Monday, July 13, 2009

Century Studios (shop hours sign in vinyl)

Sometimes it can be very handy to have a Cricut crafter in the family! My brother and his partner have a wonderful shop in the Twin Cities. They create Tiffany reproduction lamps, custom stained glass windows and other stained glass art. After 20 years in Minneapolis, they have moved the shop to St. Paul. Along with all of the other work involved in renovating the new shop and moving the business to a new home, there are the little details that need attending to - such as posting the store hours on the door.

After a local sign shop quoted over $60 to make the lettering for the door, my brother asked if this was something I could do. I told him that my Cricut and I could do almost anything....(well, a lot of things anyway...) and that I could easily cut him some vinyl lettering for the store door.

The plan was to post the hours on the front door - in an area about six inches square. I looked through my font cartridges and decided that the "opposite" font on "Opposites Attract" had a bit of an "Arts and Crafts" feel to it. I set about laying out the sign information on my mat.

The grids made it easy to get the size and positioning right. I quickly had my design done. I wanted to cut the letters and numbers so they could be stuck to the inside of the door window and read from outside the shop. This meant I needed to have the sticky side of the vinyl "on top." So I needed to flip my design.

If you are working with letters and numbers and you try to flip them, your words won't make sense. You can see in the top example - from the outside of the shop this would say "SROUH." To get the letters to read correctly after flipping, you need to enter them on the keyboard in backwards order. Then, when they are flipped, they will be in the correct order, as you can see above.

Here you can see the screen shot of my final design (well nearly final - I did go back and add two little dashes in the phone number).

I use medium pressure, medium speed and blade depth 4 to "kiss cut" the vinyl - cutting cleanly through the vinyl but leaving the backing paper intact. After the cut was completed, I "weeded" it by removing everything but the letters and numbers of the design.

Above you can see the vinyl that was removed by "weeding" the image. The centers of some of the letters and numbers were also removed. In this photo the vinyl is "sticky side up."

Next, I applied transfer tape to the weeded design. Transfer tape is extremely helpful for a project like this where everything needs to stay lined up perfectly.

Here you can see how the design looks when you lift the transfer tape. The side that you see is the sticky side that will adhere to the inside of the glass door window. You use the transfer tape to "carry" the letters to the place where you want to install them and then stick them to the surface and burnish them on, carefully pulling the tape away at an angle.

I sent the lettering to St. Paul and the shop door is now complete with the relevant information posted and easy to read. The cost of the small piece of vinyl I used was far less than the $60 quote from the sign shop - and I feel like I contributed in a small way to the new shop. I wish them much success in the new location!

If you live in the Twin Cities area and happen to be interested in this type of artwork, you may want to check out the shop sometime. Here is a LINK to the Century Studios website and here is a LINK to the blog.


  1. diane, this turned out very nice. i made a stencil to paint the m-dot information on my husbands farm truck. it's the law to have this info available to view now. i would've liked to use vinyl, but wasn't sure how it would hold up in inclement weather. we do live in michigan which has all 4 seasons!


  2. Diane, that turned out great.. I have been wanting to play around with the vinyl (well there's alot I would like to do LOL) where to you get your vinyl?

  3. Hi Sandy,

    Vinyl is fun and easy - I think it cuts more cleanly than paper on tiny detailed cuts - I just used it on some ATCs that I will be posting soon.

    The vinyl I used for this project was "Wall-Pops" but I have also used the Cricut vinyl and the Oh My Crafts vinyl. Wall-Pops only have the color on one side and white on the sticky side. In this case that worked out fine since I was using white vinyl and I wanted the letters to be white when viewed from outside the shop.

  4. What a great sister you are.. and I LOVE LOVE LOVE their artwork!!!


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