Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Design Your Own Christmas Card and Silhouette Address Labels

I love using Shutterfly to make our annual Christmas card.  For the last few years we have taken our Christmas card picture in front of our house with the camera set up on a tripod.  This year I went through every page of Christmas cards on Shutterfly and couldn't find one that was exactly what I wanted and then I saw that you could upload your own.  That was really appealing to me so I opened up Pixelmator (my photo editing software) and got to work.
I started by opening up a canvas with the size of Christmas card that I wanted.  I then opened our photo in a different window and resized the image and copied and pasted it onto my Christmas card canvas.

I knew that I wanted a chalkboard look so I googled chalkboard background, found one that I liked, and dragged it to my computer desktop.  I then opened the image on my Christmas card canvas and adjusted the image size until I got the right look next to our photo.  I used a mix of fonts that I have on my computer.  The floral images were a purchased item which you can find here.  Once I got everything to look like I wanted it on the card, I saved the image as a JPEG and uploaded it to Shutterfly.  It was that easy folks, I'm not kidding!  I am excited to design more cards of my own in the future!

Once the cards arrived my next task was to create some address labels using my Silhouette.

As you can see, I put registration marks on the page so that I could use the Silhouette's print and cut feature.  Originally I planned on just buying some white sticker paper for these labels but Michaels was out so I decided to buy the printable silver foil instead.  I was skeptical of how it would work in the printer but it worked fabulously.  I set my printer to glossy photo paper just because I thought it would help it to print properly.

Once the labels printed I put the sheet on my Silhouette cutting mat and loaded it into the machine. Before sending the design to cut I made sure to select all the labels and set them to cut outside edge in the cut settings window. This is an important step, otherwise all of the designs and letters will be cut out too.  Once you send the design to the Silhouette it will start by reading the registration marks and then it will cut all the labels perfectly.  It is so easy!

I love how the labels turned out!  It was exciting to send out Christmas cards that were so personalized this year!  Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Twinkle Christmas Art

Christmas is one of my favorite seasons but as a music teacher it is also one of my busiest seasons.  I spent the month of November prepping my students for Christmas concerts that have been happening over the past two weeks.  I spend a lot of time outside of the school day working on Christmas program related things which doesn't leave much time for projects at home.  I have, however, found time to decorate the house for Christmas and my decorations include one new addition in the form of an art project which I am excited to share with you today.
O Holy Night is one of my favorite Christmas carols so I thought a piece of art featuring the carol would be a perfect addition to my Nativity scene.  For this project I used an art canvas, a print of O Holy Night sheet music on card stock (click here to print your own), Mod Podge, Silhouette brand adhesive vinyl, a foam brush, a battery powered string of lights, and dark blue craft paint.
I used the Mod Podge to attached the card stock music sheet to the canvas.  I applied the glue to the canvas and the back of the card stock.  After it dried I applied a layer of the glue over the top of the card stock.  There were a few bubbles but they aren't noticeable in the finished art so I didn't mind.
Next, I created the word file in my Silhouette software.  I chose to make some of the words script and others more bold.  I then cut the words out on adhesive vinyl.
I then put the letters on the vinyl using transfer paper.  I applied a very light coat of Mod Podge over the letters to prevent bleeding of the craft paint. I then painted the entire canvas with the blue paint. It took a couple of coats.  Once it dried a little bit I started to remove the letters.  If I did this project again I would have waited for the paint to dry completely because some of the paint lifted up as I was removing the letter.
I used a box cutter to carefully remove the vinyl setters.
I realized later that I forgot to remove the vinyl letters for the word "it."  That is how I discovered that it worked a little better when you let the paint dry completely.
I used one of my small drill bits to put holes in the canvas and then poked the lights through.  I didn't end up putting all of the lights on the strand through the canvas.
I propped the canvas against the back of the built-in in our dining room next to the Nativity scene and then put the battery box for the lights behind the creche.  I interspersed the extra lights into the greenery in front of the canvas.
It was hard to get a clear picture for some reason so sorry for the bad pictures.  It looks so much cooler in person, trust me.  I will be back soon with a post on designing your own Christmas cards in Pixelmator and making address labels with the Silhouette cutting machines.  
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