Posts tagged ‘vinyl’

Ambitious Welcome Sign – SVG Freebies for Stenciling

Scottish historian and essayist Thomas Carlyle once said, “I’ve got a great ambition to die of exhaustion rather than boredom.”

He must have owned a Cricut ūüôā

He died in 1881, so I know he didn’t, but I SOOOOOOOOOOOO relate to what he means.

My most recent project may have been a bit ambitious.¬† Or maybe I just don’t know what I’m doing.¬† Or maybe I know what I’m¬†doing but I’m doing it the wrong way.¬† Or maybe I know what I’m¬†doing and I’m doing it the right way but I’m doing it with the wrong supplies.¬†

AAARRRRGGGHHHHH!!!!!  

At this rate, this project may never get finished.

Dammit!

I’m ill and frustrated and frustrated and ill, and I’m cursing my imagination and goodwill and my tendency to “borrow” eye-catching design.

Please allow me to explain.

A few months ago a very nice couple at my church got married.¬† Because it’s the second time around for both of them they elected to forgo the wedding and spend their cash on a honeymoon.¬† Good for them, I say!¬† And at the time I thought, good for me, too!¬† The lack of wedding invitation meant I didn’t have to struggle to find an appropriate and affordable gift.

Hooray!!!

But I was at their house the other day and noted that the new bride has recently hung a very cool and colorful monogrammed flag.¬† I also noted that other than the very cool and colorful flag, the porch is rather…well…plain and unadorned.¬†

I thought, they need a welcome sign!¬† They need a welcome sign that matches that very cool and colorful flag!¬† I’m going to make them a welcome sign that matches that very cool and colorful flag!!!

Me and my bright ideas.

So I sat down with Photoshop. 

I’ve learned the Photoshop is a big help to me when planning new projects, whether it be cards or stencils or whatever.¬† It allows me to play with the design, and get accurate measurements for the pieces and parts.¬† It also allows me to create¬†jpegs to convert to svg files to cut with SCAL.¬† So I sat down at my computer and came up with this 12″x12″ design for their welcome sign.

WARNING:  Ambition Can Make Your Hair Fall Out

WARNING: Ambition Can Make Your Hair Fall Out

The first problem I encountered was that I had no idea how to actually execute this design. 

In a perfect world, I’d have all the colors I wanted in vinyl and would simply have painted the plaque black, cut and stuck on the vinyl, coated it with four or five coats of spray polyurethane, put a hanger on the back, and voila!

But I don’t have a rainbow collection of vinyl.¬†

I want a RAINBOW collection of vinyl!!!  I need a RAINBOW collection of vinyl!!! 

I also want to be very rich and very thin and look like Cindy Crawford…so you can see that dreaming¬† impossible dreams is not at all new to me.

So I decided to paint the sign using acrylic paints (which I already had in my craft stash) and use my Cricut to cut stencils from some very cheap vinyl.

I don’t mind cutting up my cheap vinyl for stencils, and when I say cheap vinyl, I mean cheap!¬† Lowe’s Home Improvement is clearing out their in-stock wall paper and border, and several weeks ago I found packages of Wall Pops on clearance for $1 per package.¬† Each package had five sheets of 13×13 vinyl, but it was in a¬†yucky blue color.¬† I thought, that’s twenty cents a sheet, and it could come in handy.¬†¬†So I bought all five packages they had left in stock.¬† So for five bucks I got twenty-five 13×13 sheets of vinyl.¬† And yes, they’ve definitely come in handy.¬†

Once I’d decided what I’d use for the project, I encountered my¬†second problem.¬†¬†

After looking at this plain piece of 12×12 wood I’d chosen to use, I decided it was just too plain.¬† So, in a very bold move, I took it out to the barn and routered the edges using¬†my husband’s router table.¬† (Ssshhh!!!¬† Don’t tell him!¬† He hates it when I use his power tools.)

Okay…the plaque looked much better with the routered edges.¬† I sanded it smooth and slapped a couple coats of primer on it.¬† I then painted the routered edges an eye-popping lime green (folkArt’s acrylic paint #2241 Apple Orchard).¬† That’ll be gorgeous against the black background, I thought.¬† (And for the record, it is!)

Then I encountered my third problem. 

Despite the fact that I had the plaque ready to go, and I had my design, and I knew what supplies I was going to use, I still didn’t know how to execute it.¬† Leaning on the very¬†few things I remembered from¬†a painting class I took¬† many many many years ago, I thought,¬†okay, I’ll work from the background up.¬†¬†

So I’ll paint the black background first.¬†

But wait!¬† If I paint the whole thing black, then my center bar and circle with the actual WELCOME on it will be a major pain to paint.¬† I can handle that, I thought.¬†¬†I’ll cut a mask for that part and then paint the black background.

MASKS:  Not just for Halloween anymore!

MASKS: Not just for Halloween anymore!

I carefully marked the center points of my mask and the center points of my plaque and carefully lined my markings up. 

That’s when I encountered my fourth problem.¬†

My design was laid out for a 12×12 plaque.¬† My plaque was 12×12…before I’d routered the edges.¬† Once I’d routered the edges, my¬†plaque was no longer 12×12.¬† But did I take that into consideration?

Of course I didn’t.

So my mask hung off the edges and my center circle was larger than what I had originally designed.  Work with it, I thought.  So I applied the mask and painted the surface of the plaque black.  I allowed it to dry, and removed the mask.

I then cut a stencil for the dots on the top and bottom halves of the sign.¬† Once again, my 12×12 design didn’t fit.¬† The edges hung off.¬†

I am NOT cutting up another piece of vinyl, I thought.  Work with it.

WARNING:  This project may cause you to see spots

WARNING: This project may cause you to see spots

So I began painting my dots. 

That’s when I encountered my fifth problem.¬†

The black background kept bleeding through the colors.¬† It didn’t matter how bold the color was — apple red, calypso blue, lime green — the black bled through.¬† So painting the dots required multiple coats of paint on each dot.

When I was satisfied that the dots were sufficiently coated, I pulled off the stencil. 

That’s when I encountered my sixth problem.¬†

I’d put so many coats of paint on the dots (and I’m sure I put the paint on too thick and didn’t wait for each coat to dry sufficiently before apply another coat), that the paint had seeped under the edges of the stencil and the edges of my nice, crisp dots were anything but nice and crisp.¬†

Crap.  Crap squared.  Crap cubed.  Crap to the nth degree.

So I went searching for through the trash can in my scrap space to rescue¬† the vinyl dots I’d removed from the stencil.¬†

After waiting for my blurry dots to dry completely, I carefully placed the vinyl dots over over the painted dots.  I then painted the black background a second time.  Using a straight pin I carefully removed the vinyl dots. 

Okay, I thought.  Now I have the nice crisp dots I wanted.

That’s when I encounted my seventh problem.¬†

The lime green dots on the flag and in my design are actually two shades of lime green.  A darker lime green outer circle and a lighter interior circle.

How many colors of lime green did I think I actually possessed?

So I cut circles with open centers from vinyl and carefully placed them on the lime green circles.  I then mixed a bit of white paint with a bit of my lime green paint to give me the shade I needed, and I painted the inside of the circles.  This time I was very very very careful not to put the paint on too thick and to allow each coat plenty of drying time.  I then removed the vinyl with a straight pin.

Frankly, right now, the sign looks very cute, but it looks like this:

Hours and Hours of Aggravation and I'm Still Not Done

Hours and Hours of Aggravation and I'm Still Not Done

And now I’m tired.

I’m tired of messing things up and having to redo them.¬† I’m tired of cursing under (and over!) my breath because this project is just way too ambitious.¬† I’m tired of not having vinyl in every color in the rainbow.

I, however, do have a list of some very important things I’ve learned from this experience.

  1. Before¬†I begin a project, I need to make sure my design will fit in the place I’m going to put the design.
  2. Before I begin a project, I need to have a reasonable idea of how I might actually accomplish the project.
  3. Before I begin a project, I need to make sure I have all the supplies I need to finish the project.   (No more mixing paint at the last minute!)
  4. While working on a project, I need to have the patience to take my time and not be in a hurry and not put too much paint on a stencil.
  5. While working on a stenciling project, I probably need to use stencil paint rather than acrylic paint.  Acrylic paint is much thinner than stencil paint (which may be part of the reason the paint bled under the stencil).
  6. While working on a project, I need to remember that it’s all about the experience, and learning how to do new things, and creating something beautiful that’s a gift from the heart.¬†
  7. While working on a project, I probably need to stop every once in a while and call my BFF so she doesn’t think I’m mad at her or don’t need her anymore ūüôā

In the event you, too, are brave and crazy and entirely too ambitious and don’t mind ignoring your BFF for several days in a row, you can download the svg file for the mask here and the svg file for the dots here.

I’ll upload more svg files as I finish this project.

IF I finish this project.

In the meantime, Happy Cricuting!!!!

February 18, 2009 at 12:31 pm 9 comments

Teacher Gift – SVG & SCAL SCUT Freebies

First, I apologize for posting another mock-up instead of an actual picture, but, in case you haven’t seen my previous post of today, my Canon is officially dead.¬†

I’ll replace it sometime in the coming week, but in the meantime, I wanted to get this up since I have a few free hours without the children whining or tattling on each other.¬† “Mom! She touched me!”¬† “Mommy!¬† He made me mad!”

I don’t get to pick when the lightening of inspiration strikes, and yesterday it lit up the sky at almost midnight, just when I was about to give up the ghost and shut down the Internet.

That’s about the time I stumbled upon a website for Uppercase Living, which motivated me to make a special present for my DS’s teacher for Valentines Day.¬†

I did not¬†duplicate Uppercase Living’s exact design in the creation of this project, though it was very very tempting because it was so adorable.¬† However, I did take¬†broad creative license with it and leaned on it heavily as I created my own.¬† ¬† (As always, I try to give credit where credit is due.)

Anyway, the idea was so cute, and I just happened to have all the supplies on hand that I needed (one of the benefits of hoarding supplies — also one of the curses) and four hours later I had a very cute gift to send to a wonderful teacher and a serious case of sleep deprivation.

Juan!  Juan Valdez!!!  Paging Senor Valdez!!!!!!

Midnight Inspiration, Anyone?

Midnight Inspiration, Anyone?

 

Please don’t let the four hour thing freak you out.¬† It will not take you as long.¬† I swear!!!¬† A good part of that time was spent using Photoshop’s custom shape tool to create the jpegs for the heart apple and all its pieces, and to resize the text and little hearts to fit on¬†the path I wanted.¬† Then of course, I had to convert the jpegs to svgs in Inkscape.¬† And because I painted the board and its edges as well as the heart apple with stencil paint, I spent quite a bit of time waiting for paint to dry so I could move on to the next step.¬† If I had vinyl in all the colors I needed, it wouldn’t have taken quite so long to finish because I could have rubbed instead of stenciling, but this is a great example of how flexible the Cricut is.¬†

Instructions for this project can be found on my Projects page.

The svg file for the lettering can be found here.¬† The heart apple is in several different pieces in several different svg files: the heart apple can be found here, the stem can be found here, the leaf can be found here, and the apple seeds can be found here.¬† And last but not least, I’ve also created a scut file with all the pieces of the apple in it for ease of use, and it can be found here.

I only hope DS’s teacher enjoys the finished project as much as I enjoyed creating it.¬† I hope you enjoy it, too.

As always — happy Cricuting.

February 13, 2009 at 1:53 pm 7 comments

Bless This Home – SCAL SCUT File for Home Decor

It’s no wonder I’m obsessed with my Cricut!¬† The darn thing does everything but the dishes!!!

Not only have I done some really cool cards for my very special Valentines, but this weekend, despite having a fever of over 101 degrees, I finally finished the vinyl lettering to go over my back door in the kitchen. 

Bless This Home

Fever? What fever?

When I say finally, you have to understand that I’ve had the scut files completed for some time, but what I didn’t have, and what I really needed, was a 12×24 mat.¬† And, being the total cheapskate that I sometimes am, I was waiting until I could find them on sale (thank you, Joann.com!).

They arrived early last week, but due to other committments, I couldn’t get around to actually cutting the vinyl.¬† Then Wednesday night, the virus set in.¬† No stomach upset (yay!!!) but basically I wallowed around in my fleeciest jammies and a sweater and TWO pairs of very thick socks.¬† I never wear socks!¬† I’m the original barefoot contessa!¬† When I put on socks, you know I’m sick.¬†

But by Friday I couldn’t stand it a moment longer, and I dragged myself from my deathbed to finish this project.

You have to excuse the fact that the jpeg I included in this post is an extremely-close-to-actual-scale mock up of the beautiful lettering now gracing my back door.  My Canon has still not been repaired, and as of the writing of this post, the techs at Canon have still not ascertained the exact problem with my camera.  Therefore, my technical abilities are somewhat limited at this time. 

Crap.  Crap squared.  Crap cubed.  Crap to the nth degree.

I’ve never been a “the one who dies with the most toys wins” type of person.¬† But there are a few things I’ve discovered that, while I can live without them, I really really really really don’t want to.¬† The first one of those things is my computer.¬† The second is my camera.¬† The third is my Cricut.

I sort of feel like Steve Martin in The Jerk,¬†wandering around the house saying, “I don’t need anything except this computer¬†and that’s it and that’s the only thing I need, is this computer. I don’t need this or this. Just this computer. And this camera —¬†the computer¬†and the camera¬†and that’s all I need. And this Cricut. The computer, the camera¬†and the Cricut, and that’s all I need. And this vinyl. ¬†The computer, and this vinyl, and the Cricut and the camera. And this paper. The computer, this camera and the Cricut and this paper and that’s all I need. And that’s all I need too. I don’t need one other thing, not one – I need this! The camera, and the glitter markers, and the Cricut, and the vinyl, for sure. Well what are you looking at? What do you think I am, some kind of a jerk or something? And this! And that’s all I need. The computer, the Cricut, the camera, these rhinestone stickers¬†and the glitter markers.”

Anyway, now that I’ve bored you terribly with a really really lousy impersonation of a very funny man in a very funny movie that I haven’t watched in a very long time, I’ll spare you the minute details of how to do the project.¬† If you’d like the minute details, leave a comment asking for them, and I’ll email you the instructions.

I will tell you that you can download the scut files for the heart scroll here and the wording here. 

PLEASE NOTE:¬† The font I used for this project is Inspiration.¬† Designed by the very talented Rob Leuschke, this is NOT a free font.¬† I looked high and low in search of something that approximated the style of this font, with no success.¬† This is truly an original.¬† What does this mean for you?¬† It means that if you do not have Inspiration installed on your computer, this scut file will not work for you.¬† You can purchase the font at http://new.myfonts.com/fonts/typesetit/inspiration/, and, if you do, you’ll be amazed at the number of uses you’ll find for it.¬†

It’s a as always, Happy Cricuting!!!

February 9, 2009 at 11:05 pm 12 comments


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