I may not have mentioned it here yet, but I got a Silhouette for Christmas! Well, not quite Christmas, since I ordered it in early December, but whatever, it counts. I haven’t played with it much, but am LOVING it so far. My new motto is “why use scissors when you can use the Silhouette?” Which is exactly what I said to my husband when he walked into my craft room and saw me cutting out straight lines with the machine instead of by hand. But it’s more than just straight lines – it’s the fact that I can design my whole project in Silhouette Studio and do all of my measurements and drawings on a digital grid instead of messing with a ruler and a pencil. And the project? Using my new wonder machine to make custom box templates to hold all of my desk clutter!
Apparently, I have a lot of random office … stuff. There’s the stuff I already have at home, plus the stuff I brought back from the office when I left. Two boxes of stuff that I now have to incorporate into my craft room. Big things like pictures and folders I can manage, but the push pins, safety pins, paper clips, note pads, staplers, scissors, pencil fillings, pencils, highlighters, clips….you get the idea…those were giving me a headache. So it was time to dump it all out and clean it all up.
Here’s a quick before pic:
There’s no need to dwell on that too long. It’s just a lot of stuff. I have other words for it, but we’re gonna keep it PG here.
Here’s the after:
Much better, yes? Like my embroidery thread drawer and my stamp drawer, I did spend a bit of time just admiring my handiwork.
How Did I Do It?
First, I looked at all my stuff and tried to group them together in little piles. Push pins over here, all pencil fillings over here, stapler packs over there. Then I took some measurements of my drawer. This one was 13″ wide and 17″ deep. Why prime numbers? I dunno. After some scribbling and measuring, I wrote up some ideas for how big I wanted my different boxes. I have 2.5″x2.5″ cubes, a 5″x3″, a 5″x5″, and a few rectangular boxes to hold assorted writing implements. I didn’t bother with boxes for the staplers and scissors because they can stand on their own. Next up, I went a-shoppin in the Silhouette Online Store. But after a while, I decided to make my own, because I couldn’t tell if the cut files I bought could be tailored the way I wanted. (Note: I did buy a cut file from Lori Whitlock for the cubes, and expanded them to fit my needs.)
How You Can Do It Too!
Your boxes will not be the same dimensions as mine, so I don’t have a cut file for you. However, I AM going to show you how you can design your own simple lidless box for yourself. And have that Silhouette cut it out for you, no scissors needed. All you’ll need is a bit of glue.
1. First, open up Silhouette Studio, choose your paper size, turn on the Grid and choose Snap to Grid (under the View menu).
2. The picture below shows the different pieces you’ll need to assemble a box design. You’ll need to draw a rectangle with the Rectangle draw tool on the left side menu. This is the bottom of your box.
3. Create the box sides with the Line draw tool, making sure you follow the dimensions dictated by your box bottom, and choosing a height for the box sides.
4. Using the Polygon draw tool, create 4 glue flaps. They should be the same width as your box height. Make sense?
5. Pressing down the Shift key, choose the pieces that will be folded. Right click and Group them together. I also chose to give this group a dashed line style, so that when it’s cut, the lines will end up being perforated.
6. Do the same with the outline. Pressing down the Shift key, choose the pieces that make up the outline of the box, right click and group them together. These have a solid line style.
7. Load your paper and your mat into the Silhouette.
8. Go up to the right top corner and choose the Cut Style menu. Click on the outline and choose No Cut.
9. Click on the dashed lines and choose Cut. There is an option to Perforate Edge, but I chose the Cut option because my lines are already dashed, and it’ll end up with the same result.
10. Go ahead and set up your Silhouette to cut the dashed lines grouping and then cut. I chose to set my blade at a shallower depth to not cut through my cardstock, as I found that made for a sturdier box.
11. DO NOT remove the mat from the machine when the dashed lines are cut. Go back into the Cut Styles menu, set the dashed lines group to No Cut and the outline group to Cut.
12. Change your Cut Settings to the cardstock material, switch your blade depth, and then cut.
13. Once both passes are complete, you can remove the mat and peel off your box template. Fold on the semi-perforated lines and use the glue flaps to assemble the box.
Now you have the power to make whatever size box your paper will allow!