Remember how I mentioned last week I had a new friend, Portia, my Silhouette Portrait?  Well, we’ve been working together on quite a few projects.  I was so very nervous to try her out that first time.  I must have watched the Silhouette Portrait tutorial DVD a dozen times.  I played with the Silhouette Studio software for a while before actually allowing her to cut anything.  My experienced Silhouette-using friends recommended that I practice with cardstock before I try the more complicated materials.  I think this is sound advice because it did take me a little while to get used to everything.  Plus, I was so worried about ruining my vinyl.    Finally, I used some vinyl and a spare piece of wood to make my first project.

My Mom Made That: Reverse Stencil VInyl Sign

Mellow Man was the inspiration for the project.  First, he was showing me all of the cool techniques that his router could do on the edges of wood.  He made an example piece of wood that was about 8 inches long and 4 inches wide.  I thought it was too nice to waste.  Once Portia, the Silhouette, arrived I knew that I should make him a sign for his office.  When Mellow Man gets frustrated or annoyed with people, he frequently exclaims “Seriously?!”  Now Frog and I also use this saying.  I know that Mellow Man gets annoyed at work when people make silly mistakes that cost time and energy, so I thought this would be perfect for him to hang up.

Before doing anything with Portia, I used semi-fine and fine grade sandpaper to sand the routed edges.  I wanted to make sure that the sides that were cut against the grade of the wood were smooth to the touch.  After making sure that my surface was ready for vinyl, I played around with the fonts in the Silhouette Studio program.  I got a $25 credit to the online Silhouette store when I received my machine, so I downloaded several of their fonts.  I knew that I needed a taller font to fit the proportions of the wood.  I actually cut the words out in cardstock first, and then used them to see how the font would look.  When I was satisfied, I turned Portia on and had her cut out “Seriously?!”  Now, you can use any color vinyl for this technique, that’s what’s great about it.  I had some lavender vinyl that I had gotten as a sample, and let’s face it, pastels aren’t used a lot in my house of men, so this was a perfect time to put it to good use!  Position the vinyl directly onto your sanded wooden sign.  (Now if you wanted the word to be a color, you could have painted it, but I wanted the word to be in the raw wood.  Once I positioned the vinyl, I put a light coat of Mod Podge over the vinyl to seal the stencil.  I got this hint from Ginger Snap Crafts!

My Mom Made That: Reverse Stencil Vinyl Sign

Next comes the painting.  I wanted the sign to be nice and shiny, so I used a High Gloss Paint.  It took several coats to get the level of coverage I want.  You’ll still be able to see the vinyl beneath the paint.  Hopefully, you can see the word “Seriously?!” beneath the paint.  I get so impatient when painting.  However,  as you probably know, the coverage is better when you wait between coats.  Does anyone else have trouble waiting for paint to dry?

My Mom Made That: Reverse Stencil Vinyl Sign

Once everything has thoroughly dried.  Again, try to be more patient than I am.  (Actually this time, I put on the last coat, and went to bed– that way I could remove the stencil as soon as I woke up!)  You’ll need a pair of tweezers.  I liked using the bent nose kind, but I’m guessing that regular tweezers would work. Next pull the vinyl off carefully and gently although I found it came off very smoothly.  The best part is the wood underneath creates a lovely contrasting texture and pattern.  I love the way it turned out!

My Mom Made That: Reverse Stencil Vinyl Sign

The last step is to attach a hanger.  I actually used sticky, industrial strength Velcro since Mellow Man needed something to stick to his fuzzy walls at work.  I can’t wait to do this technique again!  Other than waiting for the paint to dry, it was an easy and fast project!

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