I Tri and Craft

thoughts from a mother of boys, a marathoner, a triathlete, a crafter, a wife, and a scientist


Running Motivation in a Temporary Tattoo

If you read my race recap about the half-marathon I ran this summer you saw that I made some motivational tattoos for my cousin and me to wear.

Running Tattoos_MamaSonshine

It was the first time I used the Silhouette brand Temporary Tattoo paper, but I knew that I would be using it again the following month for Sid’s birthday party.  I ran into a few issues as a first time user and thought I would share them, in hopes that other’s don’t have the same troubles.

First I made my design.  One of my favorite motivational quotes for running is “I’m not running half of anything. I’m crushing all 13.1 miles.”  There are a few variations, but I like this wording the best.  I made one for my cousin and one for me.  I had room for one more quote, and since I had two arms I also used “The moment you want to quite, is the moment when you need to keep pushing.”

I sized out the space on my arm and made a box in Silhouette Studio.  I then typed out my sayings and changed the fonts, sizes and colors for specific words.  I then used the offset tool to create my cut lines around the words.  Remember, anything that is white in your design will be clear on the tattoo, and your skin will show through.

My first instinct was to make a close-in offset, as I would when cutting other media.

MSS_Tattoo close offset

Here is the problem: when you cut it, it cuts through the paper backing.  So now you have all the words in different pieces that you would have to place on your arm individually.  So again, remember that the tattoo paper is clear, and make your offset big enough that all the words cut as one piece.

MSS_Tattoo large offset

And there is no reason you need to waste time cutting out the middle of your o’s or other inner parts since the paper is clear.  Release the compound path,


select all the unwanted parts, then delete them.

Now you are left with a nice group of text that will stay together once cut.

MSS_Tattoo Running motivation

Check out your cut lines, make sure you are not cutting out the words you are printing, but just the offset you just made.

MSS_Tattoo cut lines and mirror

Once you have your design and cut lines all set, flip your image horizontally.  This is very important when doing something with words, or your words will be backwards.

The key to the temporary tattoos is Silhouette‘s print and cut feature using the software’s registration marks.  I don’t know about you, but when I print and cut, I change the paper to ‘letter’ (because that is the size of the paper I print on) and adjust my registration mark settings to the smallest available.  One day when I was printing something small I realized I don’t have to waste the whole piece of paper.  I say ‘waste’ because once I printed the registration marks, I couldn’t reprint (for cutting) on that same piece of paper.

So I changed the size of the paper, I know it seems like a simple statement.  But I made the paper size just larger than my image size, with the registration marks, and that left the rest of the paper blank, for use again!  So simple, yet so helpful.

MSS_Tattoo change paper size

The tattoo paper is a bit pricey, about five bucks a sheet; the pack comes with two sheets and is priced at $9.99.  You can find it on sale at Amazon, and sometimes through Silhouette.  I didn’t want to waste any of the paper, and I wasn’t ready to print out the favors for Sid’s party, so I just adjusted the size of the paper to fit my quotes.  That way I still had half a sheet of unprinted paper I could use again.


First you want to make sure when you print, that you print the lines of the words, but do not print the lines of the offset.  (Note: this feature is different if you are using V3)

MSS_Tattoo print lines

Here is where I had the main problem that I really didn’t want to admit to anyone.  It’s a little embarrassing.

I opened the pack of tattoo paper and pulled out the first sheet on top.  The instructions say to print on shiny side then peel of green backing to apply adhesive material.  So I printed on the shiny side.

MSS_Tattoo Printing


My ink wouldn’t dry.  I left it while I went to work, when I got home it still wasn’t dry.  I wiped it off, tried different print settings, still wouldn’t dry.


I googled instructions looking for a video tutorial.  Finally when watching my second video I wondered why their paper was white when my paper was clear with a green paper backing….

Maybe I have to use my own paper, but that seemed silly because the instructions talk about printing on the shiny side…

I went back to the package and looked inside it.  Behind the two pieces of clear paper with green backing was two pieces of white paper with a shiny side.

*hand hits forehead*

Start over.  Printed on the shiny side of the white paper, and ink came out dry and sharp.  MSS_Tattoo Paper Pack

Followed directions by adding the adhesive layer.  That is the clear paper with the green backing that I was trying to print on first.

MSS_Tattoo adhesive layer

This is actually a picture of the tattoos I made for my son, but this is how you apply the adhesive layer

Because I wasn’t using the whole sheet of paper, I used a paper-cutter to trim down both the white sheet and the clear adhesive sheet before joining them.  Then used my Silhouette to cut out the tattoos.

MSS_Tattoo ready to cut

They look great and just the motivation we needed.



Now that I am a pro at the temporary tattoos, I made some as favors for Sid’s party.  However, I neglected to flip the image horizontally, so the words were backwards.  There is always something with me, right?  I decided to let it ride (yep, pun intended) as the guest were toddlers who really couldn’t read anyway.

MSS_Tattoos  MSS_Tattoo party favors



I am already planning my tattoos for my Halloween costume!






Dawn Marie


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Star and Shark USA Flag Shirt

I had thought I was very cleaver making my four-year old a Capt. America shirt for him to wear on July 4th.

Till I showed him and he said “I don’t yike Capt. America now”


OK back to the drawing board.

This time around I decided to take a sailors approach to the flag.  Because I saw Lauren’s post (The Thinking Closet) about her Nautical Star Banner.  I just loved the nautical star and thought it would look great on a shirt.  But I didn’t want plain old boring stripes….

hmm….what to do….



Then my son picks these out at the store.  “I’m a SHARK! dana dana dana”


So my brain clicked and this shirt was born.  Just in the nick of time.


MamaSonshine Shark Flag Shirt


My original plan was to do the stencil with freezer paper, because it makes a tighter seal and crisper lines..  But the cuts are too intricate for my dull blade.  So I used vinyl, and as you can see some of the detail, like the gills was lost, and the edges are a little blurred.

The tricky part to this shirt is all the small pieces, I didn’t want to lay every little piece of freezer paper down one at a time.  I thought I would share how I connected all the parts to make one complete stencil.  Lauren also talks about how to do this in her afore-mentioned post.

First find the FREE images you want to use and trace them.  (Please be mindful of copyright laws, and other people’s art work)

Draw lots of little rectangles using the rectangle tool.  Place them on top, over the two parts you want connected.  Select everything, go to the modify window and click on subtract.  Then select everything again and click on make, under compound path.

MamaSonshine Shark Flag Shirt


If you go to the color fill tool box and fill your shape with a color, you can easily see you now have a star that has missing parts.  The parts that are colored is what will be painted on the shirt.

MamaSonshine Shark Flag Shirt


After tracing the shark, we do the same thing.  Make rectangles, go to modify and click subtract.

MamaSonshine Shark Flag Shirt

Then, under compound path, click make (after selecting all parts of the shark).  You will see that when I traced the shark, I made sure that the gills and eye were part of the white portion.  This eliminates a bunch of little eyes having to be added after the stencil is laid down.

MamaSonshine Shark Flag Shirt

Draw a large rectangle, the size that you want your flag.  Use the replicate and alignment tool boxes to fill the rectangle with your stars and stripes.

MamaSonshine Shark Flag Shirt

The row of … and column of…were especially useful in this design.   As was the space vertically and space horizontally tools in the alignment tool box.

MamaSonshine Shark Flag Shirt

Now select everything, the outer rectangle, all the sharks and all the stars, go to the modify window and click on make compound path.

MamaSonshine Shark Flag Shirt

Of course this removes all the fill colors you have used, but that’s ok.

MamaSonshine Shark Flag Shirt


If you click on a fill color now, you will see that all the parts that will be your stencil are now colored.  These are the parts that the shirt will show through.

MamaSonshine Shark Flag Shirt


You can look closely and see all the parts are connected and will come off in one piece.

Cut, apply to shirt, paint, etc.  You know the drill.

MamaSonshine Shark Flag Shirt


Got all that?

Well don’t worry, I decided to just let you download this cut file.  For free. Yep. Go ahead and make your own.  Tonight.  Cause the fourth is coming soon.

Star and Shark USA Flag Stencil file



I used vinyl as my stencil, but you can also use freezer paper (just make sure your blade is sharp) or stencil material would work great.

My older son wouldn't wear it...

My older son wouldn’t wear it…

so I made the baby try it on

so I made the baby try it on


Thanks for visiting
Shine On

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Tracing PNG & JPEG in Silhouette Studio

I belong to a few Silhouette related Facebook pages.  They are a wonderful support group for beginners and experienced users.

More and more I see questions about tracing images in the Silhouette software in order to make them cut files.  This is one of the main reasons I decided to go with the Silhouette brand cutting machine.

You are able to take any image and make your own cutting file.  I make a lot of decorations and invitations in Photoshop, then cut them with my Silhouette.

However, the tracing tool in the software is not that intuitive, so there is usually a number of questions about tracing.  I put together this power point to help someone with tracing and thought I would share it with everybody.








MSS_SilhouetteTraceing_Slide7 MSS_SilhouetteTraceing_Slide8

























Please note, I have the second version of the software, as I have not taken the plunge and upgraded to the third version.  While the settings and option are the same, their location and how you do things might be different.  I also have the designer edition, but everything in the tutorial is available in the standard addition.

Happy Crafting



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How to Sketch from a Coloring Book Page with your Silhouette

One great feature of the Silhouette machines is the Sketch feature.

You replace the blade with a pen and it draws instead of cuts.  This gives the project a hand drawn feel instead of one that came off a printer.  This feature is also usefully for writing sentiments in cards or labels.  Actually the possibilities are endless.

I made this card for a friend’s daughter using the sketch feature.


First you need to go online and find a coloring book page that you want to sketch using your Silhouette.

Here is the one I will be using.


Lagoona Blue Coloring Page from cartoonjr.com

Click picture for source

Please remember that this is for personal use only.  I do not condone using or selling other people’s art/work without permission.

You want to find one that is at a fairly high-resolution that you can download.  The benefit of the coloring pages it that it is more easily traced than an image with coloring.

The down side of the Silhouette Studio software is that when you open the image and attempt to trace it you get this.


The software is tracing both sides of the black line.  You can work with this, by ungrouping, releasing compound paths, point editing, cutting and erasing.  All of which is really time-consuming.

There are other software programs that can do center line tracing.  I use Adobe Illustrator, but not everybody has that program.  Kristy at Please Excuse my Craftermath has three posts on center-line tracing using Illustrator, Wintopo and AutoTrace, the last two are free.  Wintopo is a freeware and AutoTrace is an online program.  I won’t go into details about how to do the trace, because Kristy does an excellent job.  What you end up with is a SVG file that you can open in Studio that has a single line.  If you do not have the Designer Edition you can save as the new files as DXF files, which should open in the regular edition.

This tutorial will be about what to do now that you have a single stroke path file.  The new SVG file will have thick lines, which make it easier to see, but when you go to sketch will need to be changed (I will explain later).


While the image looks like it is one line it is really made up of a bunch of little lines.  Which is also fine if you want to sketch in one color, but that was not look I wanted.

Fist you want to release the compound path, and ungroup until it is no longer an option.  This way you can remove the black border around your image.  You will be able to see the multiple bounding boxes around all the lines.


I found it was easier if I made each section a different color.  I want the outline of her extremities, face, torso, etc. one color.  Her hair a different color, her clothes different colors, and so on.

It doesn’t have to match the color I want in the end, because the final color will depend on what color pen I use.  This just helps distinguish each portion, and makes it easier when I go to select which area to sketch.

First choose one line and change the color.


While fist line is still selected hold the shift key and select another line (or multiple lines)


You want to make the selection a compound path, through the “modify window,” selecting object ->make compound path, or right clicking on your mouse (Sorry, I don’t have a Mac, so I don’t know the commands for it).  When it is a compound path, the new line colors will be changed to the color you selected for your first line.


Continue to do this until you have made everything you want in that color one compound path.

Repeat the steps on the next section and again until the picture is color coordinated.


This makes it easier for me to select which portion to sketch.  I can just select the body to be sketched in one color, send to Silhouette, change the pen, got to cut style window, select a different part to be sketch, send to Silhouette and repeat.

The new compound path for the body is selected, so it will all be drawn at once, and I only have to select one line.


If you need to resize or move the image, you simply group the different elements together.  But you will have to ungroup them to sketch them at different times.


You will also need to change the line thickness to zero, if left as is, the Silhouette will do a ‘double cut’ or more accurately will draw two lines to get the set thickness.


Keep in mind, that while you have made the lines compound paths, they are still disconnected.  This means that they can not yet be filled with a color or pattern.

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You will need to go back and connect the lines together using the point editing window.  Sometimes you may need to delete some points, break paths, or move things depending on how it looks.  This might also change the outcome if you try to cut, instead of draw.  I can’t attest to that, because I have not tried to cut while the lines were unconnected.

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For this card I wanted to add dimension and I didn’t want her clothes to be just an outline.  So I duplicated the clothes, fishbowl and flower elements.  I connected the outside lines using the point editing tool and cut them out of colored cardstock, and clear sticker paper for the fishbowl.






I used the sketch pens to make the faux stitching around the border and write the sentiment inside the card.



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I hope this has helped you take a black & white coloring page and turn it into a custom drawing.



Happy Crafting



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