I’ve created many things with my Silhouette over the years, but one of its main uses has been for classroom projects. In fact, my role as a Bible class teacher is what led me to purchase my first Cameo. Like most teachers, I’m always on the lookout for ways to make learning enjoyable and one of the most fun and versatile ways I’ve found so far is this easy Muffin Tin Toss Game.
Note: This is Part 1 of a two-part series and includes instructions on how to create circle inserts for a Muffin Tin Toss Game. Part 2 will be posted next week and will include instructions on how to accurately cut the circles after they’ve been laminated.
The concept of the Muffin Tin Toss Game is simple. Each cup of the tin contains a piece of paper with a question written on it. The student tosses a lightweight ball (or beanbag) into the muffin tin and then tries to answer the question the ball lands on. The game can be easily adapted to whatever subject you’re working on. Instead of questions you could review vocabulary words, practice math problems, play silly games – anything you might imagine!
In Bible class, we’ve used this game several times to review our Bible lessons. Kids of all ages love to play (as well as challenge themselves to see how high the ball can bounce, but that’s another story…) and it’s a great reinforcement activity.
Using Silhouette Studio, I was able design circles to fit perfectly inside the cups of the muffin tin. Each circle has a question printed on one side and the answer printed on the reverse — the trick is getting the text lined up so that the paper is printed accurately on both sides. In this tutorial, I will show you exactly how this is done.
As a bonus, I’ve included some FREE Print & Cut files for you at the end of this post. The files include a set of 48 Bible review questions that are ready to print and cut as well as a template file if you prefer to add your own text. If you don’t enjoy designing your own cut files, feel free to skip the tutorial and go right to the downloads. But if you want to add another skill to your Silhouette repertoire, read on!
Creating a Muffin Tin Toss Game
(All screenshots are from Silhouette Studio, Version 4.1)
Drawing the circle
- Measure diameter of cup. Turn your muffin tin over and measure the bottom of one of the cups. In this example, my cup measures approximately 2”.
- Calculate the size of your finished circle. You want each circle to lie flat in its cup, so allow for a tiny bit of wiggle room. If you plan to laminate your circles (as I will be doing), allow for that as well. I’ve calculated that my circles should be 1.75” as follows:
- Draw the circle. Open a new page in Silhouette Studio. Turn on the registration marks (shortcut: press “M” on your keyboard). Using the “Draw an Ellipse Tool”, draw a circle measuring 1.75”.
Duplicating and Aligning the Circles
To create a Print & Cut design that is perfectly aligned for double-sided printing, you must pay very close attention to the placement of the circles. If you are not planning to print on the reverse side of your circles, duplicate your original circle as many times as needed to fill the page and don’t worry about exact alignment.
- Duplicate the first circle. Make a column of four circles by using the Replicate command (Object>Replicate>Column of Four) or by pressing the CTRL/CMD key + down arrow three times.
- Space and align the first column of circles. Using your arrow keys, move the circles to where there is approximately .25” of space in between each one. Select the entire column (all four circles) and choose Object>Align>Space Vertically. If the column is not aligned vertically, select the entire column and choose Object>Align>Align Center. Group the column of circles together (CTRL/CMD+G). Move the group to the left of the design page.
- Fill the page. Select the column of circles and duplicate it to the right by choosing Object>Replicate>Duplicate Right or by pressing the CTRL/CMD key + the right arrow. To get as many circles on the page as possible, move the duplicate column to where it nests close to the first column (as shown below).
Select the first two columns and duplicate them to the right. Your page should now look like this:
Group all four columns together.
- Align the page for double-sided printing. All of the circles should now be grouped together. Select the group and choose Object>Align>Center to Page. This will align the set of circles directly in the middle of your page and allow for an accurate double-sided print. (Note: In the screenshot below you will see that the edge of the top left circle falls within the cross-hatched area. To avoid registration errors when it’s time to cut, I decreased the inset of the marks.)
Creating the Reverse Side
- Open a new design page. Registration marks are not needed since this page will only be used for printing (nothing will be cut). Copy the circles from the first page and paste them onto the new design page. Make sure the group is aligned to the center of the page.
- Mirror your design. Since this will be the reverse side, the design needs to be a mirror image of the first page. Choose Object>Mirror>Flip Horizontally. Set to “No Cut”.
Checking the Alignment (optional)
If you want to be completely sure your circles are aligned, change the line size of the circles (both sets) to 1.0 then print a double-sided copy. (I recommend feeding the page into your printer manually to print on the reverse side rather than using duplex printing.) Hold the page up to a window or other light source to check the alignment. Adjust as needed. Remember that a small variation will not make very much difference since the line around the circles will not be printed on your finished page. Be sure to set the line size back to 0.0 when you’ve finished checking the alignment.
Important!!! Once you have set up your pages and they are properly aligned, it is crucial that you do not move them out of position. If you have Designer Edition or above, you can create a reference point using Layers.
- Open the Layers panel by either choosing Panels>Layers or clicking the Layers icon on the right-hand side of your toolbar.
- Select the group of circles. Choose Edit>Copy (CTRL/CMD+C), then Edit>Paste in Front (CTRL/CMD+F) to place a copy directly on top of your original group. You should now see two elements named “Group” under Layer 1.
- Click on the “+” sign located at the bottom right of the panel to add a new layer.
- Click on the second “Group” in the list and drag it to Layer 2.
- Click on “Group” in Layer 1. Change the line color of this group to something other than red (I prefer light gray). Set this group to “No Cut”.
- You should see two squares to the left of the words “Layer 1”. The first square shows an icon of an eyeball. The second square should be empty. Click on the empty square and a padlock icon will appear. This indicates that the bottom layer is now locked into place. (The bottom layer appears at the TOP of the list in the Layers panel.) The top layer is still moveable. Now it’s easy to notice if the two layers become misaligned.
- Rename Layer 1 to “Alignment Template” (or something similar) by double-clicking on the layer name and typing in the new text. Hit “Enter” to save the change.
- Repeat for the page that will be printed on the reverse.
Adding Colors and Text
Note: If you are using layers, make sure that Layer 2 is selected.
- Add color. Ungroup the circles. Choose the one(s) you want to fill and then add a solid color, gradient, or pattern by using one of the options in the Fill Panel.
- Add text. Click the Text icon on the left of your screen or open the Text Panel. Type your text, center it, and set to “No Cut”. In this example, I used the KG Miss Kindergarten font, in both 14pt & 12pt, with a fill color of black and no line color. This font is free for personal use and available here. (Tip: Make a copy of your text and move it off the mat so that you will always have an editable text box to copy and paste into another circle.)
- Align text. With both the circle and the text box selected, choose Object>Align>Align Center-Middle. This will align the text box in the exact center of the circle. Group the circle and the text box together. Repeat for the remaining circles, taking care not to move any of the circles out of alignment.
- Add text to be printed on reverse. Repeat steps 2 & 3 for the text on the reverse side, but keep in mind that the order of the circles on the reverse side is a mirror image of the circles on the front side of the page. This means that the text that will appear on the back of the circle at the top LEFT of the front page will have to be typed in the circle on the top RIGHT of the reverse page.
Printing and Cutting
- Print. Print both pages onto the front and back of a piece of cardstock.
- Cut. Place the printed page on your mat with the front side up. This page will include the registration marks. Cut on the Silhouette using the “Cardstock, Plain” setting.
Each circle should have text on the front and back and fit neatly inside the muffin tin cup. Pretty cool, huh?
For durability, I laminate almost everything I use in the classroom. But laminated items need to be trimmed and…um…I’m a bit “allergic” to scissors 😉 . So, unless I can talk someone else into trimming them for me, I’ll turn to my trusty Cameo every time. Come back next week and I’ll share another secret and show you how to cut laminated items using your Silhouette, leaving the edges sealed.
Until next time,
*Free Template & Printables*
- Make sure the grouped cut file is centered to your page.
- Turn on registration marks for all front pages.
- The only thing that should be cut is the circles on the front page(s). Everything else should be set to “No Cut”.
- Due to variations among printers, I recommend making a sample print first.
Bible Basics Questions
Bible Basics Answers
If you find these files useful, leave me a comment here or on my Facebook page then stay tuned for even more projects and printables in the future!