Saturday, 24 June 2017

Make Phone Cover Decals with Printable Vinyl

Have you used the Silhouette Printable Vinyl yet?  I tried it out with this little project; making vinyl decals to decorate a phone. More accurately, to decorate a phone case that I'd bought as a gift.  I couldn't decide just what designs the recipient would like so I chose a selection and made a set of three sheets of decals to give as part of the gift. I call it a DYP kit - a Decorate Your Phone kit!

I've done the entire kit in two posts. This one, Part One, shows how to make the decals. Part Two will show how to make cover inserts and a gift box with customised holders for the cover and decal sheets.

What you'll need
Silhouette Printable Vinyl
Clear Phone Cover
Various Designs from the Silhouette Store (listed at the bottom of this post)

STEP 1: Prepare the Designs
Colour co-ordinate a selection of designs for the vinyl decals.

Open all your chosen files in one tab in the Silhouette software.   Roughly reduce them in size to fit on the virtual mat.

Ungroup the designs if necessary and delete any unwanted parts.  Decide on your colour scheme and start colouring the designs in matching colours (further ungrouping may be necessary). I used the colours of the heart design as a colour palette and 'picked' all the colours from it. The diagram below shows you how to use the colour picker.

Be aware that some Print and Cut files in the store can be re-coloured and others cannot.

STEP 2: Prepare the Print & Cut

Make a number of small decal sheets from one page of printable vinyl. 

Display Print & Cut marks by clicking on the Page Setup panel, select the Registration Mark tab, and select Type 1 in Style.

Click on Advanced and adjust the sliders to increase the Print & Cut area.

Change the paper size to match your media. The Silhouette Printable Vinyl comes in US Letter-sized sheets.

Hint: I also change the page orientation to landscape so the mat needs to travel less in the optical recognition process (uses less desk space).

Add cut lines for the decal sheets by drawing four rounded rectangles within the active cut area. Duplicate, resize, and re-orient the designs (Object > Mirror > Flip Horizontal) to fit within the new 'sheets'.

N.B. Avoid putting heavily coloured items in the hashed area, as this can interfere with the optical scanner.

Ensure that each separate decal is grouped. Select all the shapes that will be cut (I do this one sheet at a time), and make an offset to cut around the decal with a small margin. Open the Offset panel. Select [external] Offset, Distance of 0.050"/1.25mm, Corner as Rounded, then click Apply. This ensures all the decals have a similar sized margin.

Only the balloons proved difficult (possibly too intricate). A quick solution is to re-import the cut line from the original image and manually re-size it. For the Sunshine quote I just drew a rounded rectangle around the quote instead of using an offset.

Other fine-tuning required is to remove small cut holes by releasing the compound path on the offset and deleting the small cuts.

STEP 3: Print & Cut

Ensure that all the offsets/cut lines are set to zero thickness in the Line Style panel so that they do not print. Check that the Print Page Setup in the Main menu is set up for US Letter-sized printing. Then send the sheet to print.

Mount the printed sheet on the cutting mat.  The decals need to be "kiss-cut" (only cutting the top vinyl layer) and the sheets should be cut through to the mat (vinyl and backing sheet).

In Send, under the Cut by Line tab, select only the red and black lines to cut. Set the material of the red lines to Vinyl, Printable.


After carrying out a test cut, reduced the Thickness/pressure if necessary.

Set the black lines to a custom setting which is a little thicker. Again, a test cut is advisable.

STEP 4: Finishing Touches

Separate the sheets from the mat and remove the excess vinyl from around the decals.

I decided to put together a little gift package in a customised gift box. The fourth sheet, not shown in the photo above, will be used as a cover for the box. You'll find the tutorial for making the cover inserts and customising the gift box, with holders for the phone cover and decal sheets, in my next post. I hope you'll join me there!

Bye for now,

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