LaRae from the Yahoo CricutCutter Group has shared some fantastic tips below:
I had most of this posted on the SCAL users but thought I would pass this on
to the Cricut board too. This a long email with ideas that I have come up
with. Have fun!
First of all, someone was asking about contact paper and cutting.
I did do some experimenting and what works for my machine is Pressure 2 and
Depth 2. BUT...these are the settings to cut only the top of the contact
paper. I wanted the back to stay on and intact. If you want to cut all the
way through you might want to put the pressure to 3. I just wanted to make
some stickers for my niece and nephews and thought I would keep the backing
on it for them.
What also works is to use double sided carpet tape on the back of any paper
and stick it to the mat. Do not peel off the backing...just stick it the
paper as it comes off the roll and put it on the mat as you would any other
paper. You will have a wonderful sticker that has a backing on it for later
use in a scrapbook or a card. I put that on the back of some paper and cut
several flower petals out and then was able to just peel them off and stack
them on a card for a dimensional look...no glue needed! I also did the same
with leaves...just cut a bunch and you are ready to use them when you need
them. I have always used the double sided carpet tape for making my own
cards and stickers and tons of things I don't want to wait for glue to dry.
Don't buy the expensive stuff, that is not smooth, the cheaper stuff is nice
and smooth and very sticky.
I also started a file of how my experiments turn out on different mediums.
I am writing the speed, pressure and depth on each blank 4 x 6 card and also
attaching a sample piece to it. I've always done this for my sewing
projects so I know it saves me tons of time when I want to do a project I
don't have to experiment to get it right. I just look in my "recipe box"
and pull out what I am looking for.
I did try fun foam...wouldn't do it for me anyway. I might get a deep cut
blade and see how that goes.
Another thing I tried was cardboard. Not sure how thick "chip board" is
supposed to be but I cut stuff that was about twice as thick as a cereal
box. I had to do Pressure 6 and Depth 6 and cut it twice. I then moved the
mat out a bit to get the cardboard off and then I used some paper I had put
carpet tape on the back of. I cut the same exact design. I then took the
sticky backing off the design and stuck it to the cardboard. It looked
like those thick scrapbook items we can buy. It will give some depth to a
card or scrapbook. I loved the look!
I don't bother even taking out the mat all the way out from the machine. If
you are cutting from SCAL it will always just go to where you put the design
and that is where I put the paper. I recommend moving the paper around the
mat so you don't wear out one area.
Whoever gave the idea about cleaning the mat with Baby Wipes did give us an
excellent tip. It worked great! I mucked mine up pretty good tonight but
that cleaned it off and the sticky is all back again! Thank you! I always
used them to clean my stamp pads which works just great and now another use
for them! WooHoo
Now for fabric. Oh, this was too cool! I put the carpet tape on the back
of a piece of cotton fabric. By the way, you can use several strips if you
need a bigger piece. I only made a strip to use on a card. I used
Pressure 5 and Depth 5. WOW...it cut like butter and you don't have to go
through all the hassle of ironing on a backing. The carpet tape will keep
it stiff and when you pull off the backing, it is an instant sticker so it
is ready to be stuck to a card or whatever. Again...instant gratification!
Love that carpet tape! If I was going to actually use the fabric for a
sewing project I suppose I would have to iron on the correct backing but for
those of you who don't sew...this works great! Come to think of it...you
could make an entire wall hanging by cutting out letters and designs and
whatever. It will LOOK like you sewed it. You could even take a permanent
fine tip marker and draw in stitch lines if you really wanted it to look
like you did it.
If you are using very lightweight paper, just iron on freezer paper to the
back of it. I do this with tissue paper. DO NO USE STEAM! Just use a very
warm iron and iron it to the back. I also did this with tissue paper. I
like to crumple up tissue paper first and give it that really crinkly look.
I then iron it to smooth it out...don't worry, the wrinkles stay in. (or
else I would iron my face!) I then iron the freezer paper to back of it and
treat it as one sheet of paper. Believe me...there are some really cute
tissue papers out there and this crinkle look gives it a very vintage feel.
I like to use the light brown tissue paper and crinkle it up. That looks
like real leather! Place it on your sticky mat with the freezer paper side
up or it will scratch off the tissue paper.
Speaking of brown paper. I cut a piece of brown paper bag with the Cricut.
Very nice cut. Pressure 3, Depth 3. Will really add to a vintage looking
card. Maybe even stain it a bit with antiquing dyes first.
The freezer paper can be found in the grocery aisle where you find foil,
plastic wrap and parchment paper. ALL of which I always have on hand in my
craft studio! Along with many different colors of duct tape.
Foil, yes I use this on cards, again, with the carpet tape on the back. I
also wrap it around a piece of cardboard for a nice backing to the front of
a card. Crinkle it up first for texture or draw something with your glue
gun on the cardboard and smooth the foil over it. Looks just like
embossing! I also use duct work tape. This is a silver foil that comes on
a roll and has a sticky back like tape. Yes, for actually taping duct work
together. Again, home improvement store, in the heating and ductwork
section. Kinda spendy but worth it. This can also be embossed and put on
cards. Really cool stuff. You have to put it on parchment paper while you
are embossing it so it doesn't stick.
Which brings us to parchment paper. (supposed to be for baking) I haven't
found a thing that sticks to parchment paper. I brush glitter paint on my
cards and put this over the top of it and iron it. It dries the paints very
quickly and I can go on to the next project. Glue won't stick to this
either. I actually put my duct tape on it while I cut it to the shape I
want then peel it off and put it on my project.
Freezer paper. Now this has been a staple in my craft studio for years. I
iron it on the back of fabric to cut out patterns because you can draw on it
so easy. Use it as a paint palette. Iron it to the back of tissue paper
to make it stronger or any lightweight paper. There are numerous reasons to
use this stuff.
Plastic wrap, (for covering food, etc) iron this onto napkins or tissue
paper to make it stronger. I also like to sprinkle glitter on paper and put
a sheet of plastic wrap on it, put it on a piece of parchment paper and also
cover it with parchment paper and use that as a pressing sheet to keep the
plastic from sticking on the iron. Once the plastic is all melted over the
glitter, just peel off the parchment paper. Sure is an easy way to put
glitter on your paper! This also works for AFTER you have cut out your
piece on the Cricut. It doesn't matter if the plastic has wrinkles in it
while you are ironing it, they will all melt anyway.
Have any of you ever used Shrink Plastic? Well, it has been around for
years. I think it started out as "Shrinky Dinks". Anyway, it cuts very
well on the Cricut. Pressure 5, Depth 4 and cut it twice. Speed 5 also.
Then you heat it with a heat gun or you can use an oven, it will shrink down
to about 1/4 of the size it was cut at. I also stamped it first and the
words shrink right down with it. Be sure to cut holes in it first if you
plan on stringing it on ribbon, thread or wire! It starts out as a thin
plastic sheet like a page protector and ends up about as thick as a nickel
when heated and shrunk.
Very cool stuff and I hadn't used it in years. I had to dig it out to
experiment with it. This will be so cool to cut out intricate things and
shrink them down. Everyone will wonder how you did it! I have used this
stuff in the past to make buttons to match an article of clothing. It gets
that thick and durable!
OK...now be sure to stamp whatever you want on it first because it doesn't
stick very well afterwards. You can color this stuff with paint, color
pencils or permanent markers...of course...all before it is shrunk.
Also...don't forget to punch in any holes you may want but remember...they
will shrink too!
Cut out little Christmas ornaments...cut them about 2 inches on the Cricut
and then shrink them down to 1/2 inch. You will of course have them all
colored or stamped before that and a hole cut for hanging. How about 1/4
inch ones for on cards? WooHoo! Stars? Hearts? .................intricate
little flourishes, flowers, leaves?
It just never ends!
Oh, wait...how about a whole frame. This stuff gets like a hard plastic and
thick when heated. A very ornate frame could be made with
it...............or maybe a Christmas ornament?
Oh, hey, jewelry...cool intricate cut baubles for a necklace or tiny bits
for a bracelet?
Everyone who has a Cricut should be on this board - the Yahoo cricutcutter group (do a search)! This is where I heard about using a baby wipe to "re-sticky" a mat. It's a very active, friendly, informative board!