Thursday, April 29, 2021

Tips & Tricks: Maintaining consistency, when YOU are not hands-on, through tracing

Recently I was researching personality types. Why? Well, it seems that is part of my personality type. Where most would refer to me as a very type "A" personality, by definition, I am actually more type "C." Without going down that rabbit hole, let's just say that it's difficult for me to be involved in a project without being hands-on. Little variations and discrepancies from one product to another are the things of my nightmares. But unless I can let go, every detail will be on me. Not only is that not fair to my partner who is very capable herself, but it is crazy hard on me as I burden myself with all the pressure of unachievable perfection. 

Therefore, here is a tip for those of us who cannot let go. This is actually a time-saver for me as well, so it serves double duty.

The example I'm using is a cut file for an 18" x 5" sign. Using my Cricut Explore Air 2, I cut the vinyl, did the weeding, taped down the weeded vinyl (squarely), and flapped it with a piece of tracing paper taped to the desk at the top. From there I used my T-square to draw baselines along every letter. I also blocked in the smaller type at the bottom since it is easier to trace the larger letters above it. I then proceeded to trace some, if not all, of the larger type. Every letter is not necessary, but do as much as feels right. The real trick is to run your pencil along the edge of the vinyl letters which are raised above the surface. With light pressure on the pencil, it is very easy to exactly trace the characters by pressing up against the edge of each letter.

After completed with the tracing, remove the vinyl from the desk and burnish it onto transfer tape. Tape down the sign or item that will have vinyl applied to it. Position this item by using the pencil tracing still attached to the desk. Place the non-stick side of the leftover paper, peeled from the vinyl, under the transfer tape/vinyl layer only allowing maybe a 1-2" strip above the taped-down item. Lighty tack this strip (of transfer tap) to the desk as it will hold the vinyl in place as you slide the image (type) under the tracing. After you align the image, slowly peel away the non-stick paper, from top to bottom, away from the type/vinyl layer. Carefully rub down transfer tape, again from top to bottom, onto surface of sign. Burnish type onto surface. Then, carefully peel away transfer tape.

You now have the type/image perfectly aligned to match all other signs of the same shape and size. And in the process, once the tracing is complete, no ruler is necessary. This means that someone else should be able to duplicate the application process with consistent results. This is very good news for a type "C."

Create tracing from cut and weeded vinyl

Use tracing to consistently place type/item in same location

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