Saturday, March 26, 2016

Cardmaking Jig - DIY!

NOTE: Updated as original link no longer works. I have added a few more details on how I made this per requests. 

A jig! A cardmaking jig! No, it's not a new dance craze sweeping the card-making community. This is  a tool to help you line up your layers on a card front with ease. I am so excited to show you the one I made.

If you are a cardmaker, you know the agony of trying to line up layers on a card front so there is a nice even border of under layer showing all around. Typically you would decorate your focal layer, and then want to mat it much like a painting. Fancy cards might have more than one layer. 

With this homemade tool, I can forget measuring, slicing with rulers and knives, or just eyeballing and hoping for the best.

I found the instructions from back in 2010 online (link no longer available, sorry!) and in minutes had my own jig that allows me to leave 1/8 inch and 1/4 inch borders around my layers. All you need are some purchased photo frame mats (you can get at Michael's, an art framing place or even the dollar store), a knife and ruler, some tape (I used double-sided Sookwang) or glue and a sturdy base to tape the mats onto. The mat has two layers already glued for you. Just cut in half diagonally, then affix to a sturdy rectangular base, aligning with the corner. I used a piece of Plexiglas, but you could use thin wood or heavy cover stock.

In my sample below, you can see I cut up two mats, one with a wider bottom layer showing (1/4 inch) and one with a narrower bottom layer showing (1/8 inch). This gives me two options in one tool.


Here you can see my two different mats. The other halves of each mat will be made into a second jig for my sister who is also a stamper.



It's the inset lip formed on the mat that is the secret to this.



By laying the layer you want topmost on your card onto the jig so that the corner butts right up into the corner of the jig, you can be assured accurate placement of the next layer on top.

Let's say you want to place a layer on a standard 5.5 X 4.25 inch card with a one eighth border all around the layer. The layer needs to therefore be cut 1/4 inch smaller all around than the card front base, so 5.25 X 4 inches. This is familar to anyone who has been making cards for awhile. Lay the layer (yellow) FACE DOWN in the well of the 1/8 inch jig and apply adhesive to the back.
Layer in corner of jig.

Now you will take your card front (aqua) and lay it on top of the layer with the adhesive, lining the card front up with the uppermost corner of the jig (wine coloured in photo above). Make sure you place it so your image will be right side up after you adhere it and then turn it over.


Card front placed on top into the uppermost corner of jig.
When you turn it over, you will see the top layer of the card is sitting on the base card front layer with a perfect 1/8 inch border all around!

This is a boon for making lots of cards and not needing to measure or trim. If you start out knowing the size of your card front, then you can cut your layers down the required amount to create the border. You have to cut your layers first, and they need to be true.

I have the Perfect Layers ruler type tools but I found that they are only good for one layer. With this jig, I can do more layers on one card without affecting the accuracy.

I had been trying to figure out how to create a jig for my MISTI to accomplish this, and was seriously considering buying an expensive jig on the market, when I came across the instructions on a wedding site (no longer available, unfortunately). It cost me NOTHING because I had the materials lying around, but you could make one from supplies for less than five bucks. (This method does not use the MISTI, but I suppose you could stack the mats into the corner of a MISTI instead of affixing to a base and use them that way.)

Hope you find this helpful. It's working really well for me, and if I have to replace the mats at some point due to wear and tear, it will be easy and cheap enough to do so.


19 comments:

Helen said...

Thank you so much for this great idea. This will save so much time when matting and layering. Helen (UK)

Sylvia said...

Charmaine, If I understand this right the jig allows you to easily glue together a couple of layers leaving a even border. It does not help to cut right? This is a great idea. Sylvia D.

Charmaine Stack said...

Correct, Sylvia you still need to cut accurate layers to begin with.

Garima said...

Great!

marina daniel said...

Wow. Wonderful. Was just thinking of ordering layer tool. Thank you so much for sharing so selflessly.

Unknown said...

Thank you o much for your instructions for mat layering. I am anxious to make mine.
For the MISTI help when I click the link it takes me to the wedding site. I don't know what to look for to get the instructions.
Tx.
Sue

clu60 said...

Great idea! I clicked on the link and it takes you to a wedding forum site. Is that correct?

Sue LaRue said...

Can you tell me where and/or how you made them for MISTI. When I go to the link you provided it is a weddin g site and I don't know where to find the one you refer to.
Thanks for your help

Bernie Juracek said...

Thank you for sharing!!!

Sean Covert said...

This is awesome! Since the instructions are no longer available on how to make the mats can you give us tips on how you made yours? Thank you!!

Charmaine Stack said...

Thanks for your comments. I am sorry the original post has disappeared from the internet. I added more details to this blog post and I hope it helps.

Sean Covert said...

Thank you! So the mats you had already had the 1/4” & 1/8” borders?

Charmaine Stack said...

Yes Sean. Exactly.

Charmaine Stack said...

Hi Sue. I ended up not using in my MISTI. I taped store bought picture matts to a riding surface instead. Sorry the old link has disappeared from the Internet. I have updated my post.

Charmaine Stack said...

Thanks for letting me know the old link has expired. I updated my post.

Charmaine Stack said...

It seems the link has expired. Thanks for letting me know.

Ruth Knappenberger said...

Thanks do much for sharing this. It is such an awesome idea. Just in time for making Christmas cards. With the Misti and your jig should be a no brainer.😊

Sean Covert said...

Thank you Charmaine!!

Charmaine Stack said...

*rigid surface