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I’ve been in love with cute entryway signs for a long time and have always wanted to make one.
Well, make a good one.
I tried doing it free-hand a few years ago but while it was fun, the results weren’t exactly beautiful. Let’s just say it had, uh, “handmade charm”. Or a face only a mother could love. Probably the latter.
Anyway, I sort of forgot about it as a project for a while until I got a Cricut a few months ago. I’d seen other bloggers make signs with their Cricut machines and decided that I wanted to try it.
Because it was December at the time, I tried making a Christmas sign first. When I managed to make that without blowing anything up, I decided to make my entryway sign. Here’s how it turned out:
Below I’ve explained how I made the sign, along with a free SVG of the design.
To make the stencil
For the sign itself:
- An 1200mm x 450mm MDF panel, painted white.
- A sponge (an old dish sponge is fine).
- Black acrylic paint.
- Two 50mm eyelet hooks and a drill.
- 180 grit sandpaper (or similar)
- Approx. 2 metres of sisal rope.
- Jute twine.
Making the stencil
The first step was making the stencil.
To do this, I set the dial on the machine to vinyl. I put a sheet of regular adhesive vinyl on the StandardGrip mat.
Next, I loaded the SVG file (download above) into Cricut Design Space. Due to the size of the design, I had to prepare the SVG so that it would be cut across multiple mats. If you’re not sure how to do this, follow the instructions in this post.
Next, I applied transfer tape over the top of any letters with a little shape inside them, such as “R” or “B” (this little shape is called a ‘closed counter’, according to the real MVP, Google). You can use transfer tape across the entire design, but I’m cheap as, so I just use it where it’s absolutely necessary.
I then ran the scraper tool (available in the Cricut basic tool kit) over the transfer tape a few times to ensure that the tape was stuck to the vinyl.
Next, I peeled the stencil from the backing paper and smoothed it on to my pre-painted MDF board. I lined the top three pieces of vinyl up with the top of the MDF board, because this was the easiest way to make sure everything was straight.
I then removed the transfer tape from the closed counters and ran the scraper tool over the stencil several times, just to make sure there weren’t any air pockets that might cause paint bleed.
Painting the sign
To paint the stencil, I dipped an old dish sponge into some black paint, then dabbed it on a rag several times to remove any excess paint. I then lightly dabbed the sponge over the stencil.
Once the paint was about 80% dry, I gently peeled the vinyl off the MDF, then left the paint to dry the rest of the way. I find that peeling the vinyl off while it’s still somewhat wet reduces the chance that some of the paint will be accidentally peeled off with the vinyl.
Once the paint was dry, I distressed the letters by gently rubbing some 180grit sandpaper over them a few times.
Adding the hooks & rope
The final step was adding the hooks and the rope so I could hang the sign. I should have taken more pictures of this stage but I didn’t because I am a bad blogger.
So, basically, I drilled two eyelet screws into the top of the sign. Make sure you pick screws that aren’t too thick for your MDF board. If you use screws that are too thick, it can split the board, so try to get hooks that are as small as possible.
With the hooks in place, I ran a piece of sisal rope through the eyelet, leaving a little tail overhang, like so:
I then rapped jute twine around the rope and the ‘tail’ several times, tying knots as I went, until I had something like this:
I did the same thing on the other side and my sign was all finished.