Posts Tagged ‘vinyl’

Hump day crafts: Where did the summer go?

September 14, 2011

I’m a little sad that my last post had end of the school year gifts and here we are a week into the new school year. Where have I been? And where did my summer go? Last weekend it was in the 80s, this weekend they’re predicting rain and 60s. Bummer. But I’ll get over it. That’s what we moss backs in the Pacific Northwest do.

Even though my summer seems to have ended way too soon, we did get some crafting in. Here’s 10 crafts I did (some with help) during this short summer:

1. Knitted legwarmers – for my niece’s 8th birthday

2. Vinyled clipboards – made one for my sister-in-law as a gift, plus a couple for Things 1&2.

3. Knitted mini-Jayne Cobb hat – gift for my husband. (Yes, we’ve got a teeny bit of Firefly geek in us.)

4. Toilet paper roll joke book – The kids picked and illustrated the jokes to make a book to send to their dad.

5. Screenprinting – actually I should just say buying a Yudu since I’ve only done 2 projects so far.

6. I spy bottle – to entertain the kids on the pier while we waited for The Cat’s submarine.

7. Flannel boards – another pierside entertainer, except that we could only use these on the bus to and from the pier because the wind blew the laminated flannel backed pieces off the board.

8. Tie dye – my 10 & 13 year old niece and nephew visited from the midwest, so we had to break out the tie-dye kit to make some souvenirs. (I was too busy tying and dying to take pics of the process, but maybe I can get some from my mom later.)

9. Crafting for money – I sold some stuff this year — personalized for my mom’s soccer academy. She benefits from marketing and increased word of mouth, I make a little money to put toward a new cutter (hoping to be able to say goodbye to my cricut soon), and the kids get a special one-of-a-kind personalized useful something. I made water bottles for the kids and car decals for the parents.

10. Tenth anniversary print and cut card – I made this with SCAL and my cricut, plus my Canon MX870 printer.

I’d go on with details about each, but the school bus comes early this year, so I better call it a night. You can always post a comment asking for details. Happy crafting!


Hump day crafts: Horton hears a who wall vinyl

March 30, 2011

Finally, news of my Cricut skills have traveled far and wide. Well, at least as far as my sister’s mother-in-law.

It seems she had promised her daughter a wall vinyl decoration for an grandson’s upcoming birthday party. She had the graphics, bought special vinyl, and … then her computer died. So she called in the cavalry. Me.

They wanted a Dr. Seuss quote from Horton Hears a Who. That part was easy, using SCAL and the Dr. Soos font. But Horton, well that was another story. I could not find a clean Horton that I felt would cut well from a white flocked and matte black vinyl. That’s when I called in the cavalry. My Smartbuygal forum friends. And they came through for me with a great Horton. (You can see the thread here.)

I cut Horton out of the white flocked vinyl (from Quickutz) and weeded out all the areas that were black in the original graphic. To make sure it would show up on any background, I had to bring the original graphic into Photoshop and fill it in so I could trace the outline in SCAL. That way I had a solid Horton to cut from black vinyl. I also drew a little clover for the who. Here’s how I turned out after weeding and layering.

They loved it, especially since the white on black actually made Horton look gray! They liked it so much that after the party they took it and put it on her grandson’s wall. (Gotta love removable vinyl!) And here’s a photo they sent me of it on the wall:

And my payment, besides the exhilaration from using the cricut skills for good? I got to keep the extra vinyl. Now to spend hours thinking about what to do with it. Oh the possibilities!

Happy crafting!

Hump day crafts: vinyled cutting board

January 26, 2011

Not much time for posting right now. I’ve been sick — in fact our someone or other in our house has been sick since the holidays began it seems. I’m really loving cutting permanent/outdoor vinyl (Oracal 651 and GT5 I got from H and H sign supply) with SCAL2 and my Cricut Expression.

Here’s a cutting board I picked up at Walmart and vinyled for my sister’s housewarming gift. I was just going to put “Sweet memories made here”, but thought she might be jealous when everyone else got a personalized tile or glass block, so I added the icons and names. I even drew the cheesecake myself in Adobe Illustrator!

There’s been some discussion over the the SmartBuyGal forums over whether you vinyl the smooth or the pebbly side. After talking (surreptitiously) with my sister, I learned that she’d rather cut on the smooth side, so I vinyled the pebbly side. Not as easy, maybe, but hopefully it makes her happy.

Happy crafting!

Hump day crafts: Glass blocks

December 29, 2010

Christmas is finally over. Well, almost. The Cat still isn’t home, so we have a small cache of presents waiting for his return. It was a tough holiday with him gone. Emotionally, but also just finding time to get everything done. Things 1 & 2 were rambunctious, getting more and more excited for Santa’s visit, while I just needed to find some blocks of quiet time to finish, well, blocks. I found pre-drilled crafting blocks at Lowe’s for the holiday, so I picked a number of them up for presents. I did this with plenty of time left, but, well, my schedule has a way of slipping. I finally finished the last glass block 2 days before Christmas. Actually, I was probably still hot-gluing ribbon on on Christmas eve. Lesson learned, right? Ha! I’m sure next year I’ll be in the same rush those last days before Christmas. It’s just the nature of the beast. The beast being me, I suppose.

And now for the crafts. This first glass block I did for my mom to give as a work gift to a woman who loves penguins. It didn’t turn out as well as I imagined. I don’t think I like the Christmas lights and tinsel with such a delicate design. That is a lesson learned.

And side B:

I etched both sides (masking the edges with tape) and used Oracal 651 vinyl. I put some Stickles on the snowflakes on the Let it Snow side for added bling. The bow was made using a Bowdabra. The penguin is from a coloring page I found on the web, and the “Let it Snow” design is from Michelle over at

So, one down and only three to go to complete my Christmas gifts. Here’s where I got bogged down. But, as I mentioned earlier, I pulled through and ended up thrilled with the results. Here are two I made for my nieces:


And back:

I did these a little different. On the monogram side, I glued vellum inside the block. (Thanks to rebmac over at SmartBuyGal forums for the vellum tips.) I etched the outside on the other side. Most of the graphics are JPGs that I traced using Illustrator or SCAL2. I’ll have to add a mini tutorial later for the monograms. (hint: I used “exclude” in SCAL2.)

There’s just one more to show here, my nephew’s block for his new Star Wars themed room:

(Thanks to Mardenz for the cut file.) This one I sprayed with Krylon frosted glass finish in pearl gray. I’ve heard that it can scratch off easily (unlike etching which is permanent), but this one shouldn’t be moved around a lot, so hopefully it will be okay. If not, we can always mask the vinyl off and respray it.

For my the last three, I used single C7 bulbs, found with other Christmas lights at Lowe’s, Joann’s and Walgreens. The six-foot cords have on/off switches and the C7 bulb is easily replacable. It’s even easy to take out and swap in a different color. (I put a red bulb in the Vader block.) These were big projects for me, but I’m glad I took on the challenge. I was happy with the way they turned out for the most part. And I think the recipients were all pretty happy too.

Happy crafting!

Hump day crafts: gifts for the coach

December 1, 2010

Thing 1 recently finished her first outdoor soccer season. I wouldn’t say she loved it, but she did love her coach. (She loves practices, but hates the pressure of games.) As the end of season party approached I, of course, had to use my Cricut to pull together some personalized gifts for the coach. I didn’t use SCAL since when I decorated the buckets I didn’t have SCAL yet. I had used Design Studio with the Cricut cartridges Life’s a Beach, Sports Mania and Cuttin’ Up. To keep things the same, I stuck with those cartridges. Another mom bought a “coach” necklace in our team colors that we put inside the mug. It was cute too, and from etsy, but I just don’t do jewelry anymore. That is, I don’t make it. I sure would wear it if I a got it as a gift. (That’s a hint to The Cat.) Enough already, here’s the goods:

The framed photo was a big hit. I brought my Bic markers, so the girls could sign it if Coach Carla wanted — and she did. I wasn’t sure if she would like the clean look or cherish their 4 and 5 year old signatures, so I’m glad I waited. Plus it gave the girls something fun to do at the party (besides eat pizza, get trophies and run around like mad that is.)

Now that I have more vinyl colors I definitely see a lot more vinyled projects in my future. They’re so fun and easy! Happy crafting.

Hump day crafts: Halloween stuff

November 3, 2010

Halloween is just one of those holiday made for crafters, isn’t it? Today I’ll share a few things i did for Halloween, including some things that are really different for me.

First, I’m still loving SCAL. Here’s a bowl I decorated with some vinyl:

Vinyled Halloween bowl

And then there’s my experiment with heat transfer vinyl (HTV) to make Thing 2’s firefighter costume a little more authentic (the reindeer was my practice run):

First heat transfer vinyl

And now for something completely different. Thing 1 was wearing a fairy costume G’ma sewed a few years ago (it finally fit!). To dress it up just a bit we found some Palmer face paint pots (love these!) in our Halloween box and did her up right:

Fairy for Halloween

Isn’t she adorable? I should note that the blue down on her chin is from candy, not paint, since we didn’t get any good photos before we left for trick or treating. And if you’ll indulge me, here’s one of Things 1&2 out trick or treating:

Halloween 2010

As I mentioned, T1’s fairy costume was made by G’ma. T2’s costume was clothes we already had with things added (the above design and reflective tape on the pants). I made their bags last year, and they’re still the perfect size for them, although they tend to fill up quickly. Also, T1’s hair bows I bought from a local mom who sells her wares on Facebook as Dips Dots and Dashes. Lots of inspiration here! I hope I get as much or more done next Halloween.

Happy crafting!

Hump day crafts: Renewing my romance with Cricut

October 27, 2010

No, I’m not using my Cricut to renew my romance with The Cat (he’s gone for awhile anyway), but I purchased some new software that’s making me fall in love with my Cricut all over again: SCAL 2.0! With it, I can cut basically anything I want. It imports SVGs and can trace JPGs, so there’s really no limit now to what I can do. I’ve already been playing around in Illustrator designing things I want to cut. Unfortunately, sometimes work gets in the way of crafting. That’s why I decided to combine the two last week. I needed a sign to put up on stage during the Bremerton Symphony’s pre-concert chats. So I used my freebie vinyl from a friend who works in a sign shop and put together this:

Pre-concert chat sign

The title at the top in blue and the BSA logo at the bottom were cut on my Cricut. It was a good learning experience. I had to measure carefully and take my time “weeding” out all of the extra vinyl on that logo. At smaller sizes I lose the tiny letters spelling “Association” underneath, but since this was 18 inches wide, I was able to save all of them. Boy am I looking forward to playing with my new toy! Happy crafting!

Hump day crafts: Go team!

September 15, 2010

Thing 1 played her first outdoor soccer game last weekend. It probably shouldn’t be that big of a deal, since she’s played a number of sessions in indoor soccer, but it’s still exciting. New coach, new teammates, practices with just them. Plus, she’s the best player on the team (of course!). Go T1!

The girls named their team Great Geckos, in part since their home jerseys are green. Their coach arranged for these cute bucket seats (I think they bought them at Lowe’s and her sister-in-law made the cushions). They were nice, but needed a little bling. So the trusty ol’ Cricut was called into service.

It came home like this: Soccer seat bucket 

And went to the first game like this: Great Geckos bucket

But wait, there’s more! I used the negative space to paint some fabric for a flag, so my son could entertain himself at the games cheering them on. No finished pics, but here’s one in progress: Great Geckos painted flag

Yes, that’s glitter. I figure geckos could use a little bling. I painted this on a piece of sheet (twin size!) leftover from an old project. The stencil (and above decals) were from white contact paper. I used Tulip Soft fabric paint plus a black fabric marker to outline the words. I sewed a channel to slide onto a bamboo stake and used rubber bands to secure. I’d tell you everyone loved it at the game, but we forgot it at home. Oh well. There’s always the next 9 weeks.

I used 3 Cricut cartridges: Life’s a Beach, Sports Mania and Cuttin’ Up in Cricut Design Studio.

Happy crafting!

Hump day crafts: Cricut vinyl

July 14, 2010

I haven’t had much time to craft lately, but I have plenty of finished projects to get up here. Today, I thought I’d highlight a few things about working with cricut vinyl. It really doesn’t have to be cricut vinyl. You can buy nice vinyl from a variety of sources (or get free scraps from a sign shop if you’re lucky) or even use contact paper for some applications. But learning to cut this on your cricut opens the door to all sorts of new crafts.

I’m still new to the world of cricut vinyl, but it is just too much fun. I’ve used the vinyl and contact paper to make stencils for all of my glass etching. I’ve decorated water bottles, 3-ring binders, and white boards. Here I’ll detail how I decorated a small notions box to create a personalized gift: a chocolate emergency kit.

First, you’ll need to cut the vinyl. I use a depth setting of 2 with pressure set to medium. For me, this cuts the vinyl but leaves the backing intact, making it easier to work with. You may need to practice getting your settings right. Then you need to weed your design. This is the process of pulling out all the vinyl that you won’t be using. For this design, it looked like this:

cut and weeded vinyl

If you’re using your vinyl as an etching stencil, you’ll want to pull out the opposite — the stuff you want etched. You’ll also need to use your craft knife (or a rectangle in Design Studio) to cut the outside edge of your stencil.

Next, you apply your transfer tape. I have some from cricut, although sometimes I use contact paper in place of my transfer tape. On the plus side, it’s cheaper. On the minus side, I can’t see through it as well when placing my design. I’ve also read that you can’t leave contact paper on it for very long, but you can with transfer paper. I’ve been doing my vinyl projects in one sitting, so haven’t run into this problem yet.

Here’s my project with transfer tape smoothed over it:

vinyl with transfer tape

Use the transfer tape to pull your design off the vinyl backing. Here’s what it looks like from the back:

vinyl with transfer tape - back

Next, you apply the vinyl and transfer tape to your project. You want to be sure to not trap any air bubbles under the vinyl. If you’re putting it on a flat project, it’s not too hard. But you’ve got you’re work cut out for you if it’s going on a curved surface. Occasionally for the etching stencils I’ve had to cut little slits in curves and corners when working on wine glasses and candle holders. In any case, use a credit card, brayer, or other tool to help you smooth the vinyl out.

Once the vinyl’s on there good, get ready to pull the transfer tape off. I find it best to move slowly, pulling back at a sharp angle , with a small tool on hand to hold/push down any vinyl threatening to come up.

pulling off transfer tape

If everything goes alright, one final smoothing should do it for you. Now your project’s ready to go (or ready for etching). My finished project:

finished project

Yes, I filled it with chocolate before presenting it as a gift. And it was much appreciated!

A few things about this project. This the first thing I designed in Cricut Design Studio. It’s not necessarily easy software to work with, but it’s kind of fun. I was working with the trial version, so was limited to using the Plantin Schoolbook cartridge. Also, I tried alcohol inks on the vinyl for the first time ever. I liked the look, and it did not stain my cricut cutting mat. I’ll have to pick up some more colors, so I can play with that more.

I had a tough time jumping in with the vinyl on the cricut. It just seemed so expensive and permanent. (Although many vinyls are removable at least for awhile.) I hope this will inspire someone to make something beautiful. Happy crafting!

Hump day crafts: etched glass mug

February 3, 2010

Happy Wednesday! Here’s another project idea that you can get started on with little or no skill. Not that skilled people won’t enjoy this.  I probably have some skills, I just haven’t found them yet, so I try to help others find projects they can easily get into. Today, it’s glass etching. Now, someday I’ll probably get into engraving , but etching is not as tool or skill intensive, so that’s where I’ve started.

First things first. You will need to get a few things. Glass etching cream (I’ve only seen Armour Etch) and a paintbrush are the essentials. Other things I used: protective gloves (whatever pair is closest, because I really try to keep the stuff off my hands, so these are in case of emergency only – oh, and protective eyewear too), masking tape, and a toothbrush. Oh, and a stencil that will stick to glass. You can purchase glass stencils or cut them from adhesive vinyl or contact paper. (Another use for your Cricut!)

Once you have your stencil, apply it to your glass object. Make sure it is well adhered around the stenciling area. Otherwise the cream can leak and you’ll get ugly etched boogers around your design. Also, you can use the masking tape to created a larger protective edge around your stencil to avoid getting cream on adjacent areas. Then with all your protective gear (and the kids napping or locked out of the room so they don’t try to touch it) apply the etching cream thickly to your stenciled areas. Any paintbrush should do, unless your cream says otherwise.

Next, wait the amount of time listed in your cream’s instructions, then rinse off. Here’s where I find the toothbrush comes in handy. Take care in removing your stencil. Most (including vinyl cut with your Cricut!) are reusable. Rinse again, then dry and admire your beautiful new creation where only plain glass was before. (Hopefully yours doesn’t look as dusty as mine!)

Now, go hit your glass cabinets or the dollar store and start creating wonderful gifts — to give or keep for yourself!

Note: The stencil above was created with Cricut vinyl on my Cricut with Sports Mania and the Street Sign font cartridge.