Handicrafts by Kate Perry and other ramblings

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

How to tattoo a mirror, or my Silhouette Cameo comes of age!

Some of you will be aware that I ordered a fairly large amount of vinyl from UK recently, enough to last me for quite some time, but I wanted to just pay postage the once. Well it has been lying in glossy splendor on the spare bed ever since it arrived, and I have been trying to think of a project to use it on. Spurred on by some examples published in the 'All things silhouette' Facebook page, I decided to tackle some henna tattoo designs. I used to employ a lovely Sudanese lady in my nursery, and when the holiday club were in, she sometimes painted these designs on the older children's hands, and they fascinated me then. I downloaded a couple of designs from Google, and my first task was to make a cutting file from them, using the Sil. software. There is always a little area that doesn't work at first, so you have to fiddle around with it, but on the whole, this wasn't too difficult.
My other half had agreed for me to put a design in the corner of a large mirror in the sitting room, so I chose black vinyl so it would stand out. I resized the design to fit on a 12" square and set the machine up to cut it. I was surprised to find it took 40 minutes to cut, and when I took it out of the machine I could hardly see the cut lines.
The next task was the weeding - the removing of any areas that I did not
want. I had to sit under a very bright light, and keep referring back to a picture on my computer screen, to see what I was doing. I use my pricking tool to remove the tiny pieces, and I keep a piece of scrap paper beside me to put them on, but sometimes they ping away and you have to search for them, because if they stick back on to the main image, it is very difficult to prise them off again. They are also very 'static' and fly onto my clothes so I end up speckled with black pieces too. Here is the work in progress. The little circular thing at the top is my very strong magnifying glass that I had to use to see whether I had missed anything. It took me three and a half hours to finish the weeding. As this was my first attempt at such a large, and intricate design, I was pretty chuffed with the result.

Then I used a large sheet of transfer paper to position it on the top, right hand corner of the mirror. I didn't get it quite as far into the corner as I had intended, but it is impossible to move it again. 
Chris said I should do another one to go in the lower, opposite corner, so I decided to try my second design. This was finer lines, but a slightly more open design, and after some more designing, another forty minutes of cutting, and three more hours of weeding, this second design was positioned
on the mirror too.
It caused me more problems than the first design because one area was too static, and it clung to the mirror in the wrong place, and when I tried to lift it, it just stretched out of shape. Fortunately I could rescue most of the design by quickly cutting the transfer sheet above the error, and getting the rest stuck down. Then I scrapped off the ruined part, and cut it again. No-one would notice the join, and even I, knowing exactly where it is, have difficulty finding it.

So here is my finished mirror, which, incidentally, was extremely difficult to photograph without too much information in the background. In the end, I kind of angled it at the ceiling, and I still got the camera lens in the corner. You also get a double image of the pattern because it reflects off the back of the mirror. It is quite an interesting effect, but it makes the photo look a bit blurred.
But is it really finished? We both looked at it, and looked at one another, and we agreed that it wasn't right. The top design was too heavy for the lower one. The lines were thicker and the whole thing looked too dark. So what did I do? Yup! I took the top one off. By now it had been on there for a day, and in 48 hours the vinyl is considered fully cured, and almost permanent, so it wasn't about to come off easily. I had to resort to an old credit card, and craft knife blade to chip it off one tiny bit at a time. It left a lot of sticky residue which had to be cleaned off with my special glue solvent, and then I used detergent followed by rubbing alcohol, to ensure the surface was really clean. Then of course I had to cut the file again, and weed it again, but finally my mirror was finished, and I must admit, I am quite proud of it.
I don't ever do anything the easy way do I? But next time I want to try something a bit different, remind me that we usually walk before we run, and it is a good idea to try a simple design before tackling something like this!!
I think I can now say my silhouette cameo has really come of age.


Saskia said...

Wow, that is definitely a lot of hard work, you should be totally proud of the result!

Maxine D said...

Kate that is magnificent!! What a labour of love - and you sound like me - my first 'proper' piece of crochet done to a pattern,(a doily) I did in Irish crochet in super fine thread!!

Alison Wade said...

Wow. Fab designs and well done to you for your patience/tenacity. I also have rolls of vinyl in my craft room, but only used a tiny bit so far. One day! Ali x

Alison Wade said...

Wow. Fab designs and well done to you for your patience/tenacity. I also have rolls of vinyl in my craft room, but only used a tiny bit so far. One day! Ali x

Jean Straw said...

What a lot of work, you have more patience than me. I love the end result though, very elegant. You were right to redo the top design.
Jean x

veronica said...

I wondered what on earth you had been up to when I saw the thumbnail, all is now revealed, and it is really lovely Kate. All that hard work has been well worth the end result, you have far more patience then I have!

MaryH said...

Oh my goodness. I got nervous just reading all the fine details & tediousness of what you had to go through to get these so very gorgeous designs. I am SO impressed at what you've created. The mirror is just gorgeous & so unusual. I can just imagine how difficult those tiny lines of vinyl must have been to fuss over. You can be very proud of yourself...designing a cut file (wouldn't have a clue!) and choosing such an intricate pattern to start. It's simply lovely Kate. Kudoes to you for ALL of it! TFS & loved reading the details.Hugs

scrappymo! said...

Your mirror is stunning. What a great job you did on this. I am in awe of your skills.