Unboxing a Cricut Explore Air 2September 28, 2017
There is nothing more exciting than opening presents. Especially when those presents are random and non-holiday gifts! So today, let’s open a present together! That’s right – today we’re unboxing a Cricut Explore Air 2!
Silhouette and Cricut are two of the industry’s biggest names. But, up until recently, I had only used a Silhouette Cameo 3. And that’s ridiculous since half of our valued craft community uses a Cricut! So, I went the extra mile and purchased a Cricut Explore Air 2, thanks to all your fabulous recommendations!
Let’s unbox it together and see what is in store for us with this fun, new machine!
First off, I want to say that the mint color of the Cricut Explore Air 2 is GORGEOUS. Seriously, it’s subtle and classy, but still fun. Check out the great packaging from Cricut too!
Once you open the box, there’s a handful of fun goodies to sift through. The top item is the cutting mat. Like the Silhouette Cameo 3, the Cricut Explore Air 2 comes with a 12” x 12” mat that is slightly adhesive. This helps your vinyl and other materials from slipping while getting cut!
The other item that is on top (or in my case, on the side) is the start-up manual. This is a small booklet that walks you through the contents of your box. It also provides valuable information about registering your machine and setting up your design software! It even comes with a couple Cricut cardstock samples!
When you take your machine out, underneath is the power cable, USB cable, and black Cricut pen. Once your items are all pulled out of the box, you should have a haul that looks a little something like this:
Pop open your Cricut Explore Air 2 and you can see all the beautiful details on the inside of this fun machine! There are two small compartments that hold accessories and extra blades on the bottom cover. Those have magnets that allow them to stay closed and keep your items stored safely.
The cutting mechanism has the blade and accessory adapter already installed, but those are both removable. The cutting mechanism is a fantastic chrome finish that complements the mint color so well!
On the top right side is the settings dial, also in chrome.
This machine is not only great to look at, it’s easy and straight forward to use. If you’re used to a Silhouette, I promise you can learn this one too.
Everyone has their preference when it comes to cutting machines…which is yours? Or have you recently purchased a new cutting machine that you love? Let us know at our Facebook group Vinyl All Things!
As Always, Happy Crafting!
Layering Glitter Heat Transfer VinylSeptember 20, 2017
If you’re looking for fresh ideas and projects for layering glitter HTV, I highly suggest going to Walt Disney World® for some inspiration. (Not that you need an excuse to go to Disney World®, but now you have one!)
I realized this during our recent family vacation to the Most Magical Place on Earth. The amount of people we saw celebrating first-time visits, birthdays, anniversaries, honeymoons, and family vacations were countless.
But, something especially unique about these people was that they always had some kind of personalized thing that set their group apart. Whether that thing was a t-shirt, tank top, water bottle, tutu, mouse ears, hat, backpack, purse… Creativity was everywhere and I was loving all the great ideas for layering glitter HTV on ALL THE THINGS.
I wanted to make something myself, so what better than some Disney Princess #squadgoals?
Layering glitter HTV is so much different than layering regular HTV. It’s tricky because it isn’t meant to be layered directly on top of itself. But, with a couple of little tricks, it is actually super easy!
First, create your design in Silhouette Studio. I used words for mine, but this can be done with an image as well. Layer your design(s) on top of each other, just like this.
Because I did text, I used to the Offset feature to create the outer layer.
Next, use the Modify > Subtract All feature to create a “cut” in the bottom layer, like this.
After you Subtract All, you will end up with your two layers!
After both layers are created, mirror your design(s) and they’re ready to cut! I used Parsbee Sparkle HTV in Obsidian Black and Mermaid’s Tail for my project.
After they were cut, I had my two layers ready to be pressed onto my t-shirt!
When layering glitter HTV, it doesn’t matter which layer goes on first. I did my black layer since it was larger and easier to center onto the shirt. I used a heat press at 320° for about 15 seconds to adhere my HTV. Once your first layer is finished, peel the carrier and you’re ready to put your second layer in place.
Make sure to be extra careful when placing your second layer. You want it to fit as snug as possible onto your first layer.
Once your second layer is in place, cover your HTV with a piece of Kraft paper or a towel and press it for another 15 seconds.
And just like that, you’ve layered glitter HTV with little to no difficulty at all! Now that you know this quick trick for layering glitter HTV, you can layer EVERYTHING!
Share your projects, ideas, and questions with us in our Facebook group Vinyl All Things!
Reverse Weeding – When and How to Do ItSeptember 13, 2017
When I first heard about reverse weeding, I didn’t know why anyone would want to do it. I thought it involved weeding out the vinyl you want to keep, rather than the excess. But man, I couldn’t have been more wrong!
Once upon a time, I wrote a blog post about saving time while weeding. Now, everything I said in that post is still very relevant. And it’s especially helpful when you’re weeding out the smaller details of designs.
But, what do you do when you want to keep all the small details and weed out the rest? That’s where reverse weeding comes in! When you pull your vinyl up, ideally you want your design to stay on the carrier sheet. But, that’s not always the case. Some or all of those teeny tiny details can get pulled up along with the excess vinyl and completely ruin a design.
For example: anything with dots. A new trend that has been going around lately is vinyl designs using rhinestone patterns. It’s super cute and so much less tedious and time consuming than using real rhinestones. But, cutting out those little dots and then weeding around them sounds equally as stressful. But what if I told you there was a way to weed with minimal effort or frustration? Yeah – sign me up too!
I mean, look at all these little dots. Some of them are already flaking up when they’re supposed to stay on the carrier. At this stage, that isn’t a good sign of things to come.
Reverse weeding is a simple process, but it’s surprising how many people don’t know about it. But I promise it’ll change your vinyl life moving forward.
Step 1: Cover your ENTIRE design with transfer tape.
Yes – you heard me correctly. The entire thing, completely covered. Even the stuff you want to weed out. I used a high tack paper transfer tape for this project. The smaller the detail, the higher tack tape you’ll want.
Step 2: Flip your taped design over and remove the carrier sheet
All you’ll be left with is your vinyl on the transfer tape, laying with the sticky side up. If you’re still confused, it’s okay. You’ll understand my logic shortly. And then, you’ll never go back to weeding the “normal” way again!
Step 3: Weed your unwanted vinyl off of the transfer tape
It all makes sense now! Your transfer tape should be a high enough tack that your vinyl sticks to it while you weed out the rest. See how all my dots are staying on my transfer tape? I couldn’t believe it either! And it took a fraction of the time with a much better end result.
Once you’re done weeding out your unwanted vinyl, you have a ready-to-apply design all set to go!
Simply place your design on your surface and press it down with your application tool. And presto – a beautiful, personalized mug!
Have you tried your hand at reverse weeding? Share your horror stories, successes, and projects with us! And as an exclusive bonus for our crafting community this week, enter for a chance to win this fun bicycle mug in our Facebook group Vinyl All Things!
Facebook Business Page Best PracticesSeptember 6, 2017
How Important is Facebook to Your Business?
In the age of social media and online marketing, Facebook has become a key resource for small businesses to bring in traction that they otherwise would have missed. Now, someone from Fargo can connect with a shop in Los Angeles without leaving the comfort of their home. Love a small business in Sydney, Australia but live in Tampa? No problem!
On average, users use Facebook’s app suite for about an hour each day. If you consider the fact that most everyone you know has a profile, all that scrolling adds up! And not everyone is using it just to interact with their college classmates and or stalk their high school boyfriend. Facebook is also how many users find products and services, and make purchase decisions.
But, with Facebook’s changing algorithms, users may not be seeing your content. Why not? It may not be included among the most desired content that is placed at the top of users’ News Feeds. Are you now wondering how to create the most effective, relevant content for your Facebook business page? Here are a couple ways that can help increase those likes and shares!
Learn How to Layer Craft Vinyl with ParsbeeAugust 30, 2017
There is little I love more than researching a process and developing new skills. I know, nerd alert. But seriously. My first experience with a Silhouette CAMEO was a complete disaster. The default speed was set to like, 33. And I didn’t change it. 😳 Suffice to say, things didn’t turn out too well. But with my trial and error method of learning, I quickly remedied that. And I’ve learned a plethora of other techniques in the process, like how to layer craft vinyl!
Recently, I discovered a way to layer craft vinyl that makes the process twice as fast and infinitely more accurate. Accuracy is everything because being slightly off when you layer craft vinyl and having to start all over again is THE WORST.
I’ve been seeing date night jars all over Pinterest. My Significant Other and I are terrible at coming up with date night ideas when we find ourselves with an evening without children. So hopefully a mason jar with a cute vinyl label will help us get better at it!
I made all the layers of my design in the same file at first. I also included two small squares at the top of my design, creating one and duplicating it. If the two squares aren’t aligned, you can do that under Transform > Vertical Middle.
When and How to Use ORAMASK® 813August 23, 2017
Contrary to popular belief, vinyl isn’t always the #1 material of choice for all craft projects. I know, I’m as surprised as you are. But, just because your end product doesn’t have vinyl on it doesn’t mean you can’t use it in the process. Introducing, ORAMASK® 813 Stencil Film!
ORAMASK 813 is a rigid, translucent blue PVC film by ORAFOL®, the same company who brings us ORACAL® 651 and ORACAL® 631 (So you already know it’s going to be amazing). ORAMASK 813 is typically referred to as “paint mask” because that is one of the most common applications it’s used for. It has a clear, low-tack, removable adhesive, which is perfect for stenciling.
In the past, I would use whatever I have on hand to make a stencil. This means, more often than not, I’m using paper (desperate times calls for desperate measures, people). Now, paper tends to rip, curl, bend, bleed paint…pretty much everything you DON’T want a stencil to do. I’ve also used permanent and removable vinyl. Vinyl, while it works better than paper, gets expensive and often leaves adhesive residue on your surface.
BUT NOT ANYMORE! ORAMASK has changed the way I look at stenciling. And it’s perfect not only for stenciling, but for paint masking, and glass and metal etching too! What are some of the benefits of ORAMASK 813, you may ask? Well…
Tips and Tricks for Using Parsbee HTV with Your Silhouette CameoAugust 16, 2017
If you’re a newbie in the wide, wonderful world of Heat Transfer Vinyl, you’re not alone! I was once in your position. HTV was this magical material that I couldn’t wrap my mind around. That is, until I started researching and understanding the basics with Parsbee HTV.
And now that I’ve done my own trial-by-error learning, I know a thing or two that can help any beginner get a head start on their own HTV crafting journey!
First off, let’s define a couple things. Because there’s nothing more confusing than having absolutely no clue what people are talking about when you start your research.
- HTV is an acronym for Heat Transfer Vinyl. You’ll see this a lot, so become familiar with it now!
- A carrier is the backing of your HTV. This sheet is typically a clear, pressure-sensitive, polyester material. Carriers act as a cover sheet when applying your HTV design to your base material.
- A cover sheet is a protective layer between your HTV and your iron or heat press. This helps shield your design from getting burned during the application process. Cover sheets can be kraft paper, parchment paper, fabric scraps, or a towel. You can also buy reusable cover sheets, typically made from Teflon.
- Heat presses are machines that sandwich your design and application material between two extremely hot metal plates. This is a faster way to apply HTV to materials, although a regular household iron will also do the trick.
- Weeding is the process of removing extra/unwanted material from a design post-cutting.
- And a weeder is the small tool that you weed your vinyl with. These tools can be knives, hooks, tweezers, or pins.
- Cutters or machines do all the hard work for you. They read your design files and cut your vinyl with teeny, tiny blades. Popular table top brands are Silhouette®, Cricut®, Brother®, Sizzix®, and more.
- CPSIA is an acronym for the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. This is a certification that states products have been tested and approved to be categorized as a “children’s product”. All Parsbee HTV meets the standards of CPSIA certification, so it’s safe to use on children’s clothing and accessories!
Now that we’ve defined a few things, we can explore some fundamental tips for using HTV:
How to Apply Parsbee Vinyl onto Curved SurfacesAugust 9, 2017
It’s the age-old question: How in the world do you get vinyl to apply smoothly to curved surfaces?
Okay, maybe it’s not age-old. But it is something that many crafters (myself included!) struggle to perfect. When applying vinyl to surfaces that are curved, one of many things can happen. There can be wrinkles, bubbling, creases, or unintentional overlapping. OR it can come out perfect and you wonder what kind of vinyl magician the applier is.
Either way, the process can be frustrating, so we thought we would alleviate some of that stress with a little vinyl magic of our own.
Since we’re working on curved surfaces, I thought this would be a fantastic opportunity to make His & Hers drinking vessels! The adorable Mama and Papa bear SVG files I used can be found on lovesvg.com. I highly recommend checking LoveSVG out, they have so many cute (and free!) SVG files.
I cut mine onto Parsbee Permanent Gloss Vinyl in Black, and made them about 3” high and 4” wide so they fit on the glasses.
Once your design(s) are cut and weeded, you’ll want to apply some transfer tape on top. A medium to low tack transfer tape works best for applications like this. It’s just sticky enough to adhere to your vinyl and carrier sheet, but not overly sticky so it releases seamlessly. We love Parsbee Medium Tack Transfer Tape. It’s a see-through, medium tack tape with a grid pattern that makes lining your design up quick and easy!
How to Build and Optimize an Etsy ShopAugust 2, 2017
Okay, so you bought yourself a Cricut® or Silhouette Cameo® 3, a truck load of Parsbee Vinyl Bundles or HTV, and now you’re wondering…what’s next? If the idea of creating and managing an Etsy shop is appealing to you, then you’re in luck!
Yes, it can be daunting. And yes, it can be a lot of work. But with enough effort and creativity, you too can build your own personal entrepreneurial corner of the Internet in just a few simple steps!
Etsy is one of the leading e-commerce platforms for individuals to start their own small businesses. And since Etsy is focused on those creating unique, handmade, or vintage goods, what better place to get started than there?
Before you begin, you’ll want to collect some information and materials to make the on-boarding process that much easier. Those include photos, pricing information, and your bank routing number (because who doesn’t want to get paid?).
Step 1: Go to www.esty.com/sell and many of you will see a screen much like this:
How to Save Time While WeedingJuly 27, 2017
Whether you’re new to vinyl crafting or are a seasoned veteran just looking for some new tips, you’ve stumbled upon the right place! This week, we’re learning all about weeding tools and how to save time while weeding!
Patience has never been a strong virtue of mine. I constantly want to get things done and get them done NOW. Whether it’s grocery shopping, household chores, or simply finishing up a good book, everything is urgent for me. Time is always of the essence!
So naturally, when it comes to the painstaking and time-consuming task of weeding vinyl, I can get a little testy. The smaller and more detailed the design, the longer weeding takes. And when you’re producing one design after another, those precious seconds and minutes cannot be wasted!
So here are a couple tips on how to save the most time weeding without compromising quality. First, you should know that there are a plethora of tools and brands out there for you to use! OLFA®, Siser®, X-ACTO®, 3M®, Fiskars®, Silhouette, Cricut® – the list goes on and on!