I’ve been working a great deal lately on bringing my house out of the 90s. I’ve just finished my powder room and it’s a HUGE transformation from dark, earthy colors to light, farmhouse ones. I like to keep out extra TP and room spray in arm’s reach for my guests in a bathroom. I also like to provide feminine products. If you’re a female, then you know how important it is to have that available because, well, you don’t always expect to need them. I put the items in a canning jar that I painted with chalk paint to hide the contents. To give a clue as to what’s inside, I made a wooden tag to tie around the top. I used my Singe Quill to make the universal symbol for a female. It’s that tag that is today’s project.
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What is a Singe Quill?
The pen draws the design on a piece of wood. Then you use something like an embossing gun (paid link) over the design to singe it. The result looks like you did it with a wood burning tool. To me, it’s a cleaner look because with wood burning I can never get even lines.
You can buy the whole kit that has 2 pens, an adapter for your machine and wood shapes. Or, you can do like I did and buy just the pen to use in the Silhouette pen holder. I already had the pen holder and some small wooden tags so that worked great for me.
For those of you with a Cameo 4 — you can use the pen holder in the blue adapter.
What you’ll need
To make this project, I used —
- Some wood shapes I had on hand. You can find ones specifically for the Singe Quill here.
- My Curio machine. I find that the rigid base gives me the best results. You also need a good clearance under the bar so that the wood piece can fit under it. In other words, you couldn’t do this on a Cameo 1 because it’s only got a 1mm clearance.
- The Silhouette pen holder.
- The Singe Quill bold pen.
- A heat embossing tool. (paid link)
I tied my tag with twine to a canning jar that I painted with chalk paint, but you can put it anywhere you need a tag.
Step 1: Add the shapes
Start by adding a shape that mimics your wood piece. You can use a PixScan mat to get an exact size and shape. I wrote about that in this post. (That project also shows you how you could do this as inlaid wood with the adhesive wood sheets). Or just measure your piece and wing it.
Add the design to your page and resize it to fit inside your tag.
Step 2: Add line effects
Now use the Line Effects feature to draw lines inside the shape. This will make your design a solid image instead of just an outline.
- In the Standard (Basic) Edition of the software, there are only a few line effects. The main issue is that it doesn’t do an outline. But you still can have one. Select your design, use the keyboard shortcut CTRL/CMD+c to copy and the CTRL/CMD+f to paste in front. That puts a copy right on top of your original. When you select one of the pieces and add the line effects, the outline goes away but the copy makes the outline.
- With Designer Edition and up you have more options, including having the software make an outline. Make sure to choose that.
For either one, you can just use horizontal lines. I recommend not putting them too close together. If you do, then you’ll have lines overlapping one another and making a blurry image (I’ll show you one below). I actually ended up using just the outline.
Step 3: Draw the design with the Singe Quill
Typically, I would use a jig on my Curio to make sure my tag stayed put. But I was in a hurry this time and just used double-sided tape to stick it to the mat. The Singe Quill isn’t going to pull at the tag as much as an etching tool does. I just made sure to position it carefully along the mat grid lines. (Keeping it real here — yes, I need a new Curio mat).
In the Send area, tell the software you are using a pen and want to sketch. I used a low force setting of 4 and a speed of 5. Make sure you are NOT drawing the outer shape. That was just for design purposes. You can do that in Simple cut mode by setting it to No Cut, or in one of the Advanced modes by giving it a different line or fill color or putting it in a different layer. I’m going to do it by line color.
Put the Singe Quill into the pen holder and load it into the machine. I used the medium collet (the white one). Then send the job as normal to the machine.
You’ll see the image faintly on your tag.
Step 4: Heat the wood to singe it
Here’s the fun part! This will get hot, so hold your tag with some tweezers. Grab your heat tool and move over the shape. It’s similar to embossing powder, except that you’ll do more holding over an area than moving back and forth. It takes awhile for it to work so be patient. The longer you heat it, the darker it gets.
You can also draw (by hand) and singe along the outside edges for a cool look.
My first try was a bit off-center, and I had too many lines so the body parts bled into one another.
It’s something you just have to play with. I flipped the tag over and tried again with just an outline and got a better result.
You can also color in the outline by hand if you like.
Step 5: Add the Singe Quill tag to your container
Tie it on your jar and you’re done. (I swear, the hardest part of this project was tying that stupid bow!).
Let’s say you like this idea of a container in your bathroom for feminine products, but your decorating style isn’t industrial farmhouse like mine. Try etching the design on acrylic and putting it on a more modern container. You can find beginner tips on acrylic etching here.