Saturday, 26 November 2016

ScanNCut Basics 5: Give me something to use my new skills on: Resources

Ok so Posts 1 to 4 cover the basics from getting your machine out of the box, setting it up, having the right basic kit and skills to keep it working properly and also how to make nice clean cuts without breaking your blades and mats.

NOW we move onto actually DOING something with those new skills!

You would not believe the sheer volume of resources available online from official Brother help and demonstration videos, to tutorials on how to use different machine features, to projects, to reviews of the different products. All for free. That's even before we get to the free stuff that's available in terms of SVG files - basically you aren't limited for choice!

Here's a few starting points I use regularly.

How Does the Machine Work? Videos 

If you don't know how to do something, READ THE MANUAL and watch a few videos. Then you'll be able to!
  1. Brother USA You Tube Channel HERE  They have infomercial demonstration videos showing basic how tos, step by step projects, troubleshooting, how to use the different features and Kits available. Basically, my first port of call. However, be aware, what they do looks good but they don't always explain the settings you need.
  2. Brother EU You Tube Channel HERE They tend to have wordless videos which are very clear for showing how Kits and the Machine works. Limited number of videos but useful!
  3. Create & Craft UK (sole supplier of ScanNCut in the UK) have videos on their SnC section - different to the USA ones, by Mel amongst others HERE.  They have a particularly useful one called Overlay on how to use acetate and markers to get the machine to cut out a particular image that won't scan in well. (Jen below also has a video on the same topic - watch both!)
    Create& Craft UK also have a website section of Hints and Tips with written instructions on how to do all sorts of things. Super useful and worth a look HERE. 
  4. Jen Blausey's Jam Sessions You Tube Channel HERE She runs a Facebook Group. Her videos are hugely informative and she knows her stuff. Sometimes the focus is fuzzy or not pointing at what she's talking about, but nevertheless a magnificent resource and you can always follow what she's doing even if the camerawork isn't flashy. She does it for free by herself in her own time. Yay her! Search her Channel with a key word and her name and you should find what you are looking for. She's particularly strong on how to use the different sorts of Vinyl (I don't think anyone else covers vinyl so comprehensively but I may be wrong).
  5. Margret Singleton's You Tube Channel HERE. She runs a different Facebook Group. Not many videos, but they're very useful, on things I puzzle over and am not quite sure how to approach.
  6. Julie Fei-Fan's You Tube Channel HERE. She works for Brother USA as a paid consultant.
  7. Alana Craft in Australia's You Tube Channel HERE. They don't do many ScanNCut videos, and cover a wide range of crafts.  Their blog is also super, particularly on the Universal Pen Holder - a very good post.
There's loads more I've not mentioned. If there's one you really rate, tell me in the comments and I'll add it to the list!

OK. It's all very well knowing HOW to use the machine, but what about ideas of what to cut or draw or emboss or MAKE? It's hard as a newbie to know where to start!

Well there's LOADS of really high quality FREE projects readily available.


 Starting with Brother's own resources:

  1.  Brother's Canvas Software This only works with certain browsers, I use Chrome. HERE  If your browser isn't supported it tells you which ones are. Useful huh! Anyway, you don't need a machine to log in and use it, you just need an email address and to pick a password. I'll do posts on Canvas later, because it has two functions, the first, which is what we're interested in now is the FREE PROJECTS, and the second (covered later in the series) is as software to create or manipulate your own or other images to cut, draw or emboss etc including designs that go with each Kit. So, log in, and have a look around at the projects. Each Project contains (a) the image files you need for the machine to do the project (b) a PDF to download with instructions and (c) a step by step video for the project.  Canvas is a global website, so every country sees the same thing, just in their own language.
  2. Brother's Canvas Projects You Tube Who knew this was a thing? But it is! HERE.  I have no idea which if any or all of the Brother Projects are on this Channel, I found it by accident today!
  3. Brother USA Website Projects Archive Section HERE.  These projects are generally TOTALLY different to the Canvas Projects. Each Project is a downloadable PDF with instructions, usually including a link to the Paid Brother Consultant's own website with the image file to download. When I had a flick through them, I can confirm that ALL of the Brother ScanNCut Project Book 3 (sold by Create& Craft UK in hard copy form) are all available in this Archive Section. Some of these projects are also in Canvas, but many aren't.
  4. Brother USA Website Current Project and Free Image Download HERE.  Yup, the landing page of the Brother USA website, if you scroll down has (a) a Monthly Project and (b) a free image. In December 2016 this was the maple leaves cookie stencils project (also found in the archive) and the free image is a rather nice swirly tree. As far as I can tell, once the free image is taken down, you've missed it, so get in the habit of downloading it if you like it!
  5. Brother UK Website Project Books HERE Interestingly Create & Craft UK, either as part of bundles or by themselves, do sell hard copy Brother Project Books 1, 2 & 3. As already said, the Brother USA Project Archive contains all the individual Projects from Book 3. But Books 1 & 2 are available in Magazine Form from the Brother UK website. The snag here is that you need to fiddle around to download or screen grab or print then scan the project images as they aren't available as individual files on the UK website. I've not found them anywhere else either. However, they're there for the using!
  6. Create & Craft UK has a Projects and Academy Area. These aren't necessarily (Or often) specifically for the ScanNCut machine, but often you can use your machine to create them. Crafty Guides HERE, Craft Academy HERE and Crafty Projects HERE
  7. There's also Scan N Cut projects and tutorials by an amazing range of crafters on You Tube, on Pinterest and on Blogs.  I personally do a browser search for something I want to make, and if it's for a different machine, don't worry too much because I can screengrab an image, trace it into Canvas and get my cutting files that way.  I use the free download software LightShot HERE. There's also software free online that will convert files to SVG for you to use with your machine. But we'll cover those sorts of things later in the blog series.
Just Brother alone provides you with over a hundred different projects to help you learn to use your machine whilst making something lovely. Remember practise makes perfect - even if you aren't that keen on what the project makes, it's useful to do if it helps you learn a technique that you want to use to do something different later on!

In time there'll be projects here on this blog too, but it'll take me a while to create them, organise my ideas and write the posts. So best to start with a browser search or the various Brother options in the meantime!

Have fun! And let me know if there's any great free resources you use so I can keep updating this post!
Next set of posts move onto the Basic Shapes and DieCut Shapes and Borders and Fonts that come ready installed in the machine - how to manipulate them into something more complex - multiples, resizing, grouping, welding and all that other whizzy stuff!

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