Category: Tutorials

Little Girl Journal Page – Tutorial Journal Page and Background

Today I am making a new page in my art journal, using some new Tin Teddy graphics in the process.

I printed out the Tin Teddy Vintage 1920s Paper Dolls set and chose one of the little girls for the layout.  I then had fun trying on and deciding on her outfit.  I went for a snazzy green number.  I glued the clothes onto her with Cosmic Shimmer glue and coloured over her shoes with a clear Sakura Glaze pen to make them shiny like patent leather.  I put her to one side whilst I worked on the background.

The Background

First I masked the edges of my journal page with low-tack tape.  I then painted the page with a light pink emulsion paint (I actually used one of those test-pots of emulsion you get from DIY stores).  My paintbrush began shedding hairs half way but I carried on as a perfect finish is not necessary at this stage.

Next, I used a home-made brick stencil and dabbed Abandoned Coral Distress Ink through in patches around the page.

Then I used two different background stamps to apply first more Abandoned Coral and then Picked Raspberry Distress Ink randomly over the page.

I then gently sponged more Abandoned Coral Distress Ink around the edges of the page to darken them.  It looks a bit messy right now, but…

Now for the dramatic change!

I sprinkled Yellow and Brilliant Red Brusho colour pigment all over the page.  I then spritzed it with a few squirts of water.  I waited about 10 seconds then blotted the page with a kitchen towel.  The water reacted with both the Brusho and the Distress Ink to create a lovely, soft background with lots of texture and interest.  I left it to dry for an hour.

I added a bit more Picked Raspberry Distress Ink around the edges then used little stamps from Leonie Pujol’s “Arrow to the Art” stamp set to add some little decorations in the two colours of Distress Ink.

The Quote

I stamped a quote from Lavinia Stamps on to some vintage watercolour paper with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink. I used my Tim Holtz Stamping Press (Tin Teddy review here) for this so I could stamp multiple times to get a good impression – I did this as the paper has quite a tooth and it is hard to get a perfect stamped impression the first time.  I used an X-Cut corner punch to round the corners then added some Picked Raspberry Distress Ink around the edges.


I removed the masking tape (always exciting) and fixed the doll to the page with Ranger Multi Medium Matte.  Next, I cut three green fronds and two pink flowers using dies by Tattered Lace.  I used a pink alcohol marker and added simple “veins” to the middles of the flower petals to make them a bit less flat looking.  I glued the top two-thirds of the sentiment down onto the page then poked the fronds in place under the bottom.  I added the flowers and then put a large dot of Pastel Yellow Dovecraft 3D Pearl Effects in the middle of each flower.

Finishing Touches

I used pink CreaBox Acrylic Mousse through a (Barbie!) stencil to add some dimensional little stars around the page.

Finally, I added a few little blobs of Brights Green Dovecraft 3D Pearl Effects (mainly because I bought it this morning and am itching to use it!).

These are links to some of the products that I used, on If you purchase after clicking this link, I will receive a small payment from Amazon for sending a customer their way.


Mothers’ Day Card Featuring Lawn Fawn Mom & Me Stamps and Inking

I purchased the adorable “Mom & Me” stamp set from Lawn Fawn ages ago, specifically to make my mum’s Mothers’ Day card this year.  Sadly the set does not include “mum”, only the American “mom” – it seems odd they didn’t just include the alternative for everyone who is not in the USA.  Still, not a problem.StampCritters

I stamped the owls and the tree trunk in Rich Cocoa Memento Ink.  I then stamped some of the blades of grass and fir trees in Cottage Ivy Memento ink – I wasn’t sure if I would want to use them or not though.

I coloured the stamped images with Copic and Promarker alcohol pens.


I cut two cloud shapes from scrap paper.  This cloud is from the XCut Build-a-Scene set “All Aboard”.


Then I cut out a circle stencil from more scrap paper.  I used a die from the Nesting Circles set by PresscutPlaceMasks

I fixed a 5″ x 7″ white card blank down to my craft mat with low-tack tape, then used more tape to hold the circle mask over it.  I folded a wee bit of the low-tack tape up behind the clouds to hold them in place too.AddBlueInk

Next, I used more low-tack tape to mask off the bottom third or so of the circle aperture.  I use an Ink Duster Ink Blending Brush from Inkylicious to gently apply Salty Ocean Distress Ink.  I was careful to always start on the tape or the mask and to brush onto the card blank below.  I tried to keep the colour very soft and applied more towards the bottom than the top.ThenAddGreenInk

Then I swapped over and masked off the top of the circle with scrap paper and began applying Mowed Lawn Distress Ink to the bottom of the aperture.  Again I started each stroke on the mask and brushed in.  I added more ink at the bottom than the top as I hoped this would give the finished circle a bit more of a 3d effect.FinishedInking

Here is the end result once I removed the masks and the low-tack tape.AddSentiment

I added one of the sentiments from the stamp set using the Rich Cocoa Memento ink.


And then I assembled some of the stamped images on the front of the card.  The owls are on a foam pad for a bit more dimension.  I then added some Glossy Accents over the heart shape on the tree stump.


I add the other two owls and a sentiment to the inside for a cute touch.

These links lead to items on If you purchase something from these links then I would get a small commission from Amazon for sending custom their way.

A Mermaid Engagement Card with Lawn Fawn Stamps – Tutorial

Today I am making an engagement card for a very special couple.  I am sure they will get lots of classy, sophisticated cards – so I am going for cutey and whimsical!

I got the new Lawn Fawn “Mermaid for You” stamps just before Christmas and they came with the perfect sentiment, plus who doesn’t love mermaids?

I took two sizes of circle dies from the  from Circles Nesting Die set by Presscut.  I placed the smaller one on a piece of Neenah Solar White cardstock and drew around it with a pencil, then cut it out with about half an inch extra all around.


I used a mixture of the “Mermaid For You” and the “Fintastic Friends” stamps from Lawn Fawn to make a little underwater scene within the circle.  I stamped the sea weed with two shades of green Memento ink (Cottage Ivy and Bamboo Leaves) and stamped the rest in Tuxedo black Memento ink.

I then used the Tuxedo black ink to stamp two of the sweet little mermaids, the big rock and the seahorse onto more Neenah Solar White card.  I added the tiny starfish to the girl mermaid’s hair.

I coloured everything in with a mixture of Spectrum Noir, Copic and Promarker alcohol markers.  I used the clear blender pen to create a “scaly” look on the mermaid tails and the biggest fish.  I cut out the mermaids leaving a very thin white border because I rather like this “sticker cut” look.Coloured-Lawn-Fawn

Next I used both of the circle dies to cut a frame from Hunkeydory Gold Miri card.  To make this look a bit more like a porthole I added Bright Gold Dovecraft 3D Pearl Effects around the edge: they are supposed to be the rivets.MiriCardPorthole

I used the smaller die as a template to cut a circle from acetate (recycled from Christmas packaging) I drew around the outside of the die with a black Sharpy pen, then cut it out with scissors.  Some sorts of acetate will cut fine with dies, others just seem to bend and stretch rather than cut through.  Had this acetate been ok to cut, I would have done so using the larger circle die.

I used both of the circle dies to cut two frame shapes (exactly like the porthole one) from fun foam then glued them together with Anita’s Tacky Glue.  I then glued them on to the coloured scene circle.

For the “shakers” I used some Scatter Blue from My Village.  This is a product designed to go with Christmas village ornaments, to create fake water.  It is very tiny pieces of coloured transparent plastic and great for shaker cards. I added a few clear sequins too.  Then I glued the acetate to the back of the gold frame with the Tacky Glue, then glued this to the fun foam on the scene to finish the shaker part.

Handy hint – rub the inside side of the acetate with an anti-static bag or tumble-dryer sheet before gluing it in place, this will help prevent the sequins sticking to it.”

MermaidShakerCardThe base card is a white 5″ by 7″ side folding card from “The Works” – I bought some before Christmas as they are great quality and useful to have on hand.

I took the sentiment “We mermaid for each other” from the Lawn Fawn Mermaids stamp set and carefully cut off the word “we”.  I often cut stamps up like this, it won’t really harm them as it is easy enough to push them back together to stamp the whole thing again.

I stamped the “mermaid for each other” part of the sentiment on to the base of the folded card (I laid the shaker part on first to be sure I had it in the right place), then added the word “you” from the “sea you soon ” sentiment that is included in the same stamp set.  I used Tuxedo black ink for this too.


Then I added the shaker unit to the card.  The reason I added this after stamping my sentiment was because there is always a chance that the stamping will go wrong, well there is when I am stamping, anyway!  So I prefer to stamp before adding the extra items to save having to cut things off etc if it goes wrong.  Once I am sure I have a perfectly stamped card, then I can add the rest.

I then added the rock, mermaid, merman and tiny seahorse to the frame of the shaker card.MermaidEngagementCard

These links lead items on If you purchase something from these links then I would get a small commission from Amazon for sending custom their way.

Free Course for Online Business Owners – FutureLearn Course

I have been doing quite a lot of FutureLearn ( courses lately.  They are free to do and last between 2 and 8 weeks.  You can do them at your own pace as long as you register during the official time period.  Once completed you can pay for a certificate or award if you choose, but this is totally optional.

FutureLearn – Online Business: Planning for Success

On Monday 8th August a new course is starting which may be of interest to those of you who run craft businesses online.  The course is called “Online Business: Planning for Success” and, as the name suggests, is all about planning a new business or reassessing an existing one.  The course lasts for 4 weeks (so you need to register before then to do it, though it will probably be repeated later in the year too).  They recommend it will take about 2 hours of work per week.  I have found some of the courses can be done much faster than the recommended times but of course it depends on whether you have any prior knowledge of the subject and how fast you absorb info.

The course is part of a series called “Online Business Success” which has three other courses to come:

Customer Profiling for Success – starts 12 September
Pricing for Success – starts 17 October
Digital Marketing for Success – starts 21 November

I intend to do all four.  Keep an eye out for me in the comments sections if you join in too.

I highly recommend checking out the huge range of courses on offer on FutureLearn.  All the ones I have done have been very professional, interesting and entertaining.  They cover lots of different subjects including history, language, business, technology and “just for fun”.


5 Fab Summer Journal Tutorial Videos – Summer Mixed Media Tutorials

It has been very hot here in the last couple of weeks.  Today though is much cooler, very nice, and I have been tidying my craft room and planning some new projects.

Here are some great summery mixed media journal tutorials from my favourite YouTube bloggers.  I hope they help inspire your own summer crafting creations.

Summer Cocktail Art Journal Page by Nika in Wonderland

Hello Summer Art Journal Page by Vicky Papaioannou

Endless Summer Art Journal Page by Rach0113

Magic in the Summer Art Journal Page by Colour Your Life

Love Summer Art Journal Page by Shel C

Just Doodle – creating doodle art for fun and relaxation – Zentangle and beyond

I do enjoy a good doodle.  Always have.  No doubt always will.

I doodled a lot as a child (often on things that I wasn’t really supposed to be doodling on), and still enjoy it as a way to relax.

Here are some of my more recent doodles, I hope they inspire you to do some of your own.

I started by writing the word “flower” then just doodled around it. The biggest problem was knowing when to stop! The thicker outlines were drawn with a black Sharpy pen and the thinner ones with a Micron Uniball.

Over the last few years there has been a lot of interest in doodling, in particular with the introduction of the version trademarked as Zentangle.

Official Zentangle Books – lots of ideas for “tangles”

I have quite a few Zentangle books, and have been very inspired by the beautiful patterns.  I like to use my favourites and combine them with my own to create “make it up as you go along” designs.

One of my favourite Zentangle books. Click the image to read my review of this book.

I love creating ATCs – Artist Trading Cards, which are small pieces of artwork. Click this link for more information about Artist Trading Cards – Introduction to Artist Trading Cards.

Two more ATCs. Here I have used bird stamps by Woodware and doodled inside the designs

Doodle art can be incorporated into all sorts of different crafts.

I made this sampler in 1997. It is a form of embroidery called blackwork and dates back to Elizabethan times. Sort of doodling with threads.

Sometimes the doodling is the background and the main feature of the piece is actually a blank space.  This works very well for Zentangle-inspired art pieces.

For this ATC I first drew the outline of the cat, then zentangled all around it with a fine black pen. This was part of a series of 4 cards, each with a different cat silhouette in the middle.

You can start the doodle off with an image.  Printed, stamped, die cut or collage pieces – there are many options for this.

# For this ATC I used one of the Tin Teddy 1″ Photo Faces as a starting point, then added the tangled “arms” around.

There are many styles of doodling.  I rather enjoy the “kawaii” style that is based on Japanese and Korean characters.  These are very simple to draw but look cute.

Another ATC. This time I wrote the word “Fun” in pencil then used a black Sharpy pen to draw random little characters all around it. Some overlap the word to make it look more like part of the image.

You can include doodling in journals, card making, scrapbooks and more.  It is such a versatile art form.

This is a page from one of my art journals. I drew the tree freehand, divided it up then filled it with Zentangle designs from my books. The background is stencil in acrylics and the birds are from rubber stamps.

Combine Zentangle type designs with your own artwork to create original pieces that have extra impact.

Another ATC. I sketched the mother and child in pencil then inked over it. I coloured the people with pencils and filled the background with assorted Zentangle type patterns.

Start your creativity with a simple stamped or sketched design and just start doodling.  Don’t worry too much about what goes where..just let the dots, lines and squiggles flow from your pen how they will.

For this ATC on yellow card I started with a rubber stamp of a skull. I then doodled around it for a “Day of the Dead” themed result.

Tim Holtz 12 Tags of 2016 – April Tag – A Tutorial for My Version

For this month’s Tim Holtz 12 Tags of 2016 I thought I would take a break from the usual large tags I have made, and make a short, fat one instead.  I used the “Love From”  Tag Die Set from Tonic Studios.

In Tim’s example tag he uses his new Mosaic kit.  This is not yet available in the United Kingdom so I have attempted to create a similar effect using the supplies I have to hand.

I cut the main tag shape from 300gsm black card (it has a bit of a canvas texture on it) and used the oval die to cut white 300gsm stamping card.


Next I inked up the white card oval using Distress Inks.  I used Fossilized Amber all over the oval then blended Spiced Marmalade around the edges.  I wanted an irregular look.


I then ran the oval through my Big Shot machine inside the wood-grain embossing folder from Crafters Companion.  I love the effect this gives.


Using Brushed Corduroy Distress Ink, I darkened the raised parts of the wood grain.  I kept the blending tool vertical and dragged it width-ways over the oval.  In this picture I have done the right hand side only.


A added a bit more of the Brushed Corduroy Distress Ink around the edge of the oval and glued it to the black tag.  I made two little beads of Dovecraft 3d Pearl Effects in each corner and put this aside to dry.


I cut a butterfly from 300gsm Centura Pearl card using one of the shadow dies from the Paper Artist 3 Butterflies and Shadows die set by Hot off The Press.

ButterflyDieCut I coated the die cut butterfly with modelling paste then pressed a dryer sheet into it to give it some texture.  Here I have laid it on the black tag so you can see it clearly, it is not glued down.  I left this to dry for a couple of hours, to be sure.TexturePasteonButterfly

I cut a pile of tiny pieces from some scraps of coloured paper and began to stick them to the butterfly with Ranger Multi Medium Matte.  This was quite fiddly and took a while.  I coated all the pieces with the Multi Medium to ensure they were all glued down properly.  I then left it whilst I had a cup of tea,  to ensure it was all dry.

MosaicPiecesGoingOnMosaicedButterflyI coated each of the piece of paper on the butterfly with a thin layer of Ranger Glossy Accents.  I used a cocktail stick to push the Glossy Accents into the corners of the pieces.  Again I left it to dry thoroughly.  The 3d tiled effect looks far nicer in real life than in pictures,  honest.


I put some sticky foam behind the butterfly and fixed it to the tag.ButterflyAdded

Next I stamped the word “Love” in Memento Tuxedo Black ink.  This stamp is part of a set called Flutterby from Debbi Moore.StampedLove

I applied the Fossilized Amber Distress Ink all over the word, cut it out and added a little Spiced Marmalade around the edges.  I mounted it on a piece of white paper to give a tiny mount.  I coloured the word in with a Brushed Corduroy Distress Marker and added some little faux stitches with a white Uniball Gel Pen.  The word is more distinct in real life than it appears in the pictures.  I fixed the “Love” to the tag with sticky foam squares.


And finally a green ribbon to finish.

FinishedButterflyTag TTAprilTag




10 Tips for Using Your Silhouette Cutting Machine

1 Pesky Little Leftovers

The Silhouette machines are brilliant at cutting very intricate designs.  But removing all the teeny tiny bits of paper from the mat afterwards is a right pain.  I use the side of an old credit card to gently scrape the mat clean.  It can also be used to help lift off delicate cut-outs from the mat.

2 Clean that mat

It is not long before the cutting mat starts looking a bit sorry for itself.  Every time you cut, little bits of paper get left on the mat.  The build up of “paper fluff” make the mat less sticky and larger pieces can interfere with the cutting process of future projects.


Cover your mat in strips of masking tape (very cheap and it has lots of other uses in the craft room).  Lay the strips so they slightly overlap each other until the whole mat is covered.  Now place the mat on a very flat surface and rub hard all over it – using a bone folder, side of a credit card  or a brayer is ideal.  Then pull off the masking tape and you should see a lot of the “gunk” come off with it – leaving your mat cleaner, smoother and stickier.

Eventually you will need to replace the mat, but you can get a bit of extra life out of it by using sticky spray such as Stick & Spray from Crafter’s Companion.  Just spray a thin layer on, wait a few minutes and apply your card or paper.

3 Testing..1..2..3..4..

The Silhouette software has a handy test cut feature that is well worth checking out.  When TTSilhouetteTestCutcutting a new weight of card for the first time, or a new type of media, you may not be sure exactly what set up of blade height and speed is best.  Use the test cut to try out combos before starting to cut the main design.  This will not only help avoid wasting precious card etc but will also save you time as the test cut is small and fast.

You will see the test cut options when you select the material you are going to cut.

When trying to work out the best combo remember that a quick search online may give you suggestions from other crafters who have already tried to cut the media you want to.  And the Silhouette settings are a great place to start.  I use their setting for vinyl (I use Cricut vinyl), the setting for chipboard for cutting Kraft card and Centura Pearl 300gsm, and the basic “card” setting for 150gsm coloured card.

4 Store that combo

When I first got my Silhouette I was a little worried about how I would know the best blade height/speed combos for different types of media.   I have found that I actually only need to use a few combos for all the different types of card, vinyl etc that I use.  When I am sure of the right combo I write it in my planner for future reference (see the tip above for how to find the perfect combos).  If the media is stored in a box or packet then I also write the Silhouette cutting combo on that too.TTPortraitControls

5 A clean blade is a happy blade

Paper dust from the cutting process can easily get caught around the tiny blade.  This will dull it and your cutting may start to look a little raggedy.  I remove the blade holder and blow hard over the tip of the blade (mind your lips, don’t get too close) after every cutting session.  After cutting very dusty media like Kraft card I unscrew the little end of the blade holder so the blade is exposed, then blow again.  This is worth doing every now and then.  Eventually your blade will dull and no amount of blowing will be able to solve that and it is time for a new blade.

Some people keep their old blades for use when cutting more forgiving media.  A duller blade may well cut thick card beautifully but chew up thin paper in a very alarming manner.

6 Pick a pen.. any pen…

The official Silhouette sketch pens come in a nice range of colours, including metallics.  But TTPortraitPensyour Silhouette machine can use a wide range of pens if you get an adaptor for it.  Using the adaptor is not quite as simple as one might assume and the instructions that come with it are not very clear.  There are video and other tutorials online (just search) and once you get the hang of it you will have opened up your options for crafty sketching.  I have had a lot of luck with simple ball points which draw like the Silhouette sketch pens do.  Sharpies work well but as they draw quite a thick line the sketch being drawn must not be too intricate.  Gel pens also work well and the metallic or light colours look amazing on dark card – but you do need to use a newer “juicy” pen.

7 More bang for your buck

The Silhouette Store is a fantastic resource for cutting designs of all types.  Whilst the designs are cheap anyway, you can save even more money if you have a subscription.  You don’t have to have a continual one, you can just join for a month at a time.  So, for example, if you wanted quite a lot of designs for doing your Christmas cards and decor, you may well find it much cheaper to buy a subscription for a month then buy the designs with this.  You can get different levels of subscriptions depending on how many designs you are going to want to buy at a time.

There is a free design to collect ever week, and lots of sales to snap up even more bargains.


Another way to save some cash is to consider carefully which designs you buy.  I have bought quite a few cutting files for novelty greetings card such as tri-fold cards or pop-up cards.  Sometimes the designer of the card sells it in a few variations.  This might include the card on its own, in a new baby version, a birthday version and perhaps a wedding version.  As they are all the same price it makes financial sense to not buy the basic card but to get one of the other versions as this will include extra elements along with the card part that I want.  I would choose whichever version had additional elements that I thought I could use in some way.

An additional example would be when a designer sells a paper-pieced character as a stand-alone file, but the character is also included in another of their products as the topper on a card, or a box.  Again it makes sense to buy the card or box version as not only will you get the character you want but extra elements too.

8 – Even more bang… even less bucks!

It is very easy to create your own designs using the Silhouette Studio software.  There are loads of online tutorials and it is pretty intuitive to use.

Many types of crafters love to use stacking dies – metal dies that cut different sizes of basic shapes that you can then layer up to make mats, frame and borders.  These are great to create on your Silhouette as one can resize things so easily.  You don’t need to spend a penny to have sets of squares, rectangles, circles and other basic shapes – in an infinite range of sizes!

Creating word art is also very simple with the Studio software.  Just type the word you want then adjust the spacing so the letters overlap a bit.  Bingo, word art!  You can also tweak things to ensure everything looks just how you want.

Remember you can use all the fonts on your computer  – including WingDings!  Plus there are many thousands of free, funky fonts available online.

9 Fake what the cool guy’s are doing

It is a growing trend for stamp companies to offer matching dies to make it easy to cut out their stamp sets.  These are great and do indeed save on fiddly cutting out.  But they are pretty expensive, especially here in the UK.  And if it is a set of stamps that you may not use very often then having to buy dies as well as the stamps themselves can not always be an option.

But your trusty Silhouette can easily enable you to fake this die cut effect for those intricate stamps.

Just stamp the images onto plain paper with black ink.  Then scan them into your computer and load into Silhouette Studio.  Now give them a cutting outline, with a small offset – my tutorial for cutting out clip art images explains how to do this.  There are also many other tutorials online.

10 Keep clean, keep cutting out

Dust and dirt getting into your Silhouette can prevent clean cuts.  If you are not going to be using your machine for a few days then popping a cover over it, or putting it in a box, will ensure it is clean and fresh for the next session. You can buy ready made covers, or could make your own… you could even just drape a piece of cotton cloth over it!

Lindsay Weirich, the Frugal Crafter, has just done a great tutorial for a DIY dust cover on her popular YouTube channel.  Check it out here – DIY Dust Cover for Die Cut Machines and More

January Tag – Tim Holtz 12 Tags of 2016

FinishedRobotTagYay, Tim Holtz is doing his famous Tags of the year blog posts in 2016.  So here is my version of the January tag.

First I used my trusty Tim Holtz Tag & Bookplates die to cut a large tag from an old birthday card (I used this die to cut all the tags for last year too).  As I am going to cover the card I thought I may as well recycle some scrap.

I laid two strips of sticky backed aluminium foil on the tag and rubbed them over with a brayer so they were very flat.  I tucked the excess over to the back of the tag and gave that a quick brayer too.


Then I ran the tag through my Big Shot die cutter, inside the Chevron embossing folder by Darice.  I used the number 2 option on the Big Shot platform. I always use this for embossing folders even though the platform recommends using option 1.

I took a Jet Black StazOn ink pad and rubbed it over the tag.  As long as you keep it reasonably flat against the tag, only the raised parts will pick up the ink.


I cut a rectangle of a patterned paper from the Home Grown stack by Hot Off The Press.  I used Tuxedo Black Memento ink to ink up the edges of this panel.


Then I added a black star shaped paper clip to one edge and four “antique brass” coloured split pins to the corners of the panel.  I then glued the panel to the tag.  I used my Crop-a-dile Big Bite to add a dark blue rivet to the tag hole (to match the colour of the robot)


Next I used one of the Tin Teddy Sexy Robot Lady clip art images and resized it so it would fit nicely on my tag.  I selected around the robot, inverted my selection, and enlarged it by 30 pixels. I  then created another layer, below the robot, and filled the selection with black.  I made a simple “ROBOT” label whilst I was at it, and printed them out onto photographic paper.

I cut out the robot lady, leaving a small black border (which is why I backed her with black before printing).  I ran the side of a black Sharpie pen around the edge of the cut out, to remove the white edge and give a neat finish.  I did the same for the ROBOT label.


I added the robot lady and the ROBOT label to the tag.


I found a shiny star shaped brad that fitted inside the paperclip beautifully, so added that to the tag.

Finally, I tied some glittery silver ribbon and a couple of strands of black rattail cord to the tag to finish.


Assembling a Storage Box by Jamie Cripps from A4 card

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.


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.