Saturday, September 13, 2008

Happy Halloween - full 12 x 12 page

I decided to try again to do a true "full page" design. I did a lot of frames a while ago and had to make design decisions based on the inability to cut all of the way to the edges of the mat. So I thought about it a bit more and realized that I could at least get the "side to side" dimension to be a true 12 x 12 by using the 12 x 24 mat and placing my design (and my paper) at the one inch mark. So that is what I did!

Halloween decorations are everywhere already so I had Halloween on my mind and decided to use some of the shapes on the Paper Doll Dress Up cart for this project. This is a great cartridge - at first I could not imagine why I would need it with two sons (who are now 23 and 19!) but even if you never cut a doll there are so many "extras" on this cartridge that is well worth the investment!

If you have been reading my blog for a while you will know that I am also a quilter ( least a buyer of fabric and planner of quilts - once I get the top designed and pieced I am not very good about following through to finish up!). I often find inspiration from quilting designs and methods. For this full page cut I thought of a round robin group I was in a few years ago where each of the six members added a row to the quilt design - and also added some borders between the rows. Here is a photo of the quilt top that I received after the other five members of my group added their rows (it started with the row of stars second from the top where one has a red square in the center).

So, with this "add a row" quilt in my mind I set out to create my design....

Using the concept of rows of design elements separated by borders I created this design (screen shot of preview shown below)

I chose a size that seemed appropriate for each shape and added a number of these elements in the same selection box. Then I used kerning, nudging and welding to make the rows approximately the correct length. I used the shape properties box to obtain the exact values to fit the space - the width was always set at 12 inches and the height rounded to the nearest even value. In some cases I compressed the design when I changed the height to fit my pattern by using longer rows (for example, the bats are "squished" from their original proportions so their wings are not spread out as far). I chose the Cuttin Up font for the words - I thought it had a light hearted feel and I was not trying to make this look "scary."

I originally planned to have a border at both the top and the bottom, however, I decided I liked the look of the cats silhouetted along the top row - when the bar was added the tufts of fur at the top were hidden - so I deleted that bar. I purposely made the bar at the bottom extend beyond the bottom margin on the mat so that the paper would not be cut. The bars were done with Plantin Schoolbook and were set to be a bit more than 1/4 inch high and 12 inches wide. To do this height sizing you need to use the handle at the center bottom of the selection box and slide it until the value you desire shows in the height box of the Shape Properties box. If you just type the value in the box, the program will default to a height of 1 inch (I hope that this issue is fixed in a future update of the software - it can get very fiddly pulling and sliding the handle to get to just the value you desire).

Below is a photo of the design on the mat after cutting - fair warning... this design takes a long time to cut - over 15 minutes - so get it started and then go have a cup of tea or call a friend while you wait for it to finish!

Here is a closer view of the cut design showing the tiny details

and here is what the mat looked like after lifting the design- it takes quite a bit of patience to lift and clean the tiny details - I didn't even try to remove the tiny eyes of the bats! The eyes and vine details on the bottom row of pumpkins are also tricky to remove, but you can get them out. Just take your time and be careful!

I did discover that the type of paper you use makes a difference. The first time I cut this design I was using good quality black cardstock by Making Memories but the "finish" to this paper is a bit softer than some and getting the tiny bits out was very slow and frustrating. I have cut the design two more times (you will see a second project using this design in a different post) and for those cuts I used the cardstock I got in a huge bargain pack from Costco - the black paper from this pack has a smooth and hard feel and the cuts were much easier to remove. That paper was made by Pacon Corporation and I have not seen it anywhere else (and it hasn't been at Costco for quite some time). So you should experiment to find a brand of paper that works well for you for this type of complex cut.

The cut on the orange background above was my first test cut and the one on the beige background below is the second test cut - I tweaked the spacing of the letters a bit and made a few other minor changes in the final file.

You could use this design on a page and add photos on top or frame it to display during the holiday season.

Here is my first test cut framed and hanging on the wall in my scrap space (it is in the prototype version of the Creative Memories page frame and the mat opening is 12 inches high but only 11.5 inches wide - the current version have a true 12 x 12 opening and I plan to get new mats cut to retrofit these older frames).

You can also display it framed and placed on a free standing easel, as seen below. This frame is a very inexpensive plastic frame (the type where you bend back the corners and load the contents from the front).

I hope you enjoy this design - I have others in this format planned but have not had a chance to test them so I will post them sometime soon (I never post designs until I have tested them - I don't want to waste your time if there is a problem!).

You can make these for holidays, birthdays, weddings and other special events. I have another project using this design that is posted separately which would also work for various occasions.

Happy Halloween - full 12 x 12


  1. This is fantastic! Your designs and talent never cease to amaze me and I cannot thank you enough for sharing it with me!


  2. The design is good and I like how you used it as a luminary, too.

    Thanks for all of the directions.

    PJ (Jessie Adams)

  3. Thanks you for sharing this! I love it! Can't wait to play...


  4. This is such a great design. Thank you so much for sharing it. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays so I can't wait to cut this and use it for decorations.

    Thank you again!

  5. Wow love this halloween mesh. Thanks so much for sharing with us. Roxy

  6. These are wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing

  7. Capadia - congrats on being featured in the Cricut Chirp! I absolutely LOVE your Halloween design! Way Cool!!!

  8. I found you from the cricut newsletter, thanks so much for your wonderful designs. I am not sure I have what it takes to recreate them, but it is sure fun to see your talent!

  9. LOVE IT! LOVE IT! LOVE IT! I hope Cricut is rewarding you for all your wonderful work since each time I see one of your creations using a cartige I do not yet own I want to run out and buy it. I never thought I would get the Paper Doll Dress UP, but after seeing this wonderful mesh I simply can't wait to have it.

    Thank you so much for sharing your talent with us all.

  10. I also quilt in a similar manner. The quilt is beautiful!

  11. This is my favorite design on your website and I've waited forever to cut it, today I finally did. I am not computer savvy and I don't know a lot about Design Studio but I followed your directions to change the font (I don't have cuttin up) and I actually did it! I cut it on black vinyl (which by the way you have to monitor the entire time it is cutting because it lifts off the mat constantly- new mat, too) and I put it on an orange square board as a gift. I was so excited that it worked I wanted to jump up and down! You are so creative and talented and after just changing the font I realized how much work you did to create this. You are wonderful for sharing your talents with the rest of us. Thank you so so much. I am a huge fan!


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