Monogram “Established” Sign Tutorial

A friend of mine got a personalized burlap sign with their monogram and marriage date as a wedding gift, and I’ve been wanting to try making one ever since. I was also a little sad about changing my name when I got married, so making one of these babies cheered me up about my new identity!  Signs like these are all over Etsy and sell for about $20 + shipping… but why buy when you can DIY?

I really wanted to try this method of printing right on the fabric by first attaching an iron-on stabilizer, then feeding the fabric through an inkjet printer… but my husband was worried about breaking our new printer. It did sound too good to be true, but if anyone has tried it I would love to hear if it actually works! I opted instead to use an iron-on transfer.

This project was really pretty easy, and I got it done on a Sunday morning. Here’s how you can make your own:

1) Design the layout. I browsed through a few examples I found online to see what I liked and what I didn’t like. I also downloaded a few different fonts to play around with- I ended up using 3 different fonts to make it look sort of like an old fashioned grain sack. You can use any illustrating software but I would recommend something that supports SVG format so that your image has smooth lines when it’s resized and isn’t pixelated. I used my favourite free illustrating software, Inkscape.

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2) Resize your image so that it will fit nicely in whatever frame you are using- I used a 5×7 frame. Most importantly, you need to flip your image horizontally so that when you iron on the transfer, the image is the right way.

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3) Print your design on the transfer paper. Check which way your printer feeds paper first to make sure you print on the right side.

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4) While the transfer dries, iron your fabric so that the transfer goes on smoothly. Most of the signs that I’ve seen use burlap, but I didn’t have any on hand. I did, however, have a ton of leftover canvas from my slipcover project, so I used that instead. I used a large wooden cutting board with a tea-towel over top instead of an ironing board- you want a smooth, hard surface for this. You may want to avoid using a cutting board that you just chopped onions on, unless you want your house to smell like onions like mine did…

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5) Now you’re ready to transfer! Place the transfer the way you want it on the fabric. If you’re using something with a large weave like burlap, line it up so that the image’s edges are parallel to the lines of the weave… otherwise it will look crooked. Make sure that your iron doesn’t have any water in it and the steam setting is off, otherwise the paper will wrinkle. Follow the directions on the transfer sheets for ironing. You can cut out the transfer around your image before you iron it, but there will be a visible line where the transfer ends. I decided to iron on the entire sheet and then cut it to size, so that there would be no line.

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6) While the transfer is still slightly warm, peel off the backing. I read somewhere that this makes it less “glossy” looking and it probably makes it easier to remove the backing too. The transfer didn’t stick perfectly to the fabric at the edges but I knew I would be cutting that part off anyway, so I left it.

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7) Allow the transfer to cool completely, and then cut it to size. Now you’re ready to frame and display your handiwork!

frame cropped     marriage est sign vignette

Don’t mind my horribly white walls, we are currently in a rental that the landlord insisted on painting with the cheapest paint possible.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

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