Sunday, 21 September 2014

A few Free Frames

Hi there!

Sorry to be a bit absent, we have just said goodbye to one lot of visitors and expecting another late today!

So, as an apology, I have come up with a few simple frames for you to keep you going.

These are frames that you can cut in simple card or box, or even glitter paper to add a bit of  glitz to your project. Use as a starting point for a project or to enhance one you already have. Above all, have fun with them!

Frames are easy to add to, just duplicate the original design before you start playing, just to be safe!

For those starting on Autumnal themes, don't forget these leaves. They look very realistic!


Friday, 12 September 2014

Make your Own Scannable Scrap Mat in Silhouette Studio

If you are like me, you have loads of scrap pieces in a drawer, that seldom get used because you can't be bothered to work out what will fit on them.

The advent of the PixScan mat may be a solution for some. For me, it isn't. Not only would I have to pay over the odds to get one but the Studio  software does not recognise my scanner. Not even my brand new one. Even though it has (according to Canon) an entire range of drivers, including Twain.
Somehow, everyone wants to pass on the problem to someone else. I don't care who fixes it, but someone should!

So, because I refuse to buy a mat that is not fully supported for my Mavericks set up,  I have been thinking. Pretty dangerous stuff. No one should ever tell me I can't do something because it makes me all the more determined...:)

People with machines under warranty, may not want to try this, as making your own mats would probably void it.

See the video here on how easy it is to make a mat that will not only fit in your scanner without the need for a second pass but also needs very little skill to use!  For best results if you want to use reg marks, get an opaque white plastic mat to use. 

I have made 2 files to be DRAWN in Studio. One is for a plain mat and the other has registration marks. Use a heavy black permanent marker to go over those, and fill in the corner square.  You cut only the outer edge of the mat, with scissors, after.

Note - there appears to be a differently placed cutting area for that size mat with reg marks, that is why they are different files. Scrapmats files here. 

Now, in theory, you should be able to use it by scanning the remnant on your mat. Save the file to your desktop or into Studio directly, depending on your system. Make sure your scanner is not altering the size of the image at all.

NOTE - I also made an acetate cover, the same size as the mat, for mine, to keep my scanner bed clean. Use temp adhesive on the back of your material to hold in place, or sticky your mat with it, choice is yours.

Without reg marks is good for cutting  out shapes that are drawn on scraps by hand or in Studio.  For more elaborate stuff you may want the reg marks. This should work the same way as the PixScan mat but is only suitable for use with a scanner, not with a camera - I'm giving you the file but I HAVE NOT tried out the reg marks one yet - I need some more place mats!


When your scrap is scanned, trace it or draw on it in Studio. To do this accurately, first line up your scanned image with the cut area on the screen, making sure that the rotation is the same and that you have chosen the 'Stamp' mat.  Where the arrow is normally, I have just added an ellipse, (only to show direction of loading).

Let me know how you get on!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Tiered Tree Christmas Card with Free File

Here is my latest Christmas Card. Maybe living in a hot climate for most of the year makes me dwell on snow and wintery bare trees?
It's pretty simple to make.
Cut out the base and add ribbon trim.
Decide on your greeting and cut it out. It is important to place that next, so you don't get carried away and leave too little space to fit it in!
Don't do what I did and glue a letter down crooked. (Shh! See that letter H? Ooops!) No one will notice.

Then cut out your trees. I varied the size and put a grey flocked paper one in the middle at the back  Did you notice? The two big ones are raised on sticky pads. 
Finally, a few dabs of snow and we're all done.
If your 'snow' does go clear, use a fine brush or a cocktail stick to dab the tops with white pearl paint or nail polish when dry.

You can find the file here  I've included some snowflakes to use as an alternative.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Pop Up Cards - the Easy Way! Silhouette Studio

Shhhhh!  Can you keep a secret?  Then let me tell you that wonderful pop up cards that look so very impressive, need not be hard to do. Really. I expect you have lots of designs already that would easily lend themselves to being pop ups and you just don't realise it!

So what do you need?

Find yourself a nice framed scene. By that, I mean a one piece cut out that consists of  a scene welded to a frame, like this

Then, draw a dashed line through the centre, vertically.  Make sure to release compound path and ungroup.  
Now make a copy of the outer edge and put to one side (incase you want it again). With the knife tool, cut the line on either outer edge, just where it starts to curve, in this case. Choose the vertical cut segments and make those lines dashed too.  You end up with this

Well, almost this -  I have offset the unbroken copied outline and centred it here and extended the centre fold line. 

So this forms the inside of your card. You can follow the shape for the outer card like I did here

Or put it in a plain rectangular card shape.  

So how did I get the blue background? The same outline shape was made ever so slightly interior offset and cut in blue paper. Use paper for this and card for the scene. The scene will stand up to wear and tear better that way and the paper will add less bulk.

Stick the paper insert to the inside of the card first, then the outer frame of the scene on top of that.

This is what it looks like on the front with just a simple phrase in gold pen and a couple of interior offsets.   Use the outline shape and the knife on 'solid' to cut it in half to get the shape to offset.

See! Nothing  to it!

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Compound Paths and Use of Eraser or Knife Tool With Them

I was playing around in Studio (as often the case) when I noticed something odd. It involves compound paths.  Thanks to Gayle on the Silhouette Plus forum for her help in finding out what the problem was!

 If you have shapes inside a compound path and then use an eraser or knife to break the path around them, not only does that path break but also that of the inner objects.

Here is a little video I made, it is very short but shows what I am talking about.

While most of the time this is probably not an issue because you will know that it is ( as a whole) no longer a compound path, it may well be an issue if you then use those inner shapes for something else.

Even if you repair the outside line and make it a compound path again, the inner ones will still be open, like this. Here I made a different shape by adding more lines and making sure the outside was closed, and then selected it and made it a compound path. Because the inner shapes are still open, the compound path only applied to the outer shape instead of all of it - as you can see because the fill just ignored the inner shapes.

I have reported this to Silhouette but I really don't know if it is a bug or if they expect it to work like that. Either way, from what I gather from some other users, it was like it in earlier editions too.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Newest Advice from Silhouette on Scanning with PixScan


Just a quick note now,

The following link has  been made public

I hope that this helps any of you having problems with this feature.

There is also a video you may want to watch, made by Graphtec UK on the same matter.  I can't comment because my scanner is not one recognised anyway but hope this will be of use to those of you who can scan directly.


Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Create a One Piece Scene in Silhouette Studio free file and video

I have shown before how I create one piece scenes using Gimp to help me.

This time I am using Silhouette Studio to  do the work. We are making something like the one I made this morning. I have made a video tutorial to show you how it is done, and a file with a couple of examples, along with components to make your own can be found here.

I used glitter paper to cut it out and mounted it on dark blue card, before positioning it behind a window. The falling snow was added with 3d glue.  If you don't have glitter paper, just cut in card and glitter it after cutting but before assembly.

NB If you use the outlines for the window card, make sure they are the right size for your design or make your own to size.

Here is an extra freebie, just for reading to the end!

Monday, 1 September 2014

Review of the New Style Silhouette Pen Holder 2-3T

Thanks to a friend in the States, I have my hands on one of the new pen holders, so I thought I would try it out and let you know how I got on.

Here it is

In a complete departure from previous styles, this one is made out of plastic cuffs, small, medium and large, that grip the pen and a collar that it all goes into.  'Yeah, I get that' I hear you say ' but what is that little bit on the left?"

The answer, is a VIB or a Very Important Bit.  So how do you use it?  Easy. Slide a cuff of appropriate size over your pen shaft, with the tapered end toward the nib.  Put the VIB on the narrow end of the pen holder body. Slide the pen into the holder until it touches the VIB (or cap as it is officially known) and then screw the cuff down till locked in place.  Remove the Cap and insert in the  Silhouette.  Nice and simple.

So I tried it out with a load of my pens

It wasn't able to screw in with this one

And this one was a definite no- 

But all the others were just fine. Everything from Sakura to Pentel to Stabilo and the cheapies I get in the Chinese shops.  If there are two that it can't use, then I'm still happy!

The great thing is that it holds the pen securely, centred and the cap ensures the pen is set to the right depth.  It meant flawless writing and no having the pen judder out of the holder as happened before.

NOW here comes the warning. Don't lose that cap! It makes setting the depth so easy that if you lose it, you're going to kick yourself.  I've found a little jar to put my holder in but as a design refinement for the future, I would suggest they put a nub on the body to hold the cap tight when not in use.

All in all, well done! Just in time for all those Thanksgiving cards in the USA and Christmas cards in my case!