Friday, December 19, 2014

How To Put Vinyl On The Outside of Ornaments

I am sorry this post is so long overdue.  Hopefully, with less than a week before Christmas, this post will be just in time for somebody ;0}

This is one of my set of three bulbs I sell finished or as parts on Etsy.  I do the floating insert inside, then the phrase on the outside.  If you have ever tried applying lettering to the outside of an ornament, you know it is a pain in the butt.  That doesn't even explain how yucky it can be depending on your project.

Here is what I do:
First, we are working with glass.  You need a way to put this bad boy down.  I use tape rolls.  I actually have a collection of empty rolls of packing tape that I usually use, but basically any roll is fine.  This ornament is a 4" bulb, so if you are using a smaller bulb you will need to find something smaller than the packing or painter's tape.  Even a drinking glass would work as long as it is smaller at the opening than the ornament is.

OK, so I get my insert in there, but you can do the lettering first.  Either way is fine.  Then set your bulb down tilted slightly towards the back so that your line of sight points directly to the center of the side of the bulb.

This is how my lettering vinyl looks at the beginning.

To make this all go down easier, basically because of the font and size of my lettering, I have found it easier to cut the piece apart a bit first.  It lets you work with one line or section at a time without cutting it all apart and risk having placement not line up.

You can see where I have cut into mine?  With this project, I cut it basically into words, but don't cut them totally apart unless you think you can line things back up with your eyeballs.

Now peel the paper backing off the vinyl transfer tape.

Hold your vinyl over the bulb, center it where you want it, then press down one word/line.  

The real key is to work from the center out wherever possible.  

I rub down the "Towards" word.  You don't need to press super hard.  Just make sure all parts make contact with the glass.  

Notice how I have applied the one word, even the capital "T", but didn't even attach the "G".  Work one word at a time.  Work from the center of the bulb towards the left side.  When you do this, if it starts to look like the words are falling down or up, you can pull the transfer tape up or down just a bit to straighten things out.  The center line usually goes on really well.  Above the center, things tend to start leaning.  Go ahead and loosen the transfer tape off of the lettering that is already down, then pull your new line or word up or down, whatever direction it needs to go to look straight.

I warned you.  This is not easy!

For this piece, my next thing I will rub down is the "G" just because it is attached to the "T" and I learned the hard way that I want above all else, for that "T-G" combo to lay flat.  Once they are on there, I can move the other letters around to adjust.

As you can see here, I don't wait until I have all the vinyl pressed down to start pulling the excess transfer tap off.  Once the letters are adhered to the glass, you are free to pull that transfer tape off so it has more freedom to move around in other spots.

Now I am going to press down the "Men" word.  I have learned that the rest of "Goodwill" likes to fall and stick in awkward places, 

So sometimes I just cut it off.  You can stick the clear part to the edge of a table or the ornament box or something until you are ready for it.  I don't always cut off words.  It can be very tricky to get things to line up again later, but it works well with this vinyl piece.

For each word, I center it, press it down, then try and rub it down along a center line, then rub down each strand that shoots off, like the swirly part of the "M" basically just following the vinyl up and around with my finger.

Treat each leg that branches off of the center of the word just like an individual piece and let it go where it wants to go naturally.  Don't try and push down all the parts higher than the "e" and "n" in "Men" at the same time.  Press down each vinyl piece one at a time to avoid causing bubbles.

When it is down I pull that transfer tape off too.

Sometimes the vinyl just doesn't want to stay down when you pull that transfer tape off.  Just grab a hold of the vinyl and hold it down while pulling the tape.  Usually, after you get it started, the rest comes off really well.

OK, sometimes bubbles happen.  It is OK!  You do need to fix it right away.  The lazy way would be to just press it down as best as you can and walk away.  You could use an exacto knife and just slice the vinyl, then tuck one end underneath another.  That is not how I do it though ;0}

Take your exacto knife, slide it under the bubble, then slide down the vinyl {using the dull side so you don't accidentally cut your word to pieces} and loosen the attached vinyl.

You can just press it down again as you go, pushing that bubble to the edge.

Here I am taking the lazy way and just splicing the letter with an exacto knife.

Lift one side, while pushing the other side underneath.  

Done.  NO bubbles anymore.

Last, I eyeball the lettering that is still left to go on.  If I were to just smooth this down how it lies, the word would be falling down the bulb.  To combat that, I press down the first "o", and maybe the second, then start to pull upwards on the transfer tape while I go on pressing down the rest.


Yes.  It is terrible.  It is stressful.  But it is also so rewarding when you finish!  Remember smaller ornaments are exponentially harder.  Smaller lettering is exponentially harder.  Large images...not possible.  You will need to buy one of the flat ornaments or just go with the floating image inside.  

Let me know if you have any questions.  Hopefully I didn't forget anything ;0}
Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Don't Forget to Vote!

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Hey guys!  Just wanted to remind you to run on over and vote for your local food pantry!!!  You can make one vote every 24 hours.  Who could pass up the chance to give a $20,000 make-over to such a deserving cause?

You can vote HERE

Thanks again to Walmart and for bringing 
this service opportunity right to our doors :0}

Saturday, December 6, 2014

You Know You Wanted More!

Sick of Ornaments YET???  Never!  You know you wanted to see more.

These are a few of the attempts for a recent custom order.  My sweet customer was ordering these for her Sunday School class.  She wanted 15 unique ornaments the kids could choose from.

It was a lot harder than you would think to rifle through my pile of daubers and make 15 unique ornaments teens would love.  Hopefully we did OK.  These two on top are probably the biggest ;0}
I call them my Medusa line.  I actually really liked them...the next morning.  If you have ever crafted at my house, chances are you have heard me say, "Just go to bed.  It will look better in the Morning!"  It was true for these two Medusa ornaments.  The pack I make for my tree are going to look like these.

Mads helped me with a few.  She was about as excited as I was to sit down and do these, then she just sat and stared once she had glue gun in hand.  It was rather comical to me.  I had literally done the exact same thing 15 minutes earlier.  It was quite comforting to see my fearless teenager, wild with creativity, sit and get the same blank stare that plagued my face.  Anyway, she made these two cute ones.  I like the white fir replacing the green.  She said something about that and I had no clue what she was talking about until I saw this ornament.

One of my favorites!  I should tell you, I like to put the nativity low on the insert, so it just about touches the corners of the nativity to the edge of the insert.  I did that with this one, then cut the insert flat underneath.  That way, when I put the gold filler inside, there was open space at the bottom and it wasn't pinched off down there.  Beautiful.  This gold...what do they call it...

Twinkle trim!  Yep.  Bought it at Hobby Lobby.  It looks like really fancy straw in there with the nativity.
I need to buy more of that stuff.

Awe.  Love Candy canes.

Meet the original Medusa ornament.  I tried to glue just a couple sprigs of beaded branch to the front.  It looked terrible.  Added some floating snowflakes.  Worse.  Pine cones.  Now it looks like a nest...and falls on it's face.  Might as well make it go all the way around.  Tadah!  Wait.  It really looks like a nest.  Madison..."Mom, you need a bird on that!"  Mom...laughing.."Wait!  I have one!"

Reminds me of the giant bird on bugs life.

See the resemblance???

Other than the bird needing to go on a diet or get a lap band or something...I LovE it!  

Dear customer, 

It is OK.  Giant bird in the Medusa nest is not in your box.

He lives on my tree.  

And I bought smaller birds at Hobby Lobby so I can make a whole family of baby bird Medusa nest ornaments to cherish and haunt my family for generations.

Madison.  You are welcome.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Couched For The Season

You are looking at my every breathing moment from the last 45 days.

Now you are looking at my 12 toed cat how had a great time with all of the packing materials and empty ornament boxes that were lying around.  

I have been Couched For The Season.
Couched making ornaments.  Did I ever imagine I would one day spend the whole month of November sitting on the couch making ornaments, the very same ornament I don't actually own for myself??? 
But it pays the bills, so keep 'em coming!

Every once in a while I took a break to stretch my legs, grabbed a pop and drove to Hobby Lobby to buy more ornament supplies, like ribbon for bows.

Do you know how exciting it is to sit and tie 2000 bows in a day.  Nope.  No one does.  That is because it is not exciting.  But, the whole first season of Downton Abby I watched whilst tying and snipping was very exciting.  I had to switch to Downton Abby 'cause I finished Call the Midwife!  Netflix, I MUST HAVE MORE!  You can't just leave me hanging like that!?!  Season three!  Season ThreE!

Couched, but not rested.  No sleep.  Please forgive my lack of sanity.

The rest are just glimpses of my last 45 days.  Custom ornament orders, custom vinyl orders, in the middle of the night orders.

Not all vinyl likes to be picked.  Nope.  Not all.  Some makes me want to throw things at joggers going by my front window.  The window I can peer through while chained to my couch...

19 dozen.  Yup.  Big order.

I need to make a bout a thousand more of these to get to the point I don't squeal with delight when I see his smiling face.  I love happy things!

Discovered Walmart sells plastic ornaments that work great with my inserts!!!
Good to know!

22 dozen.  Not fun to ship.  Nope.  It is not.

I sent out over 50 orders the day before.  This was a stifling image for my eyes to behold.  My bank account loved it, just like all my family that was simply counting dollar signs.  That was when I sat them all down, handed them a cutting board and an exacto knife complete with nativity vinyl to pick.  There is no way I am doing all the work ;0}  Now my kids talk price of things from the store in terms of sheets of vinyl.  "I want this pair of sunglasses, but do you know how many sheets of vinyl they cost???"  

My response, "Yes.  Yes I do."

This was a really interesting custom order for me.  This fabulous customer asked for a stencil so she could airbrush some Christmas cookies for a party.

Airbrush???  Cookies???

It took a bit of work, but I got it!  A one piece stencil to make a nativity design on cookies.  You could probably dust with powdered sugar or sanding sugars if you don't have an airbrush setup ;0}

Burlap ribbon bows.  I like them!

20 dozen

Had to go buy some Michaels ornaments to test for insert size.  I sell the inserts in any size, but Michaels apparently does not bother to put the size on the box???

I am going to have to call them.

These two are 2.75 and 2 inches.  Not the same as the rest of the stores.  It's OK.  I can still make them.

<3 p="">

Love this design.  Not super fun for 2 5/8" or smaller ornaments, not even always possible, but these were for 3 1/4" ornaments.  They worked great.

Did you know the takeout boxes work fabulously as a gift box for ornaments???  They also sell cupcake boxes that work great for the 2 5/8" and smaller.  These are at Micheals.

I worked literally around the clock the week of Thanksgiving, just taking a 2 hour nap here or there.  We even filled an entire bin at the post office just with the orders.  All the hundred envelopes are at the bottom.  

Anyway, I better get back to work.  More orders to finish up for today, but luckily we are back to sleeping at night.  Phew!  Time to make myself a set ;0}

p.s. Still have about 10 dozen ornaments, some with snow, some without sitting here ready to ship once bows are glued on.  Stop by TheBubbleBox to grab a box for yourself ;0}

Closing the shop in one week, so get your nativities while you still can!!!