Just a couple months ago I had never even heard of a "pnc" (print & cut), however after hearing about the Silhouette Cameo I learned it was one of the top features this machine offers. Besides the ability to make a cutting file out of anything I can imagine or find online I can also import any image file I want and then trace it, send the image to my printer to be printed with registration marks which my silhouette then reads and cuts perfectly on the lines. Seriously awesome right? However once I received my machine I realized I wasn't doing much with the pnc except for fonts/sayings on the fronts of cards. I adore layering and paper piercing and to me most pnc images were just to flat.
Determined to change my perception and utilize this great feature, because seriously there are some darn cute images out there, I started playing around with Studio more to use the tools and my imagination to come up with ways to make pnc's pop for me.
This week Kristi Dailey from www.kristidailey.com & www.myscrapchick.com posted on facebook that she was looking for volunteers to take two .png image files she would provide and show how they could really come alive. It sounded like the perfect excuse to test out the ideas I'd come up with so I signed right up.
Kristi sent me two very cute, but very out of my normal style, fairy bear .png files. I won't lie to you, at first I had no clue what I was going to do with them... but after a few mins of looking at the images the card ideas came to me. I'm happy to report that they are now 2 of my most favorite cards I've made! Now here they are for you :)
I really wanted to give the images some life and texture, and I think I succeeded.
Here is my recipe for taking your print & cut images to the next level:
1. Foam Pop Dots: We've covered my love for pop dots before right? It comes just after my love of glitter! Using 2 different thicknesses also allows you to add additional dimension (I used 1/16th & 1/8th on these two cards) without to much bulk (these cards would easily be mailed in a standard envelope). Since it's hard to sense the depth in the above photos here are some more so you can see what I'm referring to.
2. Textured cardstock for printing: I'm LOVING Joann's "The Paper Company" value packs of textured 65lb cardstock, on sale they are only a couple dollars for 40 sheets and they run though my Canon printer perfectly and my Silhouette reads the registration marks & cuts them like a dream. IMO it's a great and easy way to add some texture and interest to your pnc. Plus it reminds me of AC Cardstock and you can put that down as #3 on my love list.
3. Layers: Since you can do pnc's with the Cameo you can also easily add multiple visual & physical layers. I like to draw a rectangle in the size of my finished card, I fill it with a digital paper (so easy and fun to do, drag and drop!) and then I add some images that I plan to only print and not cut. On my cards I did a shadow layer for the text that is printed on the actual bottom layer, I also printed the two smaller flowers on the one card and a row of grass on the 2nd, by printing these as part of the background I visually add depth w/o physically having to add another layer of bulk. After cutting my main pnc images I still wanted more. The Studio software does a great job of tracing the outer edge but I wanted to isolate certain portions of the image to pop out. After some playing around I realized that I could use the eraser or knife tool to achieve this or even easier one of the drawing tools to draw a new cut line around the portion I wanted to separate, sounds far harder then it is and I'll try at some point in the future to do a video on it or at least a more detailed post. You'll see I popped the one bear's hat & paws and the others limbs in this manner. Here is a photo showing what I mean (warning decapitated bear head below)
4. Lil' something something: Adding a bit of sparkle can also add visual interest, same with gloss or glaze. I used a Sakura glaze pen to make the bear's noses glossy and used my favorite clear Copic atyouSpica glitter pen to add a touch of sparkle here and there. I added the tiniest dots of glossy accents to the eyes of one of the bears (when you do this on larger images you can even fool people into thinking you added google eyes, I've had people shake my cards and wonder why the eyes didn't move LOL). Things like twine, buttons, etc also add dimension and interest so I added 2 buttons tied with floss (yes I hang my head in shame, I don't own any twine but it is on order!)
So there you have it. Don't shy away from print & cut files because you think they are too flat or boring, let your creativity flow & step outside of your crafting box... you might just surprise yourself! Be sure to go check out www.kristidailey.com & www.myscrapchick.com for the two images used here and many more!