I got a silhouette for my birthday this year and I was so super excited! However, after playing with it a tiny bit I got kind of intimidated and discouraged. I was unable to view the instructional video so I had to figure it out on my own.
So, as time went by and I read little bits about tricks of the trade I decided to pull it out and try my hand at some cuts. I did a card first (I'll share it later) and it boosted my confidence and excitement. I was finally ready to try my hand at a project I'd been wanting to do since before I even got my Silhouette!
Now, first let me tell you that I don't have the Silhouette vinyl. I wish I did, but I don't. What I DO have is a big roll of white contact paper that I purchased by mistake (thinking it was clear... I'd never bought contact paper before, give me a break:) I wanted to see if I could use contact paper to make my cuts. I'll tell you how it went as I go along.
The project: my bathroom wall. We recently redid our bathroom, we have this ugly medicine cabinet built into the wall and it needed something to make it a feature rather than an eyesore. I decided it would be cool to paint it the same color as the wall and have some design go from wall to cabinet door as one solid piece. I think my vision was executed pretty well. Every time I go in there, I smile at my lovely wall.
Now, if any of you are interested in knowing the nitty-gritty details of the process, read on.
My Design Plan: Using a single shape from the Silhouette I created this motif to run across my bathroom wall. This picture shows that I cut the shape 5 times, two of the cuts were larger than the others. If its labeled with an "A" it was part of the "A" branch (how clever I was to come up with such a system!). So, if you look closely, you can see that I ended up cutting and "pasting" (if you will) the branches into a design that fit the space and worked for me. Specifically the "E" branch was divided into sections.
I was able to wrap the contact paper up over the edges of the cabinet and then to make it work over the door I simply snipped the paper with some scissors and attached it with almost seamless results!
Cutting Contact Paper with the Silhouette: I should first say that I don't know if using contact paper is bad for the machine. My gut tells me its fine, since it cuts vinyl and a wide variety of other materials.
I did use the backer board to run it through the Silhouette. First run through, I used the lightly sticky backer, the machine totally ate up the contact paper. Some areas it pulled the paper away from the backer, other areas didn't get cut through at all. Second run through I used the heavier stickiness backer, it worked much, much better. Though it still didn't cut through every spot, I was able to salvage most of the cuts (with sharp scissors) to create the look I was going for.
I did not use any kind of transfer paper either. Knowing better now, I don't know if I'll ever do it again! That transfer paper is awesome! But I was able to make it work and I'm all about saving money.
You may be wondering how the contact paper has held up over the 4+ months its been on the wall... it still looks great! When I first put the motif on the wall I would go in and just admire my work, I'm not making special trips to go fawn over it now, but I do smile every time I look at it.
If you have a Silhouette and are nervous about trying it out... just start playing with it and trying new things. You may not have perfection, but you'll gain confidence and learn to love that little machine and the many amazing things it can do! And be sure to check out the silhouette blog for some great tips and tutorials.