Custom Print Giveaway

Remember the monogram “Marriage Established” sign I made to cheer myself up about changing my last name? How about the acetone transfer tutorial I wrote? Well, I have lots of leftover supplies to make both iron-on and acetone transfer prints but I’m running short on ideas. I’ve already made a few for myself and my family, and I don’t want to be that weird girl who makes her friends random craft projects that they secretly hate but feel obliged to display when she comes over. “Fusilli Jerry” comes to mind.

I’ve also been trying to figure out ways to engage more with readers. I can tell from my site statistics that people are reading my posts, but are too shy to comment. Can you see how these two thoughts might be connected? I think that a giveaway is the answer!

The prize: a 4×4, 4×6, or 5×7 custom-made design, printed on canvas using either the iron-on or acetone transfer methods that I’ve posted about. The design will be black only, and I will email the winner with the design to make sure it’s what you want. Once you’re happy, I will mail it to you! For the sake of simplicity, a frame will not be included.

Here’s an example of what it could look like:

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Want in? Just comment on this post with what you would like your print to say! Sneaky, eh? I’m also going to put this on my Facebook page so you can like/comment there too if you are wary of commenting on my blog (but I promise it’s safe and I will not share your email address with third parties).

Your design doesn’t have to be a monogram/marriage sign like the ones above. How about a favourite poem, saying, or quotation?

shel silverstein poem

This would also make a nice “Welcome” sign for your front door. Or even  a “GO AWAY” sign, I won’t judge (true story: my parents have one). The possibilities are endless!

Contest closes on Saturday, May 31st at 12 AM EST. Good luck!

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Acetone Transfer Tutorial

How to make a custom wedding monogram print

Wheee! Every now and then I find a project that is simple, cheap, and turns out great. This was one of them. I had previously posted about using iron on transfers to make a cute framed print, but I’m not crazy about the glue left behind from the transfer. Then my husband told me that you could use a solvent to transfer laser printed images (I’m pretty sure his motivation was not entirely altruistic… I kept threatening to try the direct inkjet print technique and I think he was scared I would break the printer) and so I set out to try it.

Note: Only a laser printer will work for this. The solvent dissolves the toner, and then you rub the back of the paper to transfer the dissolved image on to an absorbent surface, like fabric.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Acetone or lacquer thinner* (I used acetone… we’re talking full-strength)
  • Small glass bowl for the acetone/thinner
  • Image printed on a laser printer
  • Material you want to print on, like canvas or burlap
  • Iron-on fabric stabilizer (optional, but it will keep the print from looking floppy)
  • Paintbrush
  • Fine-tip Sharpie marker for touch up (optional)
  • Burnishing tool, or a spoon in a pinch
  • Tape
  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • Iron
  • Non-porous hard surface to work on, like a baking pan

*use in a properly ventilated area, especially if using the lacquer thinner! As always when working with chemicals, make sure you take protective measures and use safely.

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1) Iron the fabric and figure out where you want to place the transfer. Tape it in place on all sides, and brush acetone over the image (the acetone will probably make the tape not stick super well, so be careful not to touch it and keep a hand on the back of the paper). If you have a large image, you’ll want to do it a section at a time, because the acetone will evaporate quickly.

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2) Quickly burnish (rub) the image to transfer it from the paper to the fabric. Pay close attention to areas that are more finely detailed (like text). Stop burnishing once the acetone has evaporated.

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3) If you want to touch up any areas, re-apply acetone and burnish again- just make sure the paper hasn’t moved. Then, peel and admire! If the image didn’t transfer perfectly, you can cheat and use a fine-tip sharpie to fill it in.

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4) If using the fabric stabilizer, iron on the back of the fabric print. You could even hot glue it to a piece of cardboard. Cut to size for your frame of choice, and you’re done!

Compared to the iron-on transfer I did, it’s a little bit more faded. The transfer doesn’t go on with the same sharp, black lines. BUT there is no glue residue, and I like the faded look! It looks even more like a vintage grain sack this way.

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Love it! What do you think, any other ideas for what I could transfer next? I have a lot of acetone left…

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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.

inkscape prt sc 2

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.

inkscape prt sc 3

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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