Recommended Supplies for Cutting Machine Crafts, Paper Flowers & Paper Cutting

I'm often asked about the products used in making the paper flowers and other cutting machine crafts seen on this site and on the @esppaper Instagram feed. So, here are a few of my favorite things with links to the products on Amazon in case you'd like to give them a try.
July 21, 2021 — Especially Paper

How to Convert Cut Lines to Score Lines in Cricut Design Space

When opening an SVG file in Cricut Design Space, every line is imported as a cut line. If your project has folds that are intended to be scored, you'll need to convert the cut lines to scores. Just follow these steps!

  1. Import the Design: Upload the SVG file to Cricut Design Space.
  2. Ungroup the Shapes: By default, all of the shapes will be grouped together. In order to select individual lines, right-click on the grouped shapes and select Ungroup from the pop-up menu.

  3. Select and Switch to Score: Select all of the fold lines on the canvas, then click the cut drop-down menu in the top navigation bar. Select score to change the selected lines to score lines.

  4. Or Use the Layer Panel: Sometimes, small lines can be difficult to select individually. If you have trouble selecting a line on the canvas, just locate the shape in the layer panel on the right. Click the row to select the shape and then select score from the cut drop-down menu at the top of the canvas. 

July 21, 2021 — Especially Paper
DIY Paper Flower: Make a Spider Mum with Cricut Explore or Silhouette Craft Cutter

DIY Paper Flower: Make a Spider Mum with Cricut Explore or Silhouette Craft Cutter

This post contains affiliate links to Amazon and other online retailers. If you click links and decide to make a purchase, Especially Paper may receive compensation.

These paper spider mums are a pretty addition to wedding receptions and bridal showers. If you have a craft cutter like a Silhouette Cameo or Cricut, the paper flowers are super easy to make. To get started, download the template and full tutorial.

Paper Spider Mum Flower

 Tools and supplies:

  • Lightweight 65lb card stock for petals and leaves
  • Craft glue, such as Tacky Glue from Scotch
  • Skewer or small dowel rod
  • 18 gauge floral wire
  • Floral tape
  • Optional: bone folder
  • Optional: Art marker or another coloring medium, such as this Copic Sketch Marker in Dim Green
  • Silhouette or Cricut craft cutter
  1. Using your Silhouette or Cricut Explore craft cutter, cut all six strips of petals for the flower from lightweight card stock or text weight paper. If you use the Cricut Design Space or Silhouette Designer Edition software, use the SVG file. If you have Silhouette Studio Basic Edition, use the DXF file. If you're new to using SVG files types with Cricut Design Space, see this how-to video on YouTube for instructions on uploading the file
  2. Add color to one side of the smallest petals using your favorite medium. 
  3. Curve the petals by rubbing the petals on the edge of a table with a sharp corner. Alternatively, use closed scissor blades or a bone folder to gently pull and curve the petals — much like curling gift ribbon.
  4. Starting with the smallest end of the smallest petal set, add a thin stripe of glue to the bottom band. Roll the strip, color side out, so that the curve faces in and forms a bud. Optional: If you're using the flowers in a project that requires the flower to be on a pick, such as a wreath, roll the strip onto the end of a toothpick or short skewer.
  5. Add progressively larger strips of petals, each time starting with the smallest end of the strip. 
  6. Once all the petals have been rolled, slide your finger behind sections of petals and fold them down. Continue until you reach the center of the flower and leave the smallest petals unfolded to form the center.
Download the SVG and DXF cutting files to use with your Cricut Explore or Silhouette craft cutter.

February 02, 2020 — Especially Paper
Tags: How-To

How to Create Score Lines in Silhouette Studio

This post contains affiliate links to Amazon and other online retailers. If you click links and decide to make a purchase, Especially Paper may receive compensation.

The ability to add scores to your Silhouette paper projects creates a lot of new possibilities. Score lines make it easy to fold paper to create boxes and other three-dimensional objects with crisp, neat folds. And creating score lines in Silhouette Studio is really easy if you just know where to look. Plus you don’t need the latest Silhouette Cameo machine to create score lines. This example was done on an older machine with a single blade cartridge. The machine cuts either the scores or cut lines across the entire sheet, then automatically does a second pass for the rest of the project.

Find a Silhouette Cameo cutting machine on Amazon 

Follow these steps to prepare and cut score lines on any project.

Prepare the Design

When you open a cutting file from Especially Paper that includes scores, the score lines will be in aqua and regular cut lines in black. Notice that when you click on one of the aqua lines, all of them will be selected. (Tip: If you need to select an individual score line, select the group, go to the Object menu and select Release Compound Path.)


ABOVE: Cuckoo Clock Christmas Ornament

If you’re creating your own score lines, you simply need to apply a dedicated color to the score lines. Select the lines that need to be scored. Go to the Panels menu and select Line Style (Line Color in some versions of Silhouette Studio). In the line style panel, click the red / green / blue line icon. With the lines still selected, choose a color for the score lines. The color you choose doesn’t matter. It just needs to be different than the color of other lines in the project.

When creating score lines, keep in mind that the scores will only be on one side of the sheet. With a little coaxing, you can fold a score either way, but the fold is the cleanest and easiest when the score line is on the outside of the fold.

Adjust the Cut Settings

Now that the design has a color dedicated to score lines, go to the send panel. In the upper right, switch to the Line tab. In the top section, select the color for score lines and change the action from Cut to Score. If Score is not an option in the drop-down menu, make sure card stock is selected for the material. If the material is too lightweight, such as copy paper, the option to score will not display. I use 65lb card stock for most projects and find that a cutting force of 1 and a single pass work well for score lines. Now select the color for the cut lines and adjust the settings to cut. You can even choose to do 2 passes for an individual color.

Now you’re all set to send the project to the machine.

 

December 30, 2019 — Especially Paper

How to Use SVG Files with Your Cricut Cutting Machine

One of the great things about the Cricut Explore and Cricut Maker cutting machines, is the ability to upload and cut SVG files that you have created or purchased from independent designers, like Especially Paper. Especially Paper designs exclusive SVG cutting files for paper craft projects and paper flowers that can be cut with your Cricut machine. Here’s a guide to downloading new projects and using SVG cut files with your Cricut.

Using the Cricut Design Space app on your iPhone? Check out these instructions for opening a zip and uploading to the app on iOS.

 

STEP 1: Download and unzip your Especially Paper SVG template.

If you’re purchasing an Especially Paper template, click the Download Now button that’s available once the order has finished processing or click the link in the download email to access the compressed zip file, which contains all the files associated with the project. Unzip the file (learn how). Download links are valid for 30 days, so don’t forget to download your file and save a back up soon after ordering.

 

STEP 2: Upload the SVG file to Cricut Design Space.

Don't click on the SVG file to open it! By default, SVG files will open in your web browser. Instead, log into Design Space on your computer and create a new project. Click the Upload cloud icon in the left toolbar. On the next screen, click the Upload Image button. Browse to find and select the SVG file from your computer, then open to import the file. Once the image preview loads, you have the option to add tags to make searching for the image later easier. Click the green save button in the lower right. The image will appear in your library under Recently Loaded Images. Looking to delete a file? Click the i icon on an image to access the Delete option.

 

STEP 3: Open the template in Cricut Design Space.

Select the image from your Recently Uploaded Images and click the Insert Images button. Your SVG image will appear on the canvas, with all pieces grouped together.

 

STEP 4: Preparing to cut the project.

By default, the template will be the correct size for the associated project. But you can always resize the pieces if you’d prefer a larger or smaller project. Be sure to check individual template tutorials included with downloads for tips on resizing the specific project. To move the pieces individually, right-click and ungroup the pieces. To hide a piece so that it isn’t cut, click on the eyeball icon in the layers panel on the right. Check out this YouTube video to learn more about grouping and attaching objects in Cricut Design Space.

 

STEP 5: Cutting your paper craft.

Once you’re ready to send to the cutting machine, click the green Make It button. Design Space automatically selects a 12 x 12” mat and sorts the pieces. If you’re using a different size paper, use the drop down Material Size menu to switch sizes. Especially Paper templates are designed to work with 8.5 x 11” card stock, but you can always use a larger sheet if you prefer. You can rearrange the pieces manually by clicking and dragging individual pieces. To hide an individual piece, select it and click the three small dots in the upper left. Choose Hide Selected.

Ready, set, cut! If you'd like to try a file to see how it works before purchasing a template, check out Especially Paper’s free SVG cut files.

July 12, 2019 — Especially Paper

How to Use Alcohol Ink with Crepe Paper and Card Stock

This post contains affiliate links. If you click links and decide to make a purchase, Especially Paper may receive compensation.

Though it’s more common to use alcohol ink on glass, glossy paper, plastic, metal and other non-porous surfaces, alcohol ink is a great medium for adding color to crepe paper flowers, card stock projects, and floral stems. The brightly pigmented dye wicks into the paper creating an interesting effect similar to striped flower petals. One of my favorite ways to use alcohol ink is to apply green ink to ivory crepe paper to make variegated leaves. I’ve also experimented with using alcohol ink to add color variation to card stock leaves that were cut on my Silhouette cutting machine.

What is Alcohol Ink

Alcohol-based ink is fast drying, transparent dye. When the ink dries, the alcohol evaporates, leaving behind vibrant color. The transparent quality of alcohol ink lends itself to layering to create depth and new colors. The color is typically quite strong, but can be thinned to a lighter, more transparent wash with an alcohol blending solution or rubbing alcohol (91% Isopropyl Alcohol). Using a blending solution maintains the ink’s glossy finish. Mixing with rubbing alcohol creates a matte finish. Alcohol ink is the same type of dye found in high-end art markers such as those from Copic and Spectrum Noir, so the two work well together. 

Using Alcohol Ink on Crepe Paper

Hand-dyed petals add interest and depth to crepe paper flowers. Adding alcohol ink to crepe paper is as simple as touching the tip of the applicator to the edge of the crepe paper. I love the way the paper soaks up the dye and creates a striped effect. To create a more transparent color, thin the ink with rubbing alcohol. Or drag pre-cut crepe paper petals through plain rubbing alcohol, then tip the edges of the petal with undiluted ink. The wet crepe paper spreads the ink and creates a softer color effect.

Using Alcohol Ink on Card Stock

In the example below, a 65lb green card stock leaf was dipped into plain rubbing alcohol. The ink was then dripped onto the wet paper and the leaf slanted and rotated to move the ink around the shape. These leaves used both meadow green and lettuce green ink. To create more variation in the color, I sprinkled a little table salt onto the wet leaf and let it dry. Wiping the salt from the dried leaf leaves little light spots of texture.

 

If you're dipping paper into alcohol ink and getting your fingers wet, don't forget to where gloves. This stuff has some saying power! Even after scrubbing my hands multiple times after dying the leaves, they look as though I'm transforming into the Incredible Hulk. Not cute!

Create Custom Color Floral Stem Wires with Alcohol Ink

Floral stem wire comes in a limited range of colors, mostly green, white and brown. But you can create a full range of stem colors by adding alcohol ink to white cloth-wrapped floral wire. While wearing gloves, touch the tip of the ink bottle to the wire and run ink down the stem. Pull the stem between your thumb and forefinger to spread the ink along the stem. If you'd like a lighter color, first dip the stem in rubbing alcohol, then add color. Or, mix color with rubbing alcohol in a tray, then dip the wire in the diluted ink. Blend colors to create an even larger range of colors.

Where to Buy Alcohol Ink

Ranger Tim Holtz brand alcohol ink is used in the examples above and comes in over 60 colors. You can find it in sets of three coordinating colors, full sets, and single bottles. Blick is a well-known art supply store that carries single bottles and sets. Browse the full range of alcohol ink colors on Blick.

July 02, 2019 — Especially Paper
How to Open Zip Files on an iPhone and Upload SVGs to the Cricut Design Space App

How to Open Zip Files on an iPhone and Upload SVGs to the Cricut Design Space App

Ready to use your iPhone with your Cricut Explore cutting machine? There are a few steps you'll need to take to start uploading SVG files to the app. When you download a cutting machine template from Especially Paper, all of the template files are compressed into a single zip file to make downloading easier. But iPhone doesn’t natively open zip files, so you’ll need to download a zip utility app. I like the free version of the iZip app. There is a pro version, but if you don’t mind a few ads, I’ve found that the free version works great. And of course you’ll need the Cricut Design Space app. If you prefer to watch a video, just scroll to the bottom!

    1. Download a zip utility app and the Cricut Design Space app.
    2. After purchasing a template, open the email from Especially Paper with the subject line "Your downloads are ready." Click the download link to open in a browser. By default, it will open in Safari.
    3. If iZip is already installed on your phone it will automatically ask if you want to open the file in iZip. Tap open to start extracting the files.
    4. Once completed, you’ll see a list of all included files. There are DXF files for Silhouette Studio users and the SVG files you’ll need for Cricut Design Space. If the template you've purchased includes instructions, you'll also find the PDF instructions.
    5. Now that you have the files, open the Cricut Design Space app and navigate to the canvas.
    6. Tap upload image at the bottom of the app. Select Browse Files and then navigate to iZip. TIP: You can also view images that you’ve uploaded previously, including files uploaded from desktop, by selecting Open Uploaded Images.
    7. Scroll to the SVG file that you want to open and tap the file name. Name the file and tap done. 
    8. Now the shape is available in your list of uploaded files. Select the file and tap insert. 
    9. Tap and drag the shape on the canvas to move the object or pinch to zoom in and out. That’s it. Now your file is ready to cut!
 
May 11, 2019 — Especially Paper
How to Craft a Giant Paper Flower Using Your Silhouette Machine

How to Craft a Giant Paper Flower Using Your Silhouette Machine

A big thank you to the Silhouette team for featuring Especially Paper on their blog! I created a special project just for the post — a giant, 20” paper flower inspired by bright, sunny cosmos. Silhouette users can download the template for from the Silhouette store. 

Now, let’s talk about how to make that flower! You can also download a PDF instruction sheet with step-by-step photos.

  1. Download the 3D flower template from the Silhouette store. Cut 8 petals, 14 center strips, and one of each of the other pieces from 65lb card stock. For a more dynamic center, use two shades of card stock, cutting 7 strips from each color. The strips are sized to fit 7 strips on an 8.5" x 11" sheet.

  2. OPTIONAL: Use a bone folder to score vein lines into the petals. Start at the top center and create a gentle curve that follows the shape of the petal, ending at the bottom notch. Add color to the petals using your favorite medium. I love using a cosmetic sponge to apply soft pastels from PanPastel — that's what you'll see featured in photos. 

  3. Apply glue to the edge of one tab at the base of the petal.  Slightly overlap the tabs and adhere with glue. Repeat until you’ve formed 8 petals.

  4. Cut seven center strips from each of two colors (14 total). For each set, glue the ends to form one long strip. Use a bone folder or closed scissor blades to apply pressure and gently curl 6-8 of the tabs. Curl the next tabs in the opposite direction. Continue until both strips are completely curled.

  5. Stack and glue the ends of the two colors together, positioning so that the tabs alternate. Loosely roll the strips together, keeping the bottom straight edge even. When you reach the end of each strip, glue the end to keep in place.

  6. OPTIONAL: Use a marker to add color to the base of the stamens on the circle center piece.

  7. For both center pieces, curl the tabs with your bone folder, alternating the direction of the curl. Fold the tabs up at the base and glue the smaller stamen circle on top of the larger circle. Glue the rolled fringe inside of the layered center pieces.

  8. Glue four petals to the base, using the outer notches as guides. To keep the petals even, place each petal so that the center notch meets the small tick mark guide in the center of the base. Repeat the process, adding four petals on top, placing between the first four petals.

  9. Glue the flower center in the middle of the petals.

That's it, easy peasy! I hope you enjoy this free project. Once you've crafted your paper flower, share it on Instagram and tag @esppaper. I’d love to see them! Follow @esppaper on Instagram for tips, tutorials, and paper craft inspiration.

November 15, 2017 — Especially Paper
Gerbera Daisy Wall Flowers, New Class on Skillshare

Gerbera Daisy Wall Flowers, New Class on Skillshare

Gerbera Daisy Class

I've just published a new video class on Skillshare, a learning community for creators. If you'd like to craft a large (19"!) gerbera daisy, please join the class — the first 25 students can enroll for free!


Gerbera Daisy Wall FlowerThis gerbera daisy is perfect for display on it’s own or as part of a wall of flowers. It's
 a beginner class that includes several free template options for cutting the pieces for this project. A PDF is including for hand cutting the pieces, SVG files for use with Cricut Explore, and studio files that can be cut with a Silhouette craft cutter.

You don’t need many supplies for this class — just scissors, craft glue, card stock, and the templates. But if you have a Silhouette or Cricut Explore craft cutter, this is the perfect time to use it. If you don’t have a craft cutter, a PDF is included to hand cut the pieces. I’ll also show you an optional step using chalk pastels and a cotton pad to add color to the petals. If you’d like to add a wire for hanging your finished flower, you’ll need 5-6 inches of lightweight wire.

That covers it! Enroll for free (first 25, button under the video on the class page) to download the templates and get started!

ENROLL ON SKILLSHARE

 

Want to know when new classes are published? Join the Especially Paper email list.

If online videos aren't your thing and you want to skip straight to the template, you can purchase the template files and instructions.

August 20, 2016 — Especially Paper
Work in Progress: Paper Flower Wall

Work in Progress: Paper Flower Wall

For the past few months, I've been working on giant paper flowers that will cover 70 square feet of wall space behind a dance floor. They'll be used at an upcoming mitzvah in the D.C. area planned by iSparkle Events. It's been great fun designing and making these flowers and I can't wait to see them installed at the event!

April 21, 2016 — Especially Paper
Paper Succulent Tutorial and Templates

Paper Succulent Tutorial and Templates

Paper Succulent

I recently crafted a paper succulent to use as a photo prop with new heart plant stakes. It was so much fun to make and such a lovely shade of green that I decided to create a tutorial and offer the cutting files and template so that you can make your own. It's super easy to make — after cutting and curling the pieces, simply layer the leaves on a flat-top toothpick until the little plant reaches the desired size.

Start by curling the leaves on all the pieces (see video). Then, use hot glue or craft glue to adhere the small piece without a center hole to the top of the toothpick. Before the glue sets, add the next piece and squish together to flatten the glob of hot glue. Add all the leaves in the smallest size, offsetting the petals and dabbing a bit of craft glue (find out my favorite craft glue) at the toothpick between layers. Continue to the next size set of leaves and follow the process until complete.

TIP: Find flat-top toothpicks at the grocery store next to the regular toothpicks. They have a spindle top. I used a brand from Diamond called L'Elegance Toothpicks.

Paper Succulent Tutorial

Get the PDF template for cutting by hand or the SVG and DXF files for digital cutters including the Cricut Explore and Silhouette.

March 20, 2016 — Especially Paper
Tags: How-To

How to Make Fondant Bees

This is an excerpt from the workbook, A DIY Celebration: Mommy-to-Bee Baby Shower, which is available on Amazon. Little bees made of fondant look super cute on desserts for bee-themed celebrations, such as a first “bee-day” party or a mommy-to-bee baby shower. Plus, they can be made several weeks in advance and dried so that there is no last minute rushing before the big party. Once dry, store in a lidded box such as a shoebox to keep the dust off. Don’t keep the finished bees in a sealed plastic container or they may get sticky and wilt. Fondant picks up dirt and lint easily, so avoid wearing a fuzzy sweater when you create these decorations! Makes about 20 bees. 

  1. Start by kneading paste food coloring into small balls of white ready-made, rolled fondant (about the size of a ping-pong ball) to create yellow and black. Mix a very small dab of red into the yellow ball to create a buttery hue. You also need a smaller ball of white fondant for the wings. Wear gloves or be prepared for stained hands!
  2. Roll out all three colors of fondant to a thickness of 1/16”.
  3. To form the bee’s body, use the small end of a round cake decorator’s tip to cut stacks of yellow and black discs. For each stack, cut two yellow circles followed by alternating black and yellow, ending in yellow. Wait to push the discs out of the tip until you've cut the entire stack.
  4. Use a dowel or blunt end of a skewer to push the circles down through the tip. Work quickly – the fondant layers stick better before they begin to dry out.
  5. Lightly squeeze the ends of the cylinder together, then roll between your fingers to smooth out the cylinder. Pinch the end with the most yellow to form the bee’s stinger.
  6. Roll a petite pea-size ball of yellow fondant for the head and immediately press onto the body.
  7. Create wings by cutting white circles with the same decorator’s tip. Slice halfway through each circle with the tip of a sharp knife. Pinch the cut points to form wings.
  8. Use a toothpick to push the middle of the wings into the bee’s back.

Paper Succulent How-ToFor another great how-to, check out this paper succulent tutorial.

July 10, 2015 — Especially Paper
Tags: How-To