Embossed Leather Key Chains

Embossed Leather Key Chains

Hi, friends! Are you ready for a super-fun Curio project? In keeping with this month’s theme of #summerlovin and date ideas, I thought it would be fun to make matching embossed-leather key chains for couples.

If you’re new to Silhouette Curio™, you may want to start with the basics in this post. Otherwise, let’s get started!

You Will Need:

 

STEP ONE: CREATE A KEY-CHAIN SHAPE

I used Silhouette’s leatherette for this project and just love it! It cuts beautifully, so really you could choose any key-chain shape you want. I chose a simple pennant-shaped tag for my example.

  • Open 3 Birthday Tags.
  • Ungroup and set aside the pennant-shaped tag. (You can delete the rest of the tags.)
  • Resize the pennant-shaped tag to about 1½ in. wide. (Lock the aspect ratio so it resizes proportionately if using the Scale tool, shown below.)

  • Mirror the pennant-shaped tag by using the Replicate panel. You can see in the image below that it places the mirrored copy directly above the original shape, which is where you want it.

  • Create a bridge between the two pennant shapes by drawing a rectangle shape between them in the same width as the existing bump outs.
  • Be sure to cover the tags’ holes with the rectangle so that they disappear upon welding. (My rectangle is 1 in. tall and 0.58 in. wide.)
  • Select the tags and rectangle; then Weld them together. (You can find the Weld tool in the quick-access toolbar at the top.)

  • If you want, you can add holes now for your Curio to cut, or you can punch holes manually later. (Hint: Use your ellipse drawing tool and your Transform panel’s alignment options for perfect placement.)
  • Important: Change the line color for the key chain and its holes to something other than red or blue. I chose purple. I’ll explain why when we get to Step Three.

 

STEP TWO: ADD DESIGNS TO THE KEY CHAIN

Curio makes this next step fun! You can choose any font to add some clever text to your key chain, and you can add designs from your Silhouette Library, too! I chose my husband’s and my initials and our anniversary date, plus a heart design.

I’ll tell you the selections I made, but feel free to experiment with the emboss settings. That’s what the Curio is all about!

  • Type your phrase, resize, and center it within the lower key-chain area. (I used LW Creative in about 26pt.)
  • Open Heart Shape, resize, rotate 90 degrees, and center it within the upper key-chain area. (My heart was about 1.2 in. wide.)
  • Select your text and heart design (hold Shift while clicking each to select at the same time).
  • In the Curio Emboss panel (see image above):
    • Under the Score & Emboss tab (the middle tab that looks like a ratchet blade), choose:
      • Fine emboss tool
      • Passes = 1 (not Fill)
      • Apply Score & Emboss Lines
  • Once you apply Score & Emboss Lines, your selected text and designs will fill with a layer of blue lines. (See image above.)

 

STEP THREE: ADJUST SETTINGS

Now for some setup to make sure the key chains cut and emboss as you expect. Don’t forget to make a duplicate of your key chain if you want a matching one for your honey!

  • Be sure to choose the correct page size and mat in your Page Setup panel before going any further. I’m assuming I’ve cut my letter-size page of leatherette exactly in half, which is slightly smaller than the full cutting area for Curio’s standard base.
  • Page width = 8.50 in.
  • Page height = 5.50 in.
  • Cutting mat = Curio (cut) 8.5 x 6 in

This next part may get a little technical, but don’t worry! Follow the settings below and refer to the image at the beginning of Step Three for guidance (see above).

  • Remember when I had you change the key chain’s line color to purple? That’s because we’re going to have the blade do two different tasks, and the fine emboss tool will do a third task. Three line colors for three tasks.
  • In the Send panel, we’ll use the Line Action to make it easiest for our three passes.
    • In Silhouette Studio v 4.0.837, open the Send panel.
    • Click on the Action tab (the second, or middle, tab).
    • Choose Action by: Line (middle tab between Simple and Fill).
  • Set it up as follows:
    • If you have two red line color boxes, uncheck the box for one of them (probably the top line). Make sure that when you uncheck the red box that the cut preview window still shows bold red lines to be scored on your design. Extra line colors may be there if you have other shapes anywhere on your work page, even if they are not in the cut area.
    • For the red lines we do want to score, choose:
      • Left/red tool holder
      • Box checked
      • Material = score & emboss paper (This doesn’t matter much for this project but will allow us to choose the score option.)
      • Action = Score
      • Tool = Ratchet blade
      • Check your material settings so it shows Blade 1, Speed 5, Thickness/Force 4
      • Adjust your ratchet blade to 1 and put it in the left/red tool holder
    • For the blue lines that we want to emboss, choose:
      • Right/blue tool holder
      • Box checked
      • Material = score & emboss paper (Again, the machine doesn’t care, but we want to let it choose the emboss option.)
      • Action = Emboss
      • Tool = Embossing Tool (Fine)
      • Check your material settings to make sure they show Embossing tool, Speed 5, Thickness/Force 33; check the box for Double Pass.
      • Lock your fine embossing tool (white) into the right/blue tool holder.
    • Right click on the line with the blue box and choose “Add Pause.” This will give us a chance to switch the blade in the middle of the job so it can be adjusted from a scoring depth to a cutting depth.
    • For the purple lines that we want to cut through the leatherette, choose:
      • Left/red tool holder
      • Box checked
      • Material = leatherette (finally!)
      • Action = Cut
      • Tool = Ratchet blade
      • Important: Check your material settings and adjust them to Blade 6, Speed 3, Thickness/Force 33; check the box for Double Pass. (Or set it to whatever you may have determined with a test cut.)

 

STEP FOUR: EMBOSS & CUT THE KEY CHAIN

I promise following all those steps will be worth it. 😉 Now let’s see your design take shape by cutting it out!

  • Set your Platforms to 6, with Curio’s cutting mat as the top platform.
  • Place your leatherette on the grid cutting mat.
  • Load the base into Curio.

And now that you have everything set up as directed in Step Three so that your Curio knows what to do with each line color, go ahead and click SEND.

  • The first pass will score, the second pass will emboss.
  • When your Curio stops moving but doesn’t go back to the origin, you will see a message on your screen (in the Send tab of the Send panel) that it has paused. Now is the time to take the ratchet blade out, adjust it to 6 for cutting, put it back in the left tool holder, and click “Resume Cutting” (NOT “Start”).

 

STEP FIVE: ASSEMBLE THE KEY CHAIN

Now that it’s all embossed and cut, you’re ready to add a key ring. I used eyelets and an eyelet setter to attach the two sides together, but you could use any fastener you like. You could glue the sides of leatherette together, but I opted to leave them loose. (The leatherette has a nice soft back side.)

Add any fun embellishments that you like, too.

 

What do you think? Are you still on the fence about getting a Curio?

 

For more information on Curio basics, please see Getting Started With Silhouette Curio™. This key chain tutorial was written with Silhouette Studio® v 4.0.837.

 

Designs Used:

heart shape

3 birthday tags

lw creative font

Products Used:

Spatula

Silhouette Curio™

Leatherette

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2 comments

  1. I’m going to try this over the weekend, I love love love my Curio, wouldn’t be without it now!

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