Happy Friday folks! Are you doing any stamping this weekend? Well how you like to lean how to make custom die cuts to match your stamps using Sure Cuts a Lot software. I am going to show you 3 ways to make a custom mat, the first is very easy, the second is a bit more tricky and the third will require the use of a free program called inkscape. I used these techniques to cut the mats for the stamped images in this batch of 5 minute Christmas cards:
The mat I made for the stamped oval uses the first easy technique. To do this simply measure the hight and width of the stamped image and type those measurements into the properties box of scal. Then select appearance and chose a shadow of .5 to 1 and that will leave a nice border to your stamped art and smooth the edges of the design. I used an oval scallop from the free font 09 Kutups by Clever Someday.
After you size the shape try cutting it, then stamping you image on the die cut. If it fits perfectly great! If not tweak it a bit and try again. When it is perfect you want to save this as an SVG so you can use it again and again without having to test it. Simply click “file” and “Export” then type the name of the new file, I recommend including the stamp name so you will know what stamp it goes with such as Notably_ornate_scallop.svg because it matches the oval from the Notably Ornate Stampin’ Up set. ***You will use this step after any of these methods to save your die-cut to size & scale.
So basically that technique would be acceptable for any label/frame stamp you have, all you need to do is alter the width and height of your shape. You can even do it in Cricut design studio or gypsy as long as you have the cart to cut it out. I am so glad I got SCAL to use with my Cricut before it went off the market!
For your next trick we will do a simple image trace in scal2 (or scal3), you can also do this in inkscape, see my tutorial here. So first you need to find (or stamp and scan) the image you want to make a mat for. I went online to find images from the stamp set I wanted to create die cuts for. I love this stamp set (The Maison Frame set from Inkadinkado) and I have had it and used it a lot for years! I right-clicked on a picture of the stamp set that I found online then clicked “save as” to save it to my computer. Then I opened my SCAL program and I clicked the button that looks like a tree in scal and chose the file I just saved:
when you click OK the converted images will show up on your mat, now you need to get rid of everything except for the outlines that you want. You simply select the shape and go into the object menu and choose break apart, then click on the lines you do not want and hit delete.
You will be left with outline shapes that are clean and good to cut.
Copy one of the designs and past it into a new page. Measure your stamp and type measurements into the properties box. Then you can add shadows if desired and test your cut. When it is perfect export the SVG as explained in the first example. Repeat for each shape.
Sometime you end up with a stamp that has broken or sketchy lines for a border so you cannot simply trace it. In that case you need to create a file from scratch Like I did for the die cut I used on the journal block on these cards. The Journal block is also from the Notably Ornate set from Stampin Up:
Having a bit of a border allows a bit of “wiggle room” when stamping so it looks great even if you stamp a bit crooked
One of the frames from the maison frames set was good for this technique. It is a bit more advanced but one you do it you will find it quick and easy. You will need to use the free (and AWESOME!) program inkscape for this. Did you know that you can cut directly from inkscape with a Silhouette die cutting machine? Anyway you need to open the jpg that you saved earlier but this time we are going to draw our design over the calligraphy looking frame. Select the pen tool (see photo) and click on the top point of the frame, then click on each indent as shown (note: since we have a symmetrical design we are just going to do one corner and copy & past the other 3) then click in the middle of the frame and close the path by clicking on the node where you began. It it like making a child’s dot-to-dot game.
Now copy that shape and paste it, flip the second shape and line them up to make the top of the frame:
Drag a box around both of the shapes and copy and past and flip it to make the bottom:
Save this file and import it into SCAL as you would any SVG. Size it and add a shadow and test cut as above before exporting it as a final file. I like to cut sheets of the frames at a time and store them with the stamp set for quick and easy crafting! Here is a look at the frames we made today:
Please excuse my beat up Cricut mat, I’ve been on a Provocraft boycott since they sued SCAL and my mats are totally scuzzy BUT I just found out that Sizzix Eclips mats and blades will work in my Cricut Expression so I just ordered a bunch, they are cheaper too and they say the blades will last longer which is great because I just replaced a cricut blade last week and it is already dull! I’ll let you know how the Eclips mats and blades work. I’m thinking when my Cricut machine breaks I will get a Sizzix Eclips or a Silhouette because they both endorse SCAL software so I know they won’t leave the customers high and dry. I’ll probably get an Eclips because the mats and blades are cheaper.
So I fretted a bit about sharing these mat files I think I am OK to do so since they are just basic outlines and the stamp companies do not offer die cut shapes (plus they will probably sell more copies of their stamp sets LOL!) but if anyone form Stampin Up or EK Success has any problem with this I will remove them ASAP
Here are the 2 files that coordinate with the Notably Ornate Stampin Up set:
Oval Note (thanks to Kay from Clever Someday for letting my use the 09KutUps font!)
Here are the 4 files that match the Inkadinkado Maison Frames set (I’m not crazy about the way the bracket-square one came out but there is a very close shape in the 09Kutups font you can use in place of it)
So there you have it! You can create custom dies cuts for all of your stamps, neat huh? Thanks for sticking with this extremely long post and til next time happy crafting!