How to make a rhinestone template for your Silhouette Cameo without using flocked paper or Designer Edition

For whatever reason, the YCL’s this year chose a Peter Pan type theme for the girls’ camp shirts this year, and they asked me to help them.  As part of the design they wanted rhinestones.

…..because nothing says camp like rhinestones…..

I had the YW leader buy hotfix rhinestones in size 16ss.  This is a slightly larger size rhinestone, so I suggested that in case the girls had to place the rhinestones individually on the shirts and then press. As it turned out, I was able to make templates super cheaply without the expensive flocked adhesive template sheets Silhouette sells and without buying Designer Edition.  The key is heavy weight glitter coated scrapbook paper.  Here’s how:

Tip 1: Save your HTV backer sheets

I cut the heat transfer vinyl we needed for the shirts.  The girls weeded, and I saved the backer sheets (the clear bit leftover after you press the weeded vinyl to an item).  This saved a lot of money because we didn’t have to buy transfer tape for the rhinestone templates later.

Tip 2: Use the Right Paper

I bought heavy weight glitter coated scrapbook paper at Hobby Lobby.  The brand I got is by doodlebug design inc, and the paper is #4079 bubblegum chevron, sugar coated cardstock.

On the left is a rhinestone template I made using the flocked self-adhesive stuff from silhouette. The heavy weight pink glitter paper is what I used for this project.
On the left is a rhinestone template I made using the expensive flocked self-adhesive stuff from Silhouette. The heavy weight pink glitter paper on the right is what I used for this project.

When I wrote this template, you could order this paper online from Scrapbook.com .  No promises:  http://www.scrapbook.com/store/db-4078.html?t12-13=doodlebug+design&t2=paper&t8=glitter

I don’t think the brand matters so much as choosing HEAVY cardstock with a textured surface.  I suppose you could even spray glitter on to your own cardstock to make the template sheets, but I haven’t tried it.

Tip 3: Cut the Template

I’m more familiar with Illustrator, so I created some swirls and curves in Illustrator, exported them to DXF, and then imported them in the Cameo software.  I don’t have the upgraded software for rhinestones, so I used the rhinestone hacker method found here to make the rhinestone holes.  Here’s the video tutorial I used:

Essentially, the steps are as follows:

  1. Type a line of the letter ‘o’ like this: ‘oooooooooooooooooo’.
  2. Set your font to Courier and the size to 23.75 for 16ss rhinestones.  Experiment to find out what you need for other size rhinestones.
  3. Grab the crossbar arrow handle at the left of your line of o’s, and drag it to a swirl or curve.  The o’s will stick to the curve.  For me, my curves were all grouped together and I just had to type lots of o’s to fill in all the swirls at once.  You may have to do this step more than once.
  4. Adjust the character spacing to make your rhinestones as far apart or close together as you want.
  5. Cut.

VERY IMPORTANT TIP!

The videos above show the user selecting the inner circle of each o and removing them individually.  Follow these steps and you can remove the centers in just one step:

  1. Select all the o’s.
  2. Release the compound path by choosing Edit–>Release Compound Path.  Also available in the Modify dialog (the icon looks like a box with a tiny ‘m’ in a circle at left).
  3. Click the Weld button at the bottom of the page, or choose Weld from the Modify Dialog.
  4. Thank your lucky stars that you stumbled on this blog post.

Settings for cutting the glitter paper

The settings I got here for the glitter cardstock worked perfectly:

Blade depth: 6
Speed: 3
Thickness: 33  
She used a double cut, but I found I didn’t need it.

Tip 4: You don’t need to glue the template to anything

When you buy the rhinestone template kit from Silhouette, it comes with some sheets of cardboard on which you glue your cut rhinestone template.  I was out of spray adhesive and thought that the templates might not work without being glued to something.  Not true!  We found it worked fine to hold the template to a flat surface like a table and brush in the rhinestones.

Tip 5: You don’t need the fuzzy foam brush

The Silhouette kit comes with a fuzzy foam brush to push around the rhinestones, but since we had several YW working together, I used some foam brushes I had in the craft bin.  Worked perfectly.

Here’s an example of how to brush in the rhinestones:

Tip 6: You can reuse the heat transfer vinyl backer

I saved the backer paper from the HTV vinyl to transfer the rhinestones from the template to the shirt in the heat press.  Here’s an example:

Rhinestones on leftover heat transfer vinylbacker sheet
Rhinestones on leftover heat transfer vinyl backer sheet

Summary

So to sum up, you don’t need Silhouette Studio Designer Edition or the fancy flocked paper and brush to make rhinestone templates.  All you need is heavyweight cardstock and foam brushes!

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