A couple of weeks ago, I posted a project (a small painted plaque) that I did using my Silhouette cutting machine that I said was a test. Since I'm still learning how to use my cutting machine and everything that it can do, I did a smaller project to test out the methods that I was going to use to make this plaque. My mom gave me this wooden plaque from a craft store and requested that I make her a coffee themed sign.
I started by giving the plaque a good light sanding. These pine plaques often a bit rough straight from the store, so I prepped the surface a bit.
Then I made a test design in the Silhouette design studio. I found a font I liked and welded the letters, then (after measuring my plaque a couple times) made two sets of words in two sizes that I thought might work. Then I found a cute steaming cup in a Google search that I pasted into the design in 3 different sizes. Then I sent the whole thing to the machine with a sheet of brown scrapbook paper so I could test the layout and sizes. After I was sure I had the right sizes--larger of the fonts, and the middle size for the coffee cups, I cut them out of some black vinyl.
Then I painted my board with some thinned down brown paint. I applied two coats to make sure I got good even coverage without streaks, but I could still see the grain of the wood through the paint. I let that dry for a few hours before I applied the vinyl.
I cut the words and cups out of my vinyl and weeded the designs. It was a pretty simple design, so I mostly just had to pull bits of vinyl off of the centers of some letters. I used a craft knife to pick them out of the smallest letters.
As you can see, I was 100% sure about which coffee cups to use after the paper test, so I still cut out two sizes from the vinyl. After all the words were weeded, I got out some transfer paper.
I cut out a piece just long enough, but a bit taller than I needed so that I could position the word along a line on the transfer paper to keep it straight. Then I ran the back of my nail over all of the letters to make sure it was securely stuck to the transfer paper.
I measured the center of plaque and marked the bottom edge with a pencil so I could line the center line of the transfer paper up with the center of the sign. I applied the transfer paper and gave it a good smoothing.
When I was sure the vinyl was stuck, I carefully peeled back the paper. I love this part--the reveal!
I continued applying the rest of my words and the coffee cups in the same manner. I could have used a light colored vinyl on this painted surface and had a nice sign, but I wanted to paint it, so I got the craft paint back out.
I dripped a couple small drops of brown paint into my white paint to get a creamy color and then painted right over the vinyl.
I ended up with two and a half coats as I had a couple areas where the dark paint showed through after drying, so I had to add more white paint.
Once it was completely dry, I distressed the plaque a bit with a piece of sandpaper. I knocked the paint down on all of the edges so the brown paint showed through in a distressed fashion. Then I sanded the top surface so that I could see the vinyl letters (and distress the face of the sign a bit). I then used a vinyl pick to start to peel up the vinyl letters.
These came off fairly easily once I got the pick under an edge. As you can see in the close up photo, the vinyl pulled up pretty cleanly. There were a couple little spots here and there where a bit of white paint bled through, but nothing serious.
When I was finished peeling up the vinyl, I went over the surface with the fine sandpaper again to hide any little dings from peeling up the vinyl. Then I wiped the paint dust off with a wetted paper towel.
After the wooden plaque was clean and dry, I coated it with a couple of layers of glossy mod podge to seal the surface and give a bit of shine to the flat craft paint.
This project had more steps than most of my projects do, so it was nice to know that the design would work (from the paper test) and that the paint would work (from the test plaque). I think it turned out great and I would definitely use this method again for creating medium to large sized signs (it was a bit fiddly for the small one).