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Cricut Maker FAQ (& Paris Pillow Project too!)

Everyday life is just what we do while we are waiting to go on our next amazing adventure, right? I decided to bring my favorite city – Paris – home with an easy pillow project. I’m going to show you how to make it, along the way I’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the Cricut Maker machine!

[Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written on behalf of Cricut, but all opinions expressed are my own.]

Paris Pillow Cricut Maker FAQ

I’ve been playing with my new Cricut Maker machine for a few months. Even with all of my experience with previous machines, some things have surprised me. And there’s some things I didn’t learn from the information I gathered about the machine before I got it that I know now.

Here’s some of the things that I wish I knew before I got my new Cricut Maker machine:

  • Fabric Cutting: Even though I was super excited about the fabric cutting ability of the Maker’s rotary blade, I assumed that it would have limitations based on my experience with a rotary cutter for quilting. Boy, was I wrong! I’m still experimenting with its capabilities but as you can see from the flowers on this pillow, it can do way more than a regular rotary cutter.
  • Cartridges: I knew the Maker didn’t have a cartridge slot, but what I didn’t know was that it has a cartridge adapter! The adapter plugs into a USB slot on the Maker or your laptop so that you can load new cartridges into Design Space. All of my cartridges are already loaded in Design Space, but hey, I like to know that I still have the option to load more!
  • Tablet Support: The design of the new Maker machine is really pretty…but I had no idea it was functional too! That groove along the top of the machine, under the cover? It turns out it will hold your tablet in place while you use it with your Maker! And for those all day crafting sessions, you can plug into the USB plug on the side of your Maker to recharge your tablet. (Note to self: Add that to my list of reasons to buy a new iPad!)

Those are some of the things I’ve learned about the Maker in my time with it. But let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions about the Maker:

Q: What makes the Maker different from other Cricut machines?

A: The biggest difference between the Maker and the previous generation of Cricut machines is the Adaptive Tool System. That’s the “gear wheel” that you see in the right hand tool holder when you look at the front of the machine. This gives the machine the ability to create 10x more power with new tools like the scoring wheel, knife blade, and rotary blade.

Q: What materials can I cut?

A: The Adaptive Tool System opens up a whole new world of materials that the Maker can cut. It can cut thicker leathers, balsa wood, matboard, and the one I’m most excited about – fabric without a backer!

Q: What types of fabric can I cut (without a backer)

A. The answer is…pretty much anything! Cricut now offers packages of coordinated cotton fabrics to use with its machines, or you can hit the fabric store and grab whatever suits your fancy (and your project).

Q: What kind of DIY projects can I make?

A: A better question is what can’t you make? With vinyl for making seasonal and home decor items, iron-on for tshirts & totes, fabric cutting for quilting…and did I mention that Riley Blake and Simplicity have an entire library of sewing patterns in the Cricut Design Access subscription now? Sew gifts, doll clothes, and seasonal decor without the hassle of hand cutting (and know it will be perfect every time).

Q: Will I use the machine enough to justify the price?

A: From DIY parties to DIY gifts…the Cricut Maker makes it easy to finally do all of those things that you’ve been wanting to do. Impress your friends with handmade gifts, make tshirts for the kids sports team….the possibilities are endless!

So, onto the project! Paris is always a good idea, right? This adorable pillow is way simpler to make than it looks. The best part is that the envelope pillow sham is easy to take off to clean – or swap out for something seasonal.

Paris Pillow Cricut Maker FAQ

Supplies Needed: 

I love working with coordinated fabric collections for the same reason that I love working with coordinated paper collections! It makes it so easy to do a project with a variety of patterns without the hassle of coordinating. This Sweet Prairie designer fabric by Riley Blake for Cricut is so beautiful! I’m sure I’ll be using the leftovers for other projects!

Cricut Sweet Prairie fabric

With my pink fabric cutting mat and the rotary blade, the Cricut Maker sliced through the cotton fabric like butter. It also cut my wool felt that I used for one of the flowers beautifully.

Cricut Maker cutting fabric

After I cut out all of the pieces of the design (a process that is simple but just requires some patience with the many different colors), I started adhering it all. I worked pretty close to the middle of the 16″ by 36″ fabric strip. I started with the big pieces, and then worked down to the smaller ones. This process went so fast with my Cricut Easy Press 2!

Cricut Easy Press Eiffel Tower pillow

Getting the leaves positioned is a bit tricky since they are kind of floating in the middle of space and their placement needs to be accurate. I positioned them in place with the flowers to get the whole design right, and then lifted the flowers off and pressed them in place.

Positioning Iron-On to Apply

Next I ironed on the center elements of each flower. When they cooled down, I sewed them down using buttons to hold them in place. I could have sewed all around the outside edge to attache them. But by pinning them down in the centers, the outside edges pop up off the surface, giving them some realistic dimension.

After the flowers were attached, I used invisible thread to sew down a few sequins around them. This step is optional but I like the detail it creates!

Close up of finished flowers

With everything attached, it’s time to sew up the pillow! On each short end of the fabric, I rolled the fabric over twice towards the backside and then stitched close to the turned over edge.

side hems on pillow case

When I started laying out my design, I made small marks near the edge of my fabric to mark the maximum width of my design. As you can see below, I accidentally started my design outside the mark on the right. So I found the center of my design, and made new marks on each side to show where to fold the sides so the design would be centered. For this 16″ pillow, I made my marks about 15.75″ apart.

Marking the fold for pillow

Once you have your marks, fold first one side in over the design, and then the other side. (If you look real hard, you can see the word Paris inside my pillow.) Pin the raw edges together. Stitch 3/8″ from the edge along both of those raw edges.

Pinning Envelope Pillow Cover

And that’s it! I turned my pillow cover right side out and stuffed it with my pillow form. (Tip: Don’t forget to get your form all the way down into the corners!) Now thanks to my Cricut Maker we have a beautiful addition to our bedroom!

Paris Pillow Cricut Maker FAQ

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut . The opinions and text are all mine.

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Make Geo Heart Wall Art with Cricut Explore Air 2!

A lot of what I cut on my Cricut Explore Air 2 is cardstock for my scrapbooking projects. But there are so many other materials that it can cut, and it’s fun to play with those – and often exciting to see what the machine can do, with the right blade, mat and setting. When I was working Scrapbook Expo shows for Cricut, we had a keychain in the booth with samples of material that had been cut on the Explore machine. It was downright amazing to see some of them, such as leather, craft wood, and acrylic. I’ve actually cut acrylic on my own machine – I just had to try it after seeing that key chain! I’ve also cut fabric (with an iron-on stabilizer backing), and wood veneer paper. Cricut advertises that the Cricut Explore Air 2 will cut over 100 materials…I’m not even sure that I could name 100 materials to try to cut! Perhaps instead of asking “what can I cut with my Cricut?” we should ask – “what can’t I cut with my Cricut?”

Projects like this Geo Heart Wall Art are so fun because it gives me a chance to play with a couple of different materials, in this case Holographic Vinyl and Glitter Cardstock, neither of which I had worked with before. It’s always exciting to see what my machine can do with a new material!

Cricut Geo Heart Wall Canvas

Supplies Needed:

Not on the supply list, but an important tool to completing this project, is the Cricut Essential Tool Set. Over the course of completing this project, I used virtually every tool in this kit: the trimmer, scissors, scraper, spatula, and weeding tool. I even used the scoring tool, despite there being no scoring on this project, because it is the perfect size and so smooth for rolling flower petals on!

And bonus – it perfectly matches my Mint Cricut Explore Air 2 machine! (It’s also available in Rose and Blue.)

Cricut Tool Kit

To create the background for my wall art canvas, I used a 12″ by 12″ pre-primed canvas from a major craft chain store. Then I used a large brush to swipe green acrylic paint back and forth across it, but stopping short of the edges by about an inch. Once that paint was dry, I used a stencil to dry brush a design on top of the green in white acrylic paint.

Cricut Wall Canvas background

I’ve been a bit obsessed with geo hearts lately, so I decided to make one in Cricut Design Space for this canvas! The Vintage Revivals cartridge had just what I needed, a geo shape that I could slice. Then I searched and chose a heart that had an outline of about the same thickness. I laid it over the geo shape in a way that I liked, duplicated it and set the duplicate aside (this will be important later), and then used the slice tool to cut the geo shape.

Cricut Geo Heart Construction

Next I removed all of the sliced pieces that I wouldn’t need in my finished piece. This was followed by using the basic shape tool to lay another (this time solid) heart over the remaining geo structure and slicing again. Then I took that heart that I had set aside, and laid it over the geo design, selected the heart and the geo design, and hit “weld” to create my geo heart!

Cricut Geo Heart construction

This ability to experiment and try things (and hit the undo button if they don’t work and then try again) is one of the things I love about Design Space. But if all of that seems like a lot of work to do…here’s the link to my completed Geo Heart file that I’m sharing in Design Space.

Cricut Geo Heart construction

Once I had created my geo heart, I made it 7 inches high and added some 3D flowers from the Flower Shoppe cartridge to my design. If you’d like to be able to replicate my design, here’s a link to the design I created in Cricut Design Space.

Cricut Holographic Vinyl

I’ve worked quite a few times with Cricut’s regular vinyl, but the Cricut Holographic Vinyl is more like foil than vinyl in appearance, and weight. It cut beautifully and just like vinyl on my Cricut Explore Air 2 machine, by using my Smart Set dial on the “vinyl” setting. This pink is dark pink and, depending on the light and angle that you look, will turn almost burgundy. (There’s also a gorgeous lighter pink color that is called Opal.)

Cricut Tools for Vinyl

I’ve always found weeding to be a bit of a zen experience. It can be challenging, for sure (especially when there are small details in a design), but there is something immensely satisfying about the sort of reverse jigsaw puzzle effect of watching the design reveal itself.

Weeding Die Cut Vinyl

Once the design was completely revealed, I laid a piece of Cricut Transfer Tape on top of it and peeled it up and transferred the heart to the upper right corner of my canvas. To press it down on my canvas with my tape, I laid a book underneath the area of the canvas the heart was going onto so that the canvas was better supported and was flat.

Cricut Geo Heart

The Holographic Vinyl is thin enough that it will take on the texture of the item is it applied to, so surface preparation is important! The material is delicate, but the transfer tape held it tightly and then released it perfectly without ripping the vinyl or damaging the painted surface. (I also recently used the Cricut Transfer Tape to apply vinyl to a kraft paper notebook cover and it released from the paper cover perfectly without damaging it when I was done applying my image.)

Cricut Glitter Flowers

Next, I used Cricut Glitter Paper to cut my 3D flowers. I’m normally not a huge fan of working with glitter paper, as it sheds and is difficult to cut without it losing a lot of glitter. This glitter paper is none of those things! The glitter on this Cricut paper seems to be finer than most other glitter papers that I’ve tried, and is extremely well adhered. It cuts absolutely beautifully, and having tried it I will now be looking for excuses to cut glitter things on my Cricut. (Luckily I have a teenage daughter so it won’t be hard!)

Cricut Glitter Flowers

I used a hot glue gun to assemble the flowers and then also to adhere them to the canvas. Before I glued them in place, I rolled the ends of the petals around the Cricut Scoring Tool to give them a nice curve. For the smaller flowers, the small point of the tool was used for rolling the petals around. I finished the flowers with buttons hot glued into their centers.

Cricut Geo Heart Wall Art

This Geo Heart Wall Art is great for a teen girl’s room. I used my 14 year old daughter’s bedroom wall for some of the photography for this article, and I’m not sure that I’m getting this project back!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

Mixed Media Canvas with Simple Stories

I’ve been working on a lot of home decor projects lately, so when I came home from the Orlando Scrapbook Expo with the new “Sunshine & Happiness” collection from Simple Stories, I decided to create a mixed media canvas with it!

[Disclosure: Some of the products that were used from Plaid, Cricut, Ranger, and Buttons Galore were provided to this site for editorial purposes, and I am the blog editor and social media manager for Buttons Galore. Some links below are affiliate links that earn us a commission when you purchase after clicking, or are courtesy links to our advertisers. Now, thanks for reading all of that stuff that the FTC requires that I tell you, and let’s get back to crafting!]
Mixed Media Canvas

To start this canvas, I laid down a base coat of the Plaid FolkArt Cottage Green Milk Paint directly on my blank canvas. This is the second canvas that I’ve used this milk paint on, and I am really loving that I can distress it with a baby wipe or damp paper towel after it is dry to get this nice aged look.

Next I tore a piece of the “Total Crush” paper from the Sunshine & Happiness collection to make a background for the canvas design. Wetting the paper made it easier to tear, but this paper isn’t designed to get wet like a watercolor paper is so be careful or it will be shred. Once your paper is sized right (and dry), glue it down with liquid glue like Mod Podge.

To finish the background, I spritzed it with the Plaid Color Spray Acrylic Paint. It was my first time using it, and the sprayer was a bit fussy to use. But once I got the hang of it, I was thrilled with the results. I’m rarely happy with the results I get using spray ink – the mist is always too fine for the look I want. This gave me the the larger splotches that I’m always trying to get. I look forward to giving it a full workout in the future to see what it really can do.

Woven Paper Heart

The next big element on the canvas is the woven paper heart. I cut paper strips from the two patterned papers, and then attached the ends of one set to a piece of scrap paper. I wove the other set through the anchored set. When the weaving was done, I drew a heart on the completed weaving in pencil. I cut it out a little bit at a time, using glue to anchor the paper strips together after I sliced through each row.

3D Flowers on Canvas

The 3D flower (and the other two large flowers) were cut on my Cricut Explore machine from heavy 140lb watercolor paper. There’s actually a setting for that paper on the machine and with the deep cut blade and heavy stick mat, it cut perfectly. Then I used my watercolors to color them with my water brush. I colored the outer edges and then soaked the paper with my spray bottle so that the color ran to create the soft wash all over. I then went back with another layer of heavier layer along the outer edges.

Once everything was dry, I assembled the rose with my hot glue gun. The centers of all three flowers are filled with seed beads from the 28 Lilac Lane embellishment bottle. I used only the white ones from the yellow and white assortment that is included. Even though they are tiny, it’s easy to sort them out in only a few minutes by dumping them in an embossing powder tray. I used my paper piercer, poking it in the beads’ holes to push them into piles in the corners. When I was done, it was easy to dump them back into the bottle with my tray’s spout!

Adhering the beads was easy – I just put a big glob of glue and pushed a bunch of beads down into it. I was able to shape and mold the glue before it dried to get just the effect that I wanted.

Sunshine and Happiness on Canvas

The embellishments were mostly simple – just arranging and adhering things. The wood piece was painted with milk paint and then stamped. At the top of the canvas (not visible in the photo above), I adhered one butterfly with pop dots for dimension while the other is just glued down.

Want to make your own canvas? Here’s what you’ll need:

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CHA Mega Show 2016 | Succulents are Hot!

The CHA Mega Show is a great place to distill scrapbooking trends and craft trends, with so much of the industry and its products in one place for the show. Walking the show floor, patterns and themes become easily apparent – trends!

One thing that kept popping up as I walked the floor of this year’s CHA Mega Show was succulents for crafts! This trend, an outgrowth of the general 1970’s trend in crafts, fashion, and home decor, started to manifest in 2015, but really became prevalent at this show.

Several companies were using real live succulents in their booth decor as a touch of green:

Webster's Pages planner display with succulents

Webster’s Pages planner display with succulents

Continue Reading →

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Project | Graphic 45 Artisan Style Shadow Box

It’s been all travel scrapbooking, all the time around here lately. But I decided to mix it up and do more than pocket pages for my travel albums!

Graphic 45 Artisan Style travel shadow box

This Graphic 45 shadow box, along with some Graphic 45 Artisan Style papers, came together to make a lovely addition to my studio decor that will remind me daily of my amazing afternoon seeing San Francisco for the first time.

If you’d like to read about all the details and “how to” of this project, the full project walkthrough is over on our sister site Craft Critique. Click here to check it out!

[Some Graphic 45 Artisan Style products used in this project were provided to Nally Studios by Graphic 45 as editorial samples.]

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Silhouette Promo | Vinyl Wall Art

Thanks for checking out part three of our Black Friday weekend Silhouette series!

Vinyl wall art – especially text – is all the rage right now in home decor. However, we live in a home that is new construction (well, a little over ten years old) and one of the modern shortcuts many builders use to save money is to put up texture on walls. The texture makes it impossible to stick things like vinyl wall art and other adhesives to the walls.

Even though I can’t stick vinyl directly to my wall surfaces, however, there is another way to use some of those beautiful text designs on my walls: frame them!
Framed Vinyl Wall Art Continue Reading →

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