Posts tagged ‘Welcome’

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


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