Last week I made some pumpkin suncatchers made out of laminating film. I had an sheet of orange leftover, so I decided to make a couple more colors and try cutting them with my Silhouette. I wasn't completely sure that it would work, but I saw a couple of successful posts from other bloggers about cutting out laminating film with the Silhouette, so I thought, hey, why not give it a shot.
Monday, October 26, 2020
I started by making a couple more colored sheets. I wanted to make one that was inspired by the color of fall leaves, so I got out all of my shades of green that weren't aqua or blueish and a couple shades of yellow and orange. I laid a laminating pouch out onto a craft mat and started dripping ink.
I filled my laminating film up with green and yellow ink and then filled in the last empty spots with some orange. I spread the ink around a bit with some canned air.
Next, I decided to make a sheet that was purple, black, and silver. I decided to try squishing the ink between the two sides of the pouch to get a base of color. I dripped 3 different shades of purple onto the film and then closed the pouch and smoothed the ink out a bit. It worked pretty well!
Then I added some black and silver and filled the rest in with purple until I was satisfied with the way it looked.
Sometimes, when you're crafting, things don't work out the way you expect. My husband is always telling me I need to include pictures of my screw ups so that people know what to avoid, etc.. So, I'm going to share a couple with you in today's post. I had my laminator warming up while I was inking, but I had flipped the pouches closed while I was working on each one (so I wouldn't get ink on my hands and I could move them around and stack them up, etc...). So, when I got to the laminator, the ink was still wet. These don't work when the ink is wet. The laminator mixes the ink and bubbles form where the plastic can't bond.
So, I flipped open my purple laminating pouch and returned to the ink to make a new green and yellow sheet.
Ah....that's better! Lesson learned. Make sure they are dry before running them through the machine.
Ok, well maybe not completely learned. I'm inpatient. The green and yellow one smooshed a bit, but it wasn't a failure.
The purple one turned out awesome!
The top part of the green and yellow one turned out perfectly, the bottom was a bit smooshed together.
Since I wasn't entirely sure the laminating film would cut on the Silhouette, I set up a sheet filled with jack-o-lanterns and leaves and decided to test it on my sort of successful green and yellow sheet. After reading a few blogs, I used the "sticker paper, clear" setting (blade depth 3, force/thickness 33, speed 4, double cut).
I stuck my laminating film to the mat and loaded it into the machine. Then I crossed my fingers and hoped it would work.
To my pleasant surprise, it cut perfectly!
Every jack-o-lantern and leaf cut crisply out of the film. I was really pleased.
I had a lovely stack of pumpkins and leaves. So, I thought I'd run my orange one through with the same design, but this time I added circles for hanging since they were a bit smaller than expected (I'm terrible at visualizing size from the screen) and I wasn't sure if my regular hole punch would work.
So, I stuck my leftover orange sheet to the mat and loaded it in the machine and set it to cut with the same settings.
Unfortunately, my broken in mat (as in it's been used with paper projects) was not quite sticky enough for the rigid transparency film. One of the pumpkins pulled off the mat while it was cutting and got stuck under one of the bars that the cutter slides around on, and the whole design got out of alignment.
In the end, I had 3 pumpkins and 1 leaf that didn't get messed up.
I was still optimistic that I could successfully cut my purple sheet. For these colors, I selected a group of ghosts. I opened up the flap on the Silhouette and babysat it as it cut so that I could catch it if anything started peeling up, but it cut perfectly.
So even with the snafus, I ended up with some really cute suncatchers.
I also successfully cut laminating film with the Silhouette which opens the door for other fun projects.
The ghosts are so lovely and colorful!
As an odd added bonus, the neatly cut sheets could potentially be used for stencils. Really pretty stencils, too.
Monday, October 19, 2020
Last spring I had the novel idea of inking laminator pouches. They turned out great and I made star suncatchers and shamrock suncatchers. So now that the holiday crafting season has begun, I decided to revisit inking laminator pouches.
I found a pumpkin template online and printed it out on some cardstock and got my alcohol inks, crafting mat, a can of air, and some laminating pouches out. I also set up my laminator and turned it on to warm up.
The 3M laminating pouches are two pieces of film attached at a seam on one of the short sides of the film. It can be opened like a book. The inside has a bit of a texture to keep the items you're laminating from sliding around. This textured surface keeps the ink from spreading a ton, but otherwise, it's like putting ink on any other plastic surface. I got out all of my shades of orange and a couple of shades of yellow ink and started dripping it on the film.
I added more and more ink and occasionally spread it around with the canned air. It doesn't spread much because of the texture, but it helps to dry the layers of ink out a bit as you apply them.
I kept inking until the sheet was mostly full of oranges and yellows. The pouch flapped shut a few times in the process (especially while using the canned air), so I got ink all over the other side (of the inside) of the pouch. It didn't seem to make much of a difference after laminating it, though.
I set that sheet aside and opened up another one (always a good idea to do two so you can pick the one that turned out the best :)). This time I managed to get less on the other side of the laminating pouch.
I left them both to dry for about 15 minutes and then ran them through the laminating machine. It's so satisfying to see the blotchy frosty plastic turn crystal clear and colorful. I ran it through the machine twice just to make sure there were no bubbles.
My two sheets of orange ink turned out awesome! I picked the one that I thought had the most distinct shapes/bubbles of color to make my pumpkin suncatchers.
I grabbed a black sharpie and a scissors and started tracing my pumpkins.
I filled my sheet with traced pumpkins and then carefully cut them out.
I decided to leave my black outline on the suncatcher, but you could also use a paper towel and a little rubbing alcohol to remove your sharpie lines after you've cut your pumpkins out. I used a hole punch to punch a circle into the stem of each pumpkin so I could hang it up.
I hung my pumpkins up on some little hooked suction cups. I'm really pleased with how they turned out. Inking laminating film is a ton of fun, and I look forward to finding more uses for this inked plastic!
Monday, October 12, 2020
Monday, October 5, 2020
The inspiration for this week's craft came from an unusual place. I was cleaning out some digital files and came upon an untitled document file. When I opened it, all it said was: decoupage tissue paper or fabric on stick pens. I don't remember jotting that down, but I thought, hey, that's not a bad idea. Especially after last week's post with jazzed up binder clips, I guess I'm starting a series on office supplies...well, probably not, but here goes nothing.
So, I gathered my supplies: Mod Podge, Stick Pens, a foam brush, a scissors, some patterned tissue paper, and a large paper plate to keep the glue off the table.
I cut my tissue paper the length of my stick pen and a couple inches wide. I crumpled this paper to see if it made a different with the finished texture (it did not, so you don't need to do that).
I used the foam brush to spread the mod podge onto the pen, then I lined the pen up on the paper so it would be straight.
Then I rolled the paper onto the pen, spreading glue as I went. Try hard not to get glue on your fingers. They'll stick to the wet tissue paper and tear it, so stop and clean your hands if you need to.
Then I spread a layer of mod podge on the outside of the tissue paper and set it aside to dry.
I cut my other tissue paper squares a little smaller (not as wide) so that it would only go around the pen once with a good bit of overlap as I was having a hard time keeping my fingers dry (and tore the paper) on the striped one. So I completed my other two patterns and set them aside to dry. The striped colorful tissue paper looked the best, but had tore, and the other two looked a bit like wet toilet paper. I was not confident that this craft would turn out. So, I left them to dry and decided to make a safety craft.
I had a bunch of these red stick pens (I got them for 14 cents a pack one year after Back to School...years ago), so I decided to try another method for decorating these pens, just in case. I used washi tape on last week's binder clips, so I figured it would work on the pens, too.
I chose some black and white washi tape (which seem to have a lot of). I started the tape at the top of the pen and then ran it down the pen and trimmed it with a scissors. I smoothed the tape down and then flipped it over and covered the other side. Super easy! Well, I did learn a couple of things. The cap pushed the tape down on the top, so for all the rest of the pens, I started the tape a little farther down. I later came back and re-taped this pen (I peeled the tape off and applied it again a little lower down. It was very easy to re-tape, so no worries if you get it on crooked, you can always redo it).
This pen time I started it a little farther from the tip of the pen. That 1/4 inch or so made all the difference.
With the cap on, you can't tell that the tape is lower down the pen and the tape and cap don't interfere with each other.
Another thing I learned is that the 15 mm (.6 inches) washi tape works better than 1/2 inch washi tape. The 1/2 inch washi tape is exactly the right size, so if you get it on the pen a little crooked, it will leave a gap. I pealed that tape off and replaced it with the slightly wider tape on the left and it provided just enough wiggle room that I didn't have to apply the tape perfectly straight. The narrower tape will work, it just needs to be precisely applied.
It was very easy to whip up some cute black and white tape-decorated pens.
After I finished my washi tape pens, my mod podge pens had dried.
They were looking a bit better (but still not great).
So I applied a second layer of tissue paper on all three pens.
Then I applied a layer of mod podge to seal them and let them dry.
In the end, they didn't turn out too bad. I might try this again with some darker tissue paper. The striped pen turned out the best (after I covered the torn paper) because it was almost solid colors.. The two with mainly white backgrounds might work well on white pens, but only looked ok after two layers of paper on the red ones.
So there you have it, two ways to decorate stick pens. So, what are you waiting for? Your home office needs some more color (or pattern)!