This month's Craft Challenge post is dedicated to creating DIY signs! I am in full swing of creating event and wedding decor, and it has me inspired to showcase how easy it is to create a sign for just about any occasion or use you can think of! There are many different ways to create signs, so we're going to pick just one method and run through the steps from start to finish. Let's go!
Tool Used: Cricut Explore Air
I have a Cricut Explore Air and I'm still learning how to use it. I upgraded from a Cricut Expression and love how much easier it is to use the Explore Air, not to mention how much nicer it cuts and how easy it is to choose the right settings for the material! I wanted to give using vinyl a try, so when I stocked up on new blades for the Cricut I bought a roll of vinyl and some iron on materials to try some new techniques. Since I needed to create some signage for a client's wedding I thought it would be a great time to experiment with vinyl.
DIY Signs Using the Cricut Explore Air
Let's talk materials for a minute. I knew that my signage was going to be used indoors for sure, but there was a good chance it could go outdoors. So, I wanted to be sure that I could prepare for both situations, just in case, to prevent an unhappy client situation as much as I possibly could. Thankfully, Cricut makes an outdoor vinyl that would suit my needs perfectly.
Tools Used for all Signs
- Cricut Explore Air
- Cricut 12″ x 12″ cutting mat
- Cricut basic tool set
- Laptop with access to internet for Cricut Design Space (Check out their wedding inspiration section for other ideas!)
- Purchase single images or use Cricut Access to access a wide variety of images and fonts that you can use to create your unique signs
My client wanted to use a 16 inch by 20 inch frame for her seating chart, and did not want to prepare the chart in advance. Tiny complication in mind, I decided to prepare as much of the chart in advance as possible. Some things I knew wouldn't change – the background, the frame itself and the heading. So, I charged ahead to create those elements and sought out a fine tipped chalk marker for glass that could wash off, so that my client could write the names on the glass on the fly, as desired.
Materials Used for DIY Signs: Seating Edition
- Premium outdoor vinyl in white
- 16″ x 20″ frame with glass
- Cricut transfer tape
- Chalk marker (non-permanent) in white (tip: choose a shade that pops off of the background colour)
DIY Signs Tutorial
Step 1: I windexed the glass in the frame to be sure it was sparkly clean and set it aside until I needed it. Be sure to clean the glass on both sides. Tip: If glare is an issue, choose a frame with non-glare glass.
Step 2: I used Cricut Design Space to create the heading “Seating” in cursive font. One of the available designs suited the style of my client's wedding, so I used that as a cool shortcut.
Step 3: I sized the image in Cricut Design Space to what I needed to fit the glass of the frame, then changed the color of the image to white, and saved my work.
Step 4: I hit the “go” button to cut the image and followed the on-screen instructions to be sure it cut properly. So, I turned the dial to vinyl material, laid the vinyl on the cutting mat, inserted into the machine, and pressed go when prompted.
Step 5: The Cricut went to work cutting out the design. When it finished I removed the cutting mat from the machine, and then weeded the extra material off of the mat. Removing this extra material left only my design. Tip: Be careful not to remove small pieces that are part of your design when you are removing the extra material. Using the weeding tool is a huge life saver!
Step 6: I took the Cricut transfer tape and cut a piece the size of my design. I then removed the backing, and placed the sticky side over my image carefully to make sure it was flat with no air bubbles. I started at one side and worked to the other side, then ran the scraper tool over the top of it to work out all the air bubbles.
Step 7: Once I worked the air bubbles out, I then burnished the transfer tape onto the vinyl image by rubbing the scraper tool over the top of all the design in slow circles. This makes sure that the vinyl sticks to the transfer tape. Tip: If the image doesn't stick to the transfer tape, just lay it back down and burnish some more. Sometimes you have to burnish as you lift, which works nicely.
Step 8: With all the vinyl lifted off the cutting mat and stuck to the transfer tape, position the transfer tape over where you want it, exactly how you want it. For me, I centred it in the middle, top of the frame, so that the names could be written below.
Step 9: Burnish the image onto the surface you're putting it onto using the scraper tool. Remove the transfer tape slowly at a 45 degree angle. If needed, burnish as you remove to make the pieces stick and to work out any air bubbles.
Step 10: After all the transfer tape is removed, touch up any air bubbles with more burnishing. Tip: There's lots of burnishing in a vinyl project and you'll be a pro by the time you're done your DIY signs.
I also needed to create a card sign for my client's wedding, so I found a matching image in Cricut Design Space (hooray for coordination!) and went about creating one. I wanted to be sure the sign could stand up in front of or beside a basket or container that would be used to hold the cards. I chose a freestanding frame I already owned that complimented the theme my client chose for her wedding.
Materials Used for DIY Signs: Card Basket Edition
- 8″ x 10″ acrylic frame
- Stampin' Up! Smokey Slate (light grey) card stock
- Stampin' Up! Very Vanilla (ivory) card stock
DIY Signs Tutorial
Step 1: I used Cricut Design Space to create the heading “Cards” in cursive font. One of the available designs suited the style of my client's wedding, so I used that as a cool shortcut.
Step 2: I sized the image in Cricut Design Space to what I needed to fit the glass of the frame, and saved my work.
Step 3: I hit the “go” button to cut the image and followed the on-screen instructions to be sure it cut properly. So, I turned the dial to card stock material, laid the paper on the cutting mat, inserted into the machine, and pressed go when prompted.
Step 4: The Cricut went to work cutting out the design. When it finished I removed the cutting mat from the machine, and then weeded the extra material off of the mat. Removing this extra material left only my design. Tip: Be careful not to remove small pieces that are part of your design when you are removing the extra material. Using the weeding tool is a huge life saver!
Step 5: Once weeded, I used the scraper tool to remove the image from the cutting mat and it was ready to be framed.
Step 6: I used a curved acrylic frame for the card sign, so that it was free standing. The bonus is that I already owned it, so it wasn't something I had to go out and find or try to exactly match to the seating frame. I put the slate grey card stock inside the frame, and stuck it down using glue dots to hold it in place.
Step 7: I used glue dots on the back of the word “cards” that I had cut out, and stuck it to the slate grey paper where I wanted it.
Step 8: I sealed up the frame and was ready to go!
2017 Craft Challenge Blog Hop
Check out this month's blog posts from the other Craft Challenge participants to get your DIY fix. Get inspired with a variety of other ideas and play along to bust your craft stash too!
Emily from A Pop of Red
Martha from the Art in Martha
Heather from Shiftmama
Megan from Make Something Mondays
Carin from Eclectic Soapbox
Mary from Sew Much Love, Mary
Jemma from Thimble and Twig
Deborah Jenkins from Lumina Spirit