“Save the Racks” Tutorial

In honor of the annual Breast Cancer Walk in my home town, I decided to make a custom sweatshirt to wear and show off my pink proudly. I saw an idea similar to this from last year and wanted to try it myself this year.

What you’ll need:

• Happy Face Pattern Iron On Vinyl – Pink Camo

• Happy Face Glitter Iron On Vinyl – Tutu Pink Bling

• Silhouette Cameo® Vinyl Cutter

• Silhouette Software

• Standard Iron

• Sheet or Piece of Scrap Fabric

Project Time:

• 30 minutes

First, I found deer antlers, a Breast Cancer ribbon, and text, vectorized, and uploaded it to my Silhouette Software.

 

Always remember to mirror images before cutting..

Next, send your designs to your vinyl cutter. Be sure you have the right vinyl for the right cut job. I cut my pink camo vinyl first, then my tutu pink bling vinyl. Since my bling vinyl is thicker than my camo, I adjusted my cutting blade to a “3” instead of a “1” and it cut perfectly.

Finally, start ironing! You need to make sure your iron is or the hottest setting possible. The bling vinyl was being difficult because my iron was not hot enough. But with some more pressing time, it worked out perfectly!

 

Slowly pull off the carrier while it’s still warm and you’re finished!

 

My friends were in amazed at how cute it turned out and I may have converted them over to the craft side!

For more project ideas, check out our blog each week with great step-by-step tutorials! You can also go to our FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest pages for more inspiration.

NFL Kick-Off Crafts

HERE. WE. GO. School is back in session, summer is over, and Football Season has officially begun! If you’re planning an awesome rally party at your house this year to kick-off the season opener for your favorite team, check out some ideas we’ve come up with to help you be the hostest with the mostest.

Iron On Chair Graphics:

If you’re planning to take your party outside, you have to keep the theme going! Using our Happy Face Iron On Vinyl available in over 60 colors, create your own personalized tailgate chair. All you need is your vinyl, a cover sheet, weeder, and home iron to create this same project. Make sure everyone knows which side you’re cheering for and tailgate with pride. 

Wine Glass and Beer Stein Decals:

 

It’s hard to handle in-house rivalries, especially when you’re team loses. But with a fancy glass like these, you can drink your sorrows away with team spirit. We carry over 30 color options, two finishes, and both large and small sizes, you are sure to find the exact color match for your team. Use our OraCal Adhesive Vinyl on glasses, mugs, bowls, walls, tables, chairs, practically anything with a smooth, hard surface will work. All you need for the application is your vinyl choice, a vinyl cutter like our Silhouette Cameo®, transfer paper, and a squeegee. Be sure to use a vector art graphic when designing so that your image will cut easily.

DIY Food Bowl Decals:

Even if you aren’t a Ravens fan, you can’t deny this is totally something you wish you had. Stop wishing, start crafting. All it takes to make these decorative snack bowls is our OraCal Adhesive Vinyl and a vinyl cutter. Find a vector of your team’s logo or create fun text for your team using your Silhouette Software, and cut. Pair it with your team’s colors and you’ll be scoring serious brownie points with your guests.

House Décor:

We’ve saved the best for last. There’s no fan out there like a Steelers fan and if you’ve ever been to Blitzburgh, you know black and gold veins run deep. Show off your team pride for not only your guests, but your whole neighborhood. All it takes to create this look is some OraCal Adhesive Vinyl with a permanent adhesive backing and your Silhouette Cameo® vinyl cutter. Create your design, cut, and be sure your very own “steel curtain”! Fans and guests alike will love it and totally want one of their own. So start waving those terrible towels, and HERE WE GO STEELERS!

For more ideas for your next craft project, check out our Pinterest and Facebook pages. Check back each week for more blogs and step-by-step tutorials to help you recreate trending ideas.

Crafting 101

Before you can transition from a newbie to a veteran crafter, there are some tricks of the trade that some first time craft enthusiasts may not be aware of when they first go to use adhesive or iron-on vinyl with their Silhouette or Cricut machine. Now, I understand there are instructions placed in these machines for a reason and yes, I do read them…sometimes. But there are some things even the experts can leave out when explaining how to achieve your goal of cutting out the perfect design so for those crafters out there, here’s a little pre-cutting help.

Vectorize. This is probably the most important thing you should know going into working with a Silhouette cutter. I have worked with both Cricut’s and Silhouette’s. In my opinion, I like Silhouette better. Its software is much easier to load up, you can easily download images straight into the program, and you don’t need any cartridges or extra stuff just to do one project. Moving on…before you start a project you HAVE to be certain your design is a vector art. If it’s not and it’s just an image (JPEG, PNG, etc.) it will cut a big square, not your design. Not sure how to do this or where to do it? You can either purchase designs through Silhouette (they are already vectorized), or you can make a vector using Adobe Illustrator. There are lots of different programs out there to achieve this but my favorite is Adobe Illustrator.

If you already know how to do this, feel free to skip ahead. Here’s a brief overview of what you need to do:

Step 1: Open Adobe Illustrator, go to “File>New” and open a new blank document.

Step 2: Go to “File>Place”. This will prompt you to open your image file.

Step 3: With your image opened, move your image off the white blank background (I do this because once the trace is removed, you’ll be able to see only your design) follow this link for further instructions: http://helpx.adobe.com/illustrator/using/image-trace.html

Step 4: This is now technically vectorized, however for Silhouette you have to remove any “grouped” layer and the “compound path”.

Step 5: To do this, go to the layers icon along the right-hand side (it looks like a stack of papers and says “Layers” when you hover).

Step 6: Open the layer’s drop down menu and you will see “compound path”. Click on compound path and go to “Edit>Compound Path” and click “release”. This will remove the compound path.

Step 7: Next, go to “Object>Ungroup”

Step 8: Also, make sure your design doesn’t have any fill or stroke. It needs to only be the outline before you export it as a “DXF” file. “File>Export>AutoCAD Interchange File (*.DXF)” *Keep in mind that your design will be CUT out, so if you have lots of tiny lines or details, it’s going to make it very difficult to pull off your carrier and apply.

This all may seem pretty extensive but I’m the kind of person who can’t settle for just any vector image. If you have your heart set on a specific design and it’s not a vector, I’m telling you this is the best way to do it. It’s a win, win!

Here’s examples of what your file starts as, should be converted to, and how your vector image should look in Silhouette Studio:

  

 

Keep Your Cutter On A Table Top or Flat Surface. I live in a small two-bedroom apartment sized house. With two of us, two cats, and husky-retriever mix, there’s not much room for crafting so I have to be creative when it comes to where I begin my projects. I thought putting it on the floor, on a floor RUG for that matter and the rug fibers didn’t hold as much texture and resistence as a solid table top, so my vinyl kind of slid around when actively cutting.

Make Triple Sure Your Cutting Mat (or Free Standing Vinyl) is Secure Under Holding Bar. When it’s not, you get this effect…lopsided, swinging vinyl as your cutter tries to create your design. It ends up looking like this hot mess:

  

Test Different Sizes Before Application. If you’re trying to cut a design for a very specifically sized item, like a wood block or frame, be sure to test different size options before applying. The sizing on Silhouette may say this many inches by this many inches, but after measuring my design after its cut, the real life thing, it was slightly smaller than what I entered into Silhouette. So, if you have the extra vinyl to do so, maybe get a general idea of sizes, and test 2 or 3 to make sure it will all fit onto your project. These ones below are way too big!

Do Not Apply Your Vinyl Free Handed. This is a big one. Save yourself the stress and frustration of placing your vinyl exactly…super…perfectly…perfect and then, “ah! It’s uneven!” Get some masking tape or even better, transfer tape. All you have to do is place the tape onto your perfectly aligned, cut designs. Peel off (letters attached now to the tape), and apply to your frame (or whatever you’re sticking it to). You may have heart surgeon hands and can make perfect placements, but for those who don’t this is a crucial step.

Now, I don’t think this looks too terrible, but you can definitely see how my words toward the bottom are offset. Transfer or masking tape is definitely the way to go. I am a little bummed this didn’t turn out as well as I planned but I went with a bigger sheet, so I have plenty left over to give it one more go! Don’t worry, I’ll post this finished craft project again, this time without error! 🙂

Not everyone encounters these same problems their first time around, but I think this can all be helpful to those who do! Hope these tips help you in your future crafting endeavors! Be sure to check back each week for more blog posts at HappyCrafters.com and project tutorials, or check out our Facebook and Pinterest page for even more project ideas.