fill in the negative spaces. Push firmly enough to make an impression, but not so hard you tear the paper.
I then flipped my paper over and rubbed distressing ink across the raised surface to bring out the image (you could also use embossing powder here).
And here's the finished piece. It looks like a pressed tin ceiling tile to me, and is very tactile.
This is not something you'd want to do for a large piece of paper - it does get tiring applying pressure and keeping the stencil in place - but it is doable for an ATC size piece, and is much more affordable than one of the machines.

Now here's something I'm SUPER excited about. I haven't been able to justify buying a cuttlebug, you see, because I already have a cricut personal cutting machine. Ye olde cricut had been gathering dust because I was a little bored with the cartridges I had and new ones cost $70 or so.

But my cricut had a usb connection. I had purchased the software that Provo Craft eventually put out that allows you to manipulate the fonts and images from cartridges you already own. Nice, but limiting. I got to thinking that there must be more I can do with the cricut connected to my computer, so I googled, and lo and behold, found software called Make-the-Cut.

With Make-the-Cut, I find images on line, like the bird in the ATC, pull them into the program, resize and cut. Voila: custom die cuts of virtually any image I want. All of these images came off the internet:
And you aren't limited to silhouettes. You can do layers, like with a superman logo: one cut for the background in one color and another cut for the "S" overlay cut in another color. The program lets you manipulate the images to get the look you want. And you can use any true type font.

This has made me fall in love with my cricut all over again. It also gives me a sense of satisfaction that the powers that be at Provo Craft, who already got lots of money from me for buying the machine, can't force me to buy only their products to use it. I no longer have to use their cartridges. Liberation!

Remember to submit an ATC for the "time" theme this week!


Lesley said...

Great tut Steff, you can also use those stencils that are made of a thin metal as well.
I don't have a cricut or any cutting machines, just me and my scissors. Just a thought, can you put plastic stencil sheets in your cricut, that way you could cut your own stencils too, those fancy flourishes, but I wouldn't know for sure you might want to check to see that it won't damage the machine. Or you could use a heavier cardstock and make your won. I make my own stencils but nothing really to detailed. Works for me.
Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Elaine. said...

it turned out beautiful.

Evelyn S. said...

I have a Zip e Mate and a Big Kick AND a Cricut Expressions (I've used only once)...but I have a friend who has the program Sure Cuts A Lot. It's a computer program, too, and gives her unlimited use of her Cricut.

Ellie said...

Wow, I don't have the machine, but the software sounds great. I love your tutorial. Thanks so much, looks like fun to play around and see what you can come up with!

Cheryl said...

Great news! The Cricut has been resurrected!

Amy said...

I don't have any machine, but I totally Love the idea of taking your own images and making die cuts like the key and bird..you are so LUCKY!!!! WOW..the ideas are endless now.

Your card is super cute and I love the tutorial!!! hugs amy

plo said...

Very cool! I haven't had my Cricut long, and already realized it's limitations! I am going to look into this right away! Thanks for sharing!