Friday, 19 August 2016

Vinyl Wall Clock using the Shadow Tool

Vinyl Wall Clock designed by Janet Packer for Silhouette UK Blog #vinyl #homedecor #silhouette #cameo

Hello, Janet here again.

Today I have a design-based post for you. Since installing our vinyl wall clock I've had a number of requests asking how I made it. In this post I'll show you how you can design your own vinyl wall clock using the Silhouette Studio® software, a font from the Silhouette Store and Silhouette Removable Vinyl.


Removable Vinyl in Black and Grey
Transfer tape
Silhouette Studio® Designer Edition software (V3.0 and higher)
Silhouette CAMEO® or Silhouette Portrait®
Wall mountable clock mechanism
Printer (for the template)

STEP 1: Designing the Clock Face Words (SHADOW TOOL)

The clock face is made up from a mix of numbers in several sizes and words. I chose a slab style sans serif typeface and the instructions here are shown in LW Friendly font.

Create the words by clicking on the Text Tool button and the Text Style Menu will open on the left. With the words highlighted select the settings indicated in the diagram. Increase the character spacing to allow room between the letters for shadows.

This part of the tutorial makes use of the Shadow tool available in Silhouette Studio® Designer Edition (V.3.0 and higher).

The shadow tool gives an object a duplicated offset image of itself behind the original in a lighter colour creating a shadowed effect.

To access the Shadow tool go to the Object > Shadows menu option, or click on the Shadow icon on the upper right-hand side of the software screen (blue filled pentagon).

Once the Shadow window is opened, you select an object and then click on a Type to apply a Shadow option.

The options are:
  • Off - The default, there is no shadow.
  • Dynamic - A shadow effect with an offset shadow. If the image is rotated, the shadow will rotate around with the object too.
  • Fixed - A shadow effect with an offset shadow. If the image is rotated, the shadow is fixed and will stay in its original place.
  • Pan Shadow - Pan Shadow provides a control point in the center of the object that can be grabbed to pan the shadow into another position. Panning can be done manually by grabbing and moving the shadow control around, or by entering a X/Y coordinate value.
  • Release Shadow - Release Shadow unties the shadow from the original object, making the shadow its own object.
  • Shadow Color - Re-colours the shadow. Colour can be selected from the colour palette, or by entering a custom value.
  • Transparency - The Transparency slider controls how transparent or opaque the shadow will appear.

Fill the letters with black. Ungroup and adjust the letter spacing manually if you wish. Now, selecting one word at a time, open the Shadow menu, select Cut Around Shadow, and Fixed type. Select Pan Shadow, click on the pan symbol in the centre of the word and drag shadow to the bottom left of the letters. Un-click Pan and click Release Shadow.

Group the black letters. Open the Offset Window. Make on offset of 0.05"/1.3mm with Corner edges.
Select and group the offsets. Select and group the shadows.

Open the Modify Window and with offsets and shadows selected, select subtract.  Re-group the shadows. Group the shadow with its word.

Repeat the process for the other words.  If this seems like too many steps just use the font without any shadow! 

STEP 2: Designing the Clock Face Numbers

Simply create the numbers by clicking on the Text Tool button and opening the Text Style Menu.  Select the LW Friendly font again. Type the numbers 1, 4, 7, & 10 on one line and 2, 5, 8 & 11 on the next. Select the top line of numbers and change font size to 288pt. Change the bottom line to 144pt. Fill the numbers with black and ungroup. Re-group the 10 and then the 11.

Move the letters and numbers away and draw a 12" circle.  Centre it on the mat.  Holding down shift, draw a line down the centre of the circle. Using the Align Window, select Align Centre.  Selecting just the line, open the Replicate window.  Select Rotate 5 Copies - the circle will now be divided into 12 sections.

Start arranging the numbers and words to your liking. Readjust the sizes of individual letters until it looks 'right'.

STEP 4: Adjusting the Scale

Measure the size of your space, and taking into consideration the length of your clock hands, adjust the size of the clock face to actual size that you require the finished clock to be. You may need to re-size the elements again.

STEP 5: Printing a Template

You'll need to print a paper template to help you align the letters on the wall. Unfortunately you can't print direct from the Silhouette software if your design is bigger than the mat. Take a screen shot from the Silhouette software and open that in other software to print it. If you have a PC you can do this is the standard MS Paint programme. I have a Mac and discovered that it can be printed from MS Excel (yes, who would have guessed that). There may be other programmes that will work too.

Join the pieces of your template together. Mine printed onto 16 sheets of A4 (some were almost blank). Then it was just a case of piecing them together.

STEP 6: Finishing

You'll no doubt work out your own way of installing your clock. I mounted the mechanism on the wall and cut a hole in the template to fit, then taped the template on and just lightly marked the numbers through the paper in pencil.  I applied the vinyl words first, then the shadows and finally the numbers.

I love the result - it may be my most favourite Silhouette project to date!

There are lots of different looks which could be achieved with this. I'm thinking that a traditionally shaped alarm clock in a bedroom might be my next vinyl project. Do share pics on the Silhouette Facebook  page if you make a vinyl clock in any style. We'd love to see what you do.

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  1. Love this project Janet, looks fabulous. I particularly like the shadow, it's not a feature I use much but will definitely look to incorporate it more into future projects.

    1. I'm glad you like it Nadine. We (my family) all love the clock. I looked for years to find one I liked, only to find the solution was to design my own! The shadow is a great tool, used sparingly it really makes text jump off the page (or wall, lol)!

  2. This looks great Janet thank you for the tutorial

    1. Thank you DJG, I couldn't resist sharing this one!

  3. Thanks for info on shadow tool,did not know my software had one.

    1. You are welcome Susannah. I learn new things about the software all the time!

  4. This is great! Thanks for sharing!