Friday, 15 July 2016

Christmas Countdown Flowerpot - an easy vinyl project

Call me 'cheapskate' but I love scouring sales and charity shops for items to upcycle. When I found this silvery/gold flowerpot holder for 50p I envisioned a container for my Christmas cactus right away!

This is an easy vinyl project to do in preparation for Christmas. It involves a TINY bit of designing, but nothing that you can't do with the basic version of the the Silhouette Studio® software and these simple instructions. Oh, and I also used part of a design from the Silhouette Design Store, but you could also make that part for yourself if you felt so inclined.


Silhouette White Glossy Vinyl
Silhouette Chalkboard Vinyl
Transfer Paper
Silhouette CAMEO® or Silhouette Portrait®
Weeding Hook
Merry Christmas Word Art by Jamie Koay #70049

STEP 1: (a) Prepare the file - Selecting part of a file (Christmas)

Open the word art design in the Silhouette Studio® software.  Ungroup all the items (select, Object > Ungroup). Delete all but the banner and the word Christmas (select, Edit > Delete).  Place the word roughly in position on the banner and align it to the centre of the banner (select both, in Align Window click Align Centre). Re-check that you're happy with the horizontal position, the Centre and Align Middle tools won't help on this occasion.

Make them into one element by selecting both, then in Modify Window click Make (to make the lines a compound path). Move this element down the mat.

STEP 1: (b) Prepare the file - Text Tool (Days Until)

Click the Text Tool, click on the mat and start typing. The Text Style window will open automatically. Highlight the letters and choose your font style. Change justification to centre, decrease the text size and increase the character spacing.

I used Ariel Bold (pre-installed on my computer) on my finished item, but in retrospect I'd have chosen something broader like LW Bubble Letter (#47853) which I am showing here. These are the fonts shown together for comparison.

I also manually changed the spacing of the letters. To do this, they need to first be ungrouped (select, Object > Ungroup). I moved the letters either side of the Y closer, and moved them further apart from the I. Once you're happy with the arrangement re-align them (select, Align > Align Bottom) and regroup them (select, Object > Group). Move this element down the mat.

STEP 1: (c) Prepare the file - Chalkboard Oval

Click on Draw an Ellipse and drag out an oval shape. Make it about 3"/ 77mm across.

STEP 1: (d) Prepare the file - Circle of Dots

Make a guide line for the circle of dots by preparing an offset of the oval of 0.175"/80mm. Type a row of full stops in Times font (or Times New Roman). These full stops are round, in some fonts they are oval or square. Increase font size to 144pt and drag the control point (circle with cross in it ) onto the larger oval. Move the character spacing slider until the dots are evenly placed around the oval. If necessary adjust the distance of the dots from the inner oval by using the control bar slider (oval with crosses, positioned on the line). Ensure that they are not touching the oval and are not touching each other. Further full stops may be added if required.

Now ungroup the set of dots (select, Object > Ungroup) and delete excess dots and the grey oval path. Select all the dots and while holding down the shift key deselect the inner oval by clicking on it and then grouping just the dots (Object > Group).

To finish the design, arrange the pieces as you would like them to be placed on the flowerpot. Colour them if you wish and place a coloured rectangle behind them. Group the whole design together and resize to suit the size of your flowerpot. 

I recommend printing the design out and placing it onto the pot to be certain the size is correct. Resize the whole design if necessary.

STEP 2: Cutting the Vinyl

Ungroup the design and move the rectangle off the mat. Group all the white elements together. Move them off the mat.

Prepare the black oval to cut from Chalkboard vinyl. There is no suggested cut setting for chalkbaord vinyl in the software's cut settings so check with a test cut first. The blade should cut through the top layer of vinyl and leave the paper layer intact.  I started with the regular vinyl setting and found that a blade depth of 3, and thickness of 10 worked best.  The chalkboard vinyl should be loaded on the mat (backing/paper side to the mat) and fed into the Silhouette.

Remove the black vinyl and add the white to the mat.

Move the black oval from the mat on the screen and bring back the white pieces. Draw a bounding box for the white elements and additional horizontal lines between the elements (this makes weeding the vinyl easier). Place the pieces where you wish them to be cut. Adjust the cut settings to regular Vinyl, load white vinyl on a mat (backing/paper side to the mat), load into the Silhouette and press Send to Silhouette.

STEP 3: Preparing the Vinyl

Wipe the flowerpot surface with a dilute vinegar solution to remove any grease.

Leaving the cut white vinyl on the mat remove the unwanted pieces of white vinyl with a weeding hook. Take special care with the Christmas banner removing only the correct bits (guess who didn't first time around). Remove the weeded vinyl piece from the mat and trim.

Remove the excess vinyl from around the chalkboard oval.

Cut a piece of transfer paper to fit the white vinyl, place it over all the pieces and burnish lightly (rub) on the top surface. Pull the pieces on the transfer paper away from the backing sheet. Position onto the flowerpot and burnish firmly with the scraper tool. Gently pull the transfer paper away. Replace the paper and rub again if some parts don't stick to the flower pot. Reuse a scrap of the transfer paper to transfer the chalkboard oval.

Da-dah! Your flowerpot is transformed ready for the Christmas countdown.

I'm sure that you can use this idea on other items too. Do let us know if you try it.

Have fun designing!

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  1. It looks lovely Janet, Great tutorial thank you

    1. You are welcome, vinyl is such a fun medium to work with.