Making and Applying Decals with the Silhouette Cameo: A Success and a Failure

Whenever I have a craft failure, my husband is always telling me to post about the failures. He's right. It's important for readers to see how mistakes get made and what not to do. So this week, I'm writing about how I made a whole bunch of decals and how the planned project for this week, came apart at the tape (so to speak).

I was cleaning out a closet (seems like everyone is doing that these days) and I found an old drink flavor container (generic Crystal Light from back when they came in these round canisters). They are a nice size for storing things and the labels come off easily, so I decided I needed to make something fun out of it. Since we're having some great spray paint weather (70 and low humidity) I decided to try ombre painting again. This time I decided to go from dark purple to magenta.

I started out with the darker shades of purple on the bottom of the container, spraying in light passes around sides.

Then I sprayed a reddish purple in the middle and sprayed the magenta spray paint around the top edge. The layers dried pretty quickly, and I set the canister aside for several days to cure.

Then I selected a color of vinyl that would compliment the canister. I had some sparkly silver that I thought would be fun. The holographic colors in it complimented the pink spray paint and the silver would be a good contrast against the dark purple. Since I had a 12 x 12 inch sheet of the vinyl, I decided to find a bunch of designs that would look good cut out of silver and filled up the space on my square in Silhouette Studio. I Googled my chosen fandoms and copied and pasted solid designs that I then traced. I knew I was using all of these for my own personal use, so I just looked for designs that didn't come from websites that were asking for payments for their own creations. Be sure that you pay for designs or make sure they are free for commercial use if you are planning on making something to sell.

Then I cut the whole sheet of vinyl with my Silhouette. I used the mat to load the vinyl because it was very curly and I wanted it to load straight.

After I cut the page of vinyl out, I got to the tedious work of weeding the decals. There were 21 designs on that 12 inch square. And, the design on the silver vinyl made it really difficult to see the cut lines.

After about an hour and a half of plucking tiny pieces of vinyl, 19 of the designs survived. The two that didn't I had made too small and couldn't remove the excess vinyl without pulling some of the vinyl that was meant to stay in the decal with it too. But I felt like I got a lot of decals out of that 12 inch sheet, and I can't wait to make fun projects out of them in the future. Also, I'll be finding tiny bits of silvery sticky vinyl for weeks. They were stuck all over my shirt when I was done.

So back to my spray painted canister. I had selected a quote from Picasso to put on it since I was planning on using it to store art supplies. I cut out a piece of transfer tape a bit larger than the decal and applied it to the vinyl as straightly as possible. Then I burnished the transfer tape with the back of my nail so that the vinyl decal would stick to it.

Then I applied the decal to the canister. I had to chop off Picasso's name; it didn't quite fit. I figured I could stick it off to the side of the quote afterward. I rubbed the letters down so they would stick to the canister.

Then I carefully peeled back the transfer tape and half of the paint came with it. I stopped and pulled from the bottom and some of the vinyl stuck on the paint. A little sanding before spray painting, some gentler transfer tape, all the things I could have done differently started running through my mind, but I couldn't save this project (at least not without a whole lot of scraping and a big do-over).

I still had 18 decals left, though. So gosh darn it, I was going to make something with them. I picked out this cute infinity Harry Potter decal (if anyone knows the original artist, please let me know in the comments) to apply to my Chromebook. I used the same process of cutting the transfer tape just a bit bigger than the decal.

Then I stuck the transfer tape onto the decal as straightly as possible and burnished it over the design so the vinyl would all pull off of the backer sheet.

Then I peeled it off the backer sheet and applied it to my laptop and burnished the design again and carefully peeled off the transfer tape.

As I did, I was left with a perfect decal. I was so glad nothing peeled off this time. :) 


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