Since getting my Silhouette Portrait cutting machine I have been very busy making storage solutions for some of the things in my craft room.

I purchased one of the subscription options from the Silhouette Store, which meant that the individual files were VERY cheap.  And then Black Friday happened and everything was half price!  So I ended up buying loads of great cutting files!

I particularly love the great storage ideas from designed Jamie Cripps.  She helpfully says whether the design is suitable for both the Cameo and smaller Portrait… but… whilst the biggest part of the file does indeed fit on the Portrait mat, it is still bigger than either A4 or US letter card!

Whilst the two sizes are very similar and often interchangeable, they are not identical.  A4 is slightly slimmer and longer than its American cousin.  Therefore sometimes the files ARE Portrait compatible, but not really A4 compatible.

In this case the component is longer than either of the two standard card sizes.  So…

Solving the Size Problem

I have found 4 ways to get around this problem:

1 – reduce the size of the cutting file (well, doh!)  Make sure you resize ALL the bits at once so the end result will still fit together properly.  Whilst this is the easiest solution for many projects, for some it means that the end result would not function as intended, for example if you were making a storage box for a particular sized item.

2 – Use card that is slightly bigger than A4, or cut down A3 or 12″ card to fit.  You can put paper up to nearly 11 inches in width through the Portrait machine, by the way, but it will only cut up to 8.5″ across.

3 – And with many files you can overlap a little where there are tabs – as long as you have enough left to stick it together.  This may require a bit of rotating and wiggling.  The Portrait will only ever cut within the area designated on the cutting mat, so don’t worry, doing this will not encourage it to cut your mat up or anything

4 – Cut the file up into smaller pieces.  So where there is a side and back piece in one, cut it up so the two pieces are separate and fit onto one piece of A4 card.  This is the most time consuming way, and if you can do this easily then you probably will be creating your own cutting file anyway!  But if just a couple of bits don’t fit on your card then this could be the solution to being able to use it.

Making the Storage Box with A4 Card

I wanted to make up Jamie’s 3d stamp and 5×7 card storage box.  But when I opened it in Sihouette Studio, argh, the biggest part was just a tad too large for the A4 sized kraft card I wanted to use.

Fitting onto A4 Card in Silhouette Studio

Here is a screen shot of the file, open in Silhouette Studio, ready to cut the largest component.  You will notice I have done four things to the files.

1 – I have ungrouped them so I can manipulate them individually.

2 – I have rotated two pieces so that they can fit on my Portrait cutting mat.

3- I have added a pattern fill to the four decorative panels, just so I know which they are when cutting things out.  I usually colour code the cutting files like this as it prevents any confusion and cutting any pieces out of the wrong colour/pattern/type of card.  I will be cutting the panels out of preprinted scrapbook paper, the fill I have used here is just to make them stand out.

I have also coloured the main box components with “kraft card colour”.  Nice and clear now 🙂

4 – The biggest component (one side and the back panel combined) is on the cutting mat, and is slightly hanging over the ends of where the paper will be.  The overhang is within the area of the two tabs on this piece so they will just be a little thinner on mine.

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Once I have set everything up like this I save it to the Library so next time I want to make it I am all ready to go.  This preparation really can make things easier for complicated files and it is well worth taking the time to work out what everything is and where it goes before wasting card by cutting things out wrong.

I cut out the three main box components from the kraft card, then the four panel parts from some pretty scrapbook paper.  I put Brushed Courduroy Distress ink all around the sides and folds of the kraft card components, and Distress Ink all around the panel edges in a colour to match the patterned paper.

Next I fixed the panels to the card base with a tape roller.  I did this before I assembled the box as it is much easier to line things up and press them down when the box is flat.  If I were making this as a gift or I thought it would be handled a lot then I would fix the panels on with matte medium gel instead to ensure they could not accidentally be peeled off.

I glued the box together with Collall Tacky Glue.

The project took 3 sheets of A4 kraft card and 2 sheets of A4 scrapbook paper (there were oddments left over for the scrap box).

Finally I cut out a label from another Silhouette file and fixed it on the spine of the box.  I try to make sure to label boxes as soon as possible as it really does help keep the craft room tidy.

Jamie has a tutorial for assembling this storage box on her blog.

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