Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Subway Art with the Silhouette Cameo and contact paper


Subway Art.  It's just not getting old with me.  Yet.  Ask me next year and we'll see if I edit this post.  ;)

I wanted a piece of that subway art in our home.  But I wanted it to have meaning.  So I choose to create memory subway art:  people, places, and times that hold a special place in my heart, as well as my family's.


But I didn't want the lettering to be vinyl.  I'm a paint girl and it had to be all about paint.

How in the world was I going to get those crisp, clean fonts to pop on my board?  I wasn't going to get the same look with hand painted lettering.  I knew I could use vinyl and then pull it off, revealing the paint underneath.  But that's kind of an expensive way to waste the vinyl and I'm all about saving where I can.  So, when I heard that people can use contact paper instead of vinyl, well giddy up sista, cause I'm on that train!  (I've never used that phrase before and promise not to use it again).

Okay, so after deciding on my "memories" and my fonts, I printed each one out on contact paper.  Here are the settings:  Media - vinyl; Speed - 8; Thickness - 3; Blade - 2. 


Just an FYI:  I am no expert at Silhouette.  I've hardly used the machine and I'm hoping to carve out some time to learn through tutorials.  But what I did learn is that the rollers and me, well, we're not friends.  If I don't make the rollers happy by making sure the paper is perfectly wide enough to grip it correctly, it never comes out right.  Ugh.  In the end, I felt like I had a lot of waste.  But, I did get a killer deal on discounted contact paper at Home Depot.  It turned out to be .17/linear foot.  Giddy up! (sorry, again)

After printing the lines, I cut them individually and peeled back the film to reveal the wording.   (Note:  use colored contact paper otherwise you won't see what the heck you are working with). 


Use your hook tool to get rid of the bits of contact paper that didn't come off.


When all the strips were ready, I lined them up in the correct order and got an idea for how big I needed my board. 


I cut my board and decided I wanted the lettering to be white, so I painted the board white.  Rolling paint kicks butt.


Now, I needed to transfer the lettering to the board.  Silhouette sells transfer paper.  But, remember, I'm cheap.  So, instead, I used clear contact paper.  I cut them to about the size of my strips and pushed down really good.

This shows putting a clear strip of contact paper over the contact paper lettering.

Next, I made sure to dry fit all the strips on the board.  After deciding where to place the first strip, I pulled the clear contact paper up transferring the lettering.  Go slow with this process so you don't miss any dots on the i's or punctuation.


Next, I pressed the first strip into place.  Use your handy-dandy YMCA membership card to press it on good.  Fine, use your credit card instead.


I did find the best method to pulling the lettering off the transfer paper (clear contact paper), was to pull hard, but slowly, while I pressing into the seam of the contact paper.  Actually worked like a charm.

Putting a lot of pressure on the YMCA card
I made sure to use a ruler to check all my measurements after and before each new strip.  I wanted even space on the left and right, as well as pretty evenly spaced between lines.  

When finished putting the words on, I was kind of in love.  At this point, I was so psyched with the way it was coming out.  But not psyched enough to leave the contact paper on. 

Looking good!
For the love of Pete, if you learn nothing else from this tutorial, learn this:  PAINT OVER THE LETTERS WITH YOUR BASE PAINT!!  This will seal the edges so the next color paint you put on will not seep under your lettering.  You want nice, crisp letters?!?  DO IT!  Okay, I think I made my point.

A few very light coats will work.
After this layer of paint has dried, add your top color.  Since I just did a whole living room re-do with grays, I decided on a slate gray color.  After the few coats of that bad boy had dried, it was time to take the letters off.  See, this is where the vinyl would be wasted.  I'm just using the contact paper letters as a template, if you will.  At .17/linear foot, I can sleep at night.


If you heeded my warning suggestion, your letters should be crisp and clean.  Don't they just look baaaa-u-ti-ful?


You can leave your sign here, but of course, I had to do a little distressing.  I used a very find sandpaper on my electric sander and went to town.



You can see the distressing on the edge of the sign.
 That's it.  I didn't even seal it as it's just going on my wall and I'm not expecting little hands to touch it.  Now it's a big part of my family wall vignette.  


I love signs and I love fonts and I'm fond of memories.  The perfect combination.

Debbie
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45 comments:

  1. I love how you created this. I really do enjoy the look of subway art.

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  2. I sent you an email, but it came back as incorrect. Just wanted you to know that you've been featured today, Friday, Sept. 7, 2012, on my weekly Welcome Wagon Friday post. You should be receiving visitors shortly. Welcome to our blogging neighborhood!
    Brenda @ Cozy Little House

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  3. This looks amazing!! I'm def going to give it a go this weekend!

    Jan @Door251

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  4. Debbie - What a great tutorial!! Very imformative and thorough. I have the machine still in the box and keep thinking I'll open it one day. LOL I'll definitely try this.

    Thanks,
    Judy

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  5. This is amazing! I'm so doing this! Thanks!

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  6. What a great sign! And I love your family wall!

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  7. Love this idea! You write the best tutorials! The contact paper idea was sheer brilliance!

    Have a great day rock stat!
    katianne

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  8. Thank you for your detailed instructions... I just got a Silhouette SD, so your settings help my inexperience... btw... if you peel both the waste/weeding as well as the transfer layer off at a 45 degree angle, while holding your card on top of the vinyl layer/transfer paper layer, close to the cut letters, things usually stay where they're supposed to... make sense? Thanks again for your tutorial... off to make a subway sign!

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  9. A first class and helping article that we can not but download on our database about art under construction. Bravo from Ronnie, Jacques, Erwin and Jhon of the Abe-x team of Artbooksexplorer, in short Abe-x.

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  10. Love your tutorial and suggestions! I have a new Cameo and the learning curve is steep! I've wasted alot of the vinyl that I ordered with my machine. It's good to know that you can cut the Contact (I mean, why not?). I have some chalkboard Contact paper I want to try for my classroom. I've used self-adhesive book cover vinyl for transfer paper. It's not as tacky as the original Contact paper and easier to remove when you have your lettering in place. It's also translucent.

    Thanks for the crafting inspiration.

    Donna W

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  11. After a day spent wasting some expensive Silhouette vinyl, in addition to some cheaper vinyl, I did a quick search for using the Silhouette Cameo with Contact paper, and I can't thank you enough for all of the information in this post. The settings (speed, thickness, blade) will be a lifesaver and your tip to use clear Contact paper as transfer tape- brilliant! I will be hitting the Home Depot on my way home tomorrow. I've got your site bookmarked, and hopefully, when I redo the project that was such an epic fail, your detailed instructions will lead to success! Thanks a bunch!

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  12. I tried to do this today with my Silhouette and contact paper, but each time it jammed in my machine. HELP! What is the magic secret.

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    1. I had this issue, too, and since it's just contact paper, I put extra space at the "top" of my design so that the machine fed in 5" or so, and then worked on the design after that. May be too late to help you, but maybe not?

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    2. Very good point Melissa. You should definitely leave some room at the top AND bottom of your design. The rollers can play havoc on the paper, so give it enough room so the paper doesn't slip under it at all.

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  13. Thanks so much for this post! I am new to the silhouette cameo, but just knew it had to be less expensive (my way of saing I'm cheap!), and I'm so glad I came across your idea! and... Giddy Up sista is perfect!

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  14. Thanks so much for this post! I am new to the silhouette cameo, but just knew it had to be less expensive (my way of saing I'm cheap!), and I'm so glad I came across your idea! and... Giddy Up sista is perfect!

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  15. I've had your post pinned for a while until I finally got my machine. This was a great tutorial! I was doing my painting on a piece of weathered wood that I didn't want to lose the look of, so I painted over my stencil with a coat of Mod Podge, let it dry, painted over that and nice, crisp lines ... which I promptly distressed the heck out of. :) Thanks for the guidance!

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  16. Awesome tutorial, this was the best one yet. thank you for sharing step by step and detail pictures. You Rock! from Pam in Tennessee

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  17. Awesome!

    What size is your wood? I am having an issue finding the right wood for my signs. I love the wide pieces but I can't find them without having to put pieces together...

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  18. For the love of pete, I love this post! :) thanks for the awesome tips, I'm about to use my friends silhouette for the first time...until I can convince my husband I need one of my own! :)

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  19. Lemme you tell you one thing sista, I love me some con-tact paper. Thank you for the great tutorial and confirming the fact that I can use con-tact with my new cameo :)

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  20. Great, great tutorial. I'm always looking for a way to save money. Also thanks for the tip about painting the base color twice, once before you put the letters on, and again once the letters are on and before you put your contrasting color on top. I would've never thought to do that, but I can see what an impact it has!

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  21. Debbie, Have you grown weary of the subway art look yet? I'm only now jumping on the train and I see this post is from last September so hopefully this is still big! I love you idea. I just bought my Silhouette and was planning to make a family rules board for a friend as a house warming present. I didn't like how stark the vinyl letters turned out, so your contact paper suggestion is just perfect! Thank you. Excuse me I gotta go Giddy Up and get working on it!

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  22. Debbie, Love your subway art. I've been searching forever for ideas and this is close. My only concern is, I want to use pallet wood and wonder if I'll be able to smooth out the lettering onto rough wood. Or do you think I should just try another method, besides freehand lol? I have to buy my silhoutte cameo first though and try to navigate that. Love the gray canvas, thanks, Kat

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  23. Fantastic tutorial. Thanks for sharing your experience !

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  24. Great Tutorial Debbie!! I just got my Silhouette and was trying to use contact paper...how do you prevent the paper from sliding all around while in the cutting process? While my design was cutting (it was all font) the paper slid everywhere and the machine was cutting where there was no paper. The whole design was just a mess. Any suggestions?
    Thanks, Rosie

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  25. Great tutorial!! Thank you!! I have one question .. . how do you get your letters to stay on the backing? When I peel it back all the letters come, too. Maybe it is not cutting deep enough?

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  26. I love this!! Great detail and tips! Im heading for some contact paper now! Thank you + Merry Christmas!! :)

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  27. Wow, I am in love with your project! plus, you do a great job of explaining and showing us the steps and your writing is witty and clever! Thanks for the fun!

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  28. Great Tutorial love it and one Im going to try out on our new Silhouette

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  29. I love this tut!!! I hand paint some signs and it just never turns out crisp. I have a cricut......that I really don't know how to use but I think it can do about the same thing as a sillouette...right? Thanks again for sharing!!!0

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  31. I made one too. But my letters were much smaller (which made it very time consuming!) and I had bad materials. http://ravensbrookcreations.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/do-not-be-afraid-plaque/
    WRT bad materials: I used some colored contact paper. Now, I don't know how old this stuff was but it seemed good enough to me. However.....after my Silhouette cut it and I put the clear contact paper on the letters to transfer, the letter just would NOT come off. So I ended up using vinyl letters out of frustration. Transferring the top portion of my letters to the wood went pretty smoothly - I had to go slowly (especially with the colons) but I didn't have too much trouble. When I got to the lower half, I realized I was out of clear contact paper and went with that colored stuff I'd tried before. HUGE mistake. Spent literally *hours* peeling those letters off of there and getting them stuck in the wrong place and having them wiggle around on the wood because they wouldn't stick....ohhh very frustrating. However, I'm not deterred. Next time, I'll definitely throw the colored stuff away and work with brand new stuff and see if that works better! And, I'll make SURE I have clear contact paper to transfer with. So, all in all, it was a good learning lesson. And helped me understand a few more things about my Silhouette for sure! Thanks for the tutorial!

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  32. Hi - I think this is a great idea and I just tried it myself but my first attempt was a fail. :( I used a slate since I have a few on hand. I painted it white, then stuck my contact paper letters down. I then painted over the letters in white so the top color wouldn't bleed under the letters. I let that dry and then painted my top coat (black). I did a couple coats of the black and let it dry over night. So the next morning I used a pick to peel up the letters but they didn't come up cleanly at all. They pulled up a lot of the black paint. It looks like a big mess. Not sure if it because of the cheap craft paint I used...? Maybe because the letters were skinny and small? I'm not sure. I'm going to do some more internet research to see I can figure this out. Can you tell me what type of paint you used? Thanks for the tutorial. :) Linda

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  33. did you let the paint dry completely before removing the letters or were they still wet?

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  34. I love this. Thanks for the tutorial! I have nominated you for the Liebster award over on my blog. Check out the details here: http://lifeinprintphotography.blogspot.com/

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  35. Thank you so much for this tutorial. I followed along, making my own sign, and it worked! I love the contact paper instead of the expensive "Silhouette" brand material that doesn't always work. I uploaded a pic to my pinterest in case you wanted to check out what I made with your wonderful help - http://www.pinterest.com/shellbarbalet/my-creations/ Thank you!!!!

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    1. Michele, what type of contact paper did you use. The stuff I have is brand new and will not "unstick" from the clear contact paper when trying to transfer it to the wood. Thanks for the help.

      D'

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  36. Your project is fantastic. Thank you for the tutorial it was very well done and I found it very helpful. I was reluctant to start something using contact paper but your instructions helped to make it very easy. Can't thank you enough.

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  37. Just used your tutorial to make a personalized project for my daughter's college house. Biggest difficulty was that the letters stuck to the transfer paper instead of the canvas and were painstakingly hard to transfer evenly. A few of them even moved around a little when coating with white paint. At that point we decided that spray paint was the way to go for the main background color and the end result was decent - only one or two paint bleeds that were easily fixed with white paint on a toothpick.

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  38. Thanks so much! This is awesome!!! I don't have a silhouette yet, I'm still researching. I've always traced my letters,etc. and painted. My question is this: couldn't you just print (cut) your phrases in reverse? Then you wouldn't even need to transfer right? Or am I missing something?

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  39. Researching Silhouette functions and features... glad to know I can use contact paper because like you, I'm quite frugal as well. You did an AMAZING job with the sign! I too I love signs and I love fonts. Pinning and scratching vinyl and transfer paper off my Silhouette order. Thanks so much! Going to check out more of your blog.

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  40. What type of contact paper did you use. The stuff I have is brand new and will not "unstick" from the clear contact paper when trying to transfer it to the wood. Thanks for the help.

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