As an avid paper crafter I am always on the lookout for cool new tools and techniques for creating cards. The Silhouette machines offer a lot of options for projects that traditional manual die cutting machines don't. Images can be edited, have the size adjusted, and the tacky cutting mat allows for some cool techniques as well. I have put together 3 different finished cards using the same image file as a background to demonstrate a few techniques.
Step 1: Choosing an Image
I used the Silhouette Design Store to find an image that was suitable for card backgrounds. I chose this particular 'fishscale brick overlay' pattern because it is versatile and can be used for a variety of occasions/sentiments in greeting cards. I also liked that this image is square. I sized the image to fit the front of some 5.5" x 5.5" blank cards I already had in my my stash. I purchased the image with the 'commercial use' option so I can use this image on future projects to sell through my Etsy shop or at a craft fair.
Step 2: Cutting the Image
I chose some lightly textured black cardstock for cutting this image as my first thought was the lines reminded me of the leading in stained glass windows. On the first cutting attempt I had the cutting blade depth set to 5, as the recommended range for cardstock is 4-6 per the Silhouette instruction guide. This did not cut all the way through the card stock, but I liked how the pattern gave the cardstock a quality almost like tooled leather, so I kept this first piece and loaded a second sheet of cardstock.
On the second cut attempt, I adjusted the blade depth to 7, which resulted in a nice clean cut. Because the image cut so nicely, and the tackiness of the cutting mat, when I lifted the cut image I was left with the void still in a perfect pattern, and decided this was too nice not to use.
Step 3: Transfer the Void to Adhesive Background
Elizabeth Craft has a fantastic line of sookwang adhesive called 'Be Creative Tape'. This is a clear, super sticky adhesive that comes in a variety of widths. I cut a piece appropriately sized for this project and adhered it to a plain piece of white cardstock, then removed the backing on the other side.
Using the glossy side of the backing, I lined up multiple strips of masking tape to be roughly the same size as the void I wanted to transfer. I then transferred the masking tape to the top of the void and used my fingers to press down and make sure the masking tape adhered well to the bits of cardstock. I found it was easiest to flip it over and slowly pull back the cutting mat to make sure all the cut pieces came off on the tape.
Once I had all the void attached to the tape and pulled away from the cutting mat, I pressed it onto my sookwang adhesive and again used my fingers to ensure all the bits were stuck down well to the background. Now the delicate part: removing the masking tape. It is best to pull back one strip of the tape at a time, being careful not to pull pieces of the cardstock off the sookwang adhesive. This step required a little patience, but when all the masking tape was removed, I was left with an almost perfect transfer.
Step 4: Glitter Time!
Because the outline of the void was tacky from the sookwang adhesive, it was perfect opportunity for one of my favorite techniques: glitter blending. The glitter needs to be extra fine in texture - I like Martha Stewart Crafts, and also the multipacks found the general craft section at Michael's that come in small clear baggies. Starting from the bottom, I sprinkled the darkest color and rubbed it into the adhesive with my index finger. Then moving on to the next lighter color, overlapped the edge of the darker color to blend the colors into each other. I repeated this to create an ombre effect of 4 colors.
Step 5: Attaching a Background
Now back to the original cut outline. As I mentioned earlier, it reminded me of stained glass. I used a scrapbook paper from Reflections that had fun multi-colored hexagons. Using a clear glue suitable for paper, I applied glue to the back of the black cut piece, and adhered it to the scrapbook paper, choosing the area of color I liked best. Once the glue dried, I trimmed the excess scrapbook paper.
I also trimmed the excess backing from the glittered background.
Step 6: The Finishing Touches
At this point I had 3 cool backgrounds: the black cardstock with the image cut into it, the finished glittered background, and the outline backed with colored paper. I went back to the Silhouette Design Store and downloaded a birthday flourish (personal use as I am going to give away the finished card to a coworker) and used the Silhouette to cut it out of white cardstock using the 7 depth setting on the blade. I trimmed down the black background a bit, and used a punch to round the corners. I added a strip of shimmer gray card stock behind the white cut out to add contrast.
For my 'stained glass' piece, I downloaded an additional sentiment from the Design Store, used the Silhouette to cut it out of yellow shimmer cardstock, and used sookwang adhesive to add glitter to the void left behind from the cut letters, and adhered this piece to the front of the background.
For the glittered background card, I just used a fancy font in MS Word, and printed it out on my printer. I then cut it down to size and adhered the strip to the background. I also added a couple rhinestones for detail.
Once I had all three pieces finished, I adhered them to the blank 5.5" x 5.5" cards I had.
I now have 3 lovely finished cards ready to have sentiments added to the inside, and sent off to their recipients. I really like how all 3 used the same image as a background, and all 3 turned out so different!