*Disclaimer: I've marked this as an AD as I have used products that were gifted to me previously by Cricut. I haven't been asked to create this blog post.
Something I wanted to learn as soon as I received my first Cricut machine, was how to turn handwriting/drawings into vinyl stickers. I loved the idea that you can completely personalise something with a simple vinyl sticker.
I thought today I would share how to do exactly that using my Cricut Joy (But this will work on all Cricut machines). I asked a friend to send me a photo of her child's handwriting, I didn't ask for anything specific, I just told her I would be putting it on a mug. Then I began my little project..
The top left is the photo I was sent by my friend. As you can see, the photo doesn't have to be in black & white before you start, and it doesn't have to be super well lit (though the clearer the better).
The bottom left is once I had imported it into some photo editing software and played around with the settings. I turned the image to black & white, and played around with threshold settings until the black was super intense & the white had blocked out most of the texture in the background.
You can see there are still some black dots in the background, but these can easily be removed once you import it into the design space.
Once all the fiddly bits had been sorted, I resized the image in design space to fit the mug. In the design space, you can choose if you want your measurements to be in inches or centimetres. I wanted the sticker to be as big as possible, but not quite reach the top and bottom of the mug. So I made it just over 3inches tall. The width didn't matter too much as I had plenty of room for that on the mug.
The vinyl I chose was the permanent premium vinyl by Cricut, in a glossy black. I opted for permanent as I want this to be stuck to the mug as well as it possibly can (even though it's permanent vinyl, I wouldn't recommend putting any mug with this vinyl on, in a dishwasher!).
I cut a square of vinyl out, and stuck it to the mat. Before cutting, it shows you in design space, how much of the mat you need to cover in vinyl so there's no need to worry about getting the wrong size.
This next step was the most difficult to photograph because of the glare, but once I hit go, the Cricut Joy started to do it's thing. Something that always surprises me is just how detailed this machine can cut! The writing can't be more than a millimetre or two wide?!
Once it's finished cutting, I removed the full square of vinyl from the mat.
Weeding is the next step! Above is what it looked like once all the weeding was done. But I basically just removed all the negative space from the vinyl.
The only part that I had to cut out separately were the eyes of the smiley face. As a child's handwriting is more uneven, some parts may not cut as well, and these two sections got lost in the weeding as they were teeny tiny! But it was easy enough to cut two tiny sections of vinyl and pop them where the eyes would go.
Next I added the transfer tape over the top of the weeded vinyl. I cut a section that was big enough to cover the vinyl and used my scraper tool to make sure it had attached itself fully to every part of the black vinyl.
Transfer tape can be reused, so don't bin the backing when you are using it. This piece of transfer tape I had used about 6 times before I think!
Once I thought it had attached well enough, I slowly peeled the transfer tape off the vinyl backing, and it brought the black vinyl design, with it! If there are parts that don't come up, you can simply place the transfer tape back down and give it an extra scrape to make sure it grips.
I chose where I wanted to stick the vinyl on the mug, and place it down. I then used the scraping tool again to help stick the vinyl to the mug.
This is a step you want to be patient with, and take you time. If any parts don't look like they're completely stuck when you remove the transfer tape, then the same as before, just pop it back down and give it another squish with the scraping tool!
Removing the transfer tape is probably one of my favourite parts of crafting with vinyl like this. Seeing the design all neatly stuck down is so satisfying!
I do find that usually it's the smaller parts of a design that don't initially stick down, and I have to lay the transfer tape back down a little and give it an extra scrape. But it's always worth all the fiddling around when you have a more detailed design like this!
Once the transfer tape is off, it's all done!!
This is a really easy technique to learn, and it's a handy skill to have especially if you're planning to use your Cricut machine for creating gifts for people. It's something that you can get kids involved in, to turn their doodles into something even more fun!
(You can also use the same process to turn their doodles into iron on vinyl, and pop it onto a t.shirt or bag etc. Once you've created the cut file in design space, you can cut it out of any material the machine is able to cut!)
Hopefully that inspired some of you to give it a go! I'll be sharing more creations using this technique on the blog very soon.
Please let me know if you have any questions!