Sample #1 – Sliding Blade Trimmer

First, let us get acquainted with the Sliding Blade Trimmer.  You probably have one of these in your crafting space and are pretty familiar with it already.  For those that just use this tool along the horizontal measuring area at the top of the trimmer, you may  not realize there is also a VERTICAL measuring area on the swing arm.

Sliding Blade Trimmers

Sliding Blade Trimmers

Horizontal and Vertical measuring aids on trimmer

Horizontal and Vertical measuring aids on trimmer

Let’s take a look at the cutting blade itself.  You will notice two “Arrows” on either side of the blade platform, and you will notice an indented groove running through the center of the blade platform.

Guides on the blade platform

Guides on the blade platform

To make the magic happen you will need to make use of these guides while cutting within your card stock.  Depending on whether you use the Metric measurement scale or the Inch measurement scale these handy arrows will help you be precise in your cuts.  Pay attention to the arrow on the swing arm guide that you will be referencing.  Use the arrow along the Metric guide if you need to cut in centimeters.  Use the arrow along the Inch guide if you need to cut in inches.

Now, folks, there is some math that needs to be done here.  Following along with my Sample #1, you will need to have two (2) pieces of card stock measuring 4-1/4 x 5-1/2.  Color doesn’t matter, you don’t need to use orange.  It was the first pieces I grabbed.

2 pieces of 4-1/4 x 5-1/2 card stock

2 pieces of 4-1/4 x 5-1/2 card stock

Finding “Center” on the card stock is to divide 4-1/4 x 2 and 5-1/2 x 2.  We are going to be cutting a 2 inch square hole out of the center of the card stock.

Finding "Center"

Finding “Center”

Once you find “Center” it is a matter of determining the measurements of where to begin the cuts along all four sides.

Stick with  me here.  Continue on down through the photos and descriptions.  There is a “Method to my madness” here.  To begin your cut you will need to place one edge of the card stock (4-1/4″ width) on the 1-1/8″ mark of the HORIZONTAL measuring guide.

Line up the card stock to the 1-1/8 inch mark

Line up card stock to the 1-1/8 inch mark

Once you have the card stock lined up properly you will then move on to the VERTICAL guide on the swing arm.  Your blade will be pressed in the card stock at the 1-3/4 inch marking on the swing arm.

Vertical guide at 1-3/4 inches

Vertical guide at 1-3/4 inches

Slide the blade down to the 3-3/4 mark on the Vertical guide.

Cut down to the 3-3/4 inch mark on the vertical guide

Cut down to the 3-3/4 inch mark on the vertical guide

Your cut will look like this.

Your first cut

Your first cut

Now flip the card stock over and place the other 4-1/4 edge along the 1-1/8 in HORIZONTAL measure guide and repeat the same cut you just made along the VERTICAL guide.  You will now have this.

The 2 vertical cuts

The 2 vertical cuts

Now rotate your card stock along the 5-1/2 inch edge.  Along the HORIZONTAL measure guide line up the card stock with the 1-3/4 inch mark.  You will see that the top of the cut you just made is centered within the blade guide.  Look for the black arrow of the second photo to see what I’m referring to.

Along the 5-1/2 edge measure to the 1-3/4 inches

Along the 5-/12 edge measure to 1-3/4 inches

The top of your first cut will be seen within the cutting blade groove

The top of your first cut will be seen within the cutting blade groove

Your blade will be pressed into the card stock along the VERTICAL measure guide at 1-1/8 inches and you will cut down to the 3-1/8 inch mark.  This will connect your two cut lines.

Line up the card stock to 1/34 inches HORIZONTALLY

Line up the card stock to 1-3/4 inches HORIZONTALLY

Begin your cut at 1-1/8 inch and move down to 3-1/8 inches

Begin your cut at 1-1/8 inch and move down to 3-1/8 inches

Your cut will now look like this.

This is the result of your 3 cuts

This is the result of your 3 cuts

Flip your card stock to the other 5-1/2 inch edge and repeat this step.  You will then have a centered square cut out of your card stock.

Repeat the previous measurements and cuts

Repeat the previous measurements and cuts

There you have it.  Centered square

There you have it. Centered square

Now…repeat this entire process to your second piece of card stock.

Repeat the steps.

Repeat the steps.

Now we are going to move on to the Scoring Blade.  Notice this tool has marks a little different from the cutting blade.  You will be using these indicators on the scoring blade to press scores around the box you just cut out.  This will frame the box.  This step is how you will get the “Frame” around the cut similar to a Spellbinder die.

Guides on the Score Blade

Guides on the Score Blade

I have given myself a 1/4 inch gap between the top of the cuts and out on each side.

Score 1/4 inch away from the edge and sides of your cuts

Score 1/4 inch away from the edge and sides of your cuts

Your cuts are now framed

Your cuts are now framed

You can score panels of lines down your card stock if you want to add more dimension and texture.  Line up the 4-1/4 edge along the HORIZONTAL measure guide the width you wish and score down the length of your card stock.

Score lines down the length of your card stock

Score lines down the length of your card stock

The square hole in the card stock will feature a spinning stamped image.  Choose a stamp that will fit in the window with at least a 1/4 inch reveal all around within the square.  You will need to stamp 2 (two) images.

Stamp two images

Stamp two images

Test fit the images to make sure you have plenty of room on all four sides.  Making sure the stamped images won’t get caught on any of the edges or it will not spin properly.

You will need some clear tape, a length of cotton thread – about 10 inches long.

Clear tape and cotton thread

Clear tape and cotton thread

It doesn’t matter if your stamped image is crooked.  IT DOES MATTER that your cotton thread is perfectly straight and centered on the back of one of the images.  The other image you will add the adhesive of your choice to sandwich the cotton thread and hide it.

Attach the cotton thread to one image.

Attach the cotton thread to one image.

Your sandwich will look like this.

Your stamped sandwich

Your stamped sandwich

Now tape the cotton thread tales to the back side of your front piece.  Make sure to have the cotton thread straight before you attach it with the clear tape.  Crooked placement will not be your friend. :/

Center your stamped image

Center your stamped image

Tape the thread tales

Tape the thread tales

Cut off any excess cotton thread that is higher than the top or bottom of your card stock.

Add your favorite adhesive to the other card stock cut out and place over the cotton thread.  You will see that my cotton thread piece is not straight.  My butterfly image is off center.  Thankfully there is enough space around the image and the cuts it will spin freely.

Add adhesive to the cut out cover

Add adhesive to the cut out cover

Place the card stock pieces together

Place the card stock pieces together

Now, using your fingers twist the stamped image around and around until the cotton thread is twisting well.  Let go and you will see your image spinning in circles within the square cut out you just made.

Front of sample #1

Front of sample #1

Back of sample #1

Back of sample #1

This sample will help you to feel confident in working with this kind of design element.  You have the extra boost of confidence knowing that you have not screwed up a perfectly good card base while you are trying something new.

I, generally, try new things out in this way.  If the piece turns to crap then I have not not wasted about 5 card bases trying to get it right. :/

Okay.  It is your turn to try this technique.  Leave a comment below and let me know how you did.  Also, if you are one of those that are masters of the sliding blade trimmer and have other tips to pass on I would love hearing from you as well.

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial.  Leslie

Sliding blade trimmer – Cheap Trick

I have had this idea ramming around in my brain for several years.  I have many excuses for not getting this posted or a video made….I’ll blame it on the time constraints of my old Day Job.

Now seems like an excellent time to discuss this technique, with Thanksgiving and Christmas looming, and since I am no longer a truck driver.  My poor kidneys can’t handle it any longer.  Plus, Joe freaked out on my last trip out with him at the start of this month and he made the decision for me to get off the road.

Okay, enough of that.  Here is what you can do with a Sliding Blade Trimmer.

Sliding Blade Trimmers

Sliding Blade Trimmers

For a budding card maker, with limited room and finances, I can show you how to use your $25 Sliding Blade Trimmer to get this result.  Mind you, the three examples I have for you are practice runs….because I had to reacquaint myself with the awesomeness of this essential paper tool.

Have a look at the three samples I have here.  You can see what can be accomplished with the Sliding Blade Trimmer, some stamps and ink, and some markers and glitter glue.

Back of sample #1

Back of sample #1

Front of sample #1

Front of sample #1

Sample #2

Sample #2

You can’t see the 1/4 inch wide score marks on the Sample #2 because of my bad lighting.

Sample #3

Sample #3

Not everyone can afford to purchase a $100 die cutting machine, the $25 to $50 cost of a Scor-Pal or a Martha Stewart Score Board, nor the cost of the dies at $15 to $25 a pop to make these kinds of cards.

Some people may not have the space in their crafting areas to accommodate a large tool like a die cutting machine or the scoring board,  nor the storage space for the dies.  Cost may not be an issue with them, only the space.

New paper artists may not want to invest in the die cutting machine, scoring board,  nor the dies right now because they might think about waiting a little while to make such a financial commitment toward something they may not use much.

Whichever the reason, all of them valid, you can achieve the same results with the Sliding Blade Trimmer.

The sliding blade trimmer is like the “Swiss Army Knife” of the paper cutting tools.  This trimmer is a true “Multi-Tasker”.  Many new paper artists pick this trimmer because of the low profile and easy portability.  Plus, there are a ton of YouTube videos showcasing this paper trimmer as it cuts through card stock and text weight design paper with ease.  The cutting guide on the trimmer base is used, along with a bone folder, to score the papers.  So, since everyone else uses it then it must be a good product.

There are many drawbacks to using this paper trimmer exclusively.  The one major problem is with the cutting blade.  You have to purchase replacement blades for this trimmer.  When the blade goes bad your paper cuts are no longer clean.  The other drawback is the plastic guide the blade slides along.  After changing the blade many times the guide stretches out a bit and your cuts are no longer true.  They get a bit of a wobble in them.

Over the next couple days I will take you through the steps to create Sample #1 so you get to know your paper trimmer and not beat yourself up about screwing up a perfectly good card base.  Once you master the Sample #1 you can then take on a regular card base to create your own design imagery.

I need to warn you ahead of time….the posts for the Sample #1 item will be PHOTO HEAVY!  That is why I am going to be splitting this up.

I will be making a full video and hope to have it uploaded to YouTube by Saturday – November 22, 2014.

This technique can be used for many occasion greeting cards.  Use stamps featuring a birthday cake or a stack of presents for the birthday person.  Use a stamp featuring a baby stroller to welcome the new little one into a family.  Use a stamp that has a large sentiment, such as “Thank You” or “Congratulations”.  Make a feature window, such as in Sample #2, with a bouquet of flowers or a favorite scene you like to color for a “Get Well” or a “Sympathy” card.

Your imagination, creativity, and card making supplies are all you need.