Tuesday, 28 June 2016

New Baby Card

I am feeling highly delighted that I have now got Sheba going again. Sheba is the name I gave to my Cougar cutting machine, and she’s been under wraps for several years. So much has been going on in my life over the past few years that I haven’t had time to get her going. Starting afresh, I am also using her with  new operating system (my iMac) and I’ve experienced numerous difficulties along the way, but with the excellent help of the folks on the cutting machine forum, I’ve finally got her to work properly, and I’m very pleased with the result.

10 Completed Card Front

The first thing I was able to cut with Sheba was the stencil for the baby footprints. In the past, I have always used acetate for stencils, but this is quite hard, and fine parts of the stencil tend to break, and it is also very hard on the blade of the cutting machine. Someone on the forum some time ago suggested using polypropylene instead, as this is a softer plastic, and much easier to manage, and it makes stronger and more flexible stencils too. They suggested cutting up cheap polywallets, so I got some at the time from Ebay. I have to agree that this material is a lot nicer to use in every respect than acetate; it cuts like butter, and I cut a lovely stencil with no problem at all.

I adapted an image I found online, and designed my stencil in Inkscape, which is a very powerful vector drawing programme, which is also open source (free). I use a plug-in which enables me to export the designs to Signcut, another programme which sends the information to the cutting machine.

Here is the stencil.

01 Baby Footprints Stencil

This is the original sketch and notes that I made for the project. I find it helpful to do this when working with multiple layers, so that I know which parts to cut from the different coloured card. Signcut has a facility whereby you can select different elements of the Inkscape drawing and cut each element in turn. You just have to draw them in different colours.

01 Initial Sketch

Here are the first elements of the design, duly cut out. These were all cut from the darkest blue in my pack of American Cardstock 12 x 12 in. cardstock, which cuts beautifully with Sheba. You can see the lattice frame, and the tag, and two narrow frame pieces.

02 Dark Blue Elements Cut Out

This is the only piece I cut from the mid-blue card. The card base was eventually cut from this colour as well, but I didn’t need Sheba to do that because it was just a question of cutting a piece to A4 size and folding it in half.

03 Mid-Blue Element Cut Out

This is the only piece I’ve cut from the very pale blue, cutting the baby footprint stencil file.

04 Pale Blue Element Cut Out

Two backing pieces cut from silver mirror board. I used Anita’s silver mirriboard, which is more expensive than generic mirror board, but it is slightly thinner than most, and cuts very well on Sheba, so I keep this just for this purpose.

05 Silver Elements Cut Out

A mock-up of the various layers, showing how the card will work. I also made a tag to go on the gift for the new baby.

06 Mock-Up of Cut Out Elements

The lattice and outer frame pieces, and the silver oval, stuck down on the card base.

07 Background Elements in Place

The next layer added: the pale blue piece with the footprints cut out, revealing the silver beneath. I cut the oval slightly smaller than the silver oval, to create a silver mat layer around the oval.

08 Footprints Layer in Place

Finally, the narrow oval frame cut from the dark blue, to complete the card, seen here with the tag, which was cut from the dark blue, with a silver mat layer, topped with the pale blue rectangle with the feet cut out.

09 Completed Card Front and Tag

The finished card.

10 Completed Card Front

The finished tag.

11 Completed Tag

I still have to make a card insert, and propose designing this with my desktop publishing software (Serif PagePlus) and printing it out. I shall add the footprints motif using the stencil and some distress ink.

Edited on 30th June after making the card insert:

I designed the card insert using Serif PagePlus, my desktop publishing software – I added the image of the lattice frame temporarily onto my page template and created an oval shape the same size as the window in the frame, and then removed the frame. I added the text following a path, around the oval, and added colour and a couple of special effects – outline and drop shadow, and then added matching text in the top half of the page. I found the quote online and thought it was very appropriate with my footprint theme.

12 Card Insert and Stencil

I used the baby footprints stencil I made to add a pair of footprints inside the text oval, using Faded Jeans distress ink, and then distressed the edges and across the centre of the piece with the same ink, using an Inkylicious Ink Duster.

13 Distressing the Edges of the Insert

The final step was to trim 1/8 inch from top and bottom so that it would not extend beyond the edges of the card, and stick it in place.

I added some seam binding coloured with ink to the top of the tag.

14 Card and Tag with Ribbons

I wrapped the babygro I bought as a gift, and added the tag with some silver ribbon.

15 Wrapped Gift with Tag

Then off to the post office on my buggy and she should receive it tomorrow! It’s taken me long enough to do this project, with all the problems I had with etting Sheba, my cutting machine, running, but all is now complete, and the baby will get his card and present before he starts school!!


  1. I'm glad you got your machine up and running Shoshi! The same thing happened with my Cameo - I hadn't used it for a few years and I had to reinstall everything. The baby feet are so cute! I'll have to try cutting polypropylene - it's true that the acetate is very hard on the blades and I'm not even sure it makes good stencils s the paint seems to seep underneath more. I like how you planned your project - I almost never do that - I'm not much of a planner, but I know I should!

  2. I love your card. Sheba did such a beautiful job cutting. I love the details. The details on the lattice frame are amazing. I love Inkscape. It is my go to for vector design. Recently, I bought from my Dollar Tree three baking aluminum tins (disposable ones) to use to mix paint for my gelli plate. The tins were 3/$1.00. They came with the most beautiful mirror board lids I have ever seen. The same kind that works so well with our die cutters. I can't recall the name of your pound stores but they might have the same thing.

    I almost bought Serif PagePlus recently. I am still kind of thinking about it if I can get on one of those $10 offers. :) I did buy Serif Craft Artist 2. I love it. We can make SVG files on Craft Artist and export them to our cutters.

    I have a Cameo. I use the CB09 blade holder. I have a Cricut Explore too but I dislike the software so much I packed it away recentlly until ProvoCraft gets a better software. I am thinking in the future I would like a Black Cat cutter to go along with my Cameo.

    1. Hi Aiyana - I got rid of my Cricut because of the rubbish software and not being able to design your own stuff. The Cougar is a brilliant machine - the updated version is the Silver Bullet and from Thyme Graphics you will get the absolute best after-sales service ever. I'm so glad you like my card. PagePlus is a good programme which I use a lot. Their photo editor, PhotoPlus, is superb too. Very good value software.



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