This project is actually a test for a larger plaque (which you will hopefully see on the blog in the next month). I'm still a novice at using my Silhouette, even though I've had the darn thing for quite a while and two newer versions of the machine have come out, so I wanted to make sure that using vinyl decals as a reverse stencil with craft paint would work. If you check out my Silhouette Projects you can follow my progress as I learn about using my cutting machine.
As you can sort of make out on my computer screen, I cut a bunch of different designs when I cut my phrase for this plaque out. I have a bunch of little projects with vinyl in the works right now. I actually ended up cutting this phrase 3 times until I got it the right size for my plaque.
The plaque that I dug out of my craft stash was a cheap little pine board with beveled edges. It's not entirely square, which is why I had trouble with the size. I measured the plaque, but because it angles on the corners, my design was just a smidge big. I sanded off my little pine plaque with some fine grit sand paper and then painted it with some thinned down brown craft paint. I did two coats of the brown paint to get good coverage while still being able to see the grain of the wood.
After I finally had a design that fit on my plaque, I weeded (picked out the extra vinyl) the decal with a craft knife. The design was pretty tiny, so it was fussy, and I actually pulled a couple of letters apart as I was pulling off the big piece of vinyl. Fortunately, since I cut this design 3 times, I had one cut out that was barely larger that I could pull a couple letters off of. I also had to use one of the bits that I weeded as the punctuation point for my question mark as the design was so small that none of the periods were coming free from the vinyl. So, I learned that small vinyl designs are a bit of a pain.
I used some transfer paper to apply my design after I got it all weeded. I smoothed it onto the letters and then carefully pulled it off of the vinyl backing, then I applied it to my plaque as straightly as I could. I rubbed each letter with the back of my nail to make sure it was stuck to the plaque.
Then I carefully pealed the transfer paper off of the plaque. This is my favorite part of vinyl projects--the reveal!
I was fairly happy with how it transferred onto the plaque, but the black vinyl wasn't a good contrast with the brown. If I had wanted to leave the vinyl on, I could have gone with white vinyl and had a nice looking plaque.
But I was testing reverse stenciling, so I got out my foam brush and some craft paint (I mixed a drop of brown into some white craft paint) and brushed it onto the plaque. I made sure to get all of the nooks and crannies of the plaque and between the letters. I let it dry long enough to clean off my table and mix another batch of off white paint and applied a second coat. Then I let that dry.
Once the paint was completely dry, I used some fine sandpaper to distress the edges of the plaque.
Then I used a vinyl pick to carefully remove the vinyl letters from the plaque. This was a bit tedious. But they all came off--some more easily than others. I did make some little marks near a couple of the letters, but I used a quick swipe of the sandpaper after all the letters were off to help hide my marks.
I used a barely damp paper towel to wipe off any excess paint dust from sanding before covering the plaque in a coat of glossy mod podge to seal it. Craft paint is fairly flat, so the mod podge gave it a nice slightly glossy finish and protects the surface from paint chipping.
In the end, it turned out great. I probably won't ever use vinyl for a quote decal this small again, the letters were a total pain to weed and pull off, but I'm happy that it all turned out in the end and I'm good to go for my larger project.