Friday, May 24, 2013

A Look Inside My Animal World

To most people, animal cut out cards are just that...cut outs done by a machine and slapped together.  To me, it's entirely different.  They each have their own personality and I love trying to think of new ways to present them.  Each animal card is made with a lot of time, thought and love.

When I first started making animal cards, all I did was cut them out, gave them a premade envelope and called it good.  They were great that way, but I wanted more.  I wanted my customer's to get the "whole package" (minus the pen...), so that's what I did.  It was just that important to me.  

So, what that translated into was this:  I needed to make the best looking card, hand make my own envelopes, line them and make a smaller animal into a sticker (because kids LOVE stickers)!  And yes, make sure that the packaging was perfect.  Every one of my cards comes in a plastic sleeve, the sticker included.  (I guess that'll be another blog entry...)

Each animal card I make is made with a lot of thought to color combinations and what embellishments would make the card stand out from others who are making the same kind of card.  Some come with a big bow, some with flowers and others are just fine left plain.  Some are dimensional while others are best left just glued together.  I try different patterned paper on some while others I just use plain solid colored paper.  Some animals are colorful, meaning, not what you would find out in the wild, while others I tried to keep truer to their real life colors.  And, well, sometimes I just make both!

The process to make the animal cards starts right here.  This is my craft area / spare bedroom / and command center.

I have two Cricut cutting machines, an embosser, paper scorer, several paper cutters, a sticker making machine, loads of embossing folders and die cuts and most importantly, TONS of paper!

Even though I own TONS of paper, that is the one thing I find I need to restock at least once every couple of months.

The process is fairly simple.  Select the animal to make, lay the card stock out onto the cutting mat, turn on the Cricut machine, select the size the animal is to be, insert the mat into the machine, and then cut it out.  Each animal has anywhere from 3 to 5 layers.  So, with each animal, I am cutting out several different shapes to create the entire animal.  Lots of cuts!  And then there are the tiny animal stickers...well, I'll get to that in a minute.  That's a whole other thing.

So, take a look at what it looks like sometimes when I am busy making a lot at once.  These are the tiny animal stickers.  Same exact process as the card, just A LOT SMALLER and the pieces are much harder to assemble.  I ended up having to buy what I call a "picker-upper" because the pieces are so small.  And believe you me, the smaller they are, the harder it is to glue and not get glue all over the rest of the animal!  And, then there's the other problem, where sometimes the pieces "go missing" and I have to cut more.  That's when I came up with the process of keeping all the same animal pieces in exactly the order they are cut out at and in what direction they go too.  Yes, there actually are certain pieces that only together in one way.  Found that out several times...LOL  It's a challenge sometimes, but the end result is just the cutest little animal stickers!!

So, after all the cutting and assembling and gluing are done, this is what I get:  

After the animal stickers are all assembled, it's time to run them through the sticker making machine.  This is very easy to do, but the sticker refills are a very costly thing, so I usually only make them into stickers when I have an order.  After they come out of the machine, I have to run a pencil around the outside edge of the animal, then peel away the top layer.  I then cut them to size and put them into a plastic sleeve.

So, now you have a little better idea of what it's like in my animal world!  I love making these cards...they're such fun and as I said before, they each have their own unique personality.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.  Hope you enjoyed it.  Please check out all my cards at