Saturday, July 12, 2014

Cutting stencils with the Cameo

Kiwi Lane is a company that produces templates used in scrapping.  You use them to help in designing your layout, and you can also use them to trace and cut out the shapes to put on your layout.  I recommend that you check them out here:  Kiwi Lane

Recently, at the Scrapbook Expo, I stopped at the Kiwi Lane booth.  I looked at their layouts on display and decided to buy the templates I liked. Sadly, I actually only liked two sets, the bracket borders and the bracket accessories.  I love their concept, just not many of their templates.  They just aren't my style.

Last week, while scrapping with a friend, I pulled out the templates I had bought and used them to help me create a layout.  It went really quick.  I am a super slow scrapper, so I got pretty excited about the templates after that.  Usually what takes me the longest is actually designing the layout itself.

I decided that I really needed to make some of my own border and accessory templates with my Cameo, using Silhouette designs that I had purchased. 

First the pictures, then the instructions/tips.

These are the real Kiwi Lane templates that I bought.  They are high quality, and definitely much nicer than the ones I made.

This next photo shows most of the borders that I made.  I also cut a few specialty borders that are not shown, such as a fence, a mountain border, and a cloud set and wave set that are multiple pieces and are put together in layers.  My templates are not as tall as the Kiwi Lane's are, but they are a little taller than the photo makes them appear.

Below you can see my accessory or embellishment templates.  They will be used for general layout design only.  I also cut pinwheels in a couple of sizes.  I happen to really like pinwheels.  I figured this assortment was a good beginning:

In addition, I cut templates for a variety of photo mats to help with layout design.  No picture seemed needed.  They are 5 rectangles, 1 square, circles, and 1 oval. Use your imagination.

Now for the information and tips on how to do this:

I found a link on the soon-to-be-gone Two Peas in a Bucket message board.  The link went to a great site with detailed instructions for using the Show Offs brand of stencil blanks.  You can find the site with the detailed info including settings here:

The larger sheets (12x18) cut very well with the settings listed in her directions.  What the instructions do not say (or maybe I missed it somewhere) is that there is a thin plastic film on one side that you should remove.  I discovered this by accident, since the film was peeling off one of the 8x10 sheets.  I had to scratch at the corner of the other blanks with my fingernail to get a corner of the film for peeling off.  Nowhere do the directions on the package mention removing the film. The gal whose instructions I was following said that her stencil did not cut completely in a couple of spots, so maybe she didn't remove the film and that made the difference.  Mine cut beautifully and completely cleanly, even the detailed flourishes. They are thinner, flimsier templates than the Kiwi Lane ones, but they should still be relatively durable as long as I don't do anything stupid to them.  I am storing my embellishment templates in a zip lock baggie rather than punch a hole and add an eyelet like I did for the borders (yes, I copied Kiwi Lane on that, but their eyelet is much nicer than the kind you use with the Crop-o-dile, too).

The larger sheets of the Show Offs' stencil blanks are definitely thinner than those in the 8x10 pack.  I tried to cut the thicker 8x10 sheets, but even increasing the blade to 8, and having it do the double cut a second time without removing the mat, it still would not cut all the way through.  It cut into the plastic, but not through it.  I had to finish with scissors.  Thankfully, all I was cutting at that point were simple shapes (the photo mats), so they were easy to finish cutting with scissors.  If they are slightly imperfect, it doesn't matter, since I am using them for designing the page, not tracing and cutting actual photo mats.  Some of my borders and embellishments were more intricate, and I was glad they had been cut from the leftovers of the larger, thinner sheets. I would not have wanted to use an Exacto knife to finish cutting them out.

My mock templates are definitely not as nice as what you can buy from Kiwi Lane, but they should work pretty well for helping me with my page designs, and that's all I really wanted, anyway.  I let my Cameo do my actual cutting for me, whenever possible.