Using Vinyl for wooden signs
I love the idea of making signs using my Cricut so I thought I’d have a go at making one by applying the design in vinyl and then the same design but using the vinyl as a stencil and painting the design. I ended up with two quite different results and of course made some errors on the way.
You will need, wooden sign blanks. Got mine from S&S Sign Blanks on facebook. I highly recommend these guys. They’re really good value and have a great choice of different woods and sizes are available. A paint brush, masking tape, paint, varnish and vinyl. (I’ll come on to what type later).
First because I’m an incredibly messy painter I covered my edges with masking tape so I could paint one front side without worrying about smudgy lines on the edges.
I painted two of these signs with Clotted Cream chalk paint from Rust-Oleum (it was the least expensive chalk paint I could find in my local DIY store). The blocks took 3 coats no primer.
So now it’s vinyl time! For the one where I wanted to use vinyl as my stencil I’ve seen people recommend Oracle 631 as is non permanent and also special stencil vinyl. I didn’t have either so I used permanent (yes permanent) vinyl I got for free from my local sign printers. Here’s a great tip, call your local sign companies and explain you just do home crafts and ask if they have any offcuts they wouldn’t mind you having if you can collect. I did this and ended up with a huge haul of vinyl for free. I knew I wouldn’t use a glossy green I was given so this I used for my stencil on my new Cricut 12x24inch mat.
Now you want to weed out the negatives. Sound technical? It’s not, basically you just need to weed out the bits you’d usually keep so remove the e part of the e and not the middle center part. See below…
Once weeded, pop your transfer tape over the front and burnish as normal (burnish means rub with your scraper), be careful to ensure all the small bits like centers of letters have stuck and then peel the backing paper away slowly.
Now carefully line up your vinyl on your sign (I cut mine down to size) and burnish enough to stick the vinyl down, I didn’t go crazy as my vinyl was permanent and I was worried about pulling paint off when I came to remove it. Now choose your paint, you don’t need much on the brush, just a small amount on the ends and dab any excess off (I use the back of my transfer paper) and lightly brush over your design in all different directions. Again I used 3 coats. I used Craig and Rose in Jet black because it was the cheapest black sample size I could get from Homebase.
So while that’s drying I moved onto my vinyl one. I realised I didn’t have a piece of vinyl long enough to take the design so I moved it about in design space to fit onto a normal 12x12inch and figured I’d cut it up and position it. I tried to get the top line all together to make it easier. I used Cricut vinyl as I had some left from my starter pack.
Using transfer paper take the design and put it on your wooden sign, at this point I realised my choice of font was probably a tad poor and in fact some of the lines we so thin it made it quite hard to work with. Not to self, chubby fonts are easier to work with.
This version is pretty much finished so I went back to my stencil one. My 3 coats are now dry and I carefully pulled the vinyl off starting at one corner. It came off really easily and didn’t take hardly any paint with it, just carefully use a weeding tool to get out the bits in the middle of letters. My choice of font came back to haunt me again, but in a much bigger way. Because some of the lines were so thin, as my vinyl came off it lifted the paint off with it. Overall the clarity of letters isn’t too bad but the missing parts of the design is pretty rubbish. See below, using vinyl to print is the top image, using vinyl as a stencil is the bottom image.
I would definitely give the painted option another go, but next time choose a better font to work with. As it is, I’ll sand this one down and have another go. For my vinyl version, I painted the edges in metallic gold and applied 3 coated of satin clear varnish to seal it. Of course I can spot all the flaws but really happy with the finished item.
Monogram Box Frame
So this was super easy to do and I think looks really effective. A friend of mine had a baby and I wanted to create something personal for her.
I bought a 20x20cm deep box frame and some light blue card stock from Hobby Craft using the square paper that comes with the box frame I cut the blue card to size. I used Cricut vinyl from the vinyl starter pack.
In Design Space, add an image and search for Monogram F because I wanted an F, you can search for Monogram and get all of them but this saved a bit of time going through them all. This was the image I really liked, but you’ll notice there’s a bit more going on in the image, I’ll show you how to remove the bits you don’t want. You’ll see from the green “a” on the top left this is a Cricut Access design, so it’s free with Cricut Access, if you don’t want to subscribe you can either buy the image.
Once you’ve dropped this into your Canvas (design screen), look to the right hand side and you’ll see under Layers this image is made up of 4 different layers.
At the moment this is one fixed image, i.e. all the layers are grouped together, so click on Ungroup just above the word Monogram. I only want the white layer, so click on the pink F on the right side and it will select just the pink parts of the image. Go to the image and top left you’ll see a red cross. Just click on this and the pink layer will be removed. Repeat with the other 2 blue layers. Your design will now look like this.
Easy!! So just size the design how you’d like it, select attach and make it. Follow the screen prompts, remember to set your dial to vinyl and you DO NOT want to mirror image because this isn’t iron on.
Once your design is weeded out, I always give the thing I’m adding it to a quick wipe with alcohol just to remove any excess dust or grease on the glass. I bought this from eBay.
Place some transfer tape over your design carefully trying to avoid bubbles or creases. Using your scraper “Burnish” (rub) over the design slightly to get it to stick to the tape. Pull the tape up slowly at 45 degrees from the design or roll it away from the design, if any bits of your design aren’t coming up just put the tape down again and rub a bit harder. I find on detailed designs like this using the blunt end of my weeding tool works quite well. There’s a ton of videos on You Tube on using transfer tape. Here’s one a I really from a US company called Expressions Vinyl, in fact all their videos are really helpful.
Once you’re design is on the glass, check it for bubbles, hopefully you’ve got these out with the burnishing, if not sometimes they can settle in a couple of days, if you have any really troublesome ones, using the thinnest pin or needle you can find just pop the edge and push the air out. Ta daaa!!!! You have Monogram box frame!