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Customize Your Mini Heidi Swapp Lightbox!

As soon as I saw the new Heidi Swapp Mini Lightbox, I knew I had to have one for my studio! I love the larger original Heidi Swapp Lightbox – my daughter has one in her room – but didn’t have the space for it in my jam packed craft room. The mini Lightbox is the perfect solution!

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Mini Heidi Swapp Lightbox

If you aren’t familiar yet with the Heidi Swapp Mini Lightbox, here’s a photo for comparison of how it looks next to the larger original Heidi Swapp Lightbox:

Heidi Swapp Lightbox Comparison

The mini box is about 2/3 of the height of the original box, and has four tracks instead of three. The smaller size is great for desks at work, tabletop displays at parties, and a variety of other applications where space is at a premium!

Like the original Lightbox, there are alphabets, words, emojis and backgrounds available for the Heidi Swapp Mini Lightbox. But see that word “Create” on my Mini Lightbox? That is a custom piece that I created!

Thanks to the availability of the Blank Mini Word Strips for the Mini Lightbox, it is easy to create your own words or design elements.

Heidi Swapp Mini Lightbox Blanks

To make this project, you just need:

The available design area on the Mini Lightbox Blank Word Strips is 1″ by 6″. To make a design, just open a file (or type a word) in your machine’s design software, and resize it to less than 1″ by 6″. Then follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cutting the vinyl, and use the transfer tape to adhere it to one of the blank word strips.

Die Cut Vinyl for Heidi Swapp Lightbox Words

By combining your die cut machine with blank word strips for Mini Lightbox, the possibilities are endless for designs! Make quotes, decorative elements like swirls, use different colors for words, or different fonts.

What do you want to make for your lightbox?

Silhouette Vinyl [Promo & Giveaway]

It’s time for more fun with Silhouette vinyl. There’s also some great deals for Craft Critique readers from Silhouette – and one lucky Craft Critique reader is going to win a Silhouette Cameo machine!

I have been wanting to redo part of the back window of my car since the Apple sticker that I put there 3 years ago had faded beyond recognition. A file I found in the Silhouette store inspired me to add something scrappy as part of my redo.

My inspiration was a file by Hero Arts called Scissors, but a search of the Silhouette store for the term “scissors” shows all sorts of fun crafty images.

I measured the Apple sticker (since I wanted to replace the worn one with a new one) to discover the height measurement that I needed to use and then opened the file in Silhouette studio. I resized it to the correct height and then placed the image in the corner to save vinyl when cutting.

Silhouette Studio screen shot Continue Reading →

Provo Craft Transfer Tape

Reported by Jessica Ripley

Every so often I run across something in a craft store that I didn’t realize I needed until I saw it. For quite awhile now, I had a supply of Provo Craft Adhesive Vinyl just waiting to be played with, but I was a little intimidated about using it. Though it came with adhesive already on the back, I wasn’t quite sure how to go about applying it to a project in the best way. Then, while perusing new vinyl colors I happened across something I hadn’t noticed before, Provo Craft’s Vinyl Transfer Tape. After a short “Ah-ha!” moment I left the store with my new find in hand.

I am so glad I did. After using it with the adhesive vinyl I’m not sure the two should ever not be used together. The instructions that come with the adhesive vinyl in fact recommend it, and there is a “For Best Results” disclaimer about using the transfer tape on the vinyl packaging, I just hadn’t noticed.

The following is my experience with using it for a wall project that I’ve long been wanting to tackle.

Step one is to simply cut the vinyl using a Cricut machine. Though I’m not reviewing the vinyl in particular I have to mention that it is very easy to work with. It comes in 12″x 24″ sheets, in an array of eye-pleasing colors that will go with just about any home decor.

Once my design was cut, I set about using the transfer tape. Like the vinyl, the transfer tape comes in 12″x 24″sheets. There are 4 sheets to a package, and they are easily trimmed using a regular paper trimmer or scissors to fit your project.

Each sheet has a grid style backing which I thought would be very helpful, until I discovered that the part of the tape you actually use doesn’t have these grid lines. I found that a little odd. I wished that the helpful grid was actually on the tape itself so I could utilize it when laying out my design. Instead the instructions say “For best results use a ruler to make sure image is straight.”

I also found it difficult to use in large pieces. When it is peeled away from its backing, it tends to curl in on itself and become stuck. Due to this I trimmed it down to a more manageable size and that worked fine, but if you wished to create one large design at once (like they show in the example photo at Provo Craft’s Website here) it might be a little tricky.


Here’s an example of how it curls in a bit, even on a smaller piece.


That aside however, the tape worked wonderfully at allowing me to arrange my vinyl pieces. If a letter was a little crooked, I could easily peel and place it again until it was just right. Without the tape, I probably would have gone through a few ruined letters by having to remove them from the wall and start again.


Once the vinyl letters were applied, the backing to their adhesive is removed. And then the design can be placed on your project (in my case a wall in our hallway).

Using the tape made it easy to move my design around until it was the way I wanted it. The sticky side doesn’t lose any adhesive as it’s being moved around, and there is no worry about damage to the paint either. It is a very gentle adhesive when stuck to a hard smooth surface like a wall or glass (but it would not work on paper, it would stay stuck!).


Once the design is finalized, you must burnish the letters onto the wall with something like a rub-on tool (one actually comes with the package of vinyl). And then the tape peels very easily away to reveal the finished project. I had no issues with the letters staying stuck to the tape instead of the wall.


The completed design:


When all was said and done I was so happy I ran across Provo Craft’s Transfer Tape in the Cricut aisle at the craft store. Could you use the adhesive vinyl without it? Well, yes, but I would highly recommend using the two together. At a MSRP of around $10.00 for 4 sheets, it’s a wise purchase in order to use the vinyl you have in the best possible way.

Pros:

  • Facilitates using adhesive vinyl in your design placement, there is less of a chance of ruining a letter and having to cut it again.
  • Doesn’t harm the project it is applied to, adhesive is just strong enough but easily removed.
  • Stays tacky after use, could probably be reused at least once, stretching your dollar even further.

Cons:

  • Large pieces can be difficult to work with. If it gets stuck to itself, it’s almost impossible to un-stick without needing a new piece.
  • I wish the grid-lines were on the actual tape, this would be very helpful in placing a design. Instead you must use a ruler to make sure your design is straight.
  • You might not know you need it until you’ve started a vinyl project! I’m hoping you read this review first.

What about you? Have you used this tape in any of your vinyl projects? Or are you now inspired to do so? Let us know what you think!

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