Saturday, November 12, 2011

{silhouette cameo: my first project, custom tshirt}

hello readers! i took a long hiatus after giving birth to our beautiful spunky chunky little boy, matthew. its been a sleep-depriving, but incredibly joyful and rewarding journey. we feel so blessed to have this wonderful addition to our family and look forward to exciting challenges ahead.

so, to restart my blogging, i decided to share a little about a new toy that i recently acquired, the silhouette cameo, rather than about food :) not sure if you've ever heard of this machine, but it is amazing! it is this electronic cutting tool that can cut through different materials (papers, vinyl, heat transfer paper, fabric, etc). my hubbers was nice enough to gift me with one for my combo anniversary/christmas gift. i debated for a while whether it was worth purchasing the machine, since i could see myself tucking it away into my closet after a couple projects and having it become a pricy dust collector. but the more projects i see on blogs, the more i feel confident that this machine is a keeper and going to be well used in this home of mine.
the first thing i wanted to make was a custom tshirt for my son. {that still looks really weird when i type that out. haha!}. i finally settled on making a robot tshirt. the robot is supposed to be matthew, and the robot dog is supposed to be my dog, which is his favorite source of laughter. here is the final product!!! i'm quite happy with the result!!

i had also ordered some heat transfer paper from since they had a deal on free shipping and 40% off one item. the heat transfer is rather expensive though and wish there were cheaper alternatives. if any of you readers have any tips, i would love to know if there are other different brands that work just as well, or better, than the silhouette brand. anyways, after scouring the web and youtube videos to see how to use the machine, i felt ready to give my new machine a whirl. i downloaded two images (robot and a robot dog) from the silhouette online store, using my free $10 download card and imported it into my library. i then played around with the images, decided on the size of the objects i wanted, and created a master layout of how i wanted it to look on my tshirt. after reading many tips from other silhouette owners, i made sure i mirrored the images prior to printing it. after clicking the print window, set it to silhouette heat transfer paper (smooth). the good thing is that it tells you the blade setting (1--for this project). I also moved the rollers to 9" since my paper was only 9".

Here is a tip {learn from my mistake}---under the page tool settings, make sure you change it to "LETTER size" (rather than the default 12x12) and that the cutting mat is set to "NONE". The other important thing to note is that after you click "send to silhouette", you'll see the image and the arrows pointing in the direction of how you would load the picture. well, note that the orientation is different! although the screen is top/bottom, the image would print at a 90 degree orientation to the left. soo i changed the orientation of my images to save my heat transfer paper. so with a little trial and error, i printed out my images, after a few trials of pausing/reloading/and a few screeches of "OH NO, its cutting the machine instead of the paper!" {which happened to be practically every time, my husband laughingly pointed out, yet true!!} haha.

for my project, i actually had to do 3 separate print outs for the 3 colored papers (1--for inside of robot body since i wanted it white and the name, 2--yellow dog, 3--teal robot shell). this required "subtracting" the image. my font was the "american typewriter". ironing the images on was quite difficult!! it took me about 2-3 hours of ironing and ironing and ironing. the white ironed on quickly (1 minute tops, like it is supposed to...). the teal robot arm and yellow dog would just. not. stick, no matter how much pressure i used, heat level on the iron, or thickness of cloth that i used....finally, in a last ditch effort, i picked off the image slightly with the silhouette hook tool and then ironed again and that seemed to help. then after removing the transfer paper, i ironed it again with just a thin cloth separating the image from my iron. and voila! tshirt was done! have to say overall, i really loved how it turned out. can't wait to put it on my little monkey!!

although i'm no expert by any means, if you have any questions about what i made, send me a comment and i'll try to give you any tips i've learned.


Amy said...

That is amazing...quote from Drew!!! Love the shirt. Looking forward to seeing it on Matthew and to seeing many more of your fun projects :)

Danielle said...

Hi, Thanks for the tutorial! This has given me a few ideas since I just got my Silhouette Cameo a few weeks back. I haven't tried layering yet though.

As for cheaper heat transfer vinyl, I've been buying it through Specialty Graphics (Google it with 'vinyl' next to it). The ship SOOOO fast! Last Friday I ordered some around 8:30pm and it literally got there the next day around 12:30. That was the 2nd time (I thought it was a fluke the first time I ordered and it got there the next day.)

Anyway, thanks for letting me know that you can layer the heat transfer paper. I'll have to try it! :-)

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