Supply Stash Saturday: Creating Craft Supplies with Cricut Explore

I’ve found most crafters love collecting supplies.  The truth is, the more you craft, make and create art, the more supplies you find yourself needing. The problem is those supplies can get expensive, especially with the holidays right around the corner.  That’s when it’s time to get super creative and come up with ways to use what you have to create what you need.  Identify some of your most versatile tools, and discover what exactly you may be able to create that you might normally just go and buy.  This week I want to talk about the Cricut Explore cutting machine.  If you don’t have a cutting machine like the Cricut or Silhouette, you could also use a traditional die cut machine like the Big Shot or Vagabond, although you would need to have the right dies or invest in them.

So just what have I found I can stop buying and make myself?

My favorite is craft tags. Ranger sells three sizes of craft tags, #5 which is 4 3/4  x 2 3/8  , #8 which is 6 1/4 x 3 1/8”,  #10 which is 4 1/8 x 8 1/2” and recently added #12 a 5.13 x 10.5” giant tag. If you are a fan of Tim Holtz, you know all about what you can do with craft tags. They are also great embellishments for handmade cards.  When I pay between $4 and $7 for 10 or 20 tags, I found myself hoarding them. I never just played around with ideas that may or may not work out because the thought of wasting a tag was too painful.  That changed when I got my Cricut Explore. There are tons of cut files for tags in the Cricut Design Space library. If you subscribe to Access like I do, most of them are free.  If you don’t, purchasing the cut file for the tag you prefer will most likely only cost you 99 cents and you can use it over and over again.  You could also create a tag image in a program like photoshop with a transparent background and upload it to Design Space for no cost at all.

Once I had chosen my tag, I simply duplicated it four times and resized them to match the Ranger sizes.  I tend to cut one size at a time, so I simply hide the three tags I’m not cutting and then cut multiples changing the number on my mat screen.  I most often cut tags from my Pacon manila tagboard (heavy card stock weight) which is your traditional creamy tag color, but the cool thing is I can cut them from just about anything.  I’ve used Kraft card stock, 140 lb. Watercolor paper, 100 lb. Bristol and even heavy weight chipboard.  Anything you can cut with the Cricut can become a tag. (I’m desperately searching my supplies for a sheet of cork I know I have somewhere. Cork tags would be so cool.)

It’s pretty awesome to have a never ending supply of tags and it’s really freed me up so that I experiment more with designs and techniques since I don’t feel I have to hoard them for perfection. I’ve even created a super sized tag that I use with my Julie Nutting stamps.

My assortment of tags on a ring.

My assortment of tags on a ring.

Now for the really cool thing about creating my own crafting supplies with my Cricut.  Tags aren’t the only things I now make myself. I recently discovered that I could create a custom material and cut things that aren’t on the pre-loaded list.  I had a stencil blank and created a stencil and mask of the state of Maine. I’ve also used sticker paper (or full page labels) to create planner stickers, cut words, letters and names from cardstock and fun foam and I just saw a YouTube video about cutting foam stamps.

Of course the best part of creating your own supplies means that the money you save can be use for yummy supplies that you can’t create yourself.

Do you create your own supplies?  Share in the comments below!

About The Artful Geek Girl

Mixed Media Artist, Geek Girl and Proud Granmama.