Easy Sign Making with vinyl and PVPP

I know everyone is bored in the house and looking for DIY projects, so I thought I’d share one of my favorites. I love to use vinyl as a stencil to make signs. I use what is called the paint, vinyl, paint, peel method. (PVPP)

I start off by painting a piece of wood the color that I want my lettering to be. This sign was burgundy with white lettering so I painted the board white first and let it dry.

While it dried I cut out the letters with some permanent grade vinyl that I wanted for my sign. Next I laid them out to make sure they fit. After I made sure they fit and I measured I attached the vinyl to the wood using transfer tape.

And then I painted over the vinyl letters with white paint. You want to use the same color paint first on the board so it will create a good deal. This helps prevent leaking.

After that coat of paint dries, paint over everything with your board color. This took a few coats.

Once the paint has a little bit of time to get tacky I peel off the letters using a wedding tool. I did have a small amount of leaking under the vinyl due to the amount of coats I needed, so I used a small brush to touch up those spots.

And ta da! I let it dry for a few hours and then it was ready to go to it’s new home.

Tip Tuesday: Craft Businesses and Trademarks

Lately I’ve been trying to think of what I can blog about to be helpful to other crafters. I’ve been thinking that I should talk about trademarks for a while now. Yesterday, a local business owner shared some posts about NFL Logo and Trademarks. A lot of my crafting friends shared it around, so I’m thinking maybe this is something that needs to be dug into a little bit more.

This week the Kansas City Chiefs won a play off game and they are headed to the Super Bowl. This is a huge deal because we live in the Midwest and this is basically everyone’s team. Immediately after the game local businesses starting posting orders for Chiefs shirts. And it kinda made me cringe a little, but also Not My Business.

The next day I got a few messages from people asking if I could make them Chiefs decals and shirts and I quickly said “nope… copyright laws!” and held my breath because I’m a people pleaser and hate disappointing people. But, also I have to stand my ground too. I have absolutely done things in the past for friends, because they were my friends and I hate telling people no.

However, now that I have revamped by business and rebranded, I have set ground rules to myself and one of them is that it’s ok to say no. There are so many other people in my area that do this type of thing, so maybe someone else will be willing to help them. But, I don’t do custom orders, and I certainly am not doing trademarked stuff.

And it’s for a good reason! In order to be able to see licensed stuff, you have to purchase the license… and it’s expensive. And the company has to approve what you are selling. As in: “Ok, for $3,000 you can sell up to 500 shirts with this particular design”. No thank you.

When you are selling things that aren’t your intellectual property, you are running a risk of receiving letters in the mail telling you to stop, being sued, having to pay back those profits, having your facebook shut down.

This includes buying designs. Baby Yoda is all over Etsy and Disney will shut you down in a heartbeat. Just because the design is for sale, doesn’t mean its legal to sell it.

Now, please know that I’m not trying to tell anyone how to run their business. It’s not my business how you do business. However, this is stuff that I wasn’t aware of when I started making and selling vinyl crafts. To each their own, but its food for thought. I don’t think it’s worth the risk.

I got a cutting machine… now what?

Every Christmas at least 5 of my friends gets a Cricut or a Silhouette as a gift and they immediately facebook message me and say “Tell me everything you know!” and I’m like “uhhhhh… I got my first silhouette 5 years ago so that’s a lot of info to just type out over messenger.” But, I get it, these machines can be super intimidating, but also they are so much fun. Here is my best beginner info!

First off, have you already bought your machine? Still trying to decide between Silhouette and Cricut? I have come to find that it is all about personal preference. Some people swear by their Cricut, some by the Cameo. Honestly, I had a Cricut back when they still took cartridges. I upgraded to the Cameo five years ago and there is no turning back for me. Cricut has come a long way, but after playing with the Cricut software and the Silhouette software, Silhouette is still a winner for me. It is so much easier to use and you have so much design freedom. So, if you ask me which machine you should get I will tell you Silhouette every single time. Here is a great price for the Cameo 4 (the newest version) on Amazon. I do not really recommend buying the big bundles with all the extras. I’ll share more resources in this post.

Next, its time to learn how this thing works! Get on facebook and join some silhouette or Cameo groups! You’ll find so much inspiration, tips, and people that can answer questions when you aren’t sure what to do. Also, hop on Youtube and search for tutorials. I found out how to do many things on there such as tracing and trouble shooting!

Vinyl is so much fun and such a good starter for your machine! I would start with permanent, adhesive vinyl and make some decals for cups and car windows. Do not buy the vinyl at the craft store, or at Wal-Mart unless you are having some type of crafting emergency. I recommend Thevinylspectrum.com to everyone I know. They are fast, have an amazing selection, and if you order before 3 pm EST they can usually ship it out that business day. They are all I use for vinyl. And they have a crafting support facebook group. Win, win, win. Go to their site, make an account and get to shopping!

What type of vinyl should you buy? It depends on what you are doing, but if you are starting with cup and car decals you will want Oracle 651. It’s permanent, outdoor vinyl. Also it’s cheap and easy to work with! Start with the solid colors first. They are the least expensive, so great for learning! But they also print their own patterned vinyl and it is super cute! Don’t forget transfer tape! I use AT65 also from the vinyl spectrum!

Heat transfer vinyl is for shirts, bags, koozies, etc. I love Siser Easyweed (pronounced Cesar, btw, I didn’t know that for like 2 years). The vinyl spectrum also has a huge selection!

Speaking of heat transfer, if you are going to make shirts for anything other than your personal use, spend the money and get a heat press. A real heat press. Not an iron or an Easypress. Heat presses are huge and take up space, but they get the job done and are worth the money. Here is a great one from amazon. This is a 15 inch x 15 inch. Trust me, you’ll regret getting the smaller 9×12 press. I did. If you are doing adult shirts, the designs are approx. 10-12 inches tall so that means you will have to press your image and then move it so you can press again. It’s a pain. Mistakes end up happening. I have had all those issues, take it from me. Also, I have had both a swing away heat press and a clam shell. I prefer the clam shell. Some things like pillows and stuffed animals are almost impossible to put in a swing arm. Again, learn from my mistakes.

Blanks could be a whole different blog post, and probably will be at some point but here’s a good starting point! Dollar Tree is amazing for coffee cups. Hobby Lobby has cute cheap shirts, if you need to go somewhere local and want to avoid shipping charges. Also, I tend to find cheap, blank, unisex kids shirts at Walmart in the little boys sections. If you want to order higher quality shirts like Bella Canvas, I use Jiffyshirts.com. You do not have to have a tax ID or a minimum order. You get free shipping after $59 and they have an incredible selection. It’s easy to get carried away on their site.

And most importantly, break that sucker out and practice! Play around. Decorate your machine, that’s a great way to practice.. (says the girl that still hasn’t gotten around to decorating hers). It can be intimidating but it is so.much.fun. and the crafting possibilities are seriously endless. Mine sat in the box for 6 months before I broke it out, because I was terrified of it, and that was kind of ridiculous. Break it out and have fun!

Are you a newbie vinyl crafter? or still on the edge… or maybe never tried it?! Tell me in the comments! And let me know what other crafting info I should post about next!

*This post contains some affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and make a purchase I will recieve an affiliate commission, at no extra cost to you! All opinions remain my own. *

Fabric buffalo plaid ornaments

This year I got a wild idea to change all of my Christmas decorations and go with buffalo plaid. This meant I needed everything, right down to ornaments for my tree.

I put my tree up in early November because I have no patience, but my ornaments just went on my tree this week.

I started with these plain wooden ornaments from Hobby Lobby. I painted them black on both sides. Once the paint dried I traced the ornaments onto some fabric using chalk and cut them out. (I used bandanas from Hobby Lobby. Cheap fabric!)

I put a thick layer on mod podge on the wood and attached the fabric, being sure to smooth them out as i went. After allowing them to try for about an hour I used an exacto blade and a pair of scissors to trim off the excess fabric.

Once that was done I painted the little toppers green and worked on cutting out some vinyl. There is something I love about glitter ornaments so I used glitter heat transfer vinyl. After I had it cut and lined up I put my heat press on 250 degrees and pressed the vinyl for about 7 seconds. After the vinyl was applied I added some twine and hung them on my tree! I love the finished product!

Why I closed my vinyl business

For about 15 months I ran a vinyl business. I made shirts and vinyl decals and signs. In December, I took a break for Christmas and while on Christmas Break I decided not to open my business back up after the beginning of the year. I’ve caught a lot of crap for quitting so I thought I’d take a minute to explain my reasoning, because it’s on my heart.

My business started out as a hobby so I could fill a small booth at the local flea market. Quickly I got very busy. I started to fill custom orders and the next thing I knew I was applying for a tax id number and running a full blown business. Before I knew it, I was working 10+ hours a day. If I wasn’t filling orders I was designing or I was inputting receipts for taxes or answering questions about quotes, or searching for ideas because someone wanted something but they weren’t sure what so they needed me to find ideas. My phone was going off constantly, at dinner, all night long, on vacations, during school events. It was non-stop. And while I was doing all of this I was sticking the baby in front of the tv and letting my house be a disaster and forgetting to set things out for dinner. It was ridiculous and I had zero balance. I’m horrible at telling people no so if someone had an “emergency” I was as accommodating as possible. Even if that meant filling orders on weekends, holidays and over night. I’d fill orders during the day and then lay in bed at night with my laptop designing. I’d get told how horrible I was if I had a vacation planned and couldn’t fill an order for someone. I was skipping the gym, eating junk food for dinner and being a horrible wife and mother. This is not the vision we had for our family when I became a stay at home mom.

When I sat down during my Christmas break to figure out how my expenses and profits for the year, I almost threw up. I made less money in a year than my husband brings home in a month. I know that businesses don’t generally turn a profit in the first five years of operation, so that was understandable but it was more than that. I was missing out on a lot of time with my family and with the amount of time I spent working I might as well have been working at a full time job with benefits and paid vacation time. The time I was losing was worth no amount of money and I wasn’t even making enough to cover our grocery budget for the month.

To top all of this off, something that I used to really enjoy doing, crafting, had turned into something I despised. Turning on my machine annoyed me and when the UPS man came with a package of an average of 30 shirts every week I felt like I was suffocating. Running a business is great if that’s where your passion is, but my passion had been taken out in a pasture, shot and then ran over by a semi. I was over it.

So, I decided to close down. I have a girl that I refer my local customers to, and she does a great job! I know at least 5 people that got machines and heat presses for Christmas so they can make their own things and all I can say to that is YES! It’s fun to make your own shirts and decorate your home with your own creations. There are so many resources out of there so that you can learn to do it. I am finally to the point that I am making our own things and actually enjoying it.

Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t start your own craft business. Just because it’s not for me and it was sucking the life out of me, that doesn’t mean it will be the same for you. My heart just wasn’t there anymore. I really believe if you set your own business guidelines and hours you can be successful. Take time to study copyright laws so that you aren’t illegally filling orders and putting your business at risk. Don’t undersell yourself. Designing, and producing products takes a lot of time. Set a turn around time, set business hours and make them known so people know why you aren’t answering them back at midnight, take breaks as needed and have fun.

In the meantime I’m enjoying being a mom and a wife. I’m writing in my blog. I have some other writing plans that I plan to put into motion. I am done apologizing for being such a let down and doing what is best for me. My family is the most important thing to me and I refuse to put them on the back burner.