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market-tote-peachstand-cricut-designspacestar-sparrowsoireesA month ago I received an email from Cricut about Design Space Star, a design challenge. In short, between August and November there’s a monthly challenge to create an item using the Cricut Explore and there are prizes for the winners (!). After reading the email – and re-reading a few more times – I thought, “Why not try?” So I filled out the application, sent it off and waited to hear if I’d be selected… and promptly forgot about it thanks to our chaotic summer.

Fast forward a week or two later. I received an email letting me know I was chosen (gulp!). Next I received an email noting my team. I almost fell over. My team members are amazing; all are über talented ladies – you’ll meet them later, I promise. I really started to second guess what I had gotten myself into, but like any seemingly scary scenario, I dove right in.

cricut-design-space-star-logo Our first design challenge from Cricut was “fashion/gear.” As a team, we chose “geometric” as our central theme. After a little brainstorming and testing the waters, I decided to create a set of market bags.

market-tote-supplies1-cricut-designspacestar-sparrowsoirees Speciality Items:
2 Canvas Market Totes
– 1 Cricut iron-on roll, red
– 1 Cricut iron-on roll, teal
– Cricut 12×24″ mat
– Cricut weeder & tweezer tools

Household Items:
– Scissors
– Iron
– Ironing board or thick bath towel
– Dish towel

If you have a Cricut Explore, click here for the design.

Design & Cut:
market-tote-designspace-cricut-designspacestar-sparrowsoirees Design: I wanted something simple yet polished. The “to market” circle felt like it hit the mark. For the second design, I wanted something fun but tied in. The five circles – cheese, bread, meat, fruit, and wine – are always perfect for a chic party spread and items you could grab at a market. (Just FYI: I’m not an Illustrator or Photoshop whiz. I created both designs in Cricut Design Space.)

Cut: Follow the directions carefully on the iron-on’s packaging. Cheat sheet: 1) stick the film, the really shiny side, to the mat so the iron-on’s dull side is facing you; 2) click the “mirror image” box in the Mat Preview window; 3) turn the Explore’s dial to “Iron-on” and automatically adjust the blade’s pressure for you. It will cut the iron-on while leaving the film intact. (I’m trying to figure out if it can make the morning coffee.)

Tips: 1) While in Cricut’s Design Space, I used their bag option in “set canvas,” which helped a lot. It simply outlines your item to give a general idea of the layout before cutting. 2) I double-check my design in “mat preview” to see how the design will be cut and how much material I’ll need. 3) When using pricier materials, I’ll cut the design on a light cardstock or butcher paper to ensure I’m pleased with the layout, sizing and so forth before the final cutting.

Prep & Assembly:
market-tote-prep-and-assemble-cricut-designspacestar-sparrowsoirees Prep: When peeling the iron-on off the mat, make sure to peel the shiny film with the iron-on since you’ll need it to protect your iron and design. With a pair of scissors, cut the excess negative space off. Find a corner of the iron-on material’s negative space (non-designed space), either using your fingernail or the Weeder tool, to pull off it off. For the smaller details, like the negative space in the “e” or “a”, I found working slowly, going between the tweezers and weeder as needed, worked wonders. Patience is key.

Assembly: Again, reading the directions on the iron-on label is key. Cheat sheet: 1) have everything prepped and ready for ironing; 2) warm up the material with the iron to help the film stick to the material; 3) quickly and carefully place your design before the material cools, pressing the design down a little as you go and cover with a dishtowel (I used a folded flour sack towel); 4) heat the design, moving methodically and pressing evenly; 5) flip the material over and heat from the backside. Once done, carefully pull up the film, checking the iron-on has properly adhered to the material.

Tips: 1) I used a thick bath towel on our dining table, which was easier than the ironing board due to the lower height. 2) The day after I finished the bags, I noticed a few bubbles under a couple of the iron-ons, which meant it wasn’t completely sealed. With the iron, I heated the backside of the design first. Then I re-ironed the design, using a sheet of parchment paper – to protect the design and iron until the bubbles disappeared – and used the same ironing technique when I first applied the design. 3) Cricut’s YouTube channel has a great, quick Iron-on 101 video worth watching if you’re new to the iron-on world like me. 4) If you cannot see a lined sheet through the material but need lines/a grid, use chalk and a ruler to create light lines. Test a discreet area first with the chalk and wipe it off with a baby wipe or damp towel to see if it will remove easily. market-tote-tomarket-final-cricut-designspacestar-sparrowsoireesmarket-tote-5circles-final-cricut-designspacestar-sparrowsoirees

market-tote-2-cricut-designspacestar-sparrowsoireesI’m really pleased with these bags, especially since it was the first time I used iron-ons (I know; it’s crazy.). I think the set would make for a really great birthday, housewarming or teacher appreciation gift. Christmas is a must! By the way, add a personal touch if you’re giving these as gifts. Use a Sharpie to sign the inside of the bag with the date. All great creators should sign their work and the recipient will be all the more impressed.
market-tote-5circles-cricut-designspacestar-sparrowsoireesSoon there will be a chance for you, the fantastic readers, to vote for your favorite Design Space Star submissions. I’ll share the voting links once I have ’em in hand. In the meantime though, please pop over to the related Pinterest page and pin the tote design you like the best, leave a comment below or share this post on Facebook. I’d love to know your thoughts! Thank you so much!!

UPDATE: Guess what?! My bags were placed on the Cricut Design Space Star Pinterest board (yippee!)! If you happen to be a Pinterest user, please share the love by repinning the image. It would be greatly appreciated!

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