Monday, April 20, 2015

Grandma Album Assembly Tutorial

As Mother's Day quickly approaches, I've decided to briefly revisit this Grandma Album that has been by far my most-popular project ever.

Grandma Album Assembly Tutorial


First, here are some download links for freebies to create this album from a pre-made file. Choose the one that best meets your cutting capabilities:

Grandma album cut file (in Silhouette Studio format for Silhouette Portrait or CAMEO)
Grandma album 12x12 cut file (in Silhouette Studio format, optimized for Silhouette CAMEO and 12x12" paper and chipboard)
Grandma album PDF to print file (to cut with scissors or craft knife)


Here is how to cut and assemble this album. The finished album is about 4" tall and 8.5" wide.

1- Cut all the letters once from chipboard. I love the Silhouette 12x12" chipboard because it's so smooth and easy to cut with my CAMEO, but it will all be covered so you can cut it from any thin chipboard. You can use cereal boxes, packaging inserts from scrapbook paper or photo enlargements, etc.

Grandma Album Assembly - chipboard layer

2- Cut each letter front from pattern paper. Choose papers that coordinate, but select alternating contrasting colors (dark vs. light) so the letters will stand out from each other.

Grandma Album Assembly - colored front layer

3- Cut all the letters in reverse from pattern paper. You can choose a different paper for each letter, but I think it's simpler to have all the back sides matching.

Grandma Album Assembly - colored back layer

4- You should now have three layers for each letter. A top paper layer, a chipboard layer, and a reverse paper layer for the back.

Grandma Album Assembly - 3 layers

5- Now just start adhering the correct front and back paper layer to each chipboard letter. You can use any glue you like. I used my Scotch Advanced Tape Glider (ATG) this time around. It's easiest to start with the largest letter and work your way to the smallest. Make sure you focus more on lining up the letter-portion of the page than the flat end.

Grandma Album Assembly - letter with 3 layers

6- Once all your letters are covered front and back, you are ready to add photos and any other embellishments you like!

Grandma Album Assembly - letters ready for photos and embellishments

And just because I love my CAMEO so much and was able to get the letters to cut so precisely, I have to include some detail shots.

Grandma Album Assembly - layers detail 1

Grandma Album Assembly - layers detail 2


As you can see, I haven't added any binding yet in these photos. You have several options for binding.  If you have a personal binding machine like a Cinch or a Bind it All, those will work. If not, you can often get it punched and bound at a local copy shop with little plastic bindings as seen in my original album (below). Another simple option is to use a hole punch to add 2-3 holes in each page and add loose binder rings.

Create Your Own Word as an Album:

If you are feeling ambitious and want to create your own word album that says something other than grandma, you can see this tutorial I made for designing an album from scratch in Silhouette Studio. Just be warned that it uses an older version of Studio that will look a little different from the current version.

And here is the link for a tutorial to design your own word album and print it to cut with scissors for non-Silhouette owners (again, slightly outdated so let me know if you get totally lost).


Here are a few more versions. The bottom two are my original albums from 2008 for my own mom and my mother-in-law. You can see I simply added small photos, rub-on quotes, flowers, and ribbon.

Grandma Album for Mothers Day or Grandparents Day



I hope you have fun making this album! Please let me know if you have questions.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Butterfly Headband with Italian Crepe Paper

Butterfly headband with italian crepe paper

I've been playing with pink and gold 180 gram Italian crepe paper from Carte Fini, and it's a lot of fun to work with! This is not your typical paper, nor even your typical lightweight crepe paper. I've seen a lot of beautiful floral arrangements lately with this special kind of crepe paper (specifically projects from Lia Griffith and from The Lovely Ave), and I wanted to give it a try.

Although I was not able to cut this design with my Silhouette machine, I did make a printable pattern to share. You can print it, then cut the pieces with scissors. Be sure to orient the cutouts with the grain of the crepe paper. (On the smallest pieces I made some lines to show where to line it up with the grain, and on the larger cutouts you can line up the words with the grain.)

Cut out the butterfly pieces (I used bubblegum pink for the small and large pieces, and metallic gold for the medium pieces), then gently pull and spread the outside edges in small segments to give them a frilly edge. Leave the narrow tips alone where you will be gluing them.

Once the pieces are cut out and outer edges "frilled", you can use a hot glue gun to assemble the butterfly.  I used a scrap piece of crepe paper on the back to give it a small base to start.

Hot glue butterfly crepe paper layers - back

Hot glue butterfly crepe paper layers - front

Add the layers with more hot glue. I kept the inner tips mostly lined up and touching in the center. The very center will be covered up, so don't worry too much about perfection.

Hot glue butterfly crepe paper layers - layered

For the center, I took a piece of metallic gold crepe paper that was about 1 3/8" tall and about 6" wide (grain oriented vertically). I just rolled it up and hot glued it to itself to hold the shape, then hot glued it to the center of the butterfly.

Italian Crepe Paper butterfly

Italian Crepe Paper butterfly - detail

Now it's ready to attach to a headband. But not just any headband... A gold wrapped headband! I love the metallic crepe paper because it acts like a foil and wraps around objects to take their shape while still holding a lot of its original texture. I wrapped this headband in a few strips of gold metallic crepe paper (cut to about 3/4" - 1" tall and several inches long) that I stretched out first. I just used some hot glue to secure the beginning and end of each strip.

Wrap a headband with gold foil italian crepe paper

Headband wrapped with gold foil crepe paper

And here's the final product on my lovely model. The butterfly is quite large, so you can scale down the pattern if you want. My daughter likes her hair things big and flashy, so it was great for her.

Italian Crepe Paper butterfly headband

A note for Silhouette users: Although I use my Silhouette Cameo for most of my paper crafts, this heavy Italian crepe paper proved to be too difficult to cut consistently. The texture prevents it from sticking to even a new, ultra-sticky mat. And this paper is surprisingly thick when cutting against the grain. The combination makes it difficult to cut with probably any electronic cutter.

However, I was able to cut some designs from this crepe paper with my Cameo. I'm still in the experimentation phase, but I'll share the tricks I use in upcoming posts.

Supplies used:
Bubblegum 180 gram Italian crepe paper
Metallic gold 180 gram Italian crepe paper
Low-temp hot glue gun

My PDF pattern: Crepe Paper Butterfly (click to download)

Friday, April 10, 2015

Rube Goldberg Machine: Pop a Balloon

How do you pop a balloon? It takes 13 steps, if you do it Rube Goldberg style. This was a super-deluxe school project that took 3 hours to set up yesterday afternoon in our garage/driveway, and the result was a very entertaining 17 seconds.

For a 4th grade project, my niece was required to create a Rube Goldberg machine that took at least 10 steps to pop a balloon. She enlisted the help of her grandpa (an engineer), who asked to use our Drenchinator 3000.  (Check out our summertime soaking contraption here.)  A Rube Goldberg machine is a "contraption, invention, device or apparatus that is deliberately over-engineered or overdone to perform a very simple task in a very complicated fashion, usually including a chain reaction." (Thanks, Wikipedia!)

Here is how to pop a balloon:

Rube Goldberg_Pop a Balloon 1

Rube Goldberg_Pop a Balloon 2

Rube Goldberg_Pop a Balloon 3

Rube Goldberg_Pop a Balloon 4

(Ignore the child; he was not part of the machine. He just wanted to feel involved during the three hours of setup time.)

Rube Goldberg_Pop a Balloon 5

Rube Goldberg_Pop a Balloon 6

Rube Goldberg_Pop a Balloon 7

Rube Goldberg_Pop a Balloon 8

Rube Goldberg_Pop a Balloon 9

Rube Goldberg_Pop a Balloon 10

A- Car travels down ramp
B- Sets off dominoes
C- Dominoes disrupt lever
D- Lever releases ball down spiral ramp
E- Ball triggers electric car, which drives along track
F- Car bumps into wooden plate
G- Wooden plate triggers ball to go down tube
H- Ball hits another ball at end of tube, which travels on ramp
I- Ball releases spring-loaded cardboard, which flips
J- Cardboard triggers mousetrap, which pulls string
K- String releases balanced chair
L- Falling chair triggers wrench to hit target on Drenchinator
M- Target arm swings to pierce water balloon
N- Added bonus with popped balloon: children below it get soaked!

(I'm sorry I wasn't able to get good still shots of the chair-wrench combination; by the time they were finishing this up and hadn't even done a test run yet, I was running late for a meeting and I also didn't want to make the crowd wait for me to take more pictures.)

We only ran this whole thing twice. Once as a test run to make sure it worked, and once for filming so the video could be submitted to the teacher. We had multiple devices capturing stills and video, and about 17 spectators.  They started right after school around 4 p.m., recorded the video shown above a little after 7 p.m., and when I got home from my meeting at 8 p.m. it was all put away.

We were all pretty excited about the successful balloon-popping Rube Goldberg machine. Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Spring Umbrella Mobile {Tutorial}

Umbrella Mobile Tutorial by Kelly Wayment

Thanks for being so patient while I put together the tutorial for this umbrella mobile featured on the Silhouette Blog last month.

The mechanics of a mobile are always the hardest part, but we'll get to that in a minute. (And not to worry; I've done all that stuff for you.) First let me tell you how I covered the umbrella with fabric.

1- I enlarged this umbrella shape to just fit on my 12” mat.  (Actual dimensions are 11.390" x 12.178", then rotated about 22 degrees.)  I cut it once from pattern paper to give the umbrella stiffness and also to show a pretty underside when looking at the mobile from below. (Cut it with the pretty side against the mat.)

2- I then cut the same shape from fabric. I cut and ironed on a 12” square of sewable fabric interfacing to a 12” square of cotton fabric and cut the umbrella again.

These are the steps I always use for cutting fabric with interfacing on my Silhouette machine:
  • Cut the interfacing exactly to size for the design on your mat (12" x 12" in this project, or see also this fabric owl pillow post).
  • Lay the interfacing (rough side) against the wrong side of a piece of fabric that is slightly larger than the interfacing.
  • Iron against the paper side of the interfacing for a few seconds so it sticks to the fabric.
  • Trim the fabric (with scissors) to the paper edge.
  • Pull off the paper backing.
  • Place the fabric, interfacing-side-down on your mat and cut the fabric design.  I use a dedicated fabric blade (can be blue or black, just make sure it's only used for fabric) and a dedicated fabric mat (optional, but an extra sticky mat is helpful for me).

Fabric umbrella
3- Once the umbrella was cut from fabric, I ironed the fabric directly to the identical paper base with the interfacing acting as the adhesive. I also stitched along the scalloped edge with a sewing machine just for a fun added detail. Don't glue the flap that closes up the umbrella shape until step 8.

On to the other pieces...

4- I chose three shapes to use and repeat on the mobile.
  • Cloud. I deleted the tiny holes at the top of one of the pieces by releasing the compound path to access them. They are individually about 1.67" tall and 3" wide, and each cloud has three pieces with slots. I cut 7 clouds out of plain white cardstock (7 x 3 = 21 individual cloud cutouts).
  • Butterfly. These are resized to approximately 2" wide. I used a pretty double-sided pattern paper and cut 14 identical butterflies (7 to hang x 2 pieces per butterfly).
  • Raindrop. I took one raindrop from this sun and cloud design and resized it proportionately to about 1.5" tall. I created a perforated line so it would be easier to fold by using my Line Drawing Tool to add a line exactly down the center of the raindrop. (Hold the Shift key to get a line that goes straight up and down.) I changed that line to a dashed line in the Line Style Window. Rotate your raindrop a little if necessary (if you're a perfectionist like me). Once the line is perfectly centered down the middle of the raindrop, group it together and duplicate the raindrop to make 42. (I used two raindrops per strand, so 14 raindrops x 3 pieces per raindrop = 42 to cut.) I cut these from mint adhesive cardstock.

Fold line for raindrop

5- Cut the strands of thread or baker's twine and mark them. I needed 7 strands for the 7 sections of umbrella. I laid out my sample shapes and decided to go with 14.5" per strand.  I marked the strands every 3" from the bottom, assuming that mark would lie in the center of each 3D shape, when assembled.

Mobile layout

I used a black Sharpie marker here, but if I did it again I would use a less-obvious ink color because I had to hide the mark with an extra piece of white paper on each of the clouds.  Basically, mark each strand with a dot at 5.5", 8.5", and 11.5". The bottom shape will hang at 14.5" (the end of the string).

Mark mobile strings

6- Assemble and attach the shapes at the marks with a hot glue gun. I used scrap shapes (see the image with step 5) to determine where to mark my strings, but this layout was also very helpful in keeping my place so I knew which shape went where.  One cloud, two raindrops, and one butterfly per strand. I shifted the cloud shape down one spot for each strand and kept the pattern the same.
  • The clouds come in three parts and have slots to fit together. I laid the string along one of the creases and glued it in place. I also used some tiny dabs of hot glue to make the clouds hold their shape. As I mentioned above, I didn't like the black mark showing so I attached a small rectangle of white cardstock to cover the string with the black mark.
  • The butterflies are the easiest. Fold the wings out on the two butterfly pieces, and sandwich and hot glue the string in between with the mark centered inside. (The mark gets covered on this one.)
  • I used adhesive cardstock for the raindrops so they were all ready to stick the three insides together. Press one half of each of two raindrops together, then lay the string inside on the crease and put a dab of hot glue before adding the third folded raindrop. (The mark gets covered here, too.)

Mobile raindrop assembly

7- At this point there are 7 strands of 14.5" twine with four shapes per strand. I also wanted my umbrella to actually look like an umbrella, so I made a handle for the center. I took an extra long bamboo skewer and snipped off the pointed tip. (A skinny dowel would work, too.) It's about 11.5" long. I painted the stick white (let it dry) and used a rectangular scrap of leftover interfacing-covered fabric to wrap around the bottom of the stick as a handle. This still has the interfacing on one side, so I used an iron to heat it as I wrapped it around so it would stick to itself. This worked surprisingly well.

Umbrella handle fabric base

8- To attach the stick handle inside the umbrella, I attached the center hanging string (about 18") to the handle (see below) and then placed it inside the umbrella center before closing the final flap to the umbrella.

I put hot glue on the narrow tip of the bamboo skewer stick and wrapped one end of the long center hanging string around several times.

Attach string to umbrella handle

Make sure the center hanging string is threaded through the center point of the umbrella before you hot glue the flap closed. Don't let glue touch the string; you need to be able to slide it up and down just a bit once the umbrella is permanently sealed into its curved shape.

9- Finally, attach the strands with their shapes to the underside of the umbrella. You can try to hide the strings and glue with more pattern paper, but I didn't.  For extra security and so the strings don't appear too long, I chose to hot glue the strands in two spots. Glue the end of the string right in the center of each triangular segment of umbrella, then attach it once more about 1.25" closer to the edge. I actually marked these spots lightly with a pencil (marked with purple dots in the image below) before adding the glue. Work with one strand at a time.

Glue strings to underside of umbrella

You can see the strings and center handle in this picture below. Again, you can try to hide the strings if you want but I think they look fine exposed.

Umbrella Mobile full view square

If your stick doesn't hang straight down, pull it slightly down away from the paper umbrella center so it can hang without being crammed against the paper.

That's about it! I hope this tutorial is helpful to you. If you make a mobile like this or a variation of it, I'd love to see photos!

Umbrella mobile detail 3

Umbrella mobile detail 2

Umbrella mobile detail 1

Umbrella Mobile detail square

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

You Make the Perfect Pear!

Finding Time To Create | Perfect Pear Card by Kelly Wayment 

I made this card to celebrate our friends' 25th anniversary. The white hearts, the label, and the pears are printed and/or cut on textured white adhesive cardstock with my printer and my CAMEO.

I turned this pear design into a print & cut in Silhouette Studio by filling the shapes in the Fill Gradient Window. I don't use the gradient fill very often, but it was great for this application to get some shading. I used my Eyedropper Tool in the Fill Color Window to select a lighter shade of the same yellow for the highlight spots. (Did you know you can click and drag your eyedropper tool around a multi-colored area and watch the selected shape change color as you move the eyedropper? It's pretty cool, and pretty handy to get just the right color.)

The heart background is duplicated and welded, then sliced with the Knife Tool to fit the card base exactly how I wanted, with no waste to trim off. The label uses LW Perfect Print font with the Text-to-Path function to make it wrap in a circle.

As I mentioned, I printed the pears and label on a piece of letter-size white adhesive cardstock (trimmed down to fit my printer). On the same sheet with registration marks I also had the cut lines for the rectangle card base and the heart background. They had no color to print, but this way I could cut all the pieces in one pass after printing.

Perfect Pear Print and Cut

I added a narrow strip and the tiny number 25 in silver printable foil. The green-blue background circle was the only thing I had to add adhesive to, and I used foam dots to make it pop off the page.

Finding Time To Create: Perfect Pear Card

Our friends enjoyed this card, and I hope you do, too!

Designs and fonts used:
Fall set (#65765)
Hearts background (#65661)
LW Perfect Print (#55154)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

New CAMEO USB port

Tips for using the USB port on the New Silhouette CAMEO

I bought the new CAMEO recently, and I must say I love it every bit as much as my original CAMEO. This is the one released late in 2014 with the large LCD touchscreen instead of buttons. I've been happily using mine for about two months.

Here are a few tips you might not know if you are planning on using the new USB port for cutting on the new CAMEO (a.k.a. CAMEO2) without being hooked up to a computer.

  • You may need to update your firmware. You can check this on your CAMEO LCD screen by touching the gear icon on the upper right corner of the main screen, then press About and it should show :
Firmware version
Int : V1.14
Ext: V1.11
(This was the most current firmware as of Jan. 29, 2015. Mine was shipped with the firmware already up to date.) If you do need to update your firmware, please go to the Silhouette website {here} to do so.

  • Your CAMEO2 will not be able to find and cut all the images on your USB thumb drive unless you select the following settings in Silhouette Studio Preferences: Advanced: choose "Include Cut Data"

  • You cannot place a pause between materials or swap sketch pen colors with files on the USB drive. Whatever is on the document will all cut at the single setting you choose. For full functionality of cutting options, you will need to have your CAMEO2 hooked up to your computer and send from there.

  • From the USB you can still choose cut settings (blade, thickness, speed) with default or custom settings. This way you can still choose any standard materials to cut while you are crafting with your CAMEO away from your computer.

If you have any more questions about the newest model of the CAMEO compared to the original CAMEO, please ask in the comments and I will be happy to give you an answer.  I've used the Original Silhouette, the SD, the original CAMEO, and now the newest CAMEO.

P.S. In case you already have an older CAMEO and are wondering if it's worth the upgrade to the newer CAMEO, I would say no for most casual users. The changes are not enough of a difference to warrant the expense of a very similar machine. However, it's an excellent upgrade from any smaller model of the Silhouette (Original, SD, or Portrait) and is a beautiful machine for first-time Silhouette owners.

Old Cameo vs New Cameo