If you’ve read very many of my blogs you will have seen the name ‘Tim Holtz’. Tim is the creator of the “Distress” line of crafting supplies that include Alterations that is a collaboration with Sizzix dies. Die #658766 Ice Skates
That’s what I’m going to play with today. You can use a variety of paper for these die cuts, anything from cardstock to Grunge board to chipboard. Part of the decision would be what are you going to do with the skate? If you’re going to glue it down to something, like a greeting card, then you could use heavy cardstock. But if you’re making these into ornaments or anything ‘free hanging’ then I would recommend chipboard.
I like to use natural colored chipboard and medium weight which is approximately 2 mm thick.
Cut a piece of chipboard to the size of your die. Put a regular cutting pad on the bottom and then your die with the black side (the side with the steel cutting edges) facing up. If you can tell a ‘better’ side on your paper, then place that side down onto the die. If you noticed this paper looks a bit thin, it is. I had used the last of my 2 mm chipboard so I had to make do with cardstock for these two pictures. Sorry.
Add the other cutting pad on top to finish your ‘sandwich’. When using the heavy chipboard I run mine through twice to make sure everything gets cut all the way through.
Of course, I have a Vagabond 2, so it’s just a matter of flicking a switch for me – no hand cranking for this girl! But, in my defense, I make HUNDREDS of these at Christmastime and the electric die cutter is wonderful, especially when mass producing. And given the production numbers – I’ve developed a few time-savers as well, that you might find useful.
So here’s our raw die cuts. Let me add here, there’s other ice skate die cuts out there but this one is a really good size and has some great details like the embossed areas on the boot and at the heel, as well as the ability to LACE these up with real string!
Also, you can decorate both sides of these skates easily as the lacing shows both ways. Even though you don’t get the embossing on both sides, you’ll see shortly, that they come out really great.
You will need three colors of paint: white, brown and silver. I start by painting everything on both sides white, letting the first side dry before moving to the other. And for my experience, I start with the back then do the front – it just finishes out better.
When I’m making them in mass, I prefer my little disposable rollers and pans (see Home Depot) because…
we’re talking a lot of ice skates sometimes!
But the next step for this little group is painting the heels with brown. The heels and blades always get painted with brushes regardless of how many there are to do.
I went just a bit over with the brown paint on one (see the circle?) but not to worry, I’ll cover that up with the silver in the next step.
The silver’s a bit hard to see here but it’s there. Don’t forget to paint (in the appropriate color) the edges all around.
This is the step that really brings some character to the skates – the distress-ing. If you haven’t done this technique before, go to Tim Holtz blog and watch a few because Tim and I are of the same belief here – finishing the edges makes all the difference and he always catches that “how to” on film in his videos. This is my number one technique for adding a patina to almost anything and it’s what takes an ordinary item and makes it POP! See how plain those skates are now?
Now they have depth. Do the front and the back of the boots.
This next part is another time saver tip, if you’re just making a few skates then you might want to follow Tim’s video :
ice skate tag
But, if you’re making a BUNCH of these – this may save your fingers to craft another day.
Using a fine sharpie, just make a small dot right where the lacing cut makes an angle. Then using a 1/16 hole punch – punch a hole at each mark.
Now, when’s it’s time to do the lacing, you’re not having to shove a needle through some pretty tough chipboard (over and over, again). Your fingers will thank you.
You’re going to need 16″ of string, or you can use decorative Baker’s Twine, etc.
Thread your twine through a large darning needle (they have big eye’s) and then put your first stitch, coming from the front side to the back, through the very top hole. Leave about a 4″ tail.
Now start working your way down the boot skipping every other hole.
The last hole at the bottom does get stitched right next to the one previous as you can see in this picture. Again, coming in from the front going to the back, start back up the boot taking the holes that are left open.
Yes, it does look like that first one coming back is wrong – but hang in their.
See, all laced up!
Just like you would on your own shoe, tie one knot…
and make a bow. Trim off the scraggly ends and even up your twine. Tie those bows down tight.
See how well the back side of this skate came out? Now if you use it as an ornament, etc. it won’t matter at all which side turns out.
One more step though – ICE on the blades. Just scribble some Stickles on the blade, I like Diamond, and let the first side dry completely before you flip to do the other.
These skates are destined to be Christmas ornaments. I keep them in pairs for this and if you didn’t notice earlier, then take a good look at the skates – there’s actually two different shapes here so when you pair them up you really get a wonderful nuance of realism. Just a bit of difference in shape but the attention to detail makes these the best ice skate die cut out there, in my opinion.
Again with the Sharpie, put dots at the top right corner of the boot and depending on what you want to suspend your ornament on, make the hole appropriate to the material you will be using. I’m going with a pretty thin tinsel twine, so I punched 1/16 holes.
I cut somewhere around 12 inches of twine and using a toothpick, just sort of poke the end of the twine through the holes – front to back.
On the back side, I knotted off the end of the twine so it can’t slip back thorough.
Just a simple length of tinsel twine allows the user to suspend the skates at whatever position they think looks best but the tinsel look is, of course, perfect for tree decoration.
And now, a few final pictures of skate projects:
This would be an example of skates you could use lighter weight paper on and only painting one side.
Baker’s Twine for the laces.
A much larger project, and one that is also currently listed in my Etsy shop – Old Raven. This is a nine foot garland that features ten skates and oodles of lovely twinkling snowflakes.
Doesn’t it make a pretty mantle swag?
I really love this Sizzix die, and I whole-heartedly agree with Tim, try and find as many uses as you can for your (expensive) craft supplies. Try Google-ing this ice skate die and just see how many clever ways others have come up with when using this tool. I dare ya.
Now – Craft On