Monday, May 12, 2008

Coluzzle Cutting System Tips


Today, Kristina posted part 1 of 3 of a video Q & A on her blog here. It's very cool-go check it out.
One of the questions was about the Coluzzle Cutting System. I posted a couple of additional tips in the comments section to Kristina, but as I was writing, I realized there was actually a lot more info. to share about the Coluzzle. Since I've taught several Coluzzle classes at Buffalo Stamps and Stuff, I've picked up tips and techniques along the way.
I encourage you to watch Kristina's video, as I won't be repeating info. that she shared, with one exception:

Kristina did mention that you have to use the Coluzzle cutting mat with the template and knife. I just want to re-iterate this, as it is imperative that you use a coluzzle cutting mat with this system. Your regular cutting mat will not work. i have had people tell me that they threw the mat away when they opened the package because it looks like packaging material. It does. it is just a thick foam mat, but that is what you need to use with this system.

Here are a few other tips that either expand on what Kristina said or that she didn't mention:

The Coluzzle Cutting system is a circle cutting system, but it is not limited to circles. the beauty of the Coluzzle system is that the nested templates cut down on so much cost and storage space. The nested templates are compact, lightweight, and inexpensive. The templates are available in a wide variety of shapes and Alphabets. They are very versatile. Stampin Up! offers the templates in the nested circle and oval shapes, which really encompass quite a bit of your needs as a card maker. However, there are envelope templates, alphabets, flowers, file folders, specialty cards templates and many others that are a much more affordable option to die cuts.

Here are some tips you need to know when using the coluzzle cutting system:

TIP 1. **It is very important to make sure you are holding the coluzzle knife straight up and down the entire time while cutting.**

It is one of the biggest mistakes that people make, and it can mean the difference between frustration and success while cutting with the coluzzle.

I usually tell people to make sure hold the knife straight up and down, and not at an angle as you would an exacto knife, then just glide the knife around the track. Let the knife do the cutting and the turning for you. Don't worry about trying to turn around rounded corners. If you are holding the knife straight up and down and gently gliding around the track, it should do the turning for you.

**if the corners on the template you are using are not rounded, but rather are right angle corners, then you will need to lift your knife out of the track and re-insert it into the next channel.

Template with rounded corners:

Template with right angle corners:

Tip 2. **make sure you are using a sharp blade, and that it is not nicked or broken at the tip**

I have had customers bring cutting knives with broken tips to class and ask why they are having trouble cutting. If the blade is broken, nicked, or dull, it will either tear up your card stock or your template, and you will wind up frustrated and discouraged.

Tip 3. **Always make sure that you start with the point of the knife tip inserted in the track pointing away from the direction you are cutting. That is, make sure the blade side of the knife is being drawn along the paper as you cut, and that you are not trying to push the dull edge of the knife through the paper.

Tip 4. **Make sure you have peeled off all of the protective coating from both sides of your brand new template before you begin cutting. This is a common mistake that many people make. Sometimes people don't realize that the coating is on there and needs to be peeled off. Other times, they only peel it off from one side. Either way, if it is not peeled off, it can interfere with a successful smooth cut when using the template.

How can you tell if the protective coating has been fully removed? Simple. Look at the template. If it looks hazy or cloudy or has a "frosted" look to it, then the coating needs to be peeled away. Once it is all off, your template should be crystal clear.

Lastly- some people with mark the tracks on their nested templates so it is easy to see what track you are using, or remember what track you used on a particular project for next time. There are several ways to do it. A couple that I have seen:

•use a sharpie marker to number the tracks from inside to outside.
•use different colored sharpie markers to trace around each track to color code them.

This will not affect the cutting system at all, and should not leave any marks on your paper. I usually mark on the top of my template and make sure the top side is up when cutting anyway. if you want to change the marks, 91% alcohol or stazon cleaner will take the sharpie right off.

Hopefully this info. will be of help to someone.

I think I will try to post some pictures as well, to help clarify a couple of things I was trying to explain.

Have fun with your coluzzle!


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