This is my first post on my new craft blog. A little background on my craftiness – over the years I have dabbled in painting, crochet, stencils, etc. I received a Silhouette Portrait for Christmas and it was the craft tool I desperately needed that I didn’t know I needed.
It combines my geeky computer skills with my creativity and love of crafting. I decided to start a blog to share with the world some of the projects I have come up with in the short time I’ve had my Portrait. Hopefully it can serve as some inspiration to other!
I decided to start my blog while I was in the middle of my latest project, but I will do my best to describe what I did in case anyone out there wants to recreate this project.
The inspiration for this project was a block set we had growing up that could be flipped over to be a decoration for a variety of different holidays. I really wanted to recreate this because it gives me a fun decoration that can be displayed all year long!
I started out by choosing my holidays. I decided to go with Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, 4th of July, Halloween and Thanksgiving.
H-A-P-P-Y T-H-A-N-K-S-G-I-V-I-N-G is the longest of the holidays. That would take 17 blocks and I added an extra to the count to bring it to 18 blocks. It definitely helped me to take the time and write out each holiday, which cardstock colors I wanted to use as the backing and how many squares of each color I would need.
I started by ordering 2″ unfinished wood blocks (here if you’re interested). Once I decided to go forward with this project, I was antsy to get started. Unfortunately the delivery of my blocks got delayed due to a snowstorm, so I started out by getting all my designs ready in Silhouette Studio.
The basic composition of the blocks is a square of cardstock slightly offset from the edges of the cube and vinyl lettering.
I drew a 2″ square to represent a cube face. I did an internal offset of 0.125″ resulting in a 1.75″ cube. This gave me the cube outline I’d need to cut out of the various colors of cardstock and an outline to figure out the font sizing.
Next, I tested out a few fonts and ended up settling on the Dazzling font (purchased from the Silhouette Design store). I’m glad I chose a more “whimsical” font as it later reduced the stress of getting the vinyl lettering placed exactly centered. For this font, 131 point size was perfect for the cube faces.
After figuring out the font and sizes, I worked on getting various holiday designs to fill out extra blocks for the various holidays. (Happy Easter has WAY fewer letters than Happy Thanksgiving). I’m still working through my Silhouette gift cards, so I found a variety of cute holiday packs that I purchased and downloaded.
I created a separate file for each holiday and a cut file with just the 1.75″ squares to cut the cardstock. Here is an example below:
If you are doing this, keep in mind each letter & design will need to be applied individually so leave a little space between letters.
After finishing my designs, I cut all my cardstock squares (Hint: I found “scrap” cardstock at Michael’s for less than $4 for a pack with a huge variety of colors. I used a lot of these to cut the squares for my design). After cutting the cardstock, I cut the vinyl. I ended up only using 3 sheets of 12″x12″ white vinyl. I did have to get a little creative to get it all to fit.
After cutting all my cardstock squares and cutting and weeding all my vinyl lettering I was ready! However, my blocks STILL were stuck in post office limbo because in my neck of the woods 1″ of snow stops mail for four days…. *sigh*
FINALLY, the mail came and my blocks arrived with the mail (I literally ran to the door like a kid running downstairs on Christmas morning). I was so ready to get this project started.
I started by sanding the blocks and lightly wiping them down with a damp cloth. I then painted them all with a single coat of white acrylic paint. Tip: I think these blocks would also look great if they were stained instead of painted – totally your call.
After the paint dried, it was time to start applying the cardstock. I applied a thin layer of Mod Podge to the cardstock square and smoothed it over the cube face. Tip: Make sure you don’t go too heavy on the Mod Podge or the cardstock will wrinkle up, but do make sure you get a pretty even coat on the squares.
I worked through one “holiday” at a time to make sure I got the right number of each color applied to the blocks. I let all the blocks dry overnight. I don’t think they actually HAVE to dry overnight necessarily it was just late and I was ready for some sleep.
Next, it was time to apply the vinyl. At this point, I found it VERY helpful to work 1). Holiday-by-holiday and 2). lay out the blocks in the color pattern that you want (i.e. alternate red-green-red, etc.) and 3). Apply the vinyl in order
Prepping the Valentine’s Day blocks:
A few tips, I found I could reuse a small square of transfer tape for a few letters. This helped me conserve the tape.
Also, the tape may stick a little to the cardstock. I found if I removed it carefully it didn’t pull away too much paper, but definitely be careful!
Applying the vinyl was somewhat tedious, but went quickly. Again, going with the font I chose, I found I didn’t have to stress too much about aligning the letters perfectly.
Here are the blocks all ready to go:
At this point, you could be done. I decided I wanted to finish the blocks with Mod Podge since I think it’ll make this decoration more durable. This was definitely the trickiest part. I have not worked a lot with Mod Podge and it took me a few blocks to really get the hang of how much to apply. The trick (I found) – apply a thin coat with the tip of the sponge brush then wipe it with the flat side of the sponge. This removes the excess. It creates a thin finish, but does not warp the paper. I may end up using an acrylic sealer to finish them off, but I don’t think its necessary!
Overall, I LOVE how these turned out. If I did another set, I may use a slightly smaller block size (maybe 1″ or 1.5″), but they are going to be a fun year-round decoration for our mantle or counter.
All the finished holidays here:
This was one of my first major projects using the Silhouette and I’m very happy with how it turned out. I would worked on it over the course of a week, but you could definitely get this done in a weekend.
Happy Crafting and let me know if you have any questions in the comments!