Update! New Cricut!

First of all, apologies for not posting in a while.  I have been making cards still (though not as much as I like) and I always post photos of them via Instagram @happyluckycreations.  So follow me if you like to see what I’m up to in crafting!  But as this is a hobby and not a job, nor do I get sponsored, I don’t have the time to be writing posts about my cards and hobbies .  I’m just your regular ol’ craft geek!

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So happy to have finally gotten an affordable stamping tool!!!

Since my last blog post featuring two Mother’s Day cards I made, I have been expanding and organizing my craft tools and stash.  I finally got a stamping tool: Stamping Buddy Pro by Nellie Snellen, or Nellie’s Choice, and I LOVE it!  I used to use an IKEA Hemmingsbo Frame hack , and it does work, but I wanted something easier to use like the MISTI because at the end of the day, the frame hack is exactly that: something made for one thing but hacked to work as something else.  In other words, it was never really that good as a stamping tool.  So I was considering getting the stamping tool by Tim Holtz and Tonic Studios since it’s nearly impossible to get a MISTI in my country, but I somehow stumbled upon the Stamping Buddy Pro and the price was more to my liking (I got it for €14).

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Pretty colors….

I also organized my alcohol markers and my husband made me a storage box out of foam core.  Since that photo was taken, I’ve added about 15 more marker colours.  If anyone is wondering, these are called TwinMarkers by DecoTime which I get from a discount goods store called Action.  I later on found out that it’s the same as those TouchFive or TouchNew alcohol markers from AliExpress.  I cannot say how well the markers from AE work, but these work well with the right paper.

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More pretty colors….

My Distress Oxides have also grown a little to flesh out my rainbow of colors.  I now own 14 colours (I started with 6 from my first Distress Oxide ink purchase one year ago) and its re-inkers.  I’m one of those people that just have to have the re-inker when I buy a stamp pad.  It’s not necessary, especially with the amount of card making I do…but I just can’t help myself because I have to be prepared for that inevitable craft material famine….

I’ve also made two birthday cards (one 30th, one 50th), two baby cards (one boy and one girl), six “Thank you” cards for my kid’s teachers, six (plus two extra for myself) “Hello” and six “Happy birthday” cards as teacher gifts, and one wedding card.  You can see all those cards on my instagramAfter all that card making, I was pooped out with making cards.  To top it off, the summer has been very hot and my workshop is located on the top floor.  So heat rises and it’s a down right sauna in my craft area!  So I’ve been avoiding going up to craft.  Until….

I found out that Cricut was closing down the Cricut Craft Room (CCR).  I had an Expression 2 machine and although I could use it as a stand-alone machine, I always used it with the CCR because it was so much easier than poking at a touch screen that didn’t work great and was SUPER slow.  So I packed up ALL my Cricut stuff and sold it all off at a super low price, thinking, “I don’t need a Cricut anymore!”  But despite it all… I couldn’t let the thought of my cutting machine go!  So I started looking around… lots of doubts, questions, thoughts….  But I finally decided after much rumination, I was going to get myself a Cricut Explore One.

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My new Cricut!!

There were many models and choices but I decided on the Explore One mainly because of the price (it was on sale, 50% off!).  I also did not need wireless capabilities, I didn’t mind having only one knife/pen holder, and I didn’t care for it to have to be 2x faster.  Getting my machine was also a small little story.  In a nutshell, I was told by Cricut customer support that they do not ship to countries other than US, Canada, UK, some other countries…in other words, they didn’t ship to The Netherlands.  But I fudged around with the Cricut UK website, and I managed to order it, with my address and correct country in the shipping address.  But I was still worried, that my machine would get lost because they supposedly don’t ship to me….  So I contacted customer support again, and this time another guy said they had my address and it will take 7-10 days.  But the best part of this story?  I received my Explore One THE NEXT DAY.  I don’t know how or what happened, but  I got my machine!  The funny part of it was that my machine was shipped from within The Netherlands!

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All the things I got at the fair.

Finally, I went to my “annual” craft fair last week.  I put quotes around annual because the fair actually happens three times a year!  But I only go one of those three times, usually the one at the end of summer/start of fall.  This time, I didn’t bother looking at dies or stamps much because I have A LOT and technically I don’t need anymore.  I made myself a list of supplies I needed and pretty much stuck with it.  And since it was my 3rd or 4th time going, I knew exactly where and which area/booths to check out.  I also like to spend as little money as possible, so I spent the first two hours walking the entire place and taking notes of which booth had what items I wanted, and the cost.  Then I shopped with my last hour all the things I needed.  Everything in the picture costed a little under €70.  Do you think I did good?

So now summer’s over, school started three weeks ago, and BOTH my kids go to school!  Now I have a bit more time to craft, but… I also work more/earlier.  I have to be at work by 5:45 in the morning, so it’s very tiring to my naturally night owl body that I need my nap/rest or I get a headache.  However, I hope to continue crafting because nothing’s better than to create a little happiness in someone’s day!

Watercolor Mother’s Day Cards

It’s Mother’s Day today and so I created two Mother’s Day cards, one for my mother and one for my mother in law.  Here are the two cards:

Both cards uses the same flower stamp and the same watercolor markers, yet the cards have a different look to it based on the techniques I used to add color! Continue reading “Watercolor Mother’s Day Cards”

The Right Way to Use the Cuttlebug

Today I’d like to share a tip on cutting thin intricate dies with the Cuttlebug WITHOUT using any shims (metal or chipboard), WITHOUT running it through the machine more than once!!  This tip is only for the Cuttlebug because it’s what I own.  So let’s get right into it!

underwater

If you don’t want to bother reading all the mumble jumbo, the tip is basically to cut up!  That is, you need to place the die cutting side (ridges) up.  If you don’t know what I mean, or you want more details, then read on.

So the die I’m using is this beautiful underwater scene die.  It is a thin die that I got from Ali Express, so it’s not of any brand I know of. This die also has some embossing/scoring elements, like the fish scales and eyes, the design on the jellyfish, seahorse, and seashell.  What makes this die so intricate are the jellyfish tentacles; they are very thin and close together.

Now before I get into how I cut this die with one pass and no (metal) shims, I want to point out that you can find many videos on YouTube showing you how to use the Cuttlebug, as well as tips on how to cut intricate die.  Some videos on how to use the Cuttlebug shows you the proper way to use it (cutting side up), and some do not.  And the tips for cutting intricate dies usually involve using a metal shim.  I will show you that a metal shim is not necessary, as long as you do it properly!

First I will show you the wrong way to do it:  wp-image-892760111
The bad sandwich is as follows, starting from bottom: A, C, Paper, Die with ridges down, and B.  (My C plate has no label on it.)

I ran it through once, and this is the result:wp-image-1391544807

Look at where the jellyfish tentacles should be; it’s not cut!  It is slightly impressed (hard to see in the pictures).  Perhaps it may cut if I did add a metal shim, but why waste money on buying a metal shim when I can cut it with one pass without it!  By the way, this picture is what it looks like after one pass.  I did a second pass and the tentacles showed up a little more, but it was not cut through.

Now let me show you the right way to use the Cuttlebug.  This works EVERYTIME, and I never have to pass it more than once.  By the way, passing a die more than once can cause the paper to shift slightly, so you may get “shadow” cutting, which is cutting again, but slightly off.  So here is the correct sandwich:wp-image-1125245494
The correct sandwich is as follows, starting from the bottom: A, C, Die with ridges up, paper, and B.  As you can see, my B plate is very well used!

And here is the result from running it through once:wp-image-1814417664

This is amazing!  One pass and no metal shims needed and everything is cut out, even the thin tentacles!

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So this tip is really not a secret.  The Cuttlebug is designed to cut up and it’s also in the user manual to place the ridges up and paper over the ridges.  I’m not sure what is contained in the newer manuals, but I got my Cuttlebug from 2010, and using thin dies were just starting out at the time, which is why my C plate has no label.  But after so many years, the Cuttlebug still works great and cuts through my intricate dies easily with only one pass and no shims.  Anyway, I hope this tip helped those of you that have been having trouble with the intricate dies!

I’ve never tried other machines either, but I don’t see the need to because I’m happy with my Cuttlebug!  And last but not least, you can see the final die cut over my freshly made background with my new Tim Holtz Distress Oxide by Ranger.  I’ll be posting the final card on my Instagram account, so be sure to check it out!

Quick birthday card

This card is for Simon Says: Happy Birthday challenge by SimonSaysStamp.  It’s very simple and quick, and took less than an hour to make.  Here is the card:

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I recently bought a few pads of vellum paper with quotes and sentiments on it.  I am gaga over vellum, so I just had to have them and use it on today’s card.  I also recently bought this set of turquois handmade patterned paper made from 100% recycled cotton.  So I started with die-cutting and embossing the vellum sentiment.  Then I added some eyelets on it.  Afterwards, I tied the baker’s twine to it, and wrapped it around the patterned cotton paper which I had cut to size.  Then I glued it all together and it was done!

I didn’t want to do too much to the card because the paper is so beautiful as well as the vellum sentiment.

Anyway, I want to mention that I also got myself a small little photo box for taking pictures of my crafts (cards mainly).  The photo box was bought via ali express, and it costs only 10 euros for this small little box with LED lights with 4 coloured backgrounds.  What do you think of it?  I like it, but the little knobs, edges, and holes are a little getting used to, and also still learning how to use it properly (I know next to nothing about photography.)

Well, I hope you enjoyed my latest challenge card, and I hope you will create some happiness today!

Nail foil update!

Just a quick update!

I went to the local store and made a photocopy of a newspaper (I did not have anything else on hand). I then cut out the letter “E”, put a piece of nail foil on top of the E, and ran it through my laminator.  As you can see in the picture, the foil stuck to the letter!  Despite it being a success, I noticed that it is not scratch resistant like the embossing powder method, but more scratch-resistant than using double sided tape.  However, I think this problem is existant with all types of foils (nail or craft transfer) when using this method.

Another thing I noticed is that the foiling was not clean.  There were a lot of little specks of foil that came off itself and onto the paper.  This, however, I am not sure if the problem is due to it being nail foils instead because I believe nail foils are a bit more thin.

Overall, I think from all my testing, nail foils are definitely a comparable but inexpensive alternative to craft transfer foils because it works just like the craft foils, but you get a lot more colours and designs!  So give nail foils a try and create happiness with foiling on your cards today!

Foils galore!

On my Simple Washi Candles Card, I used nail foils for the candle flames.  In the post, I mentioned how nail foils were cheaper than if you were to buy crafting transfer foils by Deco Foil or Minc.  Not only is it cheaper, you get a lot of different foil designs!

First of all, I should mentioned that I have never used any name brand foils before, but I have watched a few videos of other well-known crafters using Deco Foil on their projects.  Therefore, I have a good idea of what Deco Foil can do.  Secondly, I bought the nail foils from China via Ali Express, therefore I cannot give a direct link to purchase the foils since product pages change often.  If you are convinced on giving nail foils a try on your projects and want to order some, I suggest searching for ‘nail foils’ from Ali Express or similar store websites.

All 48 foil swatches!
All 48 foil swatches!

Without further ado, let’s get into the foils!

Through Ali Express, I ordered a set of nail foils for under €3 and the set contained 48 different 35x4cm sheets of foil.   There were other sets, but I chose this particular set for the price (since  I was buying it for testing) and because it contained more solid coloured foils, as opposed to patterns.  The set also contained some opaque sheets which I was interested in testing out as well.

Here is the foil cost comparison:

  • A tube of Deco Foil costs €5 for 5 sheets of 6″x12″ inches (~15×30.5cm).  Calculating the area, you are paying €5 for 2,322.5 cm² for only one foil colour.
  • Transfer Foils by Ranger costs €6 for 10 sheets of 4 11/16″x 3 9/16″ (american measurements are ridiculous, ~12x9cm).  This calculates to €6 for 1,074cm²
  • A set of 48 different foils colours/designs, each 35x4cm in size for under €3.  That is less than €3 for 6,720 cm².

So not only do you pay less, you get more for what you pay, and lots of different colours!  However, one major drawback is that each sheet is a long 4cm wide sheet, so if you want to foil large areas, you’ll have to cut the sheets and use two or more, which may cause a line on your image depending on the foil’s pattern.

Applying the foils

To apply the foils (and to make the swatch chart) I use the simplest method, which is double-sided sticky tape.  I found that the foil also works with tape runners and glue (when given some time to dry for tackiness).  The drawback of using double sided adhesive is that the foil is scratchable.  If you want your foiled bits to not be scratchable, you need to use the embossing powder and laminator method.

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The result of using the embossing method.

With the embossing powder and laminator method, it requires heat embossing a stamped image, then placing the foil on top of the embossed image and running it through a well-heated laminator.  The emboss melts a little and acts as a glue, allowing for the foil to stick to where it was embossed.  This method also worked with the nail foils, however, I noticed other areas where I did not emboss also had some foil stuck to it (see picture).  I think this is because I did not use an embossing buddy or anti-static powder tool and so there were some micro bits of embossing powder on it.  I don’t have an anti-static powder tool nor an embossing buddy, but I tested the foiling again with some baby powder (ingredient to make your DIY embossing buddy) rubbed onto the card and I noticed less random bits of foiling on areas with baby powder.

There is also another method of applying foil and that is the ink toner method (like with laser printers).  Something in the toner ink reacts with foil when it goes through a hot laminator and foil sticks to it.  However, I do not own a laser printer, but I read that I can also try using a photocopy machine (since it also uses toner ink), so I will test that out soon and write my results with the nail foils.  [Update: I tested it and you can find the test result here.  But the short answer is yes, it worked with a photocopied image!]

So far, it seems that the nail foils are working just like the other craft foils like Deco Foil.

Trial and error foiling

Shiny tape?!
Shiny tape?!

Anyway, I started making my foil swatches with the clear holographic sheets and if you look closely, that’s tape covered in clear holographic foil!  I think the clear holographic foils can best be used on coloured paper to give your project a shine as it catches the light.

As I was making the swatches, I sometimes forget to give it a rub to make sure all of the foil was stuck onto the adhesive tape.  So when I pulled the foil sheet away, the foil looked splotchy or had “holes” where there was no foil but exposed adhesive.  This tended to happen often with the metallic foils, but a tip is to remember to give it a quick rub before you peel the foil away from the adhesive.

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Seamless foiling

But if you forget like me and have unfoiled bits on your adhesive, just place another part of the foil on top again, give it a good rub and peel off!  You can see an example with the Champagne pink sparkles foil.  If you look on the foil sheet, you can see the right side of the adhesive did not catch the foil and pull it off.  So I touched the exposed adhesive with another part of the foil (the little rectangle on the right) and I got a seamless coverage on the tape.

The verdict

Overall, I think nail foils make for a great alternative to craft foils.  They seem to work just like regular craft transfer foils.  However, I wish nail foils came in larger sheets.  Also, the folds in my nail foils may pose a problem as well,  but some nail foils are sold rolled up in a small cylinder container.  Finally, I still need to test the ink toner method with apply foil, but I think it will work.

Pros Cons
  1. Very inexpensive
  2. More designs and patterns available
  3. Seems to work just like other craft foils
  1. Small sheet size
  2. Some sheets are sold folded
  3. Possibly thinner

For more (general) tips and tricks on foiling, I suggest looking at Jennifer McGuire’s blog post that also explains how the best method for foiling is with embossing powders due to it making the foils scratch resistant.  Anyway, I hope inspired you to give nail foils a try and to create some happiness today!