Cutting Machine Project: Sew Happy FREE cut file

As a creative, I knew a cutting machine would make a lovely addition to my ‘tool’ collection.There are many choices: Silhouette Cameo 2, Cruicut Explore Air 2, and Brother ScanNCut – just to name a few. After some research I came to the conclusion that choosing a cutting machine is a lot like Nikon vs. Canon or Bernina vs. Janome; each machine does an incredible job doing what it was designed to do with amazing, professional end-products (with only minor differences). The owners seem happy with their machines, so in my book it’s a win-win no matter which machine I chose!

But this post is not a comparison of machines. Rather, it’s a post to encourage you to USE that pretty little machine in your arsenal of creative tools – whether this is your first project or you are a seasoned pro! Peek A Boo Patternshop just launched a new Digital Design Shop that has tons of great graphics available. So, dust off your cutting machine ladies (and gents), we are going to get creative!!!

One of my creative outlets is digital design, and I had this little gem in my mind for awhile – mostly as a piece to personalize my sewing space, because sewing makes me ‘SEW’ HAPPY (and it’s a fun reminder to keep a smile on – even when ripping seams). It turned out super cute, and this sew happy graphic is available FREE in the Digital Design Shop for use on a project of your own – home decor, graphic-tee, paper crafting (card), or a vinyl sticker for your sewing machine or cell phone … the options are endless with your cutting machine!


I used a shadow box and placed the vinyl on the inside of the glass, so I can easily rotate backgrounds and keep the dust off without damaging the vinyl!

It also makes a great iron-on for an adorable graphic-tee to share with the world your love of sewing!

Here’s how to create BOTH a vinyl project and iron-on…

Supply List 

  • Cutting Material (vinyl for picture frame OR iron-on for shirt)
  • Project ‘Canvas’ (picture frame or tee, etc.)
  • A Digital Design (visit the Digital Design Shop and grab your favorite graphic, the FREE Sew Happy graphic, or create your own with your machine’s software)
  • Cutting Machine and Tools (machine, mat, scissors, weeder, etc.)

Let’s Get Started!

1.  Import your digital design into your cutting machine’s design platform (i.e.: Cricut Design Space or Silhouette Studio). Be sure it is saved as a CUT file.

2.  Start a New Project (blank canvas) and insert image/digital design.

3.  Adjust the graphic size to fit your project canvas. My shadow box was 8 x 8, so I sized my graphic approximately 4 x 6.

4.  Select ‘Mirror Image’ for iron-on and if you plan to apply the vinyl to the back side of the glass (to protect it from dust and cleaning). NOTE: If you are applying the vinyl to your sewing machine, a reusable water bottle, etc., you would NOT select ‘mirror image.’


5.  Now we are ready to cut! Place your cutting material (vinyl or iron-on) onto your cutting mat. I am always fooled by the iron-on…which side is the liner?


(Note: if you are unsure which side is the liner, gently lift one corner of the cutting material to easily determine which side is the liner).

6.  If your machine has a dial, select the proper material (vinyl or iron on) and load your mat. I have found that my mat needs a gentle push/pressure to load correctly. Once your mat is loaded … PRESS CUT!


7.  After your design has been cut, unload your cutting mat. Trim any excess cutting material with scissors leaving the cut design on the cutting mat. Starting at a corner, begin pulling away the ‘negative’ cutting material (leaving your design on the liner on the cutting mat).


8.  Begin ‘weeding’ or removing the tiny cuts that did not pull away in previous step.


9.  Iron-On.

Follow the instructions included on your cutting material packaging – but it should go something like this:

  • warm iron to hottest setting with steam off
  • pre-heat your ‘canvas’/tee where the design will be applied
  •  place design, liner side up, onto the pre-heated area
  • cover liner with a pressing cloth
  • apply heat and pressure over the liner/design for about 30 seconds – PRESS using a lifting motion (press, lift, press, lift – not a circular ironing motion which twists the design) to cover entire design area
  • flip the fabric over and apply heat and pressure with the iron on the back of the fabric for an additional 25-30 seconds
  • Let fabric cool and carefully remove lining.


10.   Vinyl.

Transfer tape makes the process of transferring the vinyl from the liner to your desired object much easier and helps with alignment. It is simple to do…after you have weeded your design, place a piece of transfer tape over the liner and the design. Starting at the center and working your way out, press the transfer tape to the liner using the scraper or a stick. Carefully separate the transfer tape from the liner – the design should now be on the transfer tape.


Now use the grid lines of the transfer tape to align your graphic onto your dry, clean ‘canvas’.  Again, starting from the center and working your way out, press the design onto your canvas using the scraper or a stick.


I simply inserted a piece of my favorite fabric as the ‘picture’ in the frame, and I love it!


CELEBRATE! You finished another amazing project! 

I hope this post encouraged you to try something new! Be sure to share your creations on the FB page!


Happy crafting!

One Response

  1. I’m “sew happy” to have stumbled upon your post and love that you are designing cut files. Thank you for this freebie!

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