Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Silhouette Portrait

A year and a half ago I got the Silhouette Portrait cutting machine for my birthday. I was really excited to use it to make birthday banners or whatever but I truly didn't have much of a clue what all it could do much less how to actually use it. And that's no dig at the people that gave this to me for my birthday (my parents) because I purchased it myself with their credit card and handed it to them for them to wrap it up and give it back to me. That's a true story - my mom is not much of a shopper so she welcomes anyone to do the shopping for her, but don't you go messin' with tradition! You WILL receive your gift wrapped and ON your birthday. Don't go trying to get it early just because you already know what it is! Anyways - that wasn't the point of this at all.

So. I got the machine and tested it out a couple times and saw some of the things it could do on Pinterest and whatnot. I even watched the entire instructional DVD that came with it right when I got it. But, none of that really stuck and the machine got very little use for the first 14 months I owned it.

One simple project I was able to figure out - cut the bunny and tree out of striped wallpaper and framed them in Laney's nursery.


Until it was Father's Day 2015 and procrastinating Lacey still hadn't gone to the store to get a card for my dad. Typical. We were headed to my parent's house for lunch shortly and I had no card to give. I really didn't feel like running to Target to browse the picked over cards with the rest of the procrastinators. I had a gift (which I believe was either cash or a gift card) but no where to place it with no card so a card was definitely a necessity this time. So I decided to break out the Silhouette and figure this thing out once and for all. And I did, sort of. I cut some shapes and glued them onto a card and it was very easy. The card didn't end up looking like I had panicked and threw it together an hour before lunch so it was definitely a win. I was determined to figure out what else this machine could do after that.

The next thing I attempted to tackle was something I was straight ripping off of Pinterest. 

This was mid dining room update and I needed some large cheap art to put on either side of the china cabinet. [Cheap because a) I'm cheap and b) I'm cheap.] I picked up two large frames ($10 for both!) from a yard sale this past spring, spray painted them, and was ready for some cheapo art to go in them when I saw this idea on Pinterest using paint chips from the home improvement store. Let me just say - even though they are FREE and I have no problem taking many samples when I'm legitimately trying to pick paint colors, I truly felt and behaved like a thief when taking them for this project. Full on looking over my shoulder, sneaking them into my purse, etc etc. I'm glad they didn't question me for shoplifting or I may have just crumbled right there in the store. 

Anyways, I didn't originally set out to use the Silhouette to do this project but after cutting the first few triangles and seeing how just the slightest error in cutting would really screw this up I decided to give it a try. But this was a much more complicated project for the Silhouette than I had tackled before so it took some time for me to figure it out.

Basically I had to change the paper size to the size of one of the paint chip samples. And then set my triangle on it just so so that the printed paint color name wouldn't be a part of my triangle. It was a little bit of trial and error and the most I've used an actual ruler for measuring since elementary school but finally I had plenty of perfectly cut triangles ready to use. 

The frames I was trying to fill were big - like, 16x20 at least, maybe even bigger. So once I started cutting triangles and placing them on a piece of cardboard to fill up the entire space I got a bit overwhelmed with how many paint chips I was going to need to "steal" to complete this project. So, I scrapped it and moved on to find another way to make some large artwork for this room.

Instead, I ended up buying these two teapot shapes at $.99 each from the Silhouette store and using some leftover black vinyl that I purchased years ago and cut the teapot shapes from it. I made them as big as I possibly could with the size of the cutting mat. I also had a ton of burlap that I never used for another project that was scrapped last year so I decided to use that as my backing fabric. Placed the vinyl cut outs on the burlap and framed them up and voila! Cheap art! They cost me a total of $11.98 for both not considering the vinyl and burlap and spray paint I already had on hand - but even if I didn't have those things these would still be really cheap to make. I am pretty pleased with them even if they weren't what I originally set out to do.


So then I had a pile of little triangles on my desk begging to be used for something, so instead I went with the same idea and just used much smaller Ikea frames that I also already owned and were just hanging out in the basement waiting for a home. I have a lot of crap in my basement. Anyways, this is on the wall opposite the china cabinet wall and I like how these turned out too!


At that point I was on a roll with this machine and have been cutting out shapes for any and everything. I ended up replacing the art I originally made in Laney's room that I wasn't all that fond of with her monogram cut out of gold glitter card stock over some wallpaper I got from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.


I also made Charley's birthday invitations with it which added a new skill to my Silhouette repertoire. I learned how to PRINT on the paper first with our home printer, and then send that paper through the machine to cut out the shapes. It was actually really simple but I hadn't attempted it yet prior to this because it didn't seem simple in my head. The only other difficulty of this little project was that the tower shape straight from the Silhouette store (again, only $.99) had the tower roof and bricks as all one big piece, meaning the roof would have been the same color as the bricks. I didn't love that idea so I learned how to alter the shape to make the roof a separate piece. I love how they came out!


And then finally I used the machine to make Charley a birthday banner for her party - which was the main thing I planned on making when I got the darn thing in the first place. Again, really easy and just used brads to hold each little piece together.


Am I starting to sound like a Silhouette machine saleslady? Well funny you mention that. The first 10 people to comment will get an exclusive coupon code for 10% off a purchase with the coupon code LACEYSAWESOME.

Just kidding. I have no hookups like that and hopefully you haven't already closed out this window thinking this was yet ANOTHER sponsored blog post.

I just really love the darn thing now that I've started to learn how to use it and wanted to share. Get you one! I (I mean my parents) got mine on sale (shocker) for $118 and all the shapes you could even imagine are for sale in their online store for just $.99 each! That just screams to my little deal loving heart when I know competing machines (and the darn cartridges that they need!) cost way more than that.

Buy you one and make me a card. You can see some of my address up there in the invitation picture I did a crappy job of editing. Just guess at the rest of the letters & numbers. It may end up at my house, it may not. It's like the landlocked version of putting a note in a bottle and tossing it in the ocean.


Jessica said...

I love the artwork - I'm trying to re-do the walls in my living room and kitchen and it's taking SO LONG to find the right stuff.

Navigating the Mothership said...

I have been lusting after a Silhouette cutter for awhile. I never decorate and don't scrapbook so it remains very unclear what I will do with it, but ...want. It can sit next to my laminator and paper cutter and make friends.