Friday, April 10, 2015

Rube Goldberg Machine: Pop a Balloon



How do you pop a balloon? It takes 13 steps, if you do it Rube Goldberg style. This was a super-deluxe school project that took 3 hours to set up yesterday afternoon in our garage/driveway, and the result was a very entertaining 17 seconds.

For a 4th grade project, my niece was required to create a Rube Goldberg machine that took at least 10 steps to pop a balloon. She enlisted the help of her grandpa (an engineer), who asked to use our Drenchinator 3000.  (Check out our summertime soaking contraption here.)  A Rube Goldberg machine is a "contraption, invention, device or apparatus that is deliberately over-engineered or overdone to perform a very simple task in a very complicated fashion, usually including a chain reaction." (Thanks, Wikipedia!)

Here is how to pop a balloon:

Rube Goldberg_Pop a Balloon 1

Rube Goldberg_Pop a Balloon 2

Rube Goldberg_Pop a Balloon 3

Rube Goldberg_Pop a Balloon 4

(Ignore the child; he was not part of the machine. He just wanted to feel involved during the three hours of setup time.)

Rube Goldberg_Pop a Balloon 5

Rube Goldberg_Pop a Balloon 6

Rube Goldberg_Pop a Balloon 7

Rube Goldberg_Pop a Balloon 8

Rube Goldberg_Pop a Balloon 9

Rube Goldberg_Pop a Balloon 10

A- Car travels down ramp
B- Sets off dominoes
C- Dominoes disrupt lever
D- Lever releases ball down spiral ramp
E- Ball triggers electric car, which drives along track
F- Car bumps into wooden plate
G- Wooden plate triggers ball to go down tube
H- Ball hits another ball at end of tube, which travels on ramp
I- Ball releases spring-loaded cardboard, which flips
J- Cardboard triggers mousetrap, which pulls string
K- String releases balanced chair
L- Falling chair triggers wrench to hit target on Drenchinator
M- Target arm swings to pierce water balloon
N- Added bonus with popped balloon: children below it get soaked!

(I'm sorry I wasn't able to get good still shots of the chair-wrench combination; by the time they were finishing this up and hadn't even done a test run yet, I was running late for a meeting and I also didn't want to make the crowd wait for me to take more pictures.)

We only ran this whole thing twice. Once as a test run to make sure it worked, and once for filming so the video could be submitted to the teacher. We had multiple devices capturing stills and video, and about 17 spectators.  They started right after school around 4 p.m., recorded the video shown above a little after 7 p.m., and when I got home from my meeting at 8 p.m. it was all put away.

We were all pretty excited about the successful balloon-popping Rube Goldberg machine. Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Spring Umbrella Mobile {Tutorial}

Umbrella Mobile Tutorial by Kelly Wayment

Thanks for being so patient while I put together the tutorial for this umbrella mobile featured on the Silhouette Blog last month.

The mechanics of a mobile are always the hardest part, but we'll get to that in a minute. (And not to worry; I've done all that stuff for you.) First let me tell you how I covered the umbrella with fabric.

1- I enlarged this umbrella shape to just fit on my 12” mat.  (Actual dimensions are 11.390" x 12.178", then rotated about 22 degrees.)  I cut it once from pattern paper to give the umbrella stiffness and also to show a pretty underside when looking at the mobile from below. (Cut it with the pretty side against the mat.)

2- I then cut the same shape from fabric. I cut and ironed on a 12” square of sewable fabric interfacing to a 12” square of cotton fabric and cut the umbrella again.

These are the steps I always use for cutting fabric with interfacing on my Silhouette machine:
  • Cut the interfacing exactly to size for the design on your mat (12" x 12" in this project, or see also this fabric owl pillow post).
  • Lay the interfacing (rough side) against the wrong side of a piece of fabric that is slightly larger than the interfacing.
  • Iron against the paper side of the interfacing for a few seconds so it sticks to the fabric.
  • Trim the fabric (with scissors) to the paper edge.
  • Pull off the paper backing.
  • Place the fabric, interfacing-side-down on your mat and cut the fabric design.  I use a dedicated fabric blade (can be blue or black, just make sure it's only used for fabric) and a dedicated fabric mat (optional, but an extra sticky mat is helpful for me).

Fabric umbrella
3- Once the umbrella was cut from fabric, I ironed the fabric directly to the identical paper base with the interfacing acting as the adhesive. I also stitched along the scalloped edge with a sewing machine just for a fun added detail. Don't glue the flap that closes up the umbrella shape until step 8.


On to the other pieces...

4- I chose three shapes to use and repeat on the mobile.
  • Cloud. I deleted the tiny holes at the top of one of the pieces by releasing the compound path to access them. They are individually about 1.67" tall and 3" wide, and each cloud has three pieces with slots. I cut 7 clouds out of plain white cardstock (7 x 3 = 21 individual cloud cutouts).
  • Butterfly. These are resized to approximately 2" wide. I used a pretty double-sided pattern paper and cut 14 identical butterflies (7 to hang x 2 pieces per butterfly).
  • Raindrop. I took one raindrop from this sun and cloud design and resized it proportionately to about 1.5" tall. I created a perforated line so it would be easier to fold by using my Line Drawing Tool to add a line exactly down the center of the raindrop. (Hold the Shift key to get a line that goes straight up and down.) I changed that line to a dashed line in the Line Style Window. Rotate your raindrop a little if necessary (if you're a perfectionist like me). Once the line is perfectly centered down the middle of the raindrop, group it together and duplicate the raindrop to make 42. (I used two raindrops per strand, so 14 raindrops x 3 pieces per raindrop = 42 to cut.) I cut these from mint adhesive cardstock.

Fold line for raindrop

5- Cut the strands of thread or baker's twine and mark them. I needed 7 strands for the 7 sections of umbrella. I laid out my sample shapes and decided to go with 14.5" per strand.  I marked the strands every 3" from the bottom, assuming that mark would lie in the center of each 3D shape, when assembled.

Mobile layout

I used a black Sharpie marker here, but if I did it again I would use a less-obvious ink color because I had to hide the mark with an extra piece of white paper on each of the clouds.  Basically, mark each strand with a dot at 5.5", 8.5", and 11.5". The bottom shape will hang at 14.5" (the end of the string).

Mark mobile strings

6- Assemble and attach the shapes at the marks with a hot glue gun. I used scrap shapes (see the image with step 5) to determine where to mark my strings, but this layout was also very helpful in keeping my place so I knew which shape went where.  One cloud, two raindrops, and one butterfly per strand. I shifted the cloud shape down one spot for each strand and kept the pattern the same.
  • The clouds come in three parts and have slots to fit together. I laid the string along one of the creases and glued it in place. I also used some tiny dabs of hot glue to make the clouds hold their shape. As I mentioned above, I didn't like the black mark showing so I attached a small rectangle of white cardstock to cover the string with the black mark.
  • The butterflies are the easiest. Fold the wings out on the two butterfly pieces, and sandwich and hot glue the string in between with the mark centered inside. (The mark gets covered on this one.)
  • I used adhesive cardstock for the raindrops so they were all ready to stick the three insides together. Press one half of each of two raindrops together, then lay the string inside on the crease and put a dab of hot glue before adding the third folded raindrop. (The mark gets covered here, too.)

Mobile raindrop assembly

7- At this point there are 7 strands of 14.5" twine with four shapes per strand. I also wanted my umbrella to actually look like an umbrella, so I made a handle for the center. I took an extra long bamboo skewer and snipped off the pointed tip. (A skinny dowel would work, too.) It's about 11.5" long. I painted the stick white (let it dry) and used a rectangular scrap of leftover interfacing-covered fabric to wrap around the bottom of the stick as a handle. This still has the interfacing on one side, so I used an iron to heat it as I wrapped it around so it would stick to itself. This worked surprisingly well.

Umbrella handle fabric base

8- To attach the stick handle inside the umbrella, I attached the center hanging string (about 18") to the handle (see below) and then placed it inside the umbrella center before closing the final flap to the umbrella.

I put hot glue on the narrow tip of the bamboo skewer stick and wrapped one end of the long center hanging string around several times.

Attach string to umbrella handle

Make sure the center hanging string is threaded through the center point of the umbrella before you hot glue the flap closed. Don't let glue touch the string; you need to be able to slide it up and down just a bit once the umbrella is permanently sealed into its curved shape.

9- Finally, attach the strands with their shapes to the underside of the umbrella. You can try to hide the strings and glue with more pattern paper, but I didn't.  For extra security and so the strings don't appear too long, I chose to hot glue the strands in two spots. Glue the end of the string right in the center of each triangular segment of umbrella, then attach it once more about 1.25" closer to the edge. I actually marked these spots lightly with a pencil (marked with purple dots in the image below) before adding the glue. Work with one strand at a time.

Glue strings to underside of umbrella

You can see the strings and center handle in this picture below. Again, you can try to hide the strings if you want but I think they look fine exposed.

Umbrella Mobile full view square

If your stick doesn't hang straight down, pull it slightly down away from the paper umbrella center so it can hang without being crammed against the paper.


That's about it! I hope this tutorial is helpful to you. If you make a mobile like this or a variation of it, I'd love to see photos!

Umbrella mobile detail 3

Umbrella mobile detail 2

Umbrella mobile detail 1

Umbrella Mobile detail square

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

You Make the Perfect Pear!

Finding Time To Create | Perfect Pear Card by Kelly Wayment 

I made this card to celebrate our friends' 25th anniversary. The white hearts, the label, and the pears are printed and/or cut on textured white adhesive cardstock with my printer and my CAMEO.

I turned this pear design into a print & cut in Silhouette Studio by filling the shapes in the Fill Gradient Window. I don't use the gradient fill very often, but it was great for this application to get some shading. I used my Eyedropper Tool in the Fill Color Window to select a lighter shade of the same yellow for the highlight spots. (Did you know you can click and drag your eyedropper tool around a multi-colored area and watch the selected shape change color as you move the eyedropper? It's pretty cool, and pretty handy to get just the right color.)

The heart background is duplicated and welded, then sliced with the Knife Tool to fit the card base exactly how I wanted, with no waste to trim off. The label uses LW Perfect Print font with the Text-to-Path function to make it wrap in a circle.

As I mentioned, I printed the pears and label on a piece of letter-size white adhesive cardstock (trimmed down to fit my printer). On the same sheet with registration marks I also had the cut lines for the rectangle card base and the heart background. They had no color to print, but this way I could cut all the pieces in one pass after printing.

Perfect Pear Print and Cut

I added a narrow strip and the tiny number 25 in silver printable foil. The green-blue background circle was the only thing I had to add adhesive to, and I used foam dots to make it pop off the page.

Finding Time To Create: Perfect Pear Card

Our friends enjoyed this card, and I hope you do, too!

Designs and fonts used:
Fall set (#65765)
Hearts background (#65661)
LW Perfect Print (#55154)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

New CAMEO USB port

Tips for using the USB port on the New Silhouette CAMEO

I bought the new CAMEO recently, and I must say I love it every bit as much as my original CAMEO. This is the one released late in 2014 with the large LCD touchscreen instead of buttons. I've been happily using mine for about two months.


Here are a few tips you might not know if you are planning on using the new USB port for cutting on the new CAMEO (a.k.a. CAMEO2) without being hooked up to a computer.

  • You may need to update your firmware. You can check this on your CAMEO LCD screen by touching the gear icon on the upper right corner of the main screen, then press About and it should show :
Firmware version
Int : V1.14
Ext: V1.11
(This was the most current firmware as of Jan. 29, 2015. Mine was shipped with the firmware already up to date.) If you do need to update your firmware, please go to the Silhouette website {here} to do so.

  • Your CAMEO2 will not be able to find and cut all the images on your USB thumb drive unless you select the following settings in Silhouette Studio Preferences: Advanced: choose "Include Cut Data"

  • You cannot place a pause between materials or swap sketch pen colors with files on the USB drive. Whatever is on the document will all cut at the single setting you choose. For full functionality of cutting options, you will need to have your CAMEO2 hooked up to your computer and send from there.

  • From the USB you can still choose cut settings (blade, thickness, speed) with default or custom settings. This way you can still choose any standard materials to cut while you are crafting with your CAMEO away from your computer.


If you have any more questions about the newest model of the CAMEO compared to the original CAMEO, please ask in the comments and I will be happy to give you an answer.  I've used the Original Silhouette, the SD, the original CAMEO, and now the newest CAMEO.

P.S. In case you already have an older CAMEO and are wondering if it's worth the upgrade to the newer CAMEO, I would say no for most casual users. The changes are not enough of a difference to warrant the expense of a very similar machine. However, it's an excellent upgrade from any smaller model of the Silhouette (Original, SD, or Portrait) and is a beautiful machine for first-time Silhouette owners.

Old Cameo vs New Cameo

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Thank You Card for Guys

Thank You Card Tacti-cool by Kelly Wayment 

What kind of a card do you make for the men in your life? Or even the men that are only acquaintances? That's often a tough one. Here's a card I made for a friend of my husband who surprised us the other night by paying for our family's meal when we saw him briefly at a restaurant.

My husband loves the phrase "tacti-cool" to describe the things he loves about tactical gear. This is for one of those friends (a K-9 policeman). Some day I'll share the amazing things my husband does with custom-sewn tactical gear. He told me this card is "tacti-cool," which is probably the highest compliment he could give.

I decided that a nice striped background design with words on top was all that was necessary for this card, but I used Silhouette's corrugated paper to add the extra dimension and texture it needed. The "thank you" sentiment is cut from the font LW Skinny Type in black adhesive cardstock. Since the corrugated paper has an adhesive back as well, this card required absolutely no adhesive to be separately applied. Love that.

Thank You Card for Guys 1

The card base is brown cardstock, trimmed to 8.5" x 4.25" and folded in half. I cut the stripes tile design out of corrugated paper with my Silhouette CAMEO as a 4.25" square. The sentiment is about 104 pt, or about 2.5" tall.

Thank You Card for Guys 2

If you ever have to whip up a fast card for a man, keep this one in mind.

Designs/fonts used:
LW Skinny Type (font)
Stripes Tile

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Umbrella Mobile

Umbrella Mobile by Kelly Wayment for Silhouette 

Here's a cute fabric and paper mobile I created to celebrate spring! This is my 51st and final project for the Silhouette America design team. After two terms, I'm taking a break. (But you'll still find plenty of Silhouette inspiration and instruction here on my blog.)

You can read all of the details here on the Silhouette America blog, along with more photos and links to all the shapes.  If there's an interest, I'll post a full tutorial here on my blog.

In case you've missed any, you can find links to all of my 51 Silhouette design-team projects on my Silhouette profile page (possibly for a limited time--this page may disappear once the new creative team begins).

Friday, March 20, 2015

Big, Deep Breath.

I did it. I submitted my last scheduled design-team post to Silhouette last night. 51 projects in 18 months. And that was right after 2 1/2 years of design-team work and teaching Silhouette classes for a local scrapbook store.  Nearly four years of creative deadlines, and it was great! But I'm ready for a temporary break.

I've got big plans for my own blog with a new website. I still have plenty of my own projects to share, and it's time to get serious about teaching my own Silhouette lessons again. I'm excited for what's ahead, and I hope you'll stick with me as I see where this journey takes me!