Last Sunday, Jack and I went to the christening of a baby boy named Carl. We made a paper-cut card for Carl’s big sister Lauren when she was christened a few years ago, so we thought we’d stick to the same style for her little brother, but this time using my Silhouette cutting machine, instead of a scalpel!
Jack designed the paper-cut image using InkScape (free downloadable vector graphics software), which allows you to import images and convert them to line art, as well as draw various shapes. Jack imported three free line-art images from Google – a heart, a church, and a balloon. After importing and embedding the images, he traced the bitmaps and converted the images into two colours (black and white), so that he could see which sections would be cut out, and which would stay connected.
Once the vector had been generated, Jack modified the image using the node tool, which allowed him to remove unwanted features (such as complicated details on the windows), as well as change certain design elements (such as the door archway). He also created a cute picket fence and bunting.
Once all vectors have been modified to your liking, you can then arrange them to create your paper-cut design. To do this, start by drawing the border that will surround your cut-out, and then place your main vectors within this area where you want them, ensuring that there are no floating parts.
Remember that, in order to have suspended parts, these must connect to the outside border. To do this use your balloons, hearts and stars to connect the ‘floating’ pieces. Bunting is also great, because it goes from one side all the way to the other, and can provide ‘structural support’ to inner areas.
You don’t want any of the connecting pieces to be too thin as they will likely tear, so give them a bit of an over-lap or provide multiple connecting points for best results. Once complete, import your design to your Silhouette software, where you can create cut lines where the two colours meet, as follows.
The Silhouette machine then does the hard part for you, cutting out your design in a few minutes with great precision – it’s certainly quicker than trying to use a scalpel to do it by hand, as we did last time. I decided to go with a faded blue background behind the silhouette – it looks like watercolour, but in fact this was a letter that came through my front door that I decided to re-purpose – cheeky!
As well as being my second christening card, this is also my second Silhouette project. You can see my first DIY here, when I made snowflake cut-out ‘Thank You’ cards shortly after Christmas.
I do love a good paper-cut. What do you think?