August 27th, 2014
While I was working on "It's a Sterling Life on Berkeley Square" I fell in love with crystals - largely because it is so easy to apply them using the BERNINA DesignWorks software and the CrystalWorks tool. But what if you don't have a CrystalWorks tool - and you do have a Silhouette Cameo? How can the Cameo be used to cut crystal templates?
Creating a Crystal Template
I'm assuming that you have a design file for the template that you want to create. This could be a design that you have purchased or one that you have created using the Silhouette Studio software.
You will need the following supplies:
- Rhinestone template material
- Rhinestone transfer film
- Rhinestone backing board
The template material needs to be placed on a cutting mat and then the cutting mat can be loaded into the Cameo.
The recommended blade setting for cutting Silhouette Rhinestone Template Material is 6. I decided that I would add some extra cutting power, so I set my blade to 7.
You might be wondering why I'm using a blue "fabric" blade to cut the Rhinestone Template Material. There's a really simple answer... it's the blade that happened to be in the Cameo when I turned it on! It turns out that the black blade and the blue blade are exactly the same with the exception of the color of the housing. So... if you're organized, you can have one blade for cutting fabric and another blade for cutting everything else.
Once the template material has been placed on a cutting mat which has then been loaded into the Cameo, start cutting! I was quite surprised how quickly the cutting happened, given that there are quite a lot of tiny circles being cut!
If cutting fabric generates lint, cutting rhinestone template material generates lint x 100! And it's sticky lint. I used a pair of tweezers to pull all the lint and stickiness away from the blade
There are little black dots everywhere when you have finished cutting. I found that it is a lot easier to rub as many as possible off while the template material is still on the cutting mat. Then remove the template material from the backing paper and remove any remaining dots by poking them from the back.
The template material can then be stuck onto a piece of backing board. Make sure that the template material is smooth and flat. There's nothing worse that having little air pockets in a template that crystals can get stuck in!
Applying Crystals using a Template
Now that you have a template it is super simple to use it to apply crystals to your project.
In the beginning, I would pour out a few crystals at a time and nudge them into the holes. I discovered that it is a LOT easier to dump a bunch of crystals (more than you think you will need) onto the template...
... and use a crystal brush to get the crystals into the holes. You may be pleasantly surprised how many crystals will fall into a hole the right way up! You can always use a pair of tweezers to flip any upside down crystals or fill the few remaining holes.
Now it's time for the Rhinestone Transfer Film. I apply one motif at a time using the smallest piece of transfer film possible. You can't be too gentle when placing the transfer film on the crystals - you want to get it down so that it knows you're the one in charge! Try to put it down gently and I think you will understand what I mean! The crystal brush can come in really handy here too - I rub it over the transfer film to make sure that all of the crystals have stuck to the transfer film.
Peel the transfer film away from the template slowly. If there are any crystals that did not stick to the film, you can usually catch them and rub over the film with the crystal brush. If you don't catch them (see photo below!) you can always add the missing crystals later.
Place the crystals where you want them and make sure that the transfer film is flat with no kinks in it.
Now cover the transfer film with a piece of fabric and use a hot iron - held in place for the count of 10 - until you have covered the whole template.
It can be very tempting to pull the transfer film up as soon as you are done with the iron. Chances are you will bring up a whole bunch of crystals too. Let the transfer film - and the crystal adhesive - cool before very carefully lifting the film up and away from the crystals.
And there you have it!
Here's a bigger glimpse of the quilt that I've been working on for the last couple of weeks.
There is also a "sister" quilt in different colors, which is still a work in progress...
Which is your favorite color combo? Green and blue or light and dark pinks? Leave a comment below with your answer!
Until next time... Happy Stitching - and cutting!