After rather a rocky start to the day, I began to feel better in the afternoon, so I decided to do some test cuts with Sheba, my Black Cat Cougar cutting machine. I have got various different types of card and thought it would be helpful to test each one, and file away a sample, with a note on each, of what settings I used, and any other useful information.
It was quite straightforward to do, because I didn’t need to have Sheba connected to the computer in order to do this. You just have to set the cutter offline and press the Test button, after setting the origin, and repeat the test using different settings until you get the desired result.
Having taken advice from my friends on the Black Cat Forum, I’ve decided (at least for now) to leave my blade at setting 3 in the click holder (so that the blade tip extends by about a millimetre), and simply adjust the force for different media. Today, I just tested some cardstock samples – I have yet to test my heavy watercolour paper (which is excellent for making paper flowers as it does not disintegrate when wet with ink), acetate, and the dark blue card that I had so much trouble with at the beginning (on top of the orange card in the photo) – I think all these media will do better with the 60 degree Plus blade.
I am particularly pleased with how my Core’dinations papers cut – recently I bought some Tim Holtz Kraft Core and Distress Core’dinations which cut beautifully with the Cricut, so I wasn’t expecting anything less from Sheba. My Tim Holtz Idea-ology papers also cut very well.
My plain 12 x 12 cardstock that I got from an online paper mill also cut well. I was very disappointed last year when they stopped supplying 12 x 12 as it was an excellent source of good quality card in the larger-than-A4 size that I often need, but recently someone on the Black Cat Forum recommended American Crafts 12 x 12 cardstock at 216 gsm which comes in several ranges of gorgeous colours – primaries, pastels, earth tones, etc. and, I am reliably informed, it cuts extremely well. I rather doubt if this supply will dry up any time soon, so at least I’ve now got a reliable source of good quality everyday 12 x12 cardstock for all sorts of projects.
I am waiting for Lidl’s to bring back their supply of slightly-larger-than A4 cardstock which forum members also rave about – it’s very cheap, lovely colours, and cuts well.
One of my cards cut surprisingly well. Last year, I bought some unbranded, quite firm black cardstock from a craft show, and it cut like butter! Beautiful clean cuts. This will be great for cutting designs and putting silver or gold behind, and intricate cuts, too. Very pleasing!
Our local copyshop supplies a satin-finished white A4 card, and I bought a ream of this a while back. When I first tested Sheba, this cut very badly, but it was after I’d blunted my blade by using the wrong settings and cutting into my mat, so I was keen to try again with the new blade, but again I was disappointed. Dawn (owner of the Black Cat Forum and inventor and supplier of the Black Cat machines) sent me some basic white card for experimenting with, which at first glance I thought was the same, but it is not quite so heavy. This card cut 100 per cent better than the copyshop card, which I am not going to use with Sheba as the quality clearly isn’t good enough. It will be good for printing backgrounds (it prints well) and for cards bases with other, better stuff on top.
Mirror card cuts well, too. I tried it from the front and from the back. I found the shiny surface tended to lift glue off Sheba’s mat, so I am going to cut it always from the front – I wasn’t sure how the cut edges of the silver foil would look but it’s fine.
I am pleased with this afternoon’s session, as I now have a useful resource to turn to when working on projects. This will be added to in future as I add more papers and cards to my supply, and once I get going with different blades etc.
The result of all this is a whole pile of little rectangles cut in various colours of card, which look too pretty to throw out. Anybody want some home-made confetti?