On the Silhouette UK blog today, I have a tutorial on how to do mock ups with Silhouette Studio. It's annoying that we can't export jpegs directly with Silhouette Studio, so I used to save high res jpegs using software called Bullzip. I decided to try the software that Kay recommends called PDF Creator and it's ace. It gives you lots of different formats to export as and the version Kay links to does high res for free:)
Following my trip to La Vidalerie where I learnt salt-water etching, I've been a woman obsessed! I've been etching copper, steel and silver with all different types of methods and I've written up quite a few tutorials too.
My first tutorial was on salt-water etching, featuring a copper keyring I made for Lisa at Silhouette UK.
Check out my wee diagram illustrating the set up:
Edinburgh Etch Solution
I then made some things with Edinburgh Etch Solution, which is just ferric chloride with citric acid added. This simple addition of the acid that's in lemon juice makes a faster, cleaner and longer lasting etchant that is cheap and non-toxic.
Hints and Tips for Designing and Applying Resists
As the hipflask that I made my dad also used Edinburgh Etch Solution, I decided instead to make more of a hint and tips tutorial for all etching methods. Indeed this tips are relevant for etching non metals too, such as glass or tiles. I covered how to chose which parts are to be weeded or kept, how to envisage the end result in the software, cutting spares and also reverse weeding/weeding in situ.
Finally, this post covers two techniques for etching fine and sterling silver. I used electro etching with silver nitrate for the swallow and ferric nitrate for the hummingbird.
Brass - I ordered up some copper and brass shapes from Just Simply Blanks and they have just arrived today, yippee! I also ordered a cheap guillotine cut 1kg mixed bag of brass sheet from Ebay.
Letterpress - I plan to make a letterhead or return address design to emboss onto paper using my Big Shot mangle thingy to make a letterpress stamp.
Champlevé - I'd like to have a shot at filling some etched pieces with either real enamel (torch firing) or cold enamel (epoxy resin). I also have some efcolor which has the benefit of needing only a domestic oven at 150 degrees, but I'm not completely convinced - think it might be a bit plasticky. I will of course keep you updated.
A New Etching Solution for Zinc, Steel and Aluminium - I've been using Edinburgh Etch for steel, but I discovered this article recommending a new solution , so bought me some cheap copper sulfate from eBay, again in the words of Arnie,"I'll be back!"
I'm just home from a week's holiday at La Vidalerie in France and it was fabulous!
My First visit in 2013: An Introduction to Jewellery Making
I first discovered La Vidalerie when shopping for handmade silver jewellery findings a few years back. Browsing through the website, I noticed that they also run jewellery making holidays. So, my buddy Jenny and I went along for a few days on their beginners' course.
Mastering the Basics
We covered the basics and it was a revelation to learn the correct techniques for things I always just muddled through with. For example how to securely crimp and attach clasps to bracelets, open and close jump rings tightly without distorting them and how to make the perfect wire wrapped loops every time!
Wire work, Riveting, Fold-Forming and Soldering
We drank a hell of a lot of cups of tea with choccie biccies, so I don't know how we managed it but we also branched into loads of 'proper' silversmithing. We made our own earwires and clasps and learnt how to herringbone weave silver wire around beads. We got our hammers out and learnt how to fold-form flat silver into 3d shapes. We stamped and riveted pieces and even learnt how to solder our own stacker rings!
Precious Metals Workshop in Edinburgh
After my first holiday at La Vidalerie, I started making things at home and took an evening class at Precious Metals Workshop in Edinburgh. I got quite into it and hired a bench with a friend, Di, whom I met at the workshop.
After a couple of years, my jewellery hobby dwindled, as my Silhouette Cameo had taken over and a flat move took up my remaining spare time. I decided to cancel my bench as it was £60 per month and packed away all my tools.
In need of a Retreat
Not many people know, but things have been tough recently, as I've separated from my long term partner. I needed a break and the first place that sprung to mind was La Vidalerie!
Rekindling My Hobby
Since visiting last, Karen and Tim have built a fabulous workshop, kitted out with loads of equipment, so I had a ball.
My favourite jeweller Misun Won uses this Korean technique of fusing fine gold foil to silver a lot and I was keen to find out more. I experimented with cutting it on my cameo, which was very nerve-racking given the cost!!
Electro (salt water) etching
At PMW in Edinburgh, I tried chemical etching on copper and silver, so was keen to try out salt water etching on copper with Karen. This technique passes an electric current from some household batteries through the water to etch your piece. We also used the same idea of electro-etching on silver, but instead of salt needed to use silver nitrate. We tried out resists, including vinyl cut from my Silhouette Cameo.
Glass Fusing and Etching Dichroic
I learnt how to make fully fused glass pieces and how to make custom designs etching the special sparkly dichroic glass
Rolling Mill Textures
This was an unexpected delight, so much so I have ordered my own mini mill arriving tomorrow! I cut designs in paper with my cameo, many inspired by retro Orla Kiely style stems. I particularly love my brooch and learning how to make the fastening.
Claw and Tube Setting Stones
Apart from constantly dropping my teeny weeny topaz when I was trying to set it, I love this sea glass pendant and learning the versatile claw setting. I want to take a trip to Seaham near Newcastle where this glass is from - apparently there was an old Victorian bottleworks factory which routinely dumped its end of day glass into the sea. Almost a century after it closed, the sea still churns back daily loots of beautiful sand-polished glass nuggets. Closer to home, I hear South Queensferry is also good, but this time because of the nearby pubs!
Completing my Origami Hummingbird
I etched this little fella in PMW but he had languished in an unfinished projects box. I soldered a brooch pin on and we gave him a wee polish and he's ready. Do you think I should keep him or gift him this Christmas?
I know it seems like I have some sort of affiliation, but I don't at all, I just really loved both my holidays! Karen and Tim are so warm and welcoming and really easy-going. Tim picked me up and dropped me off at Montpelier airport, although we realised that Beziers is actually a way better option late March to October as Ryanair fly direct from Edinburgh.
Breakfast and lunches are included and veggies are well catered for as Karen herself is vegetarian. For dinner, you can cook in the gite or Tim will happily drop you off in the local village and collect you again.
Incredibly materials are also included, yes really - silver, copper and glass! I even got a little laser engraved usb with all the photos Tim kindly took and my own polishing stick. My makes were wrapped in little bags and tissues and I was given some La Vidalerie jewellery tins so I didn't damage them travelling back home.
My holiday cost £890 - this is the 2016 price for 5 workshop days and 7 nights. This can be split into shorter holidays such as 2 Workshop Days / 3 Nights for £395 per person or 3 Workshop Days / 4 Nights costing £495 per person. I think this is fabulous value considering day courses in Edinburgh cost as much or more without food, accomodation or materials! Here's their website La Vidalerie.
Oh, I should mention that Karen and Tim are English ex-pats, so teach in English in case you assumed my French is way better than it is!!
Hi gang, I'm sorry to have been away for so long. I've been posting lots of tutorials on the Silhouette UK blog, but I haven't been updating you here. To remedy this, I've made a dedicated page that has links to all the Silhouette UK tutorials I have posted.
If you are on the desktop it's the furthest right on the menu bar at the top of the website.
On a mobile, the menu is at the top left and the page is at the bottom of the drop down list.
Silhouette Basics Tutorials
We are running a series of Silhouette Basics tutorials to explain the software and aspects such as blades and mats. Click on any of the pictures below to follow the links to the tutorials.
Techniques, Ideas and Inspiration
Here's some other projects I've been doing since I chatted with you last.
A line art typography tutorial that went live today and includes free files
How to cut shrink plastic
How to do double-sided print and cut
Here is my first post of my favourite suppliers series. I decided to start with this as there is a sale with incredible bargains at the moment, so figured this would be a timely one to start with.
I want to be clear here - I have no affliation with these companies or products, I just really like them!
Curious metals pearlescent paper and card
My ultimate favourite paper to cut with is curious metals pearlescent paper. It's a nice thickness (120gsm) that cuts better than any other paper I have tried. Given it's shimmery, I was surprised that it's very forgiving when bending and folding - I've used it to make both small origami pieces and also a large lightshade. The paper is double sided, prints beautifully and gel pens work well too. Seriously, it's like the holy grail!
Anna Marie Designs
Quite a few shops sell this paper, but the best value by a country mile is a shop called Anna Marie Designs.
Currently in the clearance prices section, there are A3 packs of 50 sheets on sale for just £3, so that's just 6p a sheet instead of over 50p. The normal price for these packs from the same shop is £9.99 and the next cheapest I've found for the same paper is another shop I use alot called PDA Card and Craft at over £25!
Links to the Curious Metals Pearl Paper Bargains
My main gripe with this store is that I find the website very hard to navigate. Here are the links to help you:
Main link with all colours A3 pearl paper regular price
Same pearl paper, all colours but A4
You'll actually find some A4 pearl paper on sale here, but weirdly it's actually more expensive than the A3 packs!
50 Sheets Antique Gold A3 Pearl Paper £3
50 Sheets Super Gold A3 Pearl Paper £3
50 Sheets Cognac A3 Pearl Paper £3
50 Sheets Cream A3 Pearl Paper £3
50 Sheets Ionised (Dark Grey) A3 Pearl Paper £3
50 Sheets Luster (Light Grey) A3 Pearl Paper £3 -the title says 1/sided, but the one I received was double sided 120gsm like the rest.
There are also bargains with sheets cut to be folded into cards
For example 50 sheets dark blue 6" pearlescent sheets for just £1
I've also bought linen and laid 120gsm paper, hammered paper and card - all lovely. I like the smooth card and the envelope packs are very good value and quality. My favourite adhesive is the red hi tack tape and it's only £1 for 5m (3mm, 6mm and 9mm wide).
The only item I've not been so keen on is the single sided pearl paper - it's very pretty, but thinner and it was difficult to cut, so more suitable as an insert or backing.
Shipping is free over £30, under that it varies between £1.25 and £6.95 for up to 15kgs. On first look, with a few items in my cart, the postage was sitting at £6.95 which felt very spendy. Thing is though, paper is incredibly heavy - I recently bought a big haul of paper to split with my friend Danielle. Her half weighs 6kg and will cost about £8 through Hermes, so I think it's fair really. Processing times are 7 working days, which I think is on the high side, so it's not suitable for urgent rush orders (PDA would be my choice for that). Sometimes also the parcel arrives with some items to follow, which happened for one items in my most recent order recently.
All in all, I'm a massive fan of Anna Marie Designs. The range is big, the quality is really excellent and the prices are phenomenal! I'd be interested to hear if you shop from here also and if you have any favourie products.
Up on the Silhouette UK Blog today we have an acrylic plaque that I made for my Granny Dilys' birthday. I applied the vinyl using the wet application technique and I have also included some tips for aligning.
The plaque is from a wonderful UK shop called Acrylic Craft. As I mentioned in my previous post, I've decided to do a little series of posts about my favourite suppliers and Phil from Acrylic Craft is definately on my list. This plaque is my first project but I have a few more things that I'm excited to make from my first order, so I'll hold off doing the review until I have a some more completed projects.
Instead, I've decided to kick off with a shop called Anna Marie Designs. I decided to start with this shop as there are currently some sale items which I think are insanely good value and I wanted to share before they are all gone! I'll be back tomorrow with the low down and all the good bargains :)
Here in the UK, we crafters browse longingly at the superstores in the US. Prices are so low and they have all the nicest colours and patterns. We are officially well jeal!
I've found some lovely sellers here in Blighty though offering great products at good prices. My best recommendations are normally from follow crafters on the UK based Facebook groups - I find them great communities to discuss all things crafty, especially suppliers.
Over the next few weeks, I plan to share my favourite shops who are selling the best crafting products including:
Please note, I have zero affiliation with these companies, with no benefits for posting my reviews, I just really like them :)
Hi gang, I'm a member of a few facebook groups for Silhouette users and they are amazingly friendly and helpful places to ask advice about suppliers, techniques and software. Today, there was a question about how to take one shape away from another and my friend mentioned that not many people know how to use the tools in the modify window.
I had a quick example which people found very useful, so figured I'd share here and also give you a pdf link in case you want to print it out.
Click here for the Mastering Modify Tools PDF
In the example above, crop and intersect do the same thing, but if more than two shapes are selected then they behave differently. Here's an example with three overlapping rectangles:
In case you're looking for it, the Modify button is just to the left of the Trace button. You can also navigate to it from the Object menu at the very top.
I hope this helps, any questions just holler :)
My inner kid and not so inner geek were very happy with this quick little project. Hop over to Silhouette UK if you'd like to make one yourself - it takes just 1 sheet of acetate and within 6 mins from clicking download you can be playing with your new toy :)
I recently received an email from a lady called Susan who asked the following:
If I made the word BABY filled with a patchwork pattern then put blanket stitch round the edge which went over the edge of the letter slightly, do I just have to print this out then cut it out, on my Robo, or do I have to draw the stitches with a pen?
I think this is what Susan is looking to make:
This is very simple to do, just follow the steps from my earlier video, but change the last few steps. Rather than cutting the word from fabric and the stitch shape from heat transfer vinyl, group both together and print (registration marks on). We don't want to cut either of these shapes, so set the grouped shape to 'no cut' in the cut settings. The key to produce the cut line, is using the offset tool on the grouped shape that has just been printed. Here's an infographic:
I hope this helps Susan and others. Any questions or comments are very welcome :)
Blog about craft, design and interiors. Includes DIY tutorials for gifts and the home, often using my trustee Silhouette Cameo.