Over the last couple years, I have been living vicariously through my crafty friends while they do vinyl, stencil painting, or glass etching projects they’ve created with their “craft machines” (my term): Cricut Explore Air‘s or Silhouette Cameo‘s. I imagine if you’re someone reading my craft/planning blog, you’ve heard of these magic devices, but if not: they allow you to create a design on your computer and cut it out of paper, vinyl, wood, leather, etc. They are so much fun for a variety of projects! Many people use these to create window vinyl for their car or storefront window. The machine can cut card-stock or leather for household projects or scrap-booking. I’ve seen people use HTV (heat transfer vinyl) on shirts and bags. I helped a friend create stencils to etch wine glasses to make beautiful designs for Christmas and Birthday gifts. You can also create a stencil to help you paint shapes (I know, much needed over here!). The newer machines can also cut fabric for those who sew a lot or quilt. These things are amazing, and they’re so easy to use!
For over two years, I convinced myself I didn’t want one – they are pricey (compared to up-front costs for other art I work on) and they take up counter space (which is hard to find in my home). I would come up with a creative idea and wait weeks, sometimes months, to visit a Cricut-owning friend and finally put my ideas to work. Don’t get me wrong, this is fun for me – I love spending time with friends and learning from them – but I was starting to sound like a broken record. “Want to craft?” “Want to make something?” “Need help with any crafts?” I realized that not everyone obsesses over things the same way I do, so I would pause myself and wait longer to start projects than I probably needed to. I also wanted to make things for friends without them knowing (hello, birthdays?), and that got complicated. I’d ask one friend if I could come make something at their house for someone else, and hope I didn’t mess up the vinyl when I got home (spoiler – I did mess it up. Often.). This system was okay, but as a “just let me do it myself” kind of person, it was more of a struggle than I cared to admit. I usually try to restrain from asking for help unless I really can’t do something.
For Christmas, my mom surprised me with my own Cricut Maker! She knows I’m crafty, and she doesn’t really understand all the weaving stuff, so it was just luck that she stumbled into this on the internet after realizing how expensive looms are. Thanks, Mom!
When I got home from the holidays, I immediately cleared a space for my new “baby”, set it up, and started making things. My first craft on it was a pot-holder. I had the idea in my head for a while, but I couldn’t bring myself to make it with paint. I’m severely lacking in the hand-eye-coordination department.
I purchased a set of round pot-holders with the intention of personalizing them for family for Christmas 2018 (oops again – I guess they’ll get them Christmas 2019). My last name is King, so I tried creating “K” vinyl stencils to paint around – this didn’t go so well. The stencil vinyl didn’t want to stick to the cork (duh, Britt! It’s porous!) and the paint bled past the lines, so I had to re-visit the design with some heavier-duty vinyl. Thank goodness these potholders are cheap and I could start over without too much heartache!
Instead of using the vinyl as a stencil this time, I decided to just create the design with it, using 2 different colors (any color will work!) to create a multi-layered piece. I put a giant “K” directly on the coaster/potholder. On top of the vertical-bar of the “K”, I cut out the full name vertically in smaller letters and stuck it on. I plan to make these for all my aunts/cousins and my fiance’s family this year.
Can you actually put a hot pot or pan on them? I honestly have no idea, but at least they’re cute? I imagine mom will flip it over when she goes to use it, knowing her desire to preserve pretty things.
There’s a couple things I would change about the font I chose and I would place the “K” a little more center on the potholder, but for a first attempt, I’m okay with this.
It wasn’t much (or very hard) but it was a wonderful first project! We all have to start somewhere!
As for other projects, I’ve already continued my Cricut-craziness through making a few things for my Bachelorette party (April) and gifts for my Bridesmaids (you’ll have to wait until May on those)! Don’t worry, I’ll definitely share photos and discuss my processes once I’ve given them out. I don’t want to spoil fun surprises!
I’ve been trying to find ways to use vinyl to label house-hold items as well. We recently got some new clear canisters for our kitchen counter, and I think they’d be fun to accessorize. Could I do that with a simple label maker? Probably.
But where’s the fun in that? 🙂
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