Thursday, October 6, 2011

Make Your Own Ghosts

Yesterday a reader sent me a question about making ghosts with Design Studio.  She has a small collection of cartridges and there doesn't seem to be a ghost on any of them.  Some shapes are easy to make and others are very time consuming.  I thought that a ghost should be pretty easy to make so I agreed to take a look at the cartridges she had available and make some suggestions for assembling ghost parts!

The inspiration for the type of ghosts she wanted was this cute ghost stamp from the "Happy Hauntings" stamp set by Lawn Fawn that Christina  featured on her blog (Creations with Christina) recently (please click HERE to go to Christina's blog and see her adorable card).

The trickiest part of this ghost is the tail with an inside curve.  Since you can't just draw your own shapes in the Cricut software, you have to find a shape that will create this line.  Then you add other shapes and weld them together to create a new ghost image.

I looked around through the cartridges on her list and found this shooting star shape on the Camp Out cartridge.  This cartridge has a wood cut style with rough edges so the curve isn't completely smooth but the slight angles give an interesting character to the ghost (you could also smooth the cut with scissors if you wanted to).

Another type of shape that would work is a leaf with a curved tip.  I found one on Classic Font which was one of the cartridges on her list.  There are leaves on many of the cartridges, including Plantin Schoolbook and Don Juan but, unfortunately, not on George.

Another shape that I found with that inside curve for the ghost tail was this heart on the Home Decor cartridge.  I didn't continue to look through the cartridges once I had these shapes to work with. 

To create a new image, you need to look carefully at the shape you want to make and figure out which shapes are included within it, then add bits and pieces until you create a similar shape.  The last step is to weld them all together.  In the preview above, the dark solid lines are the lines that will cut and the lighter gray lines show you the shapes that I put together to make the "ghosts."  You can add eyes and mouths with pens, small ovals and circles that you cut and glue to the ghost cuts, or place some small ovals and circles in the proper position on the mat so the features will cut with the shape.  You do not want to weld these shapes or they will disappear inside the larger welded shape.  It might be easier to place them on a second page of the file using the preview as a guide.

By adjusting the shapes with the handles (stretch, rotate, and skew) you can "tweak" them to fit your needs.  This sort of thing is much easier to do in Design Studio or the Cricut Craftroom because you can work with the handles.  The Gypsy will require a lot of trial and error to get the shapes the way you'd like them.  You would need to unlink the width and height and then adjust them independently.

In order to get a good idea of the shapes of the ghosts, I previewed them without the welding against a black background.  At this point, it is simply a matter of playing around with the shapes to get the result you are looking for.  After each adjustment or addition of a shape, you can preview the result until you are happy with it. 

It is much easier to work at a large size and then make the image smaller when you are happy with the shape.  Design Studio does not have a complete grouping function (you can not copy and paste a grouped collection of shapes to repeat the image quickly).  If you want to make multiple sizes of the ghost, you need to copy and paste each of the image pieces onto a new mat and then resize the new image.

To group the pieces of the image, you click with your mouse at one corner of the mat and drag to draw an "imaginary box" around all of the shapes (you will see a dotted line as you draw this box - this is called a "marquee tool" in other programs).  When you release the mouse you will see little dots all around the shapes and the last shape you added to the group will have the customary "handles" around it.  You can move the group around on the mat with the top right handle (just as you would move an individual shape).  Once you click somewhere else on the mat, you will have to redraw the box to group the items - they don't stay grouped as they do on the Gypsy or the Craftroom.

If you want to resize the group and keep the images in position, you must hold down the control key on the computer keyboard while you work with the handles.

If you are not very familiar with Design Studio, this is probably easier to understand by watching the design process on a video. 

I made a couple of videos almost a year ago that show you the steps for grouping and resizing in Design Studio.  You can find the first one at THIS POST and the follow up video at THIS POST.  There is a tab at the top of the blog (HERE) which has a list of videos that might be helpful if you are new to using Design Studio.  I haven't made any videos for quite a while but I have been getting video requests lately and I may try to do an updated series on Design Studio for the people who prefer to use it.  My YouTube Channel is HERE if you want to subscribe and be notified when I do post some new videos.

Design Studio, the Gypsy and the Craftroom all have some advantages and disadvantages.  I would like to have one program that combines the best features of all of them.  There are also some basic capabilities that are missing from all three options (such as one click shadowing) and the lack of some of these features is what led me to buy a Silhouette machine.  The Silhouette software makes some of the things that I used to spend hours working out quick and easy to do.  There are also other software options available for other machines as well as some programs that work with multiple machines.

I get lots of emails with questions and I try to answer them all.  Sometimes it make take a while for me to get to the end of the inbox but eventually I get there!  If you ever try to contact me and don't get a reply within a week or so, please resend your message since things do sometimes fall through the cracks - particularly when I am traveling or have lots of family things going on. 

I hope you have a great day - have fun designing!

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  1. Cute little ghosts! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hi, Diane. While the end product -- your ghosts -- are adorable, I wonder why anyone would take that much time to design something to cut on Cricut, when these images would be so easy to draw/cut by hand? These aren't complex cuts. If I wasn't comfortable drawing something like this myself, I would go onto a clip art program (e.g., I subscribe to, search for "ghost", download and scale to the image size you want ... and cut or use as template. Easy-peasy!

    I always enjoy your posts!

    Ellen ♥ CardMonkey

  3. Diane, just the word "WOW" will do here. You are amazing!!! I have learned to "MOVE" an opject now. Everytime you make me wish I was you.

  4. Diane this is great. I love to create things from other things! I especially like the heart tail, I would not have thought of that. I also like that once you've created what you want you save it and it's there for the next time! Thanks for sharing the post. As always, it is very kind of you to share your imagination with us.

  5. You sure do have a lot of patience. I'm with Ellen. I would have just cut out a ghost freehand. But the information is great to have for other projects. Thank you.

  6. I just love how you see the shapes in other shapes. I have to keep learning to view things differently. Thanks, Diane.

  7. Genius. Wish I had your creative vision. Read your blog every day and especially like these types of designing tips. I've signed up for alerts for your new videos. Thanks for your inspiration.
    Nancy Jr

  8. Great idea. I went straight to my gypsy to see what I had to make a ghost!! I have some things saved and ready to try.

  9. thanks for a very useful post as I can see myself trying a lot of things I would never have thought of before!! thanks very much for sharing your wonderful talents with us!!! scrap happy


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