Crafty Math

A man has one hundred dollars
and you leave him with two dollars.
That's subtraction.
~Mae West


Are you good with numbers?

I'm trying to remember what I learned from my math classes in school, and, seriously, the only thing I can recall is that my geometry teacher had really good penmanship.

Then there was my infamous carpet project. Dad wanted to give me a chance to apply math to real-life so he asked me to measure the room he was building for me in the back half of the basement and calculate how much carpet he should buy.

I know, "basement" bedroom conjures up images of Harry Potter's closet room in the Muggle world, but, really, it was nice. I spent the better part of a Saturday afternoon trying to figure out how much carpet Dad should buy. Thankfully, Dad was better with numbers than I was and over ruled my numbers. My calculations would have covered the floor AND the walls and ceiling of the entire basement, and probably would have required a second mortgage to pay for it all.

Dad also had a good sense of humor and of course never let me forget the carpet project.

If you've followed me for even a little while (God Bless You), you know I love lots and lots of layered mats on my cards. See? This little dinosaur birthday card from the other day has at least eight layers.


Yes, it's kind of scary how long it took me to figure out the math to make these matted layers.

But, thanks to my perfect-penmanship geometry teacher and good humored Dad, I figured it out and now I have it down to a science.

Here goes.

If you want your pretty stamped, colored and now gorgeously embellished, glittered and embossed square to have a delicate little 1/16 inch border around it, you double the size of the border (1/16 inches times two equals 1/8 inches) and add that to the width and length of the square.

Scared yet?

I usually start my projects with a sketch. I print out the sketch and then start scribbling my calculations. I start with the size of the card and deduct the size of each border until I get to the center panel.

For dinosaur-spot-of-tea card up there, I started with standard 5-1/2 inch by 4-1/4 inch card.

  1. I wanted a 1/8 inch space between the edge of the card and the first, blue, layer. So, I deducted 1/4 inches from the 5-1/2 inches and from 4-1/4 inches to make a mat that was 5-1/4 inches by 4 inches.
  2. I wanted a little 1/16 inch border between the blue mat and the red mat.
  3. And then, I wanted another 1/16 inch border between the red mat the the thunder-cloud-stars blue patterned paper.

So here it is . . . My Craft Math!

Are you still with me?

Good, because now the fun really begins. After I cut the 5 inch by 3-6/8 inch thunder-cloud-stars blue patterned paper, there was no more calculating or measuring, just cutting. I did all the rest with the Perfect Layers tool. This tool is so smooth – like buttah!

Photo credit

The Perfect Layers tools have options from 1/16 inch (my personal favorite)  to 1 inch borders.

Photo credit

Here's how the magic works. The Perfect Layers tools have these "catch lips" that hook onto the side of your picture or project edge.

Photo credit.

Once you decide how big you want your border to be, you adhere your top layer to the next layer, line up the lip with the edge of your top layer and cut down the side with a hobby blade. Turn the piece and repeat until you've cut out all four sides.

If you want another layer, just repeat the process with the next border material.


I had not yet adhered the layers to the card base when I took this picture (that's the very, very last thing I do with a card). But, you can see already see . . . perfect layers every time, even for a geometry dunce like me.


Here's my really big news!

I bought my Perfect Layers tool about a gazillion years ago when it was carried by Stampin' Up! I was so sad when Stampin' Up! quit carrying it because I really loved sharing this crazy fun tool. The Perfect Layers tool just seemed to disappear off the planet. Let me tell you, I'd be pretty freaked out if I lost mine. But, They're Back!

Once I found them again, I contacted the Perfect Layers geniuses to tell them how much I love their tool. Guess what! Those nice people want to make it easier for me to make it easier for you to get your hands on this tool. Such really nice people they are.

You can use this LINK to view an instructional video and purchase your set of Perfect Layer Rulers with a Catered Crop discount. Use the promo code catered5% when you check out and you'll  save five percent on the rulers and get flat rate priority shipping.


That puts a dinosaur-size smile on my face.


So, back to my original question. Are you good with numbers? Well, I used to be really bad with numbers. But not so much any more.

I married a mathematician.


Sweet Comments

  1. Your posts are ALWAYS amazing! I mean truly amazing!

  2. Wow, I did not remember that part of the Room Addition project. All I rememeber is 2 sisters in one room – one sister = a whole room to myself. With brand new furniture. But don’t worry, we can be roomies again someday. I have a resource that knows how to find the best senior citizen facility that will even allow pillow fights.

  3. Your cards are amazing…..I have always loved layers. I am pretty good with math and have been doing it in my head…..BUT……today you reminded me that I have the Stampin’ Up Perfect Layers in my tool caddy and I have been working WAY TOO HARD. LOL

  4. I can do the crafty math. I scares the bejeebus out of some people, though. And I think I loaned out my SU Perfect Layers tool to … someone. Or maybe I sold it to them since I never used it. :(

  5. Great tutorial. Me, I forgo the math altogether……I just set layers on top of one another, a little pencil tick here and a little pencil tick here, and then go ahead and trim to size. Biggest problem with that is that after I put the paper on my trimmer I’ll be peering down at the paper thinking, “Now where the heck is that tick mark?” :)