Thursday, March 17, 2016

Geocaching Gemstone Swag - A Tutorial

Today I'm bringing another tutorial that combines two of my hobbies - geocaching & crafting!

If you're not familiar with geocaching, you can check it out here. It's a super fun way to get outside, have more adventures & cure your wanderlust!

For some caches that are large enough, it is customary to exchange little tokens. People leave little non-valuable items, and take other items left by other geocachers. There's an entire etiquette you can read at the website. It's especially appreciated by the younger geocachers like my son who will love to switch little toys and such.

I've seen these little gems as geocache swag around the internet, and I thought, "I need to make some of those, they're so cute." I also thought if we put our family's geocaching screen name on them, then we may make more geocaching friends! So if by some giant coincidence, someone reading this blog finds one of our gems, definitely leave me a comment and befriend us! That's so fun! It also just so happens to be this blog address, so maybe someone will put two and two together upon finding a swag...

So without further blabber, I'll let you know how I made our gems. I'm sure there are lots of different ways to do it out there, but here is mine.

I found these clear little gems at the $1 store.

They're about .6 inch in diameter, so that's the size circle I created in Cricut Design Studio.

I duplicated my circle so that I will have a picture to show on the magnified side, and a backside to show our geocaching name.

Next I wanted to make a circle with our Geocaching name. So I typed it with one word per line so it would fit and changed the types of fonts to choose from to "has a writing style".

The letters were really far spaced apart, so I changed the letter spacing so they would better fit in my circle.

Then, instead of messing with a font size, I just resized the entire block of text to .5 inches high so it would fit into my .6 inch circle.

There are plenty of tiny photos you could choose to fit on a small circle, but because it was so small, I decided to use wingding fonts to ensure the complexity of the icon would not be too difficult for a cricut pen to draw so small. Most computers come with wingdings and webdints. You can easily find these by selecting "system fonts" on your cricut font drop down menu.

If you do not have these fonts, or if you want to find a different ding font, there are plenty of free ones available online. I went to DaFont and downloaded a few new ones.

To install your new font, go to your downloads folder, and choose "Extract All" for the downloaded font.

Once the files are extracted, right click the actual font file and choose "install."

You will most likely need to close out of design studio and reopen the program to recognize the newly downloaded fonts. Make sure to save your swag work!

So I've typed a letter and I choose which ding font I want ...

Annnnd, it changes to a picture! I resize the width of the picture to fit the .6 inch circle.

Make sure that the circles each have a pair of scissors by them to ensure they will be cut. The photo icon and the words need to have a pen next to them to ensure they will be drawn by the Cricut.

To ensure that the Cricut will draw the icons and cut the circles around them, and not complete each action separately, you need to select all the items and choose "Attach".

Everything will then be one. If you feel you need to edit, you will have to "detach" before you can make changes on what you've already completed.

You're now ready to draw and cut. However, you have tons of gems to create! When you hit cut, it will show a preview. On the preview, you can change the amount of "project copies" to as many as you'd like to create. (Please Note: I was trying to create multiples on the actual program before I hit cut. This created a lot of problems and even froze my program a couple of times. It's much easier to duplicate the items this way than in the program!)

If you're using scrap paper, you can move the items around the 12x12 cutting mat to the location where you're planning to place your paper to cut.

Since the gems are so tiny, I recommend a very fine point pen. I was delighted to discover my American Crafts writing pens fit into the Cricut! I chose a .03 fine pen.

So I created a few different circles with different ding fonts I downloaded, and this was the result. I combined the icons with the words to create two sided circles.

Next I grabbed my self-leveling clear epoxy. It's super stinky & takes 24 hours to completely dry, but it does the trick magnificently!

I squirted the epoxy on the gems, spread it with a foam brush and stuck on my circle. Then I covered the circle with another layer of epoxy. I discovered that I should do only one at a time because it begins to harden rather quickly. Also, the self-leveling is important. It's pretty sticky and you feel like you're creating points and ridges when you move it around, but once it sits flat for a moment, it magically levels out very smoothly.

Next you must be patient and let them dry for the full 24 hours! They will stick together if you gather them too closely before they're fully dry!

Here's the final product! We have some Mickey heads for the Disney fans, some dinos and ice cream cones for kiddos, or some travel icons for adults to collect geocaching swag!

I cannot wait to start placing these in caches, and I hope to find others soon as well!

I hope this was helpful & maybe inspired some of you to pick up a new hobby!? I feel like you could also apply this tutorial to other projects, specifically this would work well with coasters or photo magnets!!

Leave me feedback if you use the tutorial to create something & let me know how it goes.

Thanks for looking!

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