Thursday, 7 April 2016

Silver Foil and Vellum Lanterns

Translucent vellum paper can create a magical effect, especially when combined with other reflective surfaces and candlelight!

This tutorial uses the feathers design lantern by Nic Squirrell, but a similar process could be applied to any of her lovely lantern designs. Using the same feathers design I also show a variation using alcohol inks to add a splash of colour to the vellum.

Silhouette Vellum
Silver Adhesive Sticker Paper
Burnishing Tool
Heavy-Duty Double Sided Tape
Stencil Material (optional)
Alcohol Ink and Applicator (optional)
LED Pillar Candle


This is the easiest of the two lanterns to make.

I brought the design into the Silhouette Studio® software and rotated it by 90° clock-wise (just my personal preference). Now, as both the Silhouette Vellum and the Silver Adhesive Sticker Paper come in letter-sized sheets, I changed the paper size and orientation in Page Design Settings to Letter and Landscape.

The file exactly fits on the letter size paper, but I felt that the cut line would be a little too close to the edge of the paper. I could have reduced the size, but instead decided to reduce the overlap and cut a little piece off the edge of the bottom strip.

These are the steps involved:
  1. Select Knife Tool
  2. Uncheck Auto Apply 
  3. Select the Straight Knife
  4. Ensure Treat Unfilled Shape as Solid (the default setting) is highlighted
  5. Holding down Shift key, draw the cut line 0.5"/12mm from the edge
  6. If you're happy with the position, click Apply Selected Knife Shape.

I cut the design from the silver sticker paper. The test cut was a little deep and so I reduced my blade depth slightly.

Once cut, the unwanted pieces needed to be removed, you can see them piled up on the right of the centre picture. When all the scrap is removed, it should look like the picture on the right, with the main part remaining on the backing sheet.

Peel away the lower edge of the backing and align to the lower edge of a sheet of vellum.  Peel off the remainder of the backing and smooth onto the vellum.  With the foil facing down rub, or burnish, both layers to achieve a smooth and firm adhesion. Trim to the edge of the leaf pattern and apply some heavy duty tape to one edge. Lightly roll it around the candle, overlap the ends and adhere. Job done!


The lantern with the blue feathers has a shaped top to match the feather pattern.

To make this one, cut the adhesive foil as for the other lantern. Additionally, cut a piece of vellum without any holes. To do that, firstly make a copy of the lantern and move it away (Edit > Duplicate). Then select the whole file piece, release the compound path (Modify > Release Path) and move the large exterior piece away. Delete everything remaining on the mat and move the large piece back. Cut this from the vellum.

To colour the feathers make a mask from stencil material. This requires that the spaces between the feathers are solid. To do this use the copy file and release the compound path (Modify > Release Path). Select all the spaces between the feathers and Group them (whilst holding down the shift key, select each one and Object > Group). Then delete them (Edit > Delete). Then select everything remaining and make it a compound path again (Object > Make Compound Path). Cut this from stencil material.

Place the stencil over the vellum, matching the outline and apply drops of alcohol ink to a blending tool with a felt pad (my pad is homemade) and gently daub ink through the stencil to achieve an effect you like.  I used blue, silver and a little purple. Leave the piece to dry and then adhere the foil feather piece. This is a little trickier than for the first lantern, but if you made the first one, you'll be an expert by now!

Apply double-sided adhesive tape as show above, roll around the candle and join to make the cylinder. Finished!

The blue ink is more apparent in day light, but then almost becomes invisible when the candle is lit.

I hope you enjoy making these too. If you make the feather lantern, or another lantern design from the Silhouette Design Store, you can share it with the UK Silhouette community by posting a picture on the Silhouette UK Community Facebook page. 

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