Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Learning: Framing for a wooden sign

Lots are written online about creating wooden signs. It’s amazing how much information folks are willing to share, and many even take the step-by-step process to an art form itself. So, armed with some wood and inspiration, I sought to take the roots of what I’ve seen and read and then adjust it to my knowledge and skillsets to fill my particular needs. 

I began with picking some wood for a base (the sign) and then some wood to surround it (the frame). But even simple country-style frames require some thought, diligence, and the necessary trial and error. For example, how wide will it be, how thick, will the corners be mitered (cut at 45-degree angles and lined up), will the corners simply abut to one another, and if so, which length of the frame will span the entire sign (top and bottom or sides)? Then there is the actual connection of the four pieces. Are they stapled, glued, nailed, or some combination of different techniques? What equipment will I need in place? Hammer, nails, staples, staple gun, nail gun, glue, clamps, air compressor, or other things I haven’t even considered? What stabilizes the frame? Is it mounted on the sides of the wooden base allowing the sign to drop in the middle, or is the frame itself attached to the surface of the sign? The considerations seemed endless.

At this stage, I’m not certain how I will proceed. But visit again after I prototype several different ideas. Then I can reflect on the good, bad, and very ugly.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Tips & Tricks: using text in a layout to help align and space graphic elements

Cutting vinyl for a project, especially one color, is a very straightforward process. When your design calls for multiple colors, however, spacing and alignment can become a hassle - especially if you need to repeat the process many times.

On this simple 2-color text sign, the bottom lettering should be surrounded by a brown laurel branch. The original SVG cut file I created includes both the graphics and text in my layout. Therefore, I needed to cut the brown vinyl separately from the black lettering. Before doing so, however, I set up the cut file in Cricut Design Space to include the left laurel branch (brown) along with the first letter of the word "it's" (also cut as brown) appearing in my layout. I did the same with the last letter on the opposite side of the text phrase, "b", along with the right laurel branch. 

When using my transfer tape to move both the left and right laurel branch graphics to my sign, I made sure to include these extra letters. They will not actually be transferred onto the sign since they are part of the brown vinyl transfer, but they do maintain the exact distance from letter to graphics as on my layout and full cut file. Essentially, I use them as registration marks for alignment and spacing. I line up the matching letters, push down the transfer tape for the graphics areas only, burnish over the graphics, and slowly remove my transfer tape leaving the one brown letter on the transfer tape. I then use cellophane tape to pull the letter from transfer tape to save it for another transfer.

Black lettering missing its' surrounding brown graphics

Brown graphics being added using the alignment
of the letter "i" from the text