Wednesday, October 22, 2014

How to cut big pieces of vinyl

As you can see, I've been redecorating... After making new cushions for the sofa, it was time to fill up the walls. I've been seeing beautiful quotes in vinyl all over Pinterest (you can check out my board for more inspiration!) So I knew that was exactly what I needed for this wall.

Choosing a quote turned out to be much harder a task than I had first imagined. The ones I liked were not approved by Hubby, "This is cliché" he'd say... "This would be good for a card, not to put up in the wall!"...  After almost giving up the project altogether, I finally I came across this wonderful phrase. It is a quote by Shri Mataji, the founder of the meditation we practice (you know, the one I keep saying that helps me get through the day... and I have not been sponsored to write this!). I really wanted something that would remind me of how important it is for me to keep calm when things are crazy with the kids. I firmly believe that somehow they absorb our emotions. I thought this would be a great reminder to have up on our wall and Hubby agreed! Yay! On with the project!

This has been a pretty big project, so I'll divide the "How-to" into two parts. Part I (this post) is all about designing and cutting the project with Silhouette. Part II will be about actually putting it up on the wall.

So here is a list of materials that I used...
  • Silhouette Studio
  • Silhouette adhesive vinyl in brown - (I used 2 rolls, 9'' wide)
  • Silhouette adhesive vinyl in turquoise - (I used 1 roll, 12'' wide)
  • Shape birds on a branch available at the Silhouette Online Store
  • Google fonts: Dancing Script e Gruppo

... and the step-by-step:
  • Open Silhouette Studio.  Change the size of the page to whatever is the size of the wall you want the vinyl to be in.

  • Use the drawing line to divide your project into 4 parts (this will help you when you are putting up the vinyl on your wall)
  • Now it's time to get creative! Write your quote and resize the design, distributing things evenly according to the space you have. One of the things I love about Silhouette Studio is that you can edit the shapes from the Silhouette Store according to your needs. So I wanted to have a second branch (the one on the left side) with smaller birds than the original one. So I used the knife tool and welding tool to put in some smaller birds that I had from a different shape (namely banners set of 6 ). 
  • Now it's time to decide how you are going to cut this. Obviously these shapes are too big to cut all at once, you will have to use the knife tool in SS to cut the design into pieces that will fit your vinyl. In my case, I bought the 9'' vinyl in brown, so I changed the page size to 9'' x 120''.  
  • Duplicate your design and start cutting (using the knife tool) into parts that will fit your vinyl. Then change the color of each piece. The reason you need to change the color is so that you will know which piece goes where. This is going to be your map for the time you are ready to apply it to the wall (more about this in the next post). I hope this image will help you understand what I mean:
  • Now copy all of these little pieces and bring it to the page where you will actually to the cutting. 
  • Place all the little pieces inside the rectangle. It's a good idea to give 1/2'' margin on both sides as the vinyl tends to slip, especially since we will be cutting the whole roll at once. 

The designing part is over! Now let's get to cutting! The new CAMEO is promising to hold the vinyl in place a lot better than the current model and if you have a roll feeder your job would probably be easier. But since I don't gave the roll feeder or the new CAMEO, it's a tougher job to cut the whole roll. 

Before you go ahead and hit "cut", I'll give you a few tips in case you are in a situation like me, with the "old" CAMEO and no roll feeder!

  • You will need to adjust the position of white rollers (refer to image below) in case you are using the 9'' vinyl. Just don't forget to lock the blue lever once again when it is in the right place!
  • If you are not using the mat, make sure you select that option in the CAMEO's screen before you load the vinyl.
  • The vinyl needs to be really well lined up, if it's not exactly parallel to the rollers, by the time you get to the end it will be cutting way off your vinyl. I had to unload and reload it quite a few times before I could get it exactly right. 
  • If you are cutting the whole roll at once like me, you can't just leave it while it's cutting. You really need to be there "helping" feed the vinyl. You need to do the job of the roll feeder. Don't hold it, just guide it, making sure it is in place as it goes in. Kind of like using a sewing machine, just guiding the vinyl as the Silhouette does the job.
I hope this has been helpful, and next week we will be back with Part II - How to apply such big pieces of vinyl to your wall - stay tuned!

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