Thursday, June 3, 2010

Beach Party at Cuttlebug Challenge

Our Design Team project this week at Cuttlebug Challenge was to create something with a "beach" theme.  Summer is arriving and lots of us will be heading for the beach to enjoy a bit of relaxation.  If you aren't near a beach of any sort you can still throw a beach party and "chill" with your friends.  Be sure to stop by the Cuttlebug Challenge blog to see all of the great projects the team has put together.

With "beach" as the theme the obvious cartridge choice was "Life is a Beach" (click the name to go to the information page on the site).  I usually try to avoid the obvious... but this cartridge has great beach images that are fun to work with.  I challenged myself to try something new - in this case using a product I had never tried to cut with my Cricut - shrink plastic!

Many months ago I purchased this package of shrink film.  It is a different brand than the "Shrinky Dinks"  I remember from my childhood.  The material is thin but very hard and brittle.

There is a charm feature key on Life is a Beach - couldn't get much simpler than that!  This screen shot shows some of the images I tried.  I also used the shift function to cut "beachy" initials for our family.

I first tried to cut the plastic with my regular blade and using multi-cut two at high pressure and blade depth 6.  The first pass didn't get very far so I did another 2x multi cut and then a third 2x multicut (for a total of six).  The cut did not go completely through the material and I also had a problem with the multiple multicuts not lining up evenly.  So it was time to pull out the Deep Cut housing and blade.  I bought one of these quite a while ago when A.C. Moore had all Cricut items at half price for a sale but I had never needed to use it before.

I taped my sheet of plastic to the mat to hold it securely through so many cuts and tried multi-cut 3 times with the deep cut blade.  This time the cuts worked and I just needed to push gently to pop them from the background.  The blade did grind up some plastic dust so you need to clean up carefully.  You will need to experiment to find the best settings for your machine but I thought my experience might be helpful.

I cut the charms at 2 1/2 inches.  The plastic shrinks to about 1/3 of the original size when heated.  Here are most of the cuts "pre-shrinking" on a 12 x 12 sheet of cardstock.

I used my Cricut hook tool to hold the cut on a cork mat.  I chose to use my heat gun instead of baking the charms (I may rethink this for next time...)

The charm looks like it is ruined as it heats up but before long it gets back into shape and is much smaller and thicker.  If it is a little out of shape you can round it a bit with your fingers but be careful - it will be very hot!

I was able to shrink most of the charms successfully.  The open style of these charms is not the easiest shape to work with, especially if there is not much connection from the image to the circle.

A couple of the charms didn't quite make it - these may have been better done in the oven since the heat gun does blow the material around a bit.  I'll try that if I make more.

I don't make a lot of jewelry but I did have some supplies on hand.  I threaded some beads on these wires that are meant for earrings.  I used a jump ring for the charms so they could dangle more freely.

The charms can be easily fastened around the base of your stemware to help everyone keep track of their beverage (apple juice in the photo but adult beverages allowed!). 

The charms can be personalized or based on a theme.  A set of these charms makes a great gift for a shower.  You can use the initials of the couple and some shapes for their guests to use.

I designed the invitation card last summer using "hide selected contour" to create the interesting cut out design in the card front.  Here is a LINK to the post with the Design Studio .cut file.

As you can see from this screen shot, there are many hidden lines.  I was curious to find out if this file could now be used on the Gypsy (since the update that was made available last Friday, May 28th).

I saved the files in Design Studio as a .gypsy file, uploaded it to my Gypsy and did a test cut.  The transferred file cut perfectly!  This is exciting news since I have so many files that I have created that could only be cut in Design Studio prior to this update.  I was worried that there might be a problem with the transferred design and I would need to rehide all of the lines but, fortunately, that was not the case.

For those of you who have a Gypsy but don't have Design Studio, here is a download link for the .gypsy file

Beach Party Invitation Card

I have lots more ideas for using this shrink plastic.  I want to try the type that can be printed on with an inkjet printer.  There are endless creative possibilities for using this material.

I think I will go try to find some more new materials to cut with my Cricut...

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  1. Great idea! I love the beach and this is perfect!

  2. What a darling idea. These came out beautifully!!!

    Emily C

  3. Fabulous idea!! I remember my brother having Shrinky Dinks when we were kids. How fun to have an excuse to play with them as an adult!!

  4. Love how you did that card. I've been wondering what I could do with the charm features. I need to get my shrinky dinks out one of these days. Thanks for all the helpful tips.

  5. Hi Diane,
    I have cut the shrink film many times. For some reason the frosted version cuts a lot easier than any of the others. It is a fun medium to use. You have a great blog.


  6. Diane, thanks for this post. I just love the whale charm. Whales are one of my favorite animals. The card is great too. Love your blog and all of your tips. Thanks so much, Pam

  7. What a fun project! Thanks for sharing!

  8. I've often thought of using shrinking material with my cricut but wasn't sure what I would use it for - great idea !!

  9. Just awesome! I didn't know either how to use the charm. Thanks for the great idea. Where do you get the shrink film (what section of what store)? Thanks again! webacct @ q dot com

  10. great project! I love cutting shrinky dinks with my cricut! any cart with a charm works, but I also use mini-monograms for the alphabet. love that cart for making these! I also use shrinky dinks to make various charms for my cards. You can stamp on them or color them with permanent markers to make them more colorful! what fun!

  11. Hi Nathalie,

    I ordered the shrink film online as part of another order - I think it was from Creative Express. I haven't looked in the large craft stores but I imagine they would carry it - possibly with the children's crafts?

    If you click on the words "Shrinky Dink" in the post you will be taken to their website and you can order there as well. I wonder if maybe a toy store would carry this material as well.

    Have fun with it!

  12. try coloring these items before shrinking them if you prefer not having white. i've been using punchs on my shrink paper then coloring them with my stampin up markers. the large dragonfly punch is awesome for this project.


  13. Hi Kat

    I did want them to stay white but I have seen them colored with markers and even colored pencils. There is a type with a rough surface to take the pencil coloring better on the Shrinky Dink site. The color darkens when they shrink so you have to remember that when you choose the colors.

    When you use the punches do you also punch a hole to make it a charm or just keep it as a flat embellishment? I'd love to see the dragonfly. Could you send a photo or post it on the Capadia Designs Facebook page?


  14. Boy do I feel old! I've never heard of Shrinky Dinks but I sure have now. What fun! I went to their site and watched their video. My mind is twirling, so many new ideas. Thank you , thank you for your instructions.

  15. Yet another interesting use for the cricut. We are so lucky to have you trying these new ideas out and working out the kinks for the rest of us!

  16. very clever idea! I have some old shrinky dink material laying around. I wonder if it would cut okay with my cricut?

  17. I tried this last night. I used the matte film from the same company (found it at Joann's) and was able to cut it with the normal blade on 2x multi cut! Love this idea!!

  18. I have some shrink plastic that I have had for quite a while...guess I'll have to get it out. TFS


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