You guys...I have been keeping a super big secret from you…
I have been invited to participate in the "Cricut Design Space Star" Competition!
Holy yes to that!!
I had been wanting to try out the NEW Cricut Explore ever since it launched so when I was contacted to see if I would be interested in competing with some other fabulous bloggers to create a new monthly project from now through November…well...I didn't hesitate.
There's a FUN spin on this friendly competition though…
Not only does Cricut choose a different "topic/theme" every month…they have also divided us all up into teams - 10 bloggers per team. As a team we are to decide on a specific theme to go along with the pre-determined topic chosen by Cricut.
So...for August, Cricut chose "Fashion/Gear" as our topic and my team and I decided to hone in on all of the hot and trendy "GEO Patterns" as our team theme.
Here's the project I came up with…
Kid-Size "Somewhere Over the RainBOW" Bubble Umbrella
Do you just love how it turned out!!?? Ella is smitten with it!!
Trust me…learning the ins and outs of the Cricut Personal Electronic Cutting Machine when it arrived on my door step less than a week before the project deadline was a tiny bit stressful. I have to say though...it pushed me to really get to know my machine and I'm super impressed.
Here is the STEP-BY-STEP for how I turned my cute design into some cute Fashion Gear.
Please note: Links to all supplies mentioned and shown are at the bottom of the post - including umbrella, raincoat and rainboots.
STEP ONE: Upload image into Cricut Design Space
I created my design in Illustrator and then saved it a couple of different ways - as an .svg file as well as a .png, or .jpg. I was just playing around trying to figure out my Cricut and all of the different options. You can actually create your own images OR simply choose from over 50,000+ fun designs already on Design Space. There are FREE ones and ones that you'll need to pay for. The cool thing is…you get to play around with the images in the Cricut Library BEFORE YOU HAVE TO COMMIT TO PURCHASING something. That's PERFECT for me since I'm always changing my mind about things. Ha!
STEP TWO: Cut your fabric
I found a cute quatrefoil pattern fabric at Hobby Lobby and a black and white polka dot fabric at Wal Mart. I purchased 1/2 yard of each which was WAY too much for this project. You really only need a little more than 8.5 x 11 sheet of each.
Apply Heat N' Bond (in the red packaging) to the back of the fabric using an iron - following manufacturer's instructions. Using the Heat N' Bond makes the fabric nice and stiff so that the Cricut can cut through it like butter. I used the Cricut Explore Deep Cut Blade because I read somewhere that when cutting fabric you should use a blade that hasn't been used on paper or other items. The Deep Cut Blade I had was unopened and unused so I just decided to go for it. It worked like a charm.
TIP: At the recommendation of others, I purchased this super cheap iron…like seriousy cheap…as in $6 bucks kind of cheap...at Wal Mart. I also bought myself an inexpensive tabletop ironing board because I foresee LOTS more Cricut Projects involving fabric; Having something small I can set up as well as eliminating my concern for ruining or damaging my good iron just seemed like a smart choice.
STEP FOUR: Cut your Vinyl
After first cutting the bows from the quatrefoil fabric and then the "middles" of each bow from the polka dot fabric I was ready to cut out my vinyl wording. Truth be told…a roll of Cricut's Black Vinyl did not come with the machine and by the time I figured out exactly what my project was going to be I didn't have time to order online. So…I went up to Hobby Lobby and picked up a roll of Black Self-Adhesive Vinyl. I'm definitely looking forward to trying the Cricut Brand Vinyl to see the difference in quality.
STEP FIVE: Vinyl Weeding
Use the Cricut tools to remove and "weed out" excess vinyl pieces that you don't need/want on your final project.
WHAT I HAVE LEARNED ABOUT CUTTING VINYL: The first couple of times I tried to cut my vinyl I was VERY frustrated. It just was not coming out nicely and I could NOT grasp the concept of how I was supposed to transfer the vinyl from the Cricut cutting mat to the project. Here are some things that may prevent you from making the same mistakes I made...
1. A brand new cutting mat is much stickier than a gently used one. This means the vinyl paper backing may not come off nicely on your first couple of tries. Be prepared to use the Scraper and the Spatula tools found in the Cricut Tools Basic Craft Set to remove a large majority of stuck on paper backing. (see photo below). I may have been cussing under my breath a couple of times feeling as though I was spending more time scraping than creating.
BUT…I began to notice by the time I had used the mat about 5 or 6 times the items began to peel off beautifully.
2. Cutting "Vinyl" when the setting on the Cricut Explore has been left on the "Fabric" setting will not produce good results. (I wonder how I know this). *wink*
3. The Transfer Paper is a miracle worker…unless you want to take on the tedious task of transferring each piece of vinyl by hand - and hoping it all lines up.
4. I went into this thinking the Basic Tool Set was unnecessary. I just knew I'd have tools around the house I could use. However, I caved and bought a set and I'm so glad I did. Each of the tools has come in handy - especially the scraper, spatula and weeding tool. Don't do what I did and pay $24.99 at Hobby Lobby. Order a set from Amazon for about $15 instead. *kicking myself*
STEP SIX: Transfer Vinyl
Apply a piece of Transfer Paper/tape on top of the cut vinyl.
Use the scraper tool to make sure it's adheres to every piece of your vinyl.
Tip: Use the red grid lines on the transfer tape/paper! They sure help to make sure your design transfers nice and straight onto your project. Notice I didn't do that exactly for this project…lesson learned.
Peel away the transfer tape S L O W L Y so that you can ensure every part of your design is attached and lifts away from the vinyl backing. If areas stick just go back over them with your Cricut Scraper tool.
Noteworthy: I taped the fabric bow onto the umbrella using washi tape - just to hold it in place to be able to determine where I needed to place my vinyl wording. I could've attached the fabric bows first and then applied the vinyl but I guess I was nervous about the placement of the vinyl and wanted to have the option of repositioning the bow if need be. I'm sure it would've worked out just fine - but that's how I did it for this project.
Apply vinyl to one panel of the umbrella. Use the Cricut Scraper tool and a hard surface underneath to make sure it's stuck on really good. Since the umbrella is open and the vinyl gives when you press on it, I ended up just grabbing a mini book that was nearby and held it up underneath the umbrella and used it as my "hard surface" while using the scraper. (see the mini red book in the photo below)
Peel off the Transfer Tape/Paper. Go S L O W L Y to make sure the vinyl is sticking to the umbrella.
STEP SEVEN: Apply Fabric Bows
I used a spray adhesive recommended by the good people at Hobby Lobby.
It's great for fabric and vinyl so I figured it would work pretty good and it did.
You can assemble the bows and middles first using the spray adhesive and THEN you can attach them to the umbrella as one piece.
OR…you can do what I did and spray the the bow portions first...apply each one to the bottom-center-middle of each of the empty 7 umbrella panels and THEN add then proceed to spray the bow middles and add them last. It just seemed less messy to do it that way but I don't think there's any right or wrong to it.
I attached the large bow first under the vinyl I just put on and the added the mini bows last.
I hope you LOVE the project idea I came up with.
Keep your fingers crossed for me that I get selected as one of the Top 10 projects.
And Cricut…you have knocked my socks off!! I can't wait to get busy on more fun projects!!
Stay tuned…I'll be introducing you to our entire Cricut Design Space Star Team - Go Team 14 - as well as sharing some of their awesome projects with you!!
KEEPiNG iT REAL
This is her "I'm done" face...
And I just couldn't leave these out of the bunch...