I love stationery. I have a vast collection, and I’m always collecting more. I’ll see random videos online and think “ooo, I need to have that”. Amongst that collection there are lots of weird one-off pens. So I figured I’d do a series of using those novelty pens. Note: these have been done over the space of a couple of years, so some of the dates in the images will seem a little far away.
First up is the outline pen. You’ve probably seen gifs of this online somewhere.
It has a felt tip nib, and it’s a lot like a paint pen in that you have to shake it and then pump the nib to prime it. When you draw with it, the ink that comes out is silver and it has a coloured halo effect. You can get it with other colours, and even in whole sets, but I stuck to just this one for now.
First up – monster doodles. And random doodles.
Note – the coloured halo bleeds through the page. A lot.
With these doodles I discovered that when you just sketch with the pen, you don’t really see much of the halo effect. At least, not the way that I drew it. So I tried some other methods.
I quite like the stippled effect, so for my main piece I decided to do a stippled monster, with a patterned background. With no colouring, I tried to add as more detail to the monster.
I’m not the most consistent person anyway, but it’s hard to maintain much consistency with this pen. Sometimes it has a thinner halo, sometimes thicker. I’m sure there’s a knack to it, but I couldn’t figure it out.
This project was originally intended to be a year-long challenge, but I haven’t really done that many of them, and I enjoy them, so I might extend the challenge to next year too. With a concerted effort to do it more often.
I realised that since I do most of my art digitally at the moment it probably made more sense to do the figure sketches digitally too.
I didn’t have the tablet nearby when I decided to actually pay attention to my reminder in June.
But I went back to digital in September. I followed a tutorial for this one…
…And continued using that technique for this page.
I liked one of them so much I saved it to use as a base for a character, which eventually turned into the witch I drew with my birth date palette for my 13 Days of Cricut Halloween series.
One of the people I follow on Instagram is YouTuber SimplyNailogical. As well as posting about her Holo Taco polish range, her occasional attempts at nail art, her cats, her tea, her oats, her boyfriend Ben etc etc, she sometimes shows what packages she gets in the mail from other YouTubers and such.
Way back in August she showed this gorgeous make up palette from Elf Cosmetics, and because I’m me, I instantly saw a rainbow colour palette to use for art.
I used a Shape Challenge as inspiration…
…And ended up with this fluffy beast.
I’m so happy with it. I had lots of fun using different brushes and tools (and pre-loaded backgrounds) on the app that I use to draw – which is Ibis X, if you’re curious.
I’d seen a video by Jennifer Maker, so I had some idea of what I was doing.
The SVG came with seven layers, but I didn’t see a backing square, so I added one of those. This was my first mistake.
For some reason I’d had in my head that a gradient of coloured card would look good. This was my second mistake. And my third was deciding to use grey. But I’d got this set from Hobbycraft.
The colours themselves didn’t seem to match as much as the little squares on the label though – I couldn’t find a gradient I liked.
So I settled on using just one colour. It occurred to me that the light and layering effect would cause the gradient anyway. Duh!
Fatty helped me load the card onto some mats.
And they cut easily and smoothly.
I was left with quite a few adorable tiny bat cut outs.
And then I had a pile of (out of focus) grey card.
While I was sorting the spare card from the cuts I needed from the cut outs I didn’t need, I had a bit of a casualty.
Finally I had eight layers. Fatty helped me here too.
I wasn’t too sure about the backing square at the point, so I decided to leave it til last. I used the SVG layers for reference to get them all in the right order.
And I double checked that it fit in the frame that I had bought.
Now to assemble. I had these sticky 3D glue dots. They did not like peeling from their backing paper.
Fatty helped me again.
When I had all the layers compiled I realised I didn’t need the backing square, because the designer had made sure all the space was filled.
Now for the light. I had a few different types. Some little strings of fairy light style LEDs, that came with battery packs attached. And some strips of lights that had USBs but no power.
I went with the string lights, because of the attached power source. But when I’d compiled everything the light was barely visible through more than one or two layers.
This was my second DUH moment. Why did I use grey card? Light would show better through white card.
So I decided to recut it. I had some issues establishing a good depth, and had some bad cuts to start with.
But I had my seven layers – I didn’t cut a backing square this time.
And when piled up they looked awesome even without the spacers and light.
I glued them together, put them in the frame, added the lights. I cut a tiny corner of the frame board off so the power cable could fit through.
And I was pretty pleased with how it looked.
The light isn’t perfect, but it’s much better. I’ll have to experiment with different light types.
Later in the evening I got annoyed with the fact that the backing board was too low for the clips. So I watched the Jennifer Maker video again. She removed the wood insert from the frame to measure it – and I had registered that she’d taken it out. So when I made mine I took the wood insert out and cut my piece to fit the frame without it.
What I should have done is measured the wood insert, and cut the piece to fit inside that.
I could have left it, but I was tired. So I didn’t. I was too tired to recut though, so I placed the wood insert on the layers and made marks where to cut. Then I hacked at it a little with a craft knife and a metal ruler until it fit, trusting the card mount in front of the glass to hide the mess.
When I had it back in the box, I used the strip lights instead.
And I think it looks pretty damn awesome. A “fitting” finale.
I’m always seeing font cloud images on Pinterest, and while I was searching for Halloween projects a lot of lists of Halloween words showed up, and a lot of links to free Halloween fonts. So my brain took 2 and 2 and made 4.
It wasn’t as easy as it sounds though. Design Space did not like so many images – it ran really really slowly.
I used Wordmark.It to help me sort through all my fonts and just my brain for picking words. It took quite a while for Design Space to move things around, but eventually I had my image.
I converted to draw, because I was going to draw this with one of the Cricut fine liners. It turned all the fonts to bubble text, which was expected.
Initially I was going to do it on a white or grey cardstock, but when I was looking in my box I found this stuff and fell in love with it.
It took a while to draw, about an hour. The little bit of text you can see here was at 10 minutes in when I realised I hadn’t closed the clamp.
Jack-o-lantern took about twenty minutes in total, because it turns out it was all dots.
But I finally had my finished drawing.
I used a different fine liner to fill in, because the Cricut pens need to be held upright and that’s awkward to draw with. I started off filling in Jack-o-lantern and started to realise that not all of the words needed to be filled in. Some of them might actually look better empty.
I carried on and filled in ones that definitely needed it – like boo.
There were a couple where all the detail would be lost if I filled in, so I left those – like fear and cauldron.
I filled in a bunch of the ones in a really thin font – like ghost and howling.
Next I tried patterns. I started with bats.
I wasn’t entirely sure about it, but I figured that I’d try a few more and if they didn’t look right then I could always fill them in later.
Then I did a couple of words with a half-fill, like this.
After that I just carried on until I decided it was finished.
I think it looks pretty good. What do you think? Are there any words you would have added?
One of the things that pops up a lot when searching for Halloween crafts is luminaries – or little lanterns. I gathered quite a collection of ones I wanted to do, then narrowed it down to two.
The first one is from Extreme Papercrafting – the image from their site is obviously from an older site name. If you type in that website though it redirects you.
The cut was very simple. The top rectangle is cut from vellum – or translucent paper – and the bottom part is cut from cardstock.
The lines on the SVG had small cut dashes for the folds, but I swapped them out for score lines. The cut was clean but I don’t think I had the scoring stylus settled in right because there wasn’t much of an actual dent – more of just a light trace.
I managed to get the folds in the right places though – I used a metal edged ruler and a pointy tool.
I assumed you were meant to glue the vellum to the card but the folds didn’t line up.
So I assembled the vellum as one piece, and the cardstock as another.
This blog was supposed to be about a spooky letter banner that said Happy Halloween.
But then it cut like this.
And I was too tired and stressed to deal with it. So I searched Cricut Access and found myself a simpler project.
Cutting was not exactly smooth sailing. When I applied the transfer tape and flipped it over, after I removed the backing paper I discovered that the vinyl wasn’t cut all the way through.
This particular sheet of vinyl was from a pack of randoms from SignMakingAndSupplies, and I had no idea what type or brand it was. This little exercise taught me that it was THICC though.
I cut again, using a deeper setting, and selecting “more” on the pressure option. And when it had finished I checked it before I unloaded the mat. Then, because it hadn’t cut through, I sent it through the Cricut again.
Finally I had my skull. Time to weed.
This took a lot longer than anticipated too. And it was difficult to see, even with a light box. Plus, because I was reverse weeding I was getting very sticky. I ended up using a piece of silicone paper to lean on.
Eventually I had it weeded and ready to be applied. Unlike the project from Cricut Access, I wasn’t going to put mine on a pumpkin. Instead, I put it on this shiny copper notebook I got for my birthday. It’s so very pretty!
These little crack decals from Burton Avenue are listed as creepy, but I can’t help but find them cute.
But whether they’re creepy or cute or a third adjective altogether, I had to do them.
I aligned all the pieces on one mat, and used scrap pieces of vinyl.
I’ve gotten into the habit of reverse weeding, so I applied transfer tape to the cracks. I was going to cut this into five, so I had five seperate decals I could apply later. It was nearly impossible to see the cuts though.
A lightbox helped me see where to cut and I had five odd shaped decals. Weeding them was easy, but I realised I wasn’t going to be able to make complete decals this way. I wouldn’t be able to get the eyes on without peeling the vinyl from the transfer tape.
After sorting the eyes I had five pairs of decals, ready to be applied when I figured out where.
Smudge helped me place the first one.
And I found homes for the whole set in various places around my house.
When compiling ideas for this series I had a look at what was available on Cricut Access. One of the ones I found was this happy skeleton dude.
I hid the banner, and the envelope, because I wasn’t interested in those. Then I cut out the black backing, on card.
Then, after looking at it carefully, I put these bits in the bin and cut the correct parts from black card.
I may have cut off one of his fingers by accident.
Then I cut out the white parts on white vinyl.
Lining it up was fun. You didn’t really get a second chance. As soon as the vinyl touched the card it was stuck. So it isn’t perfect, but nothing I make ever is.
I couldn’t figure out why I had a spare pelvis. I looked closely at the layers and found this, but I still don’t know why it’s there.
Time to attach. The instructions say to use brads, which was fine. There weren’t any holes or cuts in the pattern though. I did consider adding them on Design Space but I couldn’t be bothered basically.
I used a pointy tool to poke holes in all the right places, and a craft knife to make a small slice so the “pins” of the brad would go through.
Putting a brad through the bowtie just didn’t work…
… but eventually I had Brad assembled.
I wasn’t completely happy with him – there were some issues – including the pins of the brads facing the wrong way – so I decided to make a Brad Jr.
I fiddled with the size and scale a bit – made him a bit chonkier so that there was more room for the brad holes. And I cut the base out of white card.
I coloured in his bowtie, and I did little cross cuts instead of slits for the brads. That meant that when I constructed him I could position the pins so that they were hidden.
It wasn’t without issue though. This time I fully broke his wrist.
For Brad Jr, I did his detail in black vinyl, and it looked a lot cleaner.
It has just occurred to me though that he doesn’t have a mouth. Brad Jr isn’t much of a talker.