One Subject and Two Different Art Mediums

Sometime last year I created two beach sketches. One was a watercolor sketch in my watercolor journal. The other was a pen & ink sketch created in a different art journal.

This year, I thought it would be fun to create another one. This time I used one sketch book to create the two art samples.

Here’s a side-by-side view using the two different mediums.

The left side was created using my fountain pens and inks. The right side was created using my watercolor pans of colors.

I have several watercolor palettes in my collection and I chose a palette where I thought the colors would be similar to the fountain pen inks I used. During my watercolor session, it was amazing to see how close I could capture the colors I used in my pen & ink sketch.

My pen & ink sketch took less than an hour to create. I used three layers to build up the colors and contrast.

My watercolor sketch took a few hours to create. I started with the lightest colors first and built each layer using a darker color. I also had to wait for each layer to dry completely before I could paint additional colors. That is why it took so long to finish this piece.

I love working with this watercolor paper. It can handle the brush strokes and all the water I lay down on this paper. There is hardly any paper buckling and no bleed through on the back side of the paper.

Pens: Platinum Preppy in 02 (extra fine nib) with Carbon ink. TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs

Inks: Diamine Candle Light, Vintage Copper, & Black Ivy. Robert Oster Thunderstorm

Watercolor Paints: Art Philosophy Confections Palette: Apple, White Mocha, Pistachio Cream, mix of Blackberry and Pecan (grays), and a mixture of Key Lime and Blueberry (teal)

Journal: Franklin-Christoph Watercolor VN

Journal Cover: Franklin-Christoph Vagabond NWF

My BUJO (Bullet Journal)

I have a BUJO that I use on a daily basis. I started this back in August 2020. I would do a page a day of my to-do lists, reminders to drink water, exercise, declutter, organize, run errands, etc. I would decorate each day with stickers and add thin strips of washi tape around the edges of the paper.

That lasted a week. As my days got busier, I had less time for decorating. My detailed lists became brief and shorter.

As time went on, I continued to create my daily pages and tried out different formats that made more sense to me and my lifestyle.

My monthly calendar page changed from pre-printed calendars to a two page spread that I drew out with my fountain pens and inks.

My daily pages were a waste of space and I was able to come up with another configuration of putting all seven days across a two page spread. That made a huge difference in my ability to see the whole week at a time.

It was back in early 2021 that I started this monthly and weekly configuration you see here from the two pictures. As I have limited space, no stickers or washi tapes are used. I might occasionally sneak in a sketch or two.

The little red cups I sketched out are reminders to drink water throughout the morning and afternoon.

I also record the weather outside (sunny, cloudy, rainy) and the temperature for the day. This activity allows me to do a bit of sketching in my daily BUJO.

My Stalogy journal holds a lot of pages and can get chunky as a result of all the washi tape and sticker applications. It’s a lovely journal I can leave open on my desk and the pages lay flat.

Pens: TWSBI Swipe in Pear Green with Stub 1.1 nib. Narwhal Voyage in New Orleans with Fine nib. Pilot Prera Red with Calligraphy Medium (CM) nib.

Inks: Colorverse Brane. Jacques Herbin Vert Atlantide. Diamine Pink Glitz.

Journal: Stalogy 365 Editor in B6 with Navie Travels Journal cover

It’s Fude Nib Time!

A little over two years ago my friend “M” sent me a package. Inside was a gorgeous and ornate fountain pen.

My initial thoughts on this pen was how wet and how broad this fude nib was! At that time I was into Extra Fine and Fine nib fountain pens. As you can imagine I was thrilled, but also a bit curious about this nib.

The Fude nib or bent nib

I’ve inked and tried this pen a few times. Initially, I found the pen to be quite slender. I think this is the skinniest fountain pen I have in my collection.

Platinum Prefounte, Duke Ruby, & Platinum Preppy

The pen weighs about 35 grams. The cap and body appears to be made of brass with a black lacquer finish. It’s a snap-cap pen which I prefer to use for my artwork as I can quickly remove the cap and start sketching.

It took some time for me to really appreciate what a fude nib can do. I follow a few artists on their creative adventures and found they keep a fude nib pen in their art bag.

With renewed interest, I pulled out my Duke pen and filled it with Smokescreen. I was feeling a bit creative and wanted to use this fountain pen to sketch with. I left my pencils and permanent fine tip pens on my studio desk. I went outside with my sketchbook and my fude fountain pen filled with ink and started sketching.

It took me about 15 minutes to complete this piece. This turned out to be a loose sketch as the Smokescreen ink with the fude nib had no issues laying down color on my paper. I literally went with the flow in my sketch.

I’m enjoying the broad strokes this pen creates. The line thickness reminds me of my TWSBI stub nibs. This pen can also create fine lines when I hold the pen between 45 to 90 degrees over the paper. The line is even finer when I turn the nib upside down and write with it.

Here’s my writing sample and a look at the different line variations this pen can produce.

At around a 40 degree angle or less, the line width reminds me of a Stub 1.1 nib. At 45 degrees and higher, the line width gets narrower and close to a Fine nib. At a slightly less than 90 degree angle, the line reminds me of an Extra Fine nib. When I turn the nib upside down, it produces a consistent and slightly narrower Extra Fine line.

There is a learning curve to handling this pen. For me, I had to be cognizant of how I was holding the pen in my hand. For sketching, I found if I held the pen like a paint brush (around the top of the section) I could control the stroke sizes easier. The key here was holding the pen loosely. The other thing I had to think about is what angle the pen & nib was over the paper. Did I want to create a broad stroke or a fine line? After a few inky refills and some practice sessions, I finally became one with this pen.

Overall, this is a smooth nib to write and sketch with. It’s a sturdy nib and well made. The smooth grip area has a slightly textured feel that I hardly notice in my hand. It does keep my fingers from sliding down the section.

Now that I understand the Fude nib’s capabilities, I’m having a blast sketching and writing with this pen.

The decorative filigree and a man-made ruby bling on the cap

Thank you “M” for introducing me to this wonderful and gorgeous fountain pen. Sorry it took so long for me to really appreciate how well this pen sketches and writes.

Note: I have an inexpensive Sailor Fude nib pen arriving soon. I am looking forward to seeing how this light weight pen performs in my sketching adventures and how it compares to the Duke Fude pen. Stay tuned!

Pen: Duke Ruby with Fude nib

Ink: Robert Oster Smokescreen

Paper: Rhodia

Journal: Canson Artist Mixed Media sketchbook

A Simple House Sketch

When I saw a picture of a house with an interesting roof tile, I thought it would be too challenging to sketch and so I put the picture in the bottom of my pile to sketch later. Something was telling me to just roll up my sleeve and create the sketch. I often remind myself to push away the negative thoughts and self doubts and just do it. I’m sure I’m not the only that goes through this.

One key point I mention in my pen & ink workshop is not to compare your artistic skills with someone else. Many years ago, I used to struggle with this. I would see a watercolor painting and say to myself I want to paint just like that artist. Weeks later I would struggle, be disappointed, and stop painting.

When I started using fountains pens as a tool to create my artwork, I found an artistic style that was unique to me. With each new challenge I tackled, I gained much more experience and comfort to the way I sketched.

I was taken back at how simple it was to sketch the basic lines. I started with a rough sketch using with my pencil. I used my Copic pens to sketch over my pencil lines and areas I wanted to define. The remaining lines were erased.

The fun part of my sketching process is figuring out what inky colors I will use. I currently have a dozen TWSBI GOs filled with various ink colors. I make sure to have a color variety that includes reds, blues, yellows and other colors that fall in between.

As I apply my ink to paper, I’m constantly reminding myself to leave enough white space (paper). I’m also reminding myself to add darker colors for contrast and to add more depth.

I plan on recreating this sketch within the next three months to see how much my artistic style has changed.

Pens: Copic Multiliner SP 0.7mm and 0.1mm. TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs.

Inks: Van Dieman’s Ink Morning Frost. Colorverse Brane (glistening). Robert Oster Thunderstorm. Diamine Vintage Copper and Winter Spice.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha 5.5″ x 8.5″.

Decorating My Art Journal

Several blog posts ago, I mentioned that my black chunky pocket art journal had a bare cover. It’s been bothering me. All of my other art journals have some sort of personalization in the form of stickers of my artwork or some vinyl designs.

I attempted to use my Cricut Joy (mini) to cut out some small vinyl designs, but was having a problem with it my since the last Cricut updates. I can make a bluetooth connection, but after 2-4 minutes I would lose connectivity. It’s an absolute pain when the Joy is in the middle of cutting and it loses connectivity. I’ve had a few vinyls that were cut on the wonky side or unplanned cuts into the middle of the designs. I hope the next Cricut updates will fix this connectivity issue with my Joy as I had this similar issue late last year. It’s really disheartening when I can’t use my cute little Cricut Joy.

I ended up using my reliable Cricut Maker to cut my vinyl decals. Using my huge 12″x12″ mat for my small 2″x4″ vinyl pieces was a bit of an overkill, but it worked flawlessly.

Did I mention how much I love my Maker?! It’s a wonderful machine to use and works brilliantly. Okay, back to decorating my journal cover.

I wanted to dedicate this chunky journal for my pen & ink art sketches. I have a bad habit of reaching for the nearest art journal and start doing my artsy thing and hours later realize that I did a watercolor sketch in my pen & ink journal or vice versa.

I created my design (text & images) in the Cricut Design Space software. I ended up with 5 layers or 5 basic project cuts as I was using different vinyl types and colors. In the following picture, I used my transfer tape to add the vinyl letters (first cut project).

I slowly peel off the transfer tape (at an angle) from my journal cover.

I was so excited about decorating/applying my vinyls and was not paying attention to what I was suppose to be doing. I centered my title on the cover and forgot I was suppose to add a fountain pen vinyl image next to it. Good thing I will be adding some other colorful images to my cover. Maybe no one will notice.

When I was designing my cover in the Cricut software, I forgot to straighten my fountain pen image before cutting the vinyl for it. This represented my second project cut. I took my transfer tape and lined it up parallel with my fountain pen vinyl and removed it from the vinyl backing paper.

It made it easier to position and apply the fountain pen vinyl design onto my journal cover.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to photograph and share pictures of my transfer tape in this blog post. You can see it’s looking a bit abused and had lots of lint stuck to it. I’ve been using this same piece of tape for several projects now and it still has quite a bit of tacky adhesive on it.

I wanted to add some splash of colors to my black journal cover. I cut out some ink splat images (project cut 3, 4 & 5) in different sizes using my metallic vinyl. The vinyl colors reminded me of Diamine Vintage Copper, Subzero, and Pink Ice.

Check out my chunky art journal! My cover no longer looks plain and I can easily identify the use for my pen & ink sketches.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha Hardcover (4″x6″)

Vinyl Cutter: Cricut Maker

Vinyls used:

  • Pen & Ink lettering (Premium Textured Metallic Vinyl in Bronze)
  • Fountain Pen (Premium Textured Metallic Vinyl in Champagne)
  • Ink Splats (Paper Studio Removable Vinyl in Metallic Blue, Metallic Pink, and Metallic Copper)

A Simple Building Sketch

Oh my! I completed only one blog post for the whole month of February. I blame this blog-silence on my creativity. My creativity tends to come and go. Right now it has been going full force and I’m having a blast with it. I’ve been creating my pen & ink art on a daily basis. Some days I’m creating practice sketches and most days I’m creating real artwork. I’m in a happy state of mind.

I’m now finding some time to blog again and I’ve noticed my writing skills are a bit lacking. Bear with me as I try to remember how to write and punctuate my sentences correctly. I’m sure all of this will come back to me. Like riding a bicycle, right?

As I mentioned before I’ve been focusing on my pen & ink sketches and techniques. I’ve been working in two of my Stillman & Birn Alpha journals. The larger one is a soft cover in a size A5 (5.5″x8.5″) and I covered it with a few of my stickers I created using my Cricut Maker. The smaller black journal has a hardbound cover in a size 4″x6″. It’s a chunky pocket size journal and as you can see I have yet to decorate the cover.

I’ve been using my smaller journal for quick sketches and for sketching smaller objects. Also I’m using it to test new sketches or techniques. It’s so nice to work on smaller paper with immediate gratification.

A few weeks ago I made a transition from sketching gnomes to sketching buildings. I’ve been wanting to learn something new and “Urban Sketching” kept appearing on my radar. Actually, I’ve been wanting to do this type of sketching, but chickened out as I was not ready to sit outside and sketch buildings or sit in a coffee shop and sketch the surroundings. I was not ready to sit and sketch in public. For now, I’ve been practicing by sketching from photos.

I’m a decent sketcher when it comes to objects that sit on a table or desk. Like what I have for breakfast, my fountain pens, gnomes (from my mind), shells, flowers, etc. This is all good until I get bored. This is why I’m jumping on the Urban Sketching band wagon. Broadening my horizons. Learning something new and most importantly challenging myself.

I’ve attempted to sketch buildings and sometimes they come out wonky or flat looking. I hope to change that with lots of practice. Here’s my sketch of a simple building using my Copic Multiliner SP markers in 0.5 and 0.1.

I decided to use only two fountain pen ink colors in this pen & ink sketch. Black Ivy is turning out to be a new favorite color for me. You can see in my swatch how the ink starts out as a dark color with a red sheen and when I apply water to the ink it turns into this lovely green color.

I built up the layers of colors. At some point my paper started to buckle from the multiple layers I added.

My small journal sat on my desk for a few hours and the paper eventually settled down and flattened itself.

I enjoy using this journal and paper for my pen & ink art. It’s somewhat durable and accepts the many layers of colors I lay down. The only time I’ve had any bleed through was when I was “scrubbing” the paper with my water brush a bit too much. Other than that, I’ve been quite happy with this journal brand.

I’ll be back to share more sketches.

Pens used: TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs. Copic Multiliner SP in 0.5mm and 0.1mm.

Inks: Diamine Black Ivy (Red Inkvent Calendar). Robert Oster Thunderstorm.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha Hardcover (4″x6″) 150 gsm.

Using a Fine Liner Pen in My Pen & Ink Sketches

As a few of you know, I enjoy using my Platinum Preppy (02) with Platinum Carbon ink to create my initial pen & ink sketches. I was struggling a bit and recently had a fall-out-of-love feeling with my Preppy. I found my Preppy fountain pen a bit too sharp to use on my Stillman & Birn Journal paper. I was not able to create some fine, continuous, and clean lines on my slightly textured art paper.

I dug around in my art drawers looking for a “pen” with permanent ink. I have a bunch of Sakura Microns, but they have brush tips that I used for my calligraphy. I finally came across a Faber-Castell PITT artist pen I had purchased several years ago. I was amazed that this pen still had some ink and I was able to do a few sketches including this gnome.

In the above sketch, I used my PITT fine liner pen with black ink to sketch the outline of my gnome. I also used the pen to add in some lines in the gnome’s beard. Sadly when the ink ran out of my PITT pen I had to dispose of it.

I watched a few art lessons and saw an interesting art pen other artists used for their sketches. This particular fine liner pen uses pigment ink and is waterproof. It’s the Copic Multiliner SP and it’s made in Japan.

This pen comes in 10 different nib sizes including a brush nib. The sizes start from a very, very fine 0.03mm to a 0.7mm line size. It took me awhile to figure out which nib size to get and I ended up getting three different pens in 0.1, 0.3, & 0.5 nib sizes. Copic also carries their Multiliner SP pens in a 10-pen set with all the different sizes one could need to sketch with.

Once my pens arrived I could not wait to try them out. I did a writing sample to compare the different the nib sizes. Initially, the 0.3 and 0.5 nibs appear to write very similar on my paper. When I looked at the nibs close up, I could see the 0.3 nib was slightly smaller than the 0.5 nib.

I can definitely see the 0.1 nib writes extremely fine compared to the other two sizes I have. Depending on the paper I use, my Copic pen with 0.1 nib makes a tiny noise when I sketch with it. Maybe I need to lighten my grip on the pen and put less pressure on the paper. I’ve read a few comments where other artists mention how delicate the finer nibs are especially the 0.03 and 0.05 nibs. My pen with 0.1 nib might fall into this category.

Here’s a close up picture of the Copic nibs. You can definitely see how delicate the 0.1mm nib is. The 0.5 and the 0.3 nibs are very close in size, but you can see a slight difference.

The nibs: 0.5mm, 0.3mm, and 0.1mm

Here’s my colorful gnome sketch where I used my Copic Multiliner SP to draw the outline of the gnome and a few lines around the beard.

I used my 0.1mm pen to outline the beard.

Here’s a pen & ink sketch of my fountain pen using my Platinum Preppy to create the outline of sketch. Notice the broken lines on the paper (left side) and in my fountain pen sketch.

The Copic Multiliner SP pens have an aluminum body. It’s lightweight and feels good in my hand. You will notice that I have been calling the Copic pen’s tip…a nib. That’s because the nibs are replaceable and can be pulled out of the pen. That is so cool! The ink inside the aluminum body contains a black ink cartridge that can also be replaced. When the ink runs out all I need to do is pull out the cartridge and put in a new one. I saw the spare nibs and ink cartridges are available online. It will be interesting to see if my local art shop carries them as well.

I can now say I’m a Copic Multiliner SP fan. I like the clean lines this pen creates on the various art papers I use. It’s a pigment ink pen. The ink is water- and Copic-proof meaning it will not smear when water or other Copic alcohol-based pens are used to draw over this ink. I like the idea I can replace or swap around the different size nibs. I also like the ability to replace the black ink cartridge when needed.

Fountain Pens: Lamy 2000 Makrolon with EF nib. TWSBI Swipe Salmon with Stub 1.1 nib. TWSBI GOs with Stub 1.1 nibs. Platinum Preppy with 02 nib.

Fine Liner Pens: Faber-Castell PITT artist pen in size S with black Indian ink. Copic Multiliner SP in sizes 0.1, 0.3, & 0.5 with black pigment ink.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha Hardbound (4″x6″)

Year End Thoughts for 2021

So I ran out of time to do a pictorial collage of all the things I was involved in this year. One could say I was all over the place. Sometimes the mood or an idea would hit me and I would switch gears on the fly. This month had been an extremely busy time for me as I had to take care of year end tasks and long to-do-lists . I also had 30+ blog post entries for the month of December. Yes, I had a lot of inks to chat about as well as share a few pieces of my artwork.

I started the year creating lots of pen & ink artwork. That was mostly because I had too many fountain pens filled with shimmering inks and I had the overwhelming urge to just sketch with my fountain pens. It also helped that I sketched my pens dry. Used up more ink!

I also entered an art contest over at Pen Chalet. I received honorable mention for my Sedona sketch using the three Robert Oster Exclusive Pen Chalet ink colors: Sedona Red, Saguaro Green, and Monsoon Sky. They used my artwork to create some stickers.

I also started 2021 with a lovely Benu Euphoria called Bora Bora that Hubby gave me for a Christmas present at the end of 2020. I also ventured into and acquired a few unique fountain pens made by a few boutique pen turners.

I played around with pointed pen calligraphy and tried out different flex nibs. I attempted to do my daily calligraphy practice until I got bored. This hobby likes to come and go throughout the year.

I did a few reviews on fountain pens (Esterbrook, Franklin-Christoph, Pilot, Opus88, SchonDSGN, Maiora), inks (Vinta Inks, Birmingham Pen Co, Private Reserve, Rohrer & Klingner, Van Dieman’s), papers and journals, graphite pencil holders, watercolor paints, paint palettes, carrying cases/pouches, and art tools that caught my interest.

Let’s not forget my fiber arts where I remembered to squeeze my yarns and fabrics as they were feeling neglected from the lack of attention. This was the result of having too many hobbies and therefore no blog posts were created in this area.

I was invited to teach a pen & ink wash workshop at the DC Pen Show. The one workshop turned into three workshops. I felt blessed to be able to share what I know about fountain pens and inks and how to create art with these tools. Oh and use up more ink! 😂

I had some time to get back into my Cricut hobby. I created lots of stickers of my artwork, personalized many water containers, mugs, coasters, journals, and accessories. I also ventured into engraving acrylic (future blog post).

In my artwork, I tend to see too many details and want to sketch everything I see. I made an effort this year to practice sketching loosely and quickly. I just focused on the main shapes and what was important to show on paper. This way of sketching is something I’ve always wanted to do well with and this will take me into another adventure in the new year.

Here is my last artwork for 2021. This morning I spent a few minutes with “drawing my day” or DMD which I will refer to in my future blog posts. My theme for this morning was what I had for breakfast. My hope is to do a daily sketch of my day. Practice sketching techniques and develop my muscle memory. Fill up a page or two. Write a description. Tell a story.

Pens: Turnt Pen Co Pynchon in Primary Manipulation 4 (F-C Fine nib) and Peacock (Esterbrook Medium nib). Lamy 2000 in Makrolon with Extra Fine nib.

Inks: Rober Oster Thunderstorm. Diamine: Seize the Night, Winter Spice, Candle Light, Party Time, & All the Best. Van Dieman’s Ink: Morning Mist, Parrot Fish, and Devil’s Kitchen.

Journal: Stillman & Birn Alpha

Journal Cover: Lochby Field Journal

The 25 Days of Daily Inky Madness

I might have mentioned before that this was my first attempt at doing a daily ink post on my blog. Was I feeling a bit excited and overwhelmed at the same time? Yes! At first, it felt like an unknown adventure was going to take place for 25 days in December. In the back of my mind, I was concerned if I would be able to commit and finish this daily ink project.

During the Thanksgiving holiday, I started to think about a process of what I was going to do when I opened each new bottle. I knew I would keep my current ink swatching process. I would have to add a writing sample and I had to come up with a theme. I chose to write down Christmas songs in one of my journals.

Next thing I knew I had to include daily sketches to show off the ink’s characteristics. What was my theme for my daily sketches? A round ornament.

I also decided to create a large sketch to incorporate all 25 ink colors! Add a color a day to the sketch. I decided a wreath would be a good choice. I had no clue what the wreath would look like and decided to go with the flow. I’ve included a picture of this wreath in my previous post.

Initially, it took me five days to figure out my process and get into a rhythm. Open a new bottle. Fill a pen or use my glass dip pen. Create my swatch card. Create my writing sample. Create my ink wash ornament. Add a sketch to my wreath. Clean my glass dip pen (if used) and my automatic pen. If I filled one of my fountain pens with ink, I added an entry into my Ink Journal along with pen name & nib size, ink name, and the date I filled my pen.

Included in this process were the many pictures I had to take for each bottle of ink I opened. Also I had to check and make sure the ink colors were close to accurate before I posted my daily blog entry.

Well before I reached the halfway mark in the calendar, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. My friend “M”mentioned I was “obligated to finish. You can’t quit 10 days in. REVOLT!” Hahaha! While “M’s” comment lingered in my head, I continued to march on.

I mentioned in a previous post that I ended up opening two to three bottles of ink a few days earlier in order to stay ahead. That turned out to be a game changer for me as I had so many other projects grabbing for my time and attention. I was able to set aside a block of time and focus on each ink color and inky characteristics.

Some ink colors took a bit longer for me to write about. Their inky swatches required me to grab all of my other ink swatches and compare colors. A few ink colors had me stumped and I had to use my watercolor swatches to check the color range. Brandy Snap was one of those colors. The color Sienna kept popping into my head and I knew it was in a similar color range.

There were teal and turquoise colors that were very close. It wasn’t until I pulled out my other swatch cards that I could see whether the color in question was leaning more towards blue or more towards green.

This inky experience turned out to be a fun journey for me. I’m glad I took this leap into an unknown adventure and found a fondness and love for the new inks I have. It was definitely time well spent and I enjoyed getting to know each ink’s characteristics.

For those of you following my daily Inkvent blog posts I want to say “thank you” for following along and absorbing all this inky information. I hope you found it helpful and maybe take a second look at the beautiful ink colors. I hope Diamine will produce the larger bottles in the near future as they did with their blue version of the Inkvent calendar from 2019.

In my daily posts I had created the ornament pen & ink wash sketch for each ink color. The ornaments became part of my Christmas tree sketch.

Thank you for following along in my 25 days of inky madness.

Inks: Diamine 2021 Inkvent Calendar

My Cricut World

There’s another hobby I’ve been experimenting with that involves a bit of designing. When I’m not playing with my fountain pens and inks or watercolor paints, I’m spending time with my Cricut machine.

Last year I started out with the cute little Cricut Joy. I used mine mainly for cutting small pieces of vinyls, but many folks used it for cutting fancy cards. I initially purchased about four rolls of the Cricut Joy Smart Vinyl to get familiar with their removable and permanent vinyls. Their Joy Smart Vinyls can be used without a mat and loads nicely into the Joy.

I immediately graduated to the larger and wider rolls of vinyl (save $) and learned to cut and trim my own vinyl pieces to avoid waste. I used my compact Fiskars trimmer to cut my vinyl pieces. This was a valuable tool to have especially when I needed to trim pieces accurately and trimmed the edges straight. The straight edges allowed me to line up and place the vinyl onto my mat.

My Fiskars SureCut with TripleTrack rail system and Titanium coated blade

I never had the need to purchase the Cricut subscription. I already have experience with using Photoshop and Illustrator. It was easier for me to create, edit, or clean up designs and uploaded them into Cricut’s software called Design Space.

I definitely fell into the vinyl cutting rabbit hole.

A few months ago, I bought a Cricut Maker on sale. Basically I graduated to a bigger machine that could do so much more. Compared to my Joy, the Maker is a huge machine. It’s wider and heavier. It took me awhile to get used to my Maker as the mat (12″x12″) is much larger than the one used with my Cricut Joy (4.5″x6.5″).

With my new Maker, I wanted to create my own stickers. I tried out different printable vinyl papers and created stickers of my artwork.

I’ve been busy cutting vinyl for Christmas gifts. I’m not able to post pictures of them right now, but I will share some other projects I’ve been working on.

Recent Projects:

Here’s my Cricut Maker cutting out a design on one of my favorite textured vinyl.

After this fancy vinyl is cut, you can barely see the design.

Once I adjusted the angle of my desk light, you can now see the image that was cut.

I prefer not to waste my favorite vinyl. You can see from the pieces (below) there’s more than an inch of vinyl that can be reused for smaller projects.

I trimmed my cut vinyl pieces down with my Fiskar trimmer and make sure I do not cut into the design.

Here are the leftover pieces that can be reused for future projects.

Now I’m ready to weed my vinyl. For my initial weeding process I removed what I call the main background.

Some intricate designs required additional weeding. Here I removed the vinyl from inside of the turtle design.

There might be an opportunity to reuse the weeded out vinyl. I grabbed an old backing sheet and placed the discarded portion of the vinyl for future reuse. You can see the hibiscus flower on the turtle’s body (right) was just too pretty to throw away.

Here’s a picture of my discarded vinyl pieces from my weeding process. This went into the trash.

The next step was to apply the transfer sheet over my vinyl designs. I used my squeegee scraper and scraped the transfer sheet down over my vinyl design. The white sheet of paper shown below is my parchment paper. It’s amazing that my transfer sheet and vinyl does not stick to this paper at all.

I also used my squeegee to scrape the backside of my vinyl or backing paper. I then carefully and slowly peeled away the backing paper from the transfer sheet and vinyl. You can see from the following picture that I pulled from a sharp angle versus pulling straight up. This is an important tip I’ve learned and have not had any issues.

For the next step I needed to clean the surface of my metal mug before I applied the vinyl.

I used rubbing alcohol on a cotton pad and cleaned the surface. Here’s my plastic container I picked up from the Dollar Tree. Underneath the lid is a pump-like surface where I place my cotton pad and press down for the alcohol to come up and wet the pad. Yes, I had to add a vinyl label. Isn’t it cute?!

Once my mug had dried, I placed my vinyl and transfer sheet over my mug. I also placed a piece of parchment paper on either side of my vinyl to protect the vinyl designs I already had on either side of my mug.

I used my squeegee to scrape down the vinyl onto my mug.

I gently pulled the transfer sheet away.

Another tip I learned was the ability to reuse my transfer sheets. I placed it on the backing paper it came off of.

I used a piece of parchment paper to cover the vinyl and gave my mug a good scrape to make sure the vinyl stayed in place.

Here’s my hibiscus turtle.

I also added one to my hubby’s mug.

Here’s a design I used on my hubby’s water bottle.

I added another vinyl for a pop of color.

I will typically let the vinyl cure for about 3 days before using my mug/bottle.

Cricut Machine: Cricut Maker using Premium Textured Metallic material setting

Vinyl: Cricut Premium Vinyl Textured Metallic Permanent Glossy

Transfer Sheet: Cricut Strong Grip

Mat: Cricut Light Grip