Monday, August 10, 2009

1,000 is a very big number!

Last Spring (April 4th to be exact) I had a momentary loss of sanity and signed up for something called the "Ultimate Inchie Challenge" on the Cricut Message Board. I was not terribly busy at the time - I hadn't started teaching classes or doing cartridge reviews or Design Team work - and the due date was soo far away - August 15th...surely it would be no trouble at all to make 1,000 by then!

There was a list of themes and I chose "music" - and promptly put the whole project on the back burner. As the due date drew closer I knew I had to get serious about these. I had discovered that I generally do not like to make many multiples of an item so I needed to find an efficient and relatively painless way to make 100 sets of ten inchies.

I could have used my Cricut to cut the one inch squares but I realized that it would be a lot of wear and tear on my mat and blade and would also be an inefficient use of my paper. So I used another great tool - my Dreamkuts machine. The Dreamkuts has a self sharpening blade and will cut a piece of 12 inch paper into thirds or in half. By starting with various sizes of paper and using different combinations of cuts you can create many different sizes of paper.

A 12 inch square piece of paper contains 144 inchies if you use the entire sheet. You can't cut all the way down to the final inchies, but I used my machine to cut the paper in half (6 x 12), in half again (6 x6), in half again (6 x 3) and in half one more time (3x3). I could then use my small Creative Memories trimmer to cut each 3 inch square into nine pieces with four cuts. For the second layer (the music paper you can see in the photo) I used the same system but cut each 3 x 3 square into 16 3/4 inch squares.

There was a lot of counting and sorting - intitially, I kept the black bases and the music layers in groups of 100 separated into baggies. I worked with the sets to put together 100 layered squares at a time. I used the large Zig glue pen for my adhesive, working on a plastic mat that I cleaned between each batch of 100.

My plan was to have the notes of the scale (do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do) and a G clef and a pair of notes for the ten in the series. I decided that the G clef and the notes would not show up very well against the music paper so I changed the plan to make the final two a heart (I heart music) and a star (music star). I created the note words in Design Studio using the "A Child's Year" font (I really like the font on this cartridge). In hindsight, it would have been easier to use only uppercase letters - I ended up with 200 dots to place above the "i" in "mi" and "ti" - which was very tedious!

By using vinyl for the top layer I had the adhesive already on my cuts and this was a huge time saver. I could have used adhesive cardstock but I find that for very tiny cuts like these the vinyl will cut much more neatly. It was time consuming to set up my sets of 100 in Design Studio. I used a new file for each set to prevent having an overwhelmingly large file that would corrupt. By using the keyboard controls to copy and paste (control c and control v) and then using the arrow keys to move the pasted designs into position I was able to set up the files efficiently. If there was a group function and a quantity cut function in Design Studio it would have been much easier!

For the notes of the scale which had delicate and fiddly cuts to lift and place, I did sets of ten at a time. I was careful to make sure that the music paper was right side up for each inchie as I added the note names. I used both Wall-Pops vinyl (blue, green and yellow) and some Oh My Crafts vinyl (orange and pink). I did not have any Cricut vinyl in bright colors. I actually found the Wall-Pops easiest to work with - it is a bit softer and not quite as prone to static and adhering to itself. The Wall-Pops vinyl is also more opaque - on the pink hearts the music paper shows through a bit.

When I did the hearts and the stars I had only the one solid shape to add so I set up the entire grid of 100 and added the shapes.

I had some fun making patterns as I added the shapes!

Finally, I had all 1,000 of the inchies done. After all that work it is amazing to see how little space they actually take up! They are in stacks of 10 on this baking sheet (so I could move them off the kitchen table where I had been working).

I made a label to go with each set and spent a couple of hours checking and bagging the sets of ten. I use the snack size baggies but I probably should have used the smaller bags I have for ATCs. I had purchased the snack bags for this project so I went ahead and used them.

Here are all 100 sets (500 inchies per gallon Ziploc bag) ready for mailing. I sent them off last Friday and now I will wait for 1000 inchies (one of my sets and 99 others!) to come back to me. I have no idea what I am going to do with all of those inchies...

This was a lot of work but by making a plan and taking things in stages I was able to finish without feeling completely overwhelmed. However, I don't think I'll do anything like this ever again! This project made me realize just how large a number 1,000 is. Out of curiosity, I just checked and there are over 1200 people who follow or subscribe to my blog. After all that work, I didn't even make enough inchies to have one for each person. So thanks to all of you who read and follow my blog - I am surprised and humbled to realize that there are so many of you (and sorry I can't send you each an inchie!).


  1. OMG Diane! What were you thinking? And what were THEY thinking coming up with this? YIKES! I commend you for sticking with it. I would have bagged this long ago. xxD (P.S. Cute design choice.)

  2. Yow-za Diane!!! Job WELL DONE!...What are you going to do with all those inchies you get back??!! We will keep looking for them in your projects..."oooo, look...there's another inchie!" **future comment dated August 1, 2040** LOL


  3. O
    this is amazing!!! love your final design and the progress pictures :) Now, was this therapy, or will you need some therapy now that they are done? LOL, just kidding.
    Totally cool!

  4. I read this post with total amazement... 1,000 inchies. WOW. But then I read Donna's comment and laughed out loud.

    I would have been like you... "Oh that will be fun. I can do this..." Then I would have wanted to move to bora bora and avoid the whole thing. But also like you I would have finished... hating myself, but finding ways to amuse myself while living the inchy hell.

    Good Job. You deserve a good stiff drink, girlfriend!

    xx Susan

    U R something ELse U know that.
    Now after seeing all this I wored out I got to go take a nap.. OMG
    thanks for the tip with the dreamkuts tooo.. I will use that idea..

  6. You are amazing - if you weren't so well organized you'd be crying by now!

    Good job!


  7. CAP-- I cannot belive the she flaked it is so sad. Your inchies are great and so many of you did not deserve to get dumped on.


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