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Martha Stewart Crafts Studio: Scrapbook Class

Reported by Simone Collins
Photography by Chris Foresman

What better way to preserve the memories from an amazing vacation to the Caribbean than with a scrapbook page? At the Martha Stewart Crafts Studio at the Beaches Resort in Turks and Caicos, guests can create a page and add their own special touches and memories.

Using the new Punch Around The Page and Craft punches, this simply designed page can be recreated for your vacation memories—or just adapt the techniques and create your own design.

Supplies
8×8 Cardstock
Foam Dots
To create this 8 x 8″ page, you are not only going to need your base cardstock piece but also cardstock in these sizes: 4 x 8″, 5 x 5″, and 1 1/2 x 3 1/4″.
Using a Martha Stewart Edge Punch, start in the center of your 4″ x 8″ piece of cardstock and begin punching.  It is important to use the guidelines and work carefully to ensure the guides are aligned when continuing to punch the entire edge.

Adhere this piece of punched cardstock to your 8 x 8″ base using a glue stick.
Take your 5 x 5″ piece of cardstock and punch all four corners with the corner punch from your Punch Around The Page set. Make sure the “wings” of the punch are fully open before you beginning punching.

Now, with your edge punch from the Punch Around The Page set, line up the corners using the special corner guides and finish off the complete square. The sets work with a variety of specific sizes, many of which are listed in the packaging of your set. Use foam dots to adhere the photo matte to the base, be sure to place one in the center as well as all four corners.
Use this same technique to create the title piece with the 1 1/2″ x 3 1/4″ piece of cardstock.  Adhere to base using foam dots.

Punch the title letters as well as your embellishments from cardstock using the craft punches.

Adhere your punches to the base using a glue pen or foam dots to create character on your page.

In order to center your title on the title matte, place the middle letter in the word or phrase your mounting to the base first and build your word from there.

 You can add bakers twine to an anchor to create a special touch or even glitter with a glue pen or the new glitter glue.

Here are some other variations on this theme:

What was the last vacation you scrapbooked? Got any tips or techniques to get those pictures out of the envelopes and onto the scrapbook page? We would love to hear about it!
Read all about our entire Martha Stewart Trip at the Beaches Resort including more project tutorials and our Martha Stewart Craft product reviews. And don’t miss the daily giveaways!
Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Vendor Spotlight & Giveaway: Martha Stewart Circle Cutter (2 of 2)

Reported by Heather Strenzwilk
For many years, if I needed a circle, I was limited to my punches and diecuts. If I needed a different size circle, I had to trace something. Now, the Circle Cutter by Martha Stewart Crafts is the simple way to cut circles ranging from one inch to five and a half inches in diameter in 1/16th” increments. The cutting tool has an easy to grip handle including storage for the cutting blades.

Uniquely shaped, curved tip

When the package arrived I immediately opened it, dashed to my craft room to cut circles. After snapping the blade into the white handle I carefully removed the clear plastic safety cover from the blade. I grabbed some paper, put the white plastic sizing disc on the paper, jammed the tool into a slot and tried to cut a circle. The paper ripped and moved around and it turned into a mess. I read the instructions, varied my approach by firmly holding the disc, inserted the blade into a slot and tried again. Another ripped piece of paper. It seemed like no matter what I did the blade would not glide.

Holiday card features image from Squigglefly

I decided to watch a few videos online to see if I could figure out what I was doing wrong. The first video I watched featured a crafter who used a self-healing craft mat similar to my own and her circles were very similar to mine (ragged and uneven). After her initial debacle, she shared her secret: a glass cutting mat. It was amazing to watch; the blade literally slid through the paper like an ice skater on ice.

Cutting a circle on a glass work surface

I immediately went out and purchased a glass cutting mat and the difference with the circle cutter was like night and day. Since the glass is slick, I taped the edges of my paper or cardstock to the glass for stability prior to cutting. With the glass, I didn’t have to push down nearly as hard as I did with the self-healing cutting mat.

The other tip I learned was that the blade needs to be seated properly in the disc for it to cut in a smooth fashion. When the blade is inserted to a hole on the disc it should distinctly snap in (it reminded me of buckling a seat-belt only not as loud). Once the blade is properly seated it will rotate smoothly to cut a more uniform circle if care is taken to hold it perpendicularly to the paper. The tool can be moved in a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction and sometimes I would reverse direction to be sure I had cut completely through the paper.

The extra blades can be stored in the handle (I numbered the safety covers to tell them apart).

Learning to cut circles like this definitely takes some practice. I try to use every scrap of my decorative paper, starting at the edges and working inward but I found it is much easier to cut circles when the disc is completely on the paper (near the center of the paper). My results were much better when I took the time to securely tape the paper to the glass cutting surface as well. Even after taking those precautions, at times my circles were uneven or had ragged edges. I think much of that was caused by me trying to cut at the wrong angle.

Although I love being able to create a circle of almost any size, my punches do have one distinct advantage. When I need to punch a particular space such as a pattern on my paper or a digital image, I can use the frame of the punch for centering. With the Martha Stewart Circle Cutter I tried to use a ruler to determine what size circle I wanted and to find the center so my border would be uniform. Easier said than done: I cut several circles larger than I needed, had an off-center image or sometimes cut my image by the time I snapped in the blade and got the disc back down in place.

Christmas card list holder made out of a pocket folder. Image by Squigglefly

Despite my learning opportunities (and full wastebasket) with the Martha Stewart Circle Cutter, I thought the tool was very sturdy and for $18 was an affordable option for those crafters who do not own a die cut machine. I really like the wide range of circle sizes available, the small footprint and portability for crops, and the convenient and safe blade storage in the handle. I wish the instructions mentioned how much easier it is to use on a glass surface.

Pros:

  • Product is lightweight, portable, and has convenient storage for blades in the handle of the cutting tool. Replacement blades are available.
  • The set contains disc, handle, and blades, is ready to use, and replacement blades are available as well.
  • Good option for crafters who do not own a die cut machine and this product offers a wider variety of sizes than punches or dies.
  • The sizing disc is clear so you can see what you are cutting- great for photos.

Cons:

  • Product has a learning curve- when the blade is seated correctly the tool glides to cut the paper but a non-perfect set-up will result in uneven circles or edges.
  • The cutting blades are very sharp and care must be taken when inserting them into the handle.
  • The product works much better on a glass work surface, which is not noted in the instructions.

GIVEAWAY
The kind folks at EK Success Brands will be giving one lucky winner their very own Martha Stewart Circle Cutter. To enter, just leave a comment on one of the Vendor Spotlight: Martha Stewart Circle Cutter. Answer any one of these questions in the Comments Section right below this article on our website.

Have you tried the Martha Stewart Circle Cutter? What do you use to cut circles?

One comment per person, per article, please. You have until Sunday, November 21st 6pm CST to enter.

Disclosure

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Vendor Spotlight & Giveaway: Martha Stewart Circle Cutter

Reported by Rachel Johnson
I often need to cut circles for use in my crafts. Previous to owning the Martha Stewart Crafts Circle Cutter, I used my two circle paper punches. For more specific sizes I resorted to tracing cups or other circular objects and then cutting the circles by hand. Needless to say, I was excited to try a more efficient method.
The Circle Cutter consists of a rotating measurement circle and a double-sided blade with a large, comfortable handle. I decided to test out my new tool by making cupcake toppers by layering various sizes and colors of paper circles. I gathered my materials (including my Martha Stewart Crafts Glue and Martha Stewart Crafts Cupcake Stickers) and got to work practicing my circle cutting.
The Circle Cutter comes with three blades, so that you can switch them out when they get dull. It is easy to insert the small blades into the handle using the wide plastic covers that are attached to each blade. The two-sided blades are extremely sharp, so you must be careful (obviously, this may not be the best tool for children to use).

You need a large cutting surface to work on. I used a large cutting board, but a craft mat (like this one) would probably work best. Do not cut directly on your kitchen table or desk. The blade easily cuts through even thicker paper and will scratch any surface it comes into contact with.

To begin cutting, place your paper on your work surface. I found it was easiest to cut from large pieces of paper, but if your paper is small, secure it with some tape or other adhesive. Then, place the measurement circle on top of the paper. You must hold down the outer ring of the measurement circle securely. Insert your blade into the hole that corresponds with the size of circle you would like to cut. You can cut circles from 1 inch to 5-1/2 inches, in 1/16 inch increments. I got the best results when the outer ring of the measurement circle was covering a good amount of the paper and also some of the cutting board. The trick is to hold the outer circle very securely, but to not press too hard with the blade. It takes a bit of practice to start cutting circles with perfect edges.

After some practice, I began to get some lovely circles. I just kept cutting lots and lots of circles of varying sizes so that I would have plenty to mix and match to create my cupcake toppers. Some of my first circles didn’t turn out so well and had to be trashed. Sometimes the paper shifted or the blade got caught up and I couldn’t budge it, but with practice it got easier and easier. I found that thicker paper was actually easier to cut because it didn’t get caught up in the rotation of the tool as easily as thinner papers did.

Overall, the Circle Cutter was not quite as easy to use as I was hoping, but it allows for increased versatility when compared to my previous circle cutting methods and it was quite fast once I got the hang of it. I was able to cut more than enough circles for a dozen large cupcake toppers in a short amount of time.

To finish the cupcake toppers, I glued layers of circles together in interesting color combos and then added a decorative element to the center of each. I cut a corresponding circle from patterned paper for the back of each topper, and glued them to the back of each while simultaneously gluing a toothpick in between the layers.


The end results are cute decorations for the mini cupcakes I purchased for my mom’s birthday. Fun! The Circle Cutter saved me a ton of time on this quick project and I know I will use it often in the future.

Pros:
  • Allows you to cut a wide variety of circle sizes — from 1 inch to 5-1/2 inches, in 1/16 inch increments.
  • Includes three double-sided blades.
  • Works on even very thick paper.
Cons:
  • Sharp blades may not be safe for young users.
  • Takes some practice to produce circles with perfect edges.
  • You need a large cutting surface to work on.
The Martha Stewart Crafts Circle Cutter is available online for $17.99 from the EK Success Brands website.

GIVEAWAY
The kind folks at EK Success Brands will be giving one lucky winner their very own Martha Stewart Circle Cutter. To enter, just leave a comment on one of the Vendor Spotlight: Martha Stewart Circle Cutter. Answer any one of these questions in the Comments Section right below this article on our website.

Have you used the Martha Stewart Crafts Circle Cutter? What did you think? Have you used other circle cutting methods or tools? What are your favorites?

One comment per person, per article, please. You have until Sunday, November 21st 6pm CST to enter.

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!