Thursday, April 15, 2010

Vinyl Projects with the Cricut - Easy and Fun!

Today is Sweet Treat Thursday at the Cuttlebug Challenge Blogspot.  The Design Team was asked to do some home decor projects with vinyl.  Be sure to visit the Cuttlebug Challenge to see everything that was created and visit the individual designer's blogs to get all of the details.  Don't forget to enter the Cricut Cake giveaway - you can go to THIS POST for all of the details.

I used vinyl to decorate a marble tile to display in the dining room.  Here you can see it on top of my display cabinet.  With Cricut vinyl, transfer tape and the Design Studio program this is a quick and easy project to make.  I will show you how I did it step by step.

I used this frame from Graphically Speaking (one of my all time favorites!) and letters from the Plantin Schoolbook cartridge.

Using Design Studio, I set up a 12 x 12 mat with the frame cut and then carefully centered my words within the frame.

I cut a 12 x 12 section from the sheet of vinyl and used my wide putty knife (a couple of dollars at the hardware store) to  smooth it firmly onto the mat, making sure that there were no air bubbles.

When cutting vinyl, I set my machine at medium pressure, medium speed and blade depth 4 to "kiss cut" the vinyl  (cutting the vinyl cleanly but leaving the backing layer intact).

The next step is to "weed" the cut, taking out all of the unnecessary pieces.  This little hook tool from the Circut tool kit is a handy helper for the small bits that need to be removed.

Here you can see the partially weeded cut - all that is left to remove is the area around the words.

When I removed the large outer area I carefully set it aside - I will replace the backing on this as there are many areas that would be large enough to work for cutting words for smaller projects.

Here is my fully weeded cut - still on the backing and on the cutting mat.  Now I need to cut a piece of transfer tape just a bit bigger than this design so I can easily move it to the tile and preserve all of the spacing that I worked out in Design Studio.

I start on one side and apply the transfer tape, pulling away the heavy backing paper with the red grid.

I continue to smooth the transfer tape to the vinyl cut being careful to avoid puckers and bubbles.

I use my putty knife again to burnish the transfer tape to the vinyl cuts.  You can see when it is well adhered - the image is clearer.

Next you lift the tape and the vinyl cut will also come up - it works best to do this at an angle.  If a letter or part of the design doesn't lift perfectly the first time, just smooth the tape over the vinyl and try again.

Here is the fully lifted cut ready to flip over and apply to the tile.  Try to keep your fingers off the back of the vinyl so it will stay very sticky.

I gently placed the cut on the tile and, before applying any pressure, checked to be sure that the cut was centered and straight.  A clear layout ruler is helpful for this.  Since my tile was 12 x 12 , I could also use the markings on the covered mat below it to help me find the centers.

Once I had the cut in position, I used my putty knife again to burnish it to the tile.  You can see when it has been burnished well enough since the color becomes clearer again.

Finally, I peel back the transfer tape at an angle making sure that all of the vinyl is well adhered to the tile.  I will save the transfer tape to use once or twice more.

The tile is now ready to display.  These tiles make nice gifts for an anniversary or housewarming.  I used a leftover tile from the front hall of our house.  You can also buy tiles at a local home improvement store.

The tile looks pretty displayed in my dining room and can be seen from the front hall when you enter the house.   I thought the marble pattern might be too distracting but the stark black works well with almost anything.

The other thing I like to do with vinyl is to cut phrases to post on the wall.  The examples above are from my home or a relative's home.  I did these before I tried transfer tape so the letters were individually applied to the wall.  The Gandhi quote was done with welded words I made in Design Studio so it went a bit faster to put it up on the wall.

Have fun trying some vinyl projects - this is just the tip of the iceberg.  I have also used vinyl to decorate buckets and even used it for cards when I wanted something tiny that I knew would not work well to cut in paper.

If you want to see more details about the wall words, check the labels for P - Wall Words.  I have been slowly but surely revising and updating the index for my blog.   I am trying to make it easier to find things for both myself and my readers.  There are some more changes coming to my blog that I am excited about but it will be a little longer until I can tell you about them...


  1. Great idea. I'm going to figure out something to do with this technique.

  2. This is absolutely GORGEOUS! Wonderful job!

  3. What a beautiful job. I would love to make it. I have a cricut create. Could you do some house things that would fit the 6X12 mat?
    Thank you
    Linda in Stanwood

  4. Love ths design and it looks lovely standing on your unit. Thanks for sharing your instructions too as I only thought transfer tape could be used once.
    Kim xXx

  5. Diane-you explained that so well I am definately going to try that!!!

  6. OMGoodness - I just posted a vinyl project today, too! Mine is a little more "cutsie and whimsical." Your tile is gorgeous! I think I have a big marble tile hiding somewhere in my craft room closet that I stowed away months where did I put that...?

  7. You REALLY make me want to master contact paper!!! I LOVE this! :)

  8. Love it - I want to etch the glass lid on a crock pot. I want it to say the couples name but not in a straight line. I want the top curve to be their first names and the bottom curve to be the last name. Any ideas on how to accomplish this. The lettering in curves is what has me baffled.

  9. Thanks so much for taking tsking time to write such great instructions. I was always going to try this but now I can be more sure of what I'm doing. Tfs Linea

  10. I have been so nervous to jump into this world, but your step by step instructions have eased (most) my anxiety! Thanks for taking the time to share!

  11. Hi Nana Jo,

    It is tricky to get a perfect curve - and you have the double problem of the lid also being curved (not a flat surface like a tile).

    You can put a circle (or oval) on your mat in Design Studio and use it as a guide to line up the letters. The letters will each need to be in a separate selection box and you can rotate them to fit the curve.

    I would measure the Crock Pot lid to determine the size of circle (or oval) that will work and then the height of the letters will vary depending on the length of the names.

    Be sure to delete the guideline shape before you cut. When you put the vinyl on the lid to get ready to etch, you may have to divide your word into sections to get the vinyl stuck down tightly.

    I hope that helps - good luck with your project!


  12. I love this! What a great way to personalize a gift for someone. I love how you have explained everything.

  13. Diane, I love the tile. I love that your directions are so easy to follow. And I actually have these two carts. Thank you.

  14. I love the elegant look of this tile. I am looking forward to trying vinyl for the first time when all my wall painting is done! Your tips are great. Where do you get your transfer tape and what brand is it?

  15. Hi Karen,

    I have used the Cricut brand transfer tape which can be found in craft stores or online.

    I have heard of people also using the blue painter's tape (for small things) or clear contact paper that they place on a t-shirt a couple of times to make it less tacky.

    For my first projects I transferred the letters by hand but that is tricky if you want a perfect line. It goes much faster with a transfer tape of some sort.

    Good luck with your project!


Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I love to hear from the people who read my blog. I moderate all comments to keep spam off the blog without making you decode the squiggly letters so your comment may not appear immediately.