Things To Personalize With Vinyl
The road to endless custom-made and personalized projects possibilities starts with vinyl.
To the uninitiated, vinyl is perhaps the most used medium in customizing items ranging from decals to tumblers, shirts, bags, and even shadow boxes, for personal use or to be given wonderful and unique personalized gifts.
Gone are the days when sticker paper was the norm in personalizing adhesives for gifts and projects. Think of vinyl as sticker paper on steroids, since vinyl material is more durable, permanent, waterproof, and some, tear-proof, making it the perfect medium for personalized and handmade gifts.
Indeed, with vinyl, one is limited only by one's imagination.
If this is your first time taking on vinyl, we recommend the following materials to get you started:
- Vinyl of choice
- Transfer materials
- Cutting machine
- Cutting and weeding accessories
Vinyl has different kinds and types and can be differentiated generally as (1) adhesive vinyl or (2) heat transfer vinyl.
Image from Teckwrap Craft Instagram Page
For the adhesive type of vinyl, there is the temporary kind of vinyl and the permanent type of vinyl. Temporary types of vinyl can be used for projects that are intended for seasonal or limited-time use, like wall and glass decors and signages.
Permanent vinyl works well for personalized gifts intended for long use, like decals, tumblers, wood signs, and even mailboxes.
Heat transfer vinyl or HTV is vinyl generally used in clothing and apparel, like t-shirts and bags. HTVs require the use of a heating implement, like a heat press machine or an iron to transfer the vinyl design onto the shirt or bag.
Transfer materials, basically transfer tape and transfer paper, are essential when using adhesive vinyl . From its word, transfer materials are used to transfer the vinyl design onto the intended item or project.
Transfer tapes are available in two formats: roll and sheet. Some transfer tapes vary in “stickiness” depending on use and application, so do check the tack-ability of use, whether light, medium or high tack.
More specialized types of vinyl like glitter vinyl may require a high-tack transfer tape. Transfer paper, on the other hand, is designed with grids to help align the vinyl onto the transfer paper. Gridded transfer paper may be used for more intricate, layered, and complicated vinyl artwork.
There is a variety of cutting machines available in the market today, in varying sizes to suit your requirements. But all serve the same purpose - to cut your vinyl design to your exact specifications.
The more popular cutting machines include Silhouette and Cricut machines and both come in a variety of models. They also come with their own specific online product application to help you navigate your way to its different features and functions.
Cutting and Weeding Accessories
Cutting and weeding accessories include a cutting mat, cutting blades, and weeding tool. Some cutting machines, when purchased, include some tools like a cutting mat and a basic blade for use in simple vinyl projects. Other materials, like highly specialized blades and weeding tools or weeding pens are usually sold separately.
Things to Personalize With Vinyl
Aside from the countless possibilities with vinyl, one does not need to be a serious crafter/hobbyist to start using vinyl. A newbie can start with simple designs for personal use.
Let’s begin with items we have at home to practice with vinyl. And before you start any vinyl project, ensure that your work surface is clean of any debris. You can clean your work surface with tissue and alcohol.
What household does not have a water bottle or tumbler, right? This will make a good project because once an acrylic label is applied, each family member will be able to have their personalized water bottles/tumblers.
Or better yet, do this as a fun family project or activity idea to create your own personalized family-made gifts to relatives and friends.
Not only is this a good family bonding activity for the kids and kid at heart, but each handmade gift will carry a little something of everyone in the family to the recipient It can’t get more heartfelt and personalized than that.
Step 1: Cut your chosen vinyl
Cut your chosen vinyl according to measure. For transparent water bottles or tumblers, you can use any color vinyl, but if you are using a colored water bottle, best to use an acrylic with a contrasting color. Better yet, choose a vinyl with your favorite colors.
YouTube Source: How to Make a Tumbler with TeckWrap Craft Rainbow Stirpes Vinyl l by acoupleglitters.com | TeckWrap Craft
Step 2: Stick vinyl to the cutting mat
Stick your vinyl onto the cutting mat. Make sure that the vinyl is properly aligned and flat.
Step 3: Open your design platform
Open your chosen artwork design platform. For Cricut, open Cricut Design Space. For Silhouette, open Silhouette Design Studio. Adjust the artwork and make sure you input the correct cut settings.
Step 4: Feed the cutting mat with vinyl
Feed the cutting mat with vinyl on to the cutting machine.
Step 5: Weed the design
Step 6: Transfer the vinyl
Apply transfer tape and smoothen with a squeegee.
Step 7: Remove the white backing and transfer
Remove the white backing gently and transfer to your water bottle or tumbler and smoothen out with a squeegee.
Who says that binders are a thing of the past? Binders have reinvented itself in so many ways, and you will be surprised at the possibilities.
These are the most basic of all binders, usually used as journals or diaries, you can fill the binder cover with decals or stickers of a variety of fun cute colors for a personalized look.
You can opt to customize the binder flap with a person’s name or a quirky fun design. Refill sheets are available for purchase at any bookstore or craft store.
Money or budget binders (or even a coupon binder)
Instead of putting money-related stuff in boring accordion or expanding envelopes, level up with money or a budget binder to add some pizzazz to your mundane budget routine.
It may sound a bit old school, but it’s a good way to segregate receipts and whatnot into different sleeves and help keep track of your expenses.
Or you can use this as a coupon binder, clip those paper coupons and separate them according to shop/store. Make sure to check on the validity of your coupons and dispose of expired and unused coupons as needed.
A6 PVC Refills/Sleeves for budget or money binder
In days of old, NBA and baseball cards were all the hype, tucked away by collectors in their bulky heavy binders.
Photocard binders have been given a new lease in life by today’s Generation Z, what with their precious photocard collection of their famous favorite celebrities.
This would make an ideal DIY great gift idea to any fanboy or fangirl, that can be personalized in so many fun ways transforming a drab plain binder to something cute and awesome with fancy decals or printed quotes, or even a monogram of their favorite celeb’s initial.
What are shadow boxes?
Shadow boxes are glass-enclosed cases that make for practical home decor. It can also be given as a personalized gift, a housewarming gift or a great gift for Christmas.
Shadow boxes vary according to size, shape, color, and depth, depending on your requirements, and are available for purchase at dollar stores and craft stores at a minimal cost.
What are the different types of shadow boxes?
Memento Shadow Boxes
Shadow boxes can also be used to secure and store keepsakes and favorite things for posterity, to keep safe from any wear and tear.
Here are some ideas for shadow box use:
- Important milestone mementos
- Child’s first baby shoes
- Child’s first formal wear
- Wedding veil
- Vintage jewelry
- Important collections
- Travel keepsakes
- Christmas and holiday mementos
- Birthday milestone souvenirs
Shadow boxes make a great personalized gift for any occasion because it is one gift item that can be customized from start to finish, should you opt-out of buying the ready-made kind.
Be inspired and unleash the handyman in you and create custom-made boxes specific to your needs using your handpicked materials, from your choice of wood, paint color, and varnish.
And if you are not up to storing mementos in your shadow boxes, there are other fun awesome custom shadow boxes you can do using vinyl. See creative ideas below:
Monogram Shadow Boxes
The monogram design above makes an amazing wonderful handmade home decor gift to your mom. You can use solid fill letters for your monograms or use a more complex monogram design to create a more personal touch to your gift.
A Cricut cutting machine can easily create this monogram design, and a high-quality vinyl makes it easy to weed even the more intricate designs to the smallest of details.
Flower Shadow Boxes
Flower shadow boxes are the more common type of shadow boxes. Why? Because the design possibilities are endless, and paper flowers can either be bought ready-made from a craft store or can be made using a cutting machine, like a Cricut.
This is actually one of the more popular Cricut projects because Cricut’s online application, Cricut Design Space has preloaded 3D flower designs available. With the variety of available flower templates in the Cricut app, you can create, customize, mix and match designs.
One of the more popular customized flower shadow boxes is that of a heart-shaped paper flower design given as wedding or anniversary gifts or as a valentine’s day token.
Shadow flower boxes are a fun way to get creative with personalized project gift ideas. You can integrate your shadow box design with a monogram on the glass surface, put a favorite quote like the one above, or simply create unique fun designs on your vinyl to decorate the glass surface.
You can go cute and personalize with multicolored vinyl images using a layering technique.
YouTube Source: Valentine's Day Theme Craft
Wooden signs are available in dollar and craft stores, but with vinyl, you can go a step further and do away with generic signs and create a personalized sign project for yourself or as a personalized gift for friends and family.
Pre-cut, bare and blank wood signs are available in different shapes, color, and finish. Simply visit your local hardware, craft store, and dollar store for these items. There are a variety of wood materials that can be used for vinyl printing, so make sure you use the appropriate type of wood for your project.
A personalized wood sign would be a perfect gift idea as home decor. You can go minimalist and simply use one color vinyl to design your project or go all out and explore fun colors with your vinyl to create quirky designs.
Other personalized gift ideas include coasters, key chains, nameplates, cheese boards or serving trays.
Clothing and Apparel
Next to personalized vinyl tumbler projects, customized vinyl apparel is perhaps the next most common personalized gift. But common does not have to be boring. Because even a wardrobe staple can be glammed up with a unique vinyl artwork design.
This set of customized tops makes perfect DIY projects. Not only are they unique, cute, and adorable, these artworks bring life to an otherwise boring plain top. Makes perfect gifts too for friends for Christmas and the holiday season.
And who says clothing and apparel are reserved for humans. Personalized gifts can include a customized wardrobe for the family’s fur babies as well.
TeckWrap Craft custom made creation using Heat Transfer Vinyl
What to use in the absence of cutting machines for cutting vinyl?
In the absence of a cutting machine, one can use sharp scissors to cut along the edges or margins of the vinyl artwork.
What to use in the absence of a squeegee?
You can use a credit card to smoothen the transfer tape or transfer paper.
Can I use ordinary vinyl for clothing and apparel items?
No, for clothing and apparel, heat transfer vinyl or HTV should be used.
I don’t have a heat press machine for my clothing and apparel projects, what can I use?
You may use an iron to transfer the HTV design to the clothing material. Here are detailed instructions on how to print on T-shirts.
There is no limit to creativity in exploring the many uses of vinyl, and the abovementioned projects are just a few of unique and fun vinyl projects. And yes, one cannot go wrong with personalization.
Now you can do away with store-bought gifts and create unique, amazing custom-made Christmas or special occasion gifts.
With vinyl, customized gifts and gifts ideas are aplenty. No more boring, run-of-the-mill Christmas and holiday season gift ideas. Instead, you can create cute, fun, adorable, customized gifts for friends and family all year round.
A word of caution, do start with simple DIY vinyl crafts and work your way to more complex designs as you go along. As you can see, these DIY crafts, even the more simple ones, require a number of steps.
So it’s best to start slow and steady so that you can also fully acquaint yourself with the different materials and techniques. And even if you encounter mistakes, don’t lose hope, each project is a step towards mastering the machine, the materials, and the technique.
The last thing we want is to end with our hands up in frustration with unfinished projects and have our Cricut machine gather dust inside our closet.
Instead, may this crafting journey be laden with fun, so that Christmas and holidays would be much anticipated with boxes of personalized gifts and goodies sent to those near and dear to us.