Thursday, July 31, 2008

July ATCs - Ribbon

Here is my ATC (Artist Trading Card) for the month of July - our group has been having a lot of fun with these monthly challenges. Without really planning it, I have ended up using a flower photograph in each of my ATCs so far. I think I have started a "series" and will try to continue to use my flower photos for the rest of the swaps (unless I get a better idea!).

The theme for July was "ribbon" - it was my turn as hostess which means I chose the theme when we set up the group and also that some of my trading partners sent some extra goodies with their swaps this time - thanks to all of them for the surprises. You can see a photo of this month's ATCs on KER's blog (Karen is our organizer).

Earlier this month, we had been to Newport, Rhode Island to visit some relatives and I took photos of the amazing hydrangeas we saw while we were there. Here is the original image

I cropped and did some photo editing (light adjustments, focus enhancement, etc.) and this is the photo after editing

I love working with my digital photos and I particularly like the way you can take an ordinary picture and turn it into something special - here are a few more I took that day

A wildflower (cornflower I think) at the park - original shot above and cropped and edited below

and one more set - the original is first

and here it is after I worked on it a bit!

I use the Creative Memories Memory Manager software to organize and edit my photos (you can see info about this software on my CM website linked in the side column).

But back to the ATCs - I had decided to do something with lacing ribbon through the card and I designed a .cut file for a scalloped and punched 2.5 inch by 3.5 inch card to prepare for this month's swap. I cut these first in a yellow green cardstock but I did not like the way it worked with the photo so I went with a lilac textured cardstock which blended nicely with the photo. I cropped and printed the photos in a size small enough to fit in the center of the card and not block the lacing holes.

Above you can see the ten cards before adding the ribbon.

I had a hard time deciding on the color, width and lacing pattern for the ribbon and made a shopping trip to check out the possibilities. I finally settled on a bright green grosgrain ribbon in a thin (1/8 inch) width. Below you can see some of the variations that I tried (the red ribbon was for sizing purposes only - it was never a potential choice!)

I finally settled on a double "X" on the front with the ribbon tied in a bow on the back - here is a close up of the back of one card.

I had to be sure to start on the correct side and to keep the lacing consistent with the ribbons crossing in the same way on each card - once I figured out my pattern it was easy to complete the cards.

Here are the finished ten cards - front

and back

The .cut file I designed was done in Plantin Schoolbook because I was doing enough to fill an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. I found that with so many circles and welds this takes a long time to preview and cut so I deleted the cards on the bottom half and did a set that fits on a 6 x 12 mat. I have not changed the file to George - if you do not have Plantin Schoolbook you will have to replace the shapes with identical ones from George to cut this (you can create a second page, preview and keep preview as background and then place the elements according to the original design).

Eight scalloped and punched ATCs

Four scalloped and punched ATCs

Here is one more pretty picture for you. (love those hydrangeas!)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A few more ideas for the Explosion Boxes

Once I get started on a certain type of project I tend to get carried away and these boxes are no exception! Here are a few ideas for some variations.

First, I found that the base that was used for the original design seems a bit flimsy and does not look as neat on the corners as the origami folded lid so I have started to make the bases without cutting the paper.

Here is an explanation of how I do this -

After making the four scores and folding on the 4 inch lines you can turn the paper on the diagonal and score from the corner to the intersection of the 4 inch score lines.

The Scor-Pal website gives these directions for diagonal scoring:

For diagonal scoring ensure that both corners are aligned to the same groove. The ruler markings along each side fence will help with scoring a 12" piece of paper on the diagonal. Align the page with the 6" groove using the side measurements as a reference for centering.

Here you can see the left and right sides of the Scor-Pal with the 12 inch sheet of paper on the diagonal - there is not a specific guide mark and I find it tricky to get the score line perfect - it tended to got a bit to one side of the intersection of the first score lines.

So I experimented and found another way to make this fold - First fold the paper on the four inch line as you see below

Then, carefully pull back the edge from the scored line and align the score line with the folded edge (I needed to hold the camera to take this photo but my right forefinger would be at the scored line pulling it back to meet the outer edge

Here you can see the paper properly aligned - since it was not scored you need to be careful to avoid getting an odd crease or pucker in the fold.

If you slide the bone folder straight back to have the tip in the corner and then pull it out on the diagonal you should end up with a fold like this

Here is a side view of the fold

and here you can see the base with three of the four folds completed

When you have finished the box the corner folds will fan around the sides of the box, leaving a folded edge instead of a cut edge at the corners.

One more tip - when scoring the flower petals it is a good idea to place a corner piece on top of a side piece and score them together. It is easy to align the side flower petal since it has a two inch straight edge and by centering the corner petal which ends in a triangle you can insure that the score line is in the correct position.

Here is the exploded box - you can experiment with using different colors for the various petal layers.

Another way to make an attractive box is to alter the original .cut file by adding shapes along the edge of the flaps - here I added small flower cut outs on the George version of the file (they are on the same cartridge to make it simpler).

The flaps are ready for placement into the base - notice all the leftover flower cut outs - be sure to save these! Below is the full base made with the corner fold method, ready for the flaps to be added.

Here is the box after assembly - folded and ready for the lid

Below you can see the final box - opening up to reveal the heart in the base

and here is the fully opened box - the heart is surrounded by a ring of flowers!

Here is one more example - first the final box ready to present with a gift inside!

when the box is opened the inside is a pretty surprise

I ran the flaps through the Cuttlebug to emboss them - they fit perfectly if you let the tab remain outside the folder and insert it sideways (I forgot to take a photo but I will add one to this post in a day or so to show the positioning). It is best not to emboss the tab that will be glued to the box so that there will be a smooth area to form the bond between flap and base.

Above is the close up view of the embossed flaps in the box

I added some of those extra flowers cut outs to the baser and even put one in the lid for fun! In this version I used three larger flowers on each flap.

I haven't posted a cut file for this - you can use the original files and "save as" and then experiment with using whatever shapes appeal to you! Have fun with this (I may have a few more variations to share in another day or two...)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Flower Center Explosion Box

Here is another version of the surprising explosion box! This one opens up to reveal a large flower with multiple centers. Once again this idea comes from the show called "The Scrapbook Lounge" on Craft TV and the designer of the original project is Judi Watanabe of JudiKins . It is called "Surprise Box with Flair" and here is the LINK to the episode.

I have designed this file using both Plantin Schoolbook (for Expression owners) and George (for baby bug owners). I try to do my files for both whenever possible so that many people will be able to use and enjoy them.

Here is a photo of all of the pieces you will cut - they are scored and have had the adhesive added so they are ready to assemble.

Once again there are both corner and side flower flaps - you should follow the steps in the previous post for the assembly of the outer flower (linked HERE)

Once the outer ring is completed you can add the inner flowers, first one

Then two

Then three for a full inner flower!

Carefully fold up the flower center and the sides

and slip on the lid

Flower Center Explosion Box - Plantin Schoolbook

Flower Center Explosion Box - George

Explosion Box with a Surprise!

A friend from the Cricut Message Board asked me if I could design a cut file to make a type of explosion box she had seen on a scrapbooking video online. The show is called "The Scrapbook Lounge" on Craft TV and the designer of this project is Judi Watanabe of JudiKins . It is called "Surprise Box with Flair" and here is the LINK to the episode.

The focus of the video was on the decorating of the inner "petals" of the surprise box and there are downloadable templates on that site to trace and cut for making the box. I designed a way to cut these on the Cricut to save time and obtain very uniform results. I have photographed the steps leaving the cardstock totally plain - you can decorate with stamps or photos as shown in the video or in many other ways - this file just helps take away some of the tedious busy work so you can have more fun decorating. Please watch the video and remember that the idea was not mine - I just found a way to make it easier to do!

The video tells you how to make the outer box - basically you score a 12 inch sheet of cardstock at the four inch line on all four sides resulting in a tic-tac-toe pattern and then cut one line on each side to the center square at quarter turns - here is a photo of the scored and cut outer box

When you use this design studio file you will load the mat twice - I have the cuts set up to make four flaps of each type on one 12 x 12 sheet of cardstock in the Plantin Schoolbook file. (If you use the George file you will need to load the mat four times - two for the side flaps and two for the corner flaps). You will end up with four side flaps and four corner flaps for the interior of the box. Here is a corner flap

You will need to score this 3/4 of an inch from the tip. I found that by placing it on my ScorPal with the tip on the 3 1/2 inch mark I could score on the 4 1/4 mark to get that line - just be sure that it is straight on the board.

Here is the side flap

you will score it in the same way.

After all eight pieces are scored you should apply adhesive to the tabs - I use the Creative Memories Precision Point adhesive pen - it goes on white and then turns clear. When the glue has turned clear and shiny you are ready to start assembling the box.

Take one of the corner flaps and place it in the corner of the center square as you can see here

Fold it back to the outer area like this

Next - you need a side flap piece. You will make a small cut (approximately 1/4 inch) in the tab to help get the overlap correct (see photo below).

Take that flap and adhere it to the outer part of the box, centering it so that it is one inch from the fold mark as you can see below

Continue in this manner - adhering the corner flaps to the center square and the side flaps to the outside of the box as you can see in the following series of photos

Make sure to center each side flap and slide the short cut edge over the corner flap to continue the pattern

When you get to the final side flap, fold the first corner piece in to the center and attach it overlapping the corner piece to the left in the same pattern

when all of the flaps have been attached correctly the result will look like this

There are various ways to make a lid for an explosion box - here is the method they used on the video illustrated with my photos. This will use a full sheet of 12 x 12 paper and results in a very sturdy lid.

First draw 2 lines on the diagonals of the paper to make an "X" in the center.

Then fold each corner in to the center point and use a bone folder to smooth the fold.

Then fold each side in parallel to the center and crease well to get a neat fold (a bone folder really helps for these folds).

After all four sides have been folded in and creased, unfold two opposite sides and carefully cut along the fold lines to the center square.

Lift up the two uncut sides and fold the flaps in to form the sides

Then lift the remaining sides up and over and the outer tips should meet in the center forming another "X"

Here is a view of the inside of the finished lid - you can add a bit of adhesive under the tips if you like - or add a photo or piece of patterned paper to help hold it together but it should stay assembled even without glue.

To fold up the box, gather the four sides up and in, making sure that the inner flaps are "swirling" in the proper direction

Here is a top view of the box when fully folded up

When the box is opened there is a lovely wreath which can be decorated is many ways - watch the original video for ideas or "do your own thing."

Of course, I have several variations of this coming in more posts - I'd love to see how some of my readers finish and decorate this box!

Explosion Box Center Flaps - Plantin Schoolbook

Explosion Box Center Flaps - George