Wednesday, 15 February 2012

3-D Silver Butterflies

Today I am working on a 3-D silver butterfly project. I’ve been struggling with this quite a bit – the first ones I cut were too small (I NEED that detail blade!!) and also Sheba wasn’t set up correctly, so I’ve got several sheets of small butterflies that didn’t cut too well. I decided to cut them larger, and they certainly cut better, although not perfectly – the card may be to blame, and the blade may be a bit blunt.

The first picture shows Sheba cutting some butterflies from a piece of silver mirror card that already has some small butterflies cut from it – most of these have areas which have not cut. The cut in progress shows the smallest pieces being cut first. If you make different areas of the drawing different colours in Inkscape, when you export the drawing to SignCut (the cutting software), you can select individual elements according to colour, and cut them in the order you choose. It is best to cut the small pieces first so that they have maximum support from the uncut surrounding medium.

The idea is to cut around the wings but to leave the body uncut. The wings are then flipped upwards, and the body shape embossed from behind. Originally I was going to do them silver-side up, but I love fiddling around with reflective surfaces, and thought it would be more interesting to have them white side up, and backed onto another piece of mirror card so that the silver undersides of the wings could reflect back and forth off the background.

These are the larger butterflies that I have cut. All the pieces cut out OK this time. They are silver-side up in this photo, and you can see where I have hand de-bossed the bodies and antennae.

Some of my initial very bad cuts left me with some engraved butterfly shapes on the silver card, and I have been experimenting with these as the background, which looks very effective.

I have experimented with painting either the background butterflies (top, in the above picture) or the silver undersides of the wings (the next one down, white side up, overlaid on top of the engraved background) with pearlescent acrylic ink which is translucent and allows some of the silver to show through. The next picture shows the underside of the wing, painted. You can see the pieces that have not cut correctly.

Here is a collection of the smaller butterflies with the two sheets of larger ones which have cut a lot better.

Unfortunately I have now run out of large pieces of silver mirror card, so cannot proceed any further with this project until I can get some more.

I have uploaded the butterfly cut file to my Skydrive for free download, both the complete shape to cut right out, and the wings only, for flipping up as in the pieces in this blog post.

This is still very much a work in progress, so watch this space!


  1. Hi Shoshi. Your butterflies are beautiful. I have downloaded your file and will try converting it to a file I can use with my cameo. I wanted a butterfly yesterday but the one I downloaded from the silhouette store was too detailed to make small enough. I would be able to cut this one OK (I think) from heavy paper. I haven't tried cutting mirricard yet. I look forward to seeing how you use these in a project.
    Kate x

  2. Another gorgeous idea and cutting file Shoshi!

  3. Those butterflies are amazing so beautiful. Wish i had more time with my wishblade cutter just not enough time in the day!

  4. These butterflies are stunning, Cant wait to see them used in a project


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