Saturday, August 1, 2015

Tips for Tackling the Pagoda from SVGCuts-Part 1

SVGCuts, Make The Cut, Silhouette Cameo, 3D, papercraft, scrapbooking, tutorial
Did you guess correctly?
If you read my last post (from 3 months ago!) you may have gotten a clue that the pagoda was my craft in progress!

You've  gotta love the many 3D paper projects Mary at has designed.  She really outdid herself with the pagoda from the Spring Blossoms SVG Kit, and when I saw it I knew I had to make it. Then I started thinking about how many pieces there were, and I got so overwhelmed I almost gave up. Just figuring out what paper to use for each piece might be a project in itself!

After taking a deep breath, I thought: What do you do when a project seems too big to handle?  You break it down into smaller, more manageable parts.  This made me breathe easier, and if you've ever felt this way, take a deep breath and read on for tips that will help you successfully tackle the pagoda, or any large 3D paper project.

I've broken up these tips into three phases: choosing papers, cutting, and assembly. The assembly phase will be posted tomorrow, so as not to overwhelm you!

Phase One: Choosing Papers
  • Use the K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) method. Stick to one patterned paper collection.  Doing this makes putting patterns together a no brainer since they're all meant to go together.  The only other paper you'll need are solids that match the colors in the patterned paper.
  • Your solid paper should be a strong cardstock.  At least 80lb.  American Crafts and Bazzill cut well and are sturdy.
  • Watch Mary's assembly tutorial before you choose any papers.  This may seem backwards, but seeing the pieces and where they will go helps you decide which paper to use on which piece.
  • Consult the PDF included with the project files. Each of the pieces are grouped together in the PDF by color.  This will aid you in knowing which pieces should be the same color.
  • Scale your patterns appropriately.  The larger the piece, the larger the pattern can be on the paper.  Use smaller scaled patterns for the smaller pieces.  (On my pagoda I used a large flower pattern for the roof panels and smaller patterns on the side panels).
  • Remember, there is no right or wrong!  This is not a test, so unleash some of your creativity when deciding what goes where. (I have a lot of trouble remembering this!).
  • Label your papers with the SVG file name they will be used for with sticky notes.  This avoids confusion later on when you're cutting and it will help you remember if you have to put your papers aside before you go to cut.
Phase Two: Cutting
  • Make sure you have a sharp blade in your machine and sticky mats on hand.  This seems obvious, but I've certainly started projects without even considering this!  There is nothing more annoying than being in the middle of a project and getting awful cuts because your blade is dull or your paper isn't sticking to the mat.  You don't want to have to cut something more than once.
  • Having two mats on hand can make your workflow quicker.  You can be removing shapes or applying paper on another mat while other pieces are being cut in your machine.
  • Organize your cuts in your software.  For this project I used my favorite cutting program Make The Cut.  I put all the cuts that were the same color together on the same layer.  If I needed more than one sheet per color I placed the shapes on multiple layers.  I then placed the layers in order from the heaviest paper weight to the lightest and cut them accordingly.  This keeps the need for changing settings on your machine to a minimum.  I also labeled each of the layers with the appropriate paper color to avoid any confusion about which paper to use.
  • As you remove your shapes from your mat, put them in a sealable plastic bag.  How many times have you lost a piece and had to cut it again?  This is especially true for the smaller pieces as they are easily lost.  It's also helpful if you have to leave your project temporarily because life gets in the way.  (Of course that never happens when you're crafting!).
Phew! So far, so good.  You've got your papers picked out, your shapes imported and organized in your software, you've cut them, and now they're neatly stored and ready to assemble.  It's time to take a breather!

Do you have any questions about any of these tips?  Please let me know.  And if you have anything to add to this list, I'd love to read them in the comments!

Tomorrow will be Phase Three: Assembly. See you then!
Items Used:
Silhouette Cameo
American Crafts Cardstock
Sunny Day Collection by SEI

Have a Crafty Day!   


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