Hi all! So I know this comes a little after Christmas when it would have been most useful, but I didn’t decide to do this project until the very last minute.
I have wanted a cutting machine for a LONG time. I’ve been eying them longingly every time I enter a craft store. Finally, I found a deal on one for about $100 and bought it as a Christmas present to myself (no kids + no husband + not a lot of people to buy for = lucky me)! Haha. I purchased the Silhouette Portrait, and although I have only done a few projects, I must say, it is a beautiful machine. You can bet there will be many more cutting machine projects coming your way in future posts.
Of course, you don’t have to have a cutting machine, and can do most of this with just a set of little craft razors and a printed image.
One of the very first projects I decided I was going to do, was personalize gifts for my niece and nephew. I already bought them their Christmas presents, I just had to figure out how I wanted to personalize them. For my niece I had purchased a plastic Step 2 wagon which she could use to cart in vegetables from my brother’s garden in the summer months (an activity we often did as kids with our own wagon). For my nephew, I purchased a sweet little Step 2 motorcycle. His mom and dad are huge Harley fans, so this one seemed like a no-brainer.
The first step was to find an image and text. For my niece’s I decided to put the words “Daphne’s Vegetables” on it using a playful font and some vegetable svgs I purchased from the silhouette store. For my nephew’s, I decided to use the Harley Davidson logo, but instead, changed it and include his name. I simply did this in photoshop, finding a font that was closest to the original. After turning it into a png (also can be opened like the svg) I imported it into my Silhouette Studio Designer Edition software and got to work creating the cutting lines. I’m still getting used to the software, but this was actually a lot easier than I expected. I accidentally printed the first one on green vinyl, so when put next to the red motorcycle I realized it looked far too Christmas-y and not every-day-like. I switched colors, and tried again. It turned out AMAZING.
For Daphne’s, I decided to use two color vinyls. Unfortunately, the vinyl had a hard time sticking to the rough textured plastic of the wagon. Instead, I was forced to use the vinyl as a stencil and paint the text and images. This worked out just as well, and I was able to use different colors.
Speaking of colors, and vinyl in general, there are a lot of ways to get inexpensive vinyl for your cutting machines beyond the craft stores. I was in a local craft store last week, and the vinyl prices were insane, and that was for non-permanent vinyl, I wanted the permanent stuff in case these toys get beat up, left outside, etc. I got my first few pieces of vinyl from a friend’s husband who works at a sign shop. Every city/town has a sign shop, and most of the time, because they are doing large projects, they have extra. If they’re running a 24″ piece through their machine, and the lettering or logo they need is only 12″ tall, there is going to be a lot of leftover vinyl. Check your nearby shops to see if they will either give you their scraps, or sell them to you for a few dollars. This is a great way to save money. ALSO, there are some great vinyl shops that are mainly B2B, but also sell to any consumer. I’ve only ordered from one place so far, HH Sign Supply, and I was impressed by their prices and the product quality is excellent. Here is a list of some others I’ve seen who sell vinyl for fairly cheap (considering how much it costs at craft stores). You have to study up on the lingo a bit (things like weed, HTV, calendared, name brands, etc.) but it is worth it to save a bit of money. Some of these places occasionally offer coupon codes too, so do a quick google search for codes if you plan to order from one.
Have you ordered from any of these places? What was your experience? Have any further recommendations to add to the list? Let me know in the comments.
Anyway, my niece and nephew loved their gifts, and although they can’t appreciate the fact that they are personalized quite yet (they’re each only two years old), their parents definitely appreciated the extra effort.
Any gift is wonderful, but a personalized one is even more special. I hope my niece and nephew enjoy their personalized toys this year.