Monday, March 5, 2018

St. Patrick's Day Lucky Shamrock Cut-Out Paper Art Project

I'm feeling rather LUCKY indeed, playing with my new Cricut Explore Air 2 (thanks, Hubby!).  This little paper cut craft combines my homemade green and gold St. Patrick's Day shaving foam marbled paper with basic black cardstock from my craft stash and an old frame to create a quick and simple holiday art project. The frame is thick sided and can be used free standing, which is perfect for mantle, table, or desktop display. Paper art can be easily changed out with little storage space required, which makes it perfect for short term holiday and seasonal displays. I've been slow to craft lately, knowing that we'll soon be packing up to move house. I don't want to make things to pack or buy new supplies, but still my crafty hands are feeling the need to make. A little paper crafting is perfect!

To create your own cut-out art like the one shown, the marbled paper was made using simple shaving foam and food colouring (see the details here), but you could easily use ready made wrapping paper or scrapbook paper for a similar effect. The black is basic cardstock, and the design was cut using my Cricut Explore Air 2.  I like to design in Adobe, but to keep things easy and accessible for those of you keen to customise your own cut out design, the lucky shamrock pattern was made using Cricut Design Space, just like our embellished dog treat bag.  I would share the project file link here, but understandably Cricut doesn't allow the sharing of completed project designs which include imagery in order to avoid potential image IP issues. Sorry! Not to worry though as it is super simple to make your own layout.  Details are below.

If you don't have a computer-controlled cutter or feel like doing something different, you can create awesome paper cut out art projects using punches (easy!) or manually with a fine paper cutting blade (a little trickier for beginners).  Alternatively, the marbled paper also looks great framed on its own!   It used to drive me crazy when DIY posts only suited people with cutting machines, so even though I am now a very happy Cricut owner, I will still try to ensure that the DIY posts we share here on our blog have variations that work for people crafting without cutters. 

To create a custom design in Cricut Design Space, start by creating a new projectTip: If you are new to Cricut and it's functionality, there are plenty of on-line help articles, introductory videos, and other resources; however, if you have used other digital design tools in the past, Cricut Design Space is intuitive and easy to navigate. Don't be intimidated! It's VERY easy to start making your own designs using text, shapes, or images in design space. 

Our DIY drawstring dog treat bag post introduces the basics of using typography and options to customise different fonts. The LUCKY font is simply the default Cricut Sans.  The shamrocks are all made using flipped and rotated versions my own uploaded shamrock file.  Adding and adjusting images works in much the same way. You can use one of the Shamrocks available in the Design Space image gallery or upload you own image file (created yourself or sourced from one of the many free use sites).  Design Space accepts most standard formats. You can clean up and erase parts of an image file post upload, but when possible it is easier to start with simple images that are clearly defined from the background.

Once uploaded, you can add images to your design. Any selected object/layer (text or image) can be resized  using the lower left corner (or toolbar) and/or rotated using the upper left corner (or toolbar).  Background grid lines make manual adjustments and alignment very easy. Tip: At this stage, relative size and position matter but not actual size/placement. You can adjust the actual design to fit your materials later.  Once you are satisfied with your draft design, you can group your layers together -  this is optional, but a handy way to semi-lock your design together for resizing and positioning while maintaining full editing flexibility if you need to revert. 

Double check the measurements of your treat bag before you finalise for cutting. If welding, save your file BEFORE you weld.  Unlike grouping, attaching, or flattening, weld is not reversible. In this design, there are no overlapping bits that need to be cut as a single element, so weld or attach will serve much the same function (see links for Cricut Design Space manual details) to let you send your design to be cut "as is" instead of spreading the layer pieces out in what may perhaps be a more material efficient but painful to apply format. Since for this layout we're making a cut out in the middle of our paper to show the design to use the negative space and not the cut pieces, we also need to reposition the design from the paper's edge to where we want the cut outs.  Ready to make!  From here, just follow the Cricut system prompts and instructions.

For those of you who aren't keen to design your own projects from basic font and image elements, stay tuned! I'm currently creating my own custom font designs (yasss) and will be using them to customise future freebies along with my digital artwork for sharing here on the blog including fully layered SVG cut files.  

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