Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Craft-astrophes: A Work in Progress

Source: Jaymann on Etsy
A few weeks ago, I spotted this sign on Pinterest. Isn't it awesome? It just oozes awesomeness. It's based on a quote from Neil Patrick Harris's character on "How I Met Your Mother." I've only recently started watching the show. I don't know what took me so long to get on board with it. I'm loving it. And I'm loving this quote. It's a good reminder that we can choose our attitudes. There are days when I need that reminder. So I needed this sign. I set out to make one.

I figured I'd just cut the vinyl, stick it onto canvas, spray paint it, remove the vinyl, and be done with it. Easy peasy. 


At least not for me. Two tries later, I'm at a bit of a loss. I'm hoping somebody somewhere out there in crafty blogland will give me a few tips.

First of all, it took forever to figure out how to get my Silhouette to cut the right size. I won't bore you with the details of how I figured it out. (Partly because I'm not exactly sure myself--there was a great deal of dumb luck involved.)

Anyway, I finally got the vinyl cut. I had to cut it in two sections, breaking up the quote to three lines each (does that make sense?). No biggie. Except I was too impatient when I transferred the vinyl to the canvas. Silly me thought I could just eyeball it and make it straight. Ummm, no. So the first three lines were a big crooked. I tried cutting the last three lines apart, and I got out my ruler, so those ended up being a little less crooked.

But the vinyl didn't want to stick to the canvas. I rubbed and I rubbed. I finally thought I had it good enough, and I set out to spray paint it. That's when all hell broke loose. The spray paint made the vinyl lift up off the canvas. It was a mess. Then I panicked and tried taking the letters off before the paint dried. That made me mess up some of the paint. After letting everything dry overnight, I did go back and try to touch up the letters with some white acrylic paint, but I don't have a very steady hand.
This is attempt #1.

A close-up of attempt #1, after I tried to retouch it. Note the messed-up background paint.
Well, if at first you don't succeed, try again, right? For my second attempt, I switched to a canvas board instead of a wrapped canvas. I figured that would give me more leverage to rub the vinyl onto the canvas. It seemed to be working. And even after I thought I had the vinyl stuck on as well as it could stick, I went back and rubbed it some more. Then I went to spray paint it, making sure to do really light coats. But the same thing happened. I wish I had thought to take a picture of how the vinyl curled up from the spray paint, but at that time I was just too frustrated to think of that.

Attempt #2

A close-up of #2. I haven't tried retouching it yet.

So here's what I'm thinking:
  • Maybe I should switch to the premium vinyl. I'm hesitant to do that because it is twice as expensive, but I believe it has stronger adhesive qualities. 
  • Or, maybe I need to paint the canvas white first. Maybe a coat of paint would give the vinyl something to stick to.
  • Or maybe I need to switch to a piece of plywood instead of canvas. But I know I've seen projects using vinyl on canvas, haven't I?
  • Or maybe all of the above.
Any thoughts on what I should try next? I really want to make this sign! It doesn't have to be perfect, just better than what I've gotten so far.

I'll keep you posted on how the next attempt goes. So I guess we can say this post is TO BE CONTINUED.....

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  1. I like that quote! And I also love How I Met Your Mother. :)

  2. I don't know much about vinyl, so I'm not much help. But we are huge fans of the show, too!! Classic Barney!
    If I were you, I'd work with what I have: the first one isn't awful. What if you work with the flaws and add some glaze and weather it to match the letters?
    Just my $.02. Good Luck!


  3. I think you might have to paint your canvas with an acrylic paint first. (I use vinyl but have never used it on canvas before.) Have a look here


    and here


    Im sure wood would be much easier to work with TBH but by the looks of the above posts, it can definately be done on canvas. Hope this helps.

  4. Don't panic! There's any easy and cheaper solution:) Freezer paper- we're bffs. Just cut out your stencil on freezer paper (buy it at the grocery store by the foil) with the shiny side down & then iron it right to the canvas. I've done this on cotton & burlap and it's worked perfectly. Nice crisp edges! Good luck:)

  5. I LOVE this quote and the potential this canvas has! I also had trouble with my vinyl sticking to canvas - even after painting, modge podging... oy... I feel your frustration!! http://artsyfartsymama.blogspot.com/2011/04/chevron-canvas.html

    I am in the process of finding other options to make more stuff like this on canvas... Maybe you could use some spray adhesive, wait a little while after you spray it so it's less tacky and then place the letters on and spray paint away?

  6. i love this idea and i really like the effect created from the first attempts but maybe thats the art student in me haha..

    i havent tried vinyl on canvas only wood but i would probably try a combination of the above ideas. Hope it works for you!


  7. That's too bad that it isn't working out! I love that quote!


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