Saturday, August 18, 2012

Silhouette Cameo: Paper Cutting Machine

I can't believe I had never heard of this machine before. Ever since I started papercrafting, I had been looking for a printer-like machine that could cut out intricate shapes. I was only ever able to find machines that could cut out pre-designed stencils....until now! A friend of mine told me about the Silhouette Cameo, so I looked it up and it sounded exactly like what I'd been looking for. It's currently cheaper on Amazon ($269 vs $299) if you happen to be interested:

"It can create intricate projects of all sizes from small (1/4" wide) to large (12" wide) and has an unlimited cutting length. It can cut paper, cardstock, vinyl, fabric, and other materials. It operates with or without a cutting mat. When the blade is replaced by a pen, the CAMEO will sketch instead of cut. It can be controlled from a computer or an SD card. With the print and cut feature, the CAMEO also has the ability to cut out designs that have been printed on your home printer."

It comes with very clear instructions for those of you afraid of new technology. The software is user-friendly and quick to learn. Basically, you can create your design in the software, (or import artwork from elsewhere and draw over it), choose what type of material you are cutting and the program will tell you what blade setting to use and how to register your paper on the cutting mat. The mat is adhesive, since you don't want your paper sliding around while it's being cut.

For my first test, I only used the tools in the Silhouette software. I drew some basic shapes and used the text tool (which is able to use any font already on your computer). It's a noisy little machine, but it's really fun to watch and you can tell right away if it's working. You then peel off your cut-outs and voila!

The second and more important test was being able to print a design I already had. I imported a jpg file of one of my papercraft designs. You have the ability to print from the Silhouette program, which is extremely important because it sets registration marks for itself, so that after you're done printing, you can feed your image back in and tell it to look for the registration marks so it can precisely cut over your artwork. Of course, you still have to draw the lines over your artwork as to where to make the cuts. But I was really impressed because it worked perfectly on the first try.

The "Must Eat Brain" design up top was my third design meant specifically for the Silhouette. I sketched it out in Photoshop then imported the jpg. Drawing the vector paths for the brain took a while. Adjusting the paths in the Silhouette software isn't quite as easy as in Photoshop. I had trouble joining paths and adjusting the tangents. I need to see if there's an option for importing vector artwork.

Tip: Don't make holes that are too tiny, or the blade will most likely rip the paper. I had a few tiny tears around the letters.

The machine cut it out without a hitch and only took around 3 min. I think it cuts the paths in the order you create them, so don't be worried if it doesn't start with the outermost path. Peeling it off the adhesive mat is the tricky part. I can't imaging using anything thinner than construction paper if you're doing something intricate because  there'd be a high risk of tearing it. The Silhouette store sells spatulas for helping lift off your designs, but I think I'll stick with my hands for now.

For those of you who prefer pre-made designs, the Sihouette store has tons of templates you can download for 0.99.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Flow Magazine

My paper toaster was featured in the Web Shopping page of Flow Magazine (Holland/Belgium only)! Thank you to Anne-Marie Rem for finding me!

Sunday, May 6, 2012


I tried to grow a bunch of plants from seeds this year. They did really well until I transplanted them too early and the return of the cold weather killed off most of them. So here's a bunch of sprouts who aren't affected by weather. Guaranteed to grow even if you don't have a green thumb!

The carrot and radish on the ends are the only distinguishable plants. The two in the middle are whatever you want them to be. The leaves are double sided, so you can enjoy them from either side. Since I've been into sewing I decided to go with an embroidered look and button eyes.

I need to start figuring out a way to print these larger. Right now these are the final dimensions:
Window box: 2.25" long x 1.5" wide x 1" tall
Individual sprout (minus leaf): 7/8" cube
Available on Etsy:

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Captain Popcorn!

This is definitely a sign of my age, but back in the day, they used to screen a short animation before a movie, featuring a dancing popcorn, soda and hot dog singing "Let's all go to the lobby!" I liked it so much I recreated it in 3D and did my own animated version for my demo reel, which has long since been removed. I decided I'd revamp the character yet again and came up with this guy. Meet Captain Popcorn.

My niece saw him this weekend and decided to create a story around him. These are only the first 2 pages of her book, but I think they're awesome. Thanks Emmy!

Now available for sale on Etsy

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Paper Peeps

These lil guys made Editor's Pick in the Living Section of the Instructables website! Thank you Instructables for the free membership!

Easter is a week away, so to celebrate, here's a freebie for you to download! Add them to your Easter basket as decoration or fill them with candy. If anyone makes any, I'd love to know how they turned out, or see photos.

They measure roughly 1.5" wide x 4" tall x 1" thick

These are in PDF format, so you will need Acrobat Read 5 or higher to open the file. You will need:

-Color printer
-Heavy cardstock paper, or thick matte photo paper
-X-acto blade or similar (not necessary, but makes cutting the corners a bit easier)
-Glue (I recommend Aleene's Quick Dry Tacky Glue, or rubber cement)

If you want to use it as a box, leave the bottom 3 tabs unglued so you can fill it, then tape it shut.

Color and quality of the print will vary depending on your printer and paper.

These were designed by me, so please be respectful and keep them for personal use only. You may not sell the template or the final product, or re-post the template without my permission. Peeps remains the property of Peeps & Company

Thursday, March 29, 2012


This measures about 2.5" high x 1.25" wide x 2.75" tall (to tip of toast). The bread is separate and can be removed.

Based on the number of revisions I had made to my previous designs, I decided to focus on the model first, with no textures. The bread was the only thing I ended up revising (it used to dip inward at the very top and center). I may have to start coloring the connecting tabs as well so you don't see so much white in the final model.

I'm getting faster at cutting and assembling, but it still requires patience. Lots of cutting of tiny paper parts and waiting for glue to dry. As you can see, my edges aren't always the greatest and I get glue stains everywhere.


Here are the first 2 prototypes for my hedgehog design. I love the one on the right, but the face gave me so much trouble I figured no one would ever want to make it. At least no child would, which is who this is aimed at. It also has a full base, which made it tricky to finish.

Once again, had to simplify it to the design below. Took out the base under the body area to help make it easier to finish, along with making it more blocky overall.

Available to download through my Etsy store