I’m SO SO SO pumped to show you one of my favorite new products I got at the All Things Silhouette conference recently. I’ve been in love with Sparkleberry Ink’s vinyl since I first saw it. Mandy Graham graciously gave me a few sheets to sample and I wanted to share some projects I made with it.
What is Sparkleberry?
If you aren’t familiar with Sparkleberry, they sell absolutely stunning adhesive vinyl and heat transfer vinyl. What sets them apart from anyone else is…
…their patterns. The designs are bright, original, artistic and made with the crafter in mind. The designs come with a commercial license, which means you can sell and write posts about products made with the vinyl.
…their glitter laminate overlay. This Orafol (makers of Oracal vinyl) product protects the vinyl even more and adds a gorgeous glittery finish. You can also get a non-glitter version.
…the easy of application. Because of Orafol’s Rapid Air Technology, it is SO much easier to apply this vinyl with no air bubbles. If you’ve ever had an issue with that, you know how frustrating it can be.
…the ability to design your own patterns. If you don’t see something you like, you can create your own as long as it is YOUR ORIGINAL WORK! (Don’t even get me started on people who steal designs from others.) More about that at https://www.sparkleberryink.com/pages/upload.
Sparkleberry even created a custom design for the All Things Silhouette conference with Silhouette designs on it. You can see it on the background here.
Nope, you can’t buy it now – it was for sale exclusively at the conference. They do have a fun one called “Crafty Girls.”
I recommend watching videos from Sparkleberry before using the products. To see the glitter laminate overlay, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDRqjvmsgik. Or on Facebook see the archived live video https://www.facebook.com/SparkleBerryInk/videos/1106672949466694/. In that one Mandy shows you how to use the hinge method to apply the glitter laminate, how to work with patterned HTV (it’s different than regular HTV) and also talks cut settings. She’s a woman after my own heart on that last one – someone else can give you a starting point to try, but you only know what will truly work based on test cuts. Every machine, design, blade, piece of machine, cutting strip, mat and even local weather is different. You HAVE to cut a few small shapes to see what’s going to work. But I’ll tell you what I recommend for test cuts.
I’ll have several posts with these materials. Our family is headed to Florida soon for a vacation with extended family. The colorful tropical Sparkleberry vinyl prints are perfect for some projects for that trip. First up is a beach spiker.
These handy contraptions stick in the sand to hold drinks, suntan lotion, phones, etc. I received a sample from the Spiker company in my goodie bag at an All Things Silhouette conference, but I ordered generic ones online. I want to add names since we have quite a few folks going and we want to keep everything straight. Because we have some younger kids as well I’m including beachy shapes. I want to show you this project right away because this week’s free shape in the Silhouette Design Store is a flamingo. How perfect is that?
Beach cup holder
Vinyl – you can use a single color or pattern or mix it up
Laminate overlay (optional) – I’m putting glitter laminate on the ones for the gals, but using plain for the guys. This helps protect the ink on the patterned vinyl to ensure longevity. It’s not absolutely necessary but since these will be in harsh conditions I want to make sure they are going to hold up. Plus, well, glitter – need I say more?
Tape — painter’s, washi, transparent — just something that isn’t overly sticky
Transfer tape or paper
Ruler and/or tape measure
Squeegee or gift card
The first thing to do is figure out how much room I have for my full design.
I measure from the top of the holder to the bottom of the cup area. That’s my max height, although I want to leave some margins on top and bottom of at least 1/4”. For me, my height is 2 1/4″.
I measure around the width of the cup just in case. It’s rare that a name would get too long given the fact that I’ve already got a height in mind, but it’s good to check. I also don’t want them to wrap too far around the cup so they are easier to read. I put my max width at 6″ — half the circumference.
I create a rectangle using the measurements I just took and fill it with the color of the holder. That will help me to visualize the final product the best.
Adding the name
Pick out a font and type your name. I’m using the font Cherry Cordial, which I got when it was the Free Font of the Week on Font Brothers. It’s no longer free, but you can find plenty of similar ones at no cost.
A Word about Text Box Sizes
There’s something many folks don’t understand about text that I want to point out right away. Fonts are created in such a way that they leave space for letters that dip below the line, superscript and subscript, etc. Because of that, the dimensions you see are the size of the text box, not the word. It’s just the way it is. Here’s a screenshot of a word. Notice the size of the text box, then compare it with the size of the rectangle. The text box is 2 1/4″, just like the rectangle. But the height of the word isn’t.
If you want to get an accurate idea of just how large your text REALLY is, you can do one of several things—
Draw a rectangle the size you want your text and then expand your text box to fit it. That’s what I’ve done here on the height.
Use the grid or guidelines on your drawing area as a reference. Here I’ve drawn a guideline at 2 1/4″ and expanded my name to touch both that and the top of the page.
Select the text, right click and choose Convert to Path. That will change the text to an image and keep it as a single compound path. Notice that the height is now the same as the rectangle.
WARNING: When you do this, you can no longer identify the font or edit the text, so this isn’t my favorite method. If you do want to do it, make a copy of the text box first and pull it off to the side of the mat on the drawing area as I’ve done here. Sticky notes are coming in the next major update that will be very helpful to use instead.
To Weld or Not to Weld?
If you’re using a cursive font like I am, you don’t want the areas where the letters overlap to cut into one another. 9 times out of 10, folks will tell you to weld the text. BUT – once again, that changes the text to an image so you can no longer edit it. I use Cut Edge or Auto-weld instead. I wrote an entire post here on how to do that. If you do choose to weld, just make sure to make a copy of your text box first.
A Word about Patterns in Text
I picked one of my printable patterns that’s close in color/style to my vinyl to fill the shape. I always prefer to work with filled shapes and this reminds me that this is the part of the design I’m going to cut using patterned vinyl. It also helps me decide if I like the look of a pattern in the name. You’ll notice that because I didn’t weld my text, the pattern is at a different scale in each letter. (It’s hard to see in the tropical pattern, so I put an argyle on in also.)
That’s because pattern fills adjust to the size of the image they are in, and my name is a grouping of 5 separate shapes with varying sizes. If that bothers you, go ahead and weld. I’m going to be editing by changing the name so I’ve left it as is.
While I work on adding my designs, I’m going to move my name off to the side.
I picked out several beach-related designs for my spikers. The one here is Design #9982 Hibiscus by Rivka Wilkins. I also used some dolphins, palm trees, flip flops, mermaids and flamingos. I’m using a solid vinyl for the designs so just filled my shape with white. I then resized it to fit in my green rectangle.
I wanted to have a design on each side of the name, facing the name each time. For that, I’m going to flip my design. There are 2 ways to do this—
Select the image and then make a mirrored copy. You can do that:
–in the Replicate panel.
–in the Object>Replicate drop-down menu.
–with the keyboard shortcut SHIFT+ALT+ the up, down, right or left arrow, depending on where you want your second design.
Make a copy of the image and flip it:
–with Right Click>Flip Horizontally.
–in the Object drop-down menu with Mirror>Flip Horizontally.
LAYING OUT THE PIECES
Place all your parts on the rectangle you created in the Sizing step. This allows you to move things around and make sure you like the look before you start cutting. On mine, I made the name smaller than I had it originally.I decided I didn’t want to make it too small, so went ahead and let my flowers go wider than my 6″ measurement.
Once you’ve to a layout you like, set the rectangle to no cut, pull it off to the side of the drawing area, or delete it.
PREPPING THE VINYL
Check your designs to see how much vinyl you need. Cut a piece of vinyl that will fit your name and/or shapes. Be sure to leave a bit of margin at each side. I find it easier to get the laminate on by working with smaller pieces rather than a 12×12″ piece. Plus, I may not want the glitter next time. If you aren’t using a laminate, you can skip to the next step of cutting your vinyl.
THIS NEXT STEP IS IMPORTANT! If you are using a laminate (plain or glitter) over your vinyl, you put that on BEFORE you cut on your Silhouette. That way you will cut them both at the same time and won’t have to try to layer later. Cut your laminate a bit larger than your vinyl so you have some wiggle room.
The easiest way is to apply the laminate to the vinyl is to use the hinge method. It’s sticky stuff, so once it goes down it’s down for good. Here are the steps.
- Lay your vinyl on your workspace right side up.
- Lay your laminate over the top of the vinyl, also right side up. You have not yet removed the backing paper for the laminate.
- Tape both vinyl and laminate to the table left to right.
- Fold back the upper portion of your laminate.
- Remove the backing of the laminate down to the spot where the tape is.
- Cut that portion of the backing away.
- Using a squeegee or gift card, start at the middle of the laminate (where you cut away the backing) and push away from you a bit at a time to adhere the laminate to the vinyl. Work it all the way to the edge. You want to be REALLY careful to go slow in this step, making sure you get each area pushed down gradually. If you work too quickly, you’ll wind up with air bubbles between the laminate and the vinyl.
- Remove the tape and, if desired, flip the project around so you are again going to work middle to top. If you want to keep things in place, you can tape the piece down again. Just make sure to tape below the spot where the laminate is already sticking to the vinyl.
- Repeat steps 4 & 5.
- Remove the remainder of the backing.
- Repeat step 7.
- Burnish the entire piece to make sure it’s down well. This laminate is pretty sticky, so you should be fine.
I added the glitter laminate to plain white vinyl for my flowers and other shapes. I love the sparkles!
You’re now ready to cut you vinyl. Here are some tips—
–Set the size of your piece of vinyl as your page size. You will most likely be working on the mat if you are using smaller pieces. I do prefer cutting vinyl without the mat generally, but if your piece isn’t a full 9” or 12” wide you can’t. Plus, you lose a bit at the sides and bottom and I don’t want to do that in this case. If you do cut without the mat, make sure you know the tricks.
–Watch where you put your vinyl. Make sure that if the laminate is hanging over on one side that you account for that by scooting the vinyl over a bit on the mat or scooting your design over in your software. If that stresses you, just trim the whole piece first.
–TEST CUT!!!! You won’t want to waste an entire sheet of beautiful vinyl by skipping this step. Mandy of Sparkleberry said the Adhesive Cardstock setting worked for her, which has a blade of 4. For me, a 3 worked better.
Personally, I don’t like to use the test cut feature in the software because when it’s done I have to unload the mat to check the cut. So, I just draw a few shapes in the lower portion of my material. Use a shape that you could use on another project, like a circle or simple flower. Put a small shape inside of a larger shape to see if you can weed easily. I like to check both sharp corners and circles. ½ ” in total size is fine.
Also – it’s better to start too low on the settings instead of too high. As long as you don’t unload, you can always cut again. But if you went too deep or too heavy the first time, you’ve likely ruined your material. If you want more tips on cut settings, check out my class When Good Cuts Go Bad on Terri Johnson Academy. It’s 2 1/2 hours of LOTS of information and troubleshooting. I did that in version 3 of the software, but I wrote a post on the new Send area of version 4 to help you through that. You can find that here.
–When the cut is done, check it before you unload. See if you can easily weed out your internal pieces. If you can’t, adjust your settings and cut again.
–Believe me, you aren’t going to want to throw away all your weeded portions or background scraps. You can use a spare piece of vinyl backing to save them on. Or, use the shiny side of your mat cover. Once you’ve transferred everything to your cup holder, you can move them back to the backing paper of your design. I’ll do some other posts in the future about how to use up those beautiful bits.
ASSEMBLING & ENJOYING
Use your transfer tape to move your pieces to your cup holder. You can use the same hinge method to make sure you have things lined up before you stick them permanently. I’m the world’s WORST at lining things up, so I use this method every time.
What makes this project special is the vinyl. With a plain color it’s nice, but the unique patterns and bright colors take it to a whole other level. Be sure to visit Sparkleberry’s website or find them on social media. They do lots of fun Facebook Live events where you can watch, ask questions and just hang out with other Silhouette users.
In the coming days, I’ll show you more projects with Sparkleberry products, including a tumbler, tank top and a way to use those scraps. Be sure to check back for those! For now, here’s a shot of my finished cup in the sand.
NOTE: *I was not financially compensated for this post and am not an affiliate for any companies mentioned. I received samples from Sparkleberry Ink for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.*