Since sharing my January Silhouette Challenge project, exciting things have been happening behind the scenes. I created a Facebook group for Silhouette users looking to collaborate and encourage one another (wanna join us? shoot me an email!). And our group has grown to over 20 women in a matter of a few weeks. Several of those lovely ladies are joining me in The Challenge this month! How cool is that? Look out for links to their projects at the bottom of this post.
Today, I’m thrilled to share with you all my newest Silhouette creation. I’m rather proud of it, considering it started as a wild idea in my head, and somehow I figured out how to bring it to fruition on my new Cameo. Here it is, spreading the love on our living room wall:
Burlap Love Banner
Let me break it down for you.
COLOR PALETTE: Rather than go with the typical colors for a Valentine’s Day banner, I chose a more neutral color palette. My eye is just lovin’ the neutrals these days. I used some of my leftover burlap from my No-Sew Ruffle Christmas Tree Skirt and some white cardstock to really let the words pop!
THE LANGUAGES OF LOVE: I decided to improve my language skills with this project by including the word “love” in 10 different languages. I chose languages that bore personal significance to Mark and me, whether they are the languages of our ancestors or languages spoken in countries we have visited. Each heart tells a story. (Update: to read the significance of each of these languages, check out my addendum at the end of this post.)
Free Cut File
For you folk with your own digital craft-cutter, I’m happy to share the cut file I created with y’all fo’ FREE. [Fine print: This design is for personal use and not to be used for commercial purposes.] Just click on the image below to download the file from box.com. Then, warm up that machine to start cuttin’ up hearts for your very own burlap love banner.
I also thought it’d be worthwhile to share a tutorial of screenshots for how I created my banner design, so that anyone with Silhouette Studio can continue to create “love” hearts in as many languages as her heart desires! So, whadya say? Let’s get to it!
Step 1. Create a heart. Through a Google image search, I found a picture of an outline of a heart that I like. So, I saved it, then opened the png file in Silhouette Studio. I used the TRACE feature to outline the shape. You can click OBJECT then RELEASE COMPOUND PATH to delete any extra trace lines you don’t want.
Step 2. Group the heart images. With my mouse, I drew a large box over the heart shapes to select them both. Then, on the top menu, I selected OBJECT then GROUP / MAKE COMPOUND PATH to forever group these two hearts as one shape. I sized the heart to 6.79″ x 7″ (note: I changed these dimensions later on). Go ahead and make a copy of the heart, so you always have an empty one off to the side from which to make future copies.
Step 3. Type your text. I downloaded the free font, Pacifico, to my computer for this project. It’s just a matter of finding your computer’s FONT folder to drag the file to once it downloads. A quick Google search should help you if you’re stuck. Close and re-open Silhouette Studio and bam, your new font should be included in your list of fonts.
Click the TEXT icon on the left side menu; this will open up a TEXT STYLE menu on the right where you can select font and size. Click the screen to bring up a cursor, and start typing. I started with my longest word, “upendo,” to help me determine font size. I settled on 135 (but again, that changed later when I resized my heart).
Step 4. Weld your text. I first learned how to do welding during my January Silhouette Challenge project, “A Thousand Thanks” Card & Free Cut File. It’s a very nifty tool, and one that’s fairy simple to use. Simply make sure that your text is still selected, then click the WELD icon on the bottom margin.
Step 5. Connect your text with the heart. In order to make these hearts one complete shape, I needed to extend the first and last letter of the word, so that they’d be touching the outline of the heart in order to weld them all together. To do this I used two different methods.
My first method: I selected EDIT POINTS from the left menu and dragged the outer points of the word over to the side. I usually kept my settings on SMOOTH and MAKE A CURVE. This tool takes some fiddling around with to get used to, but I was able to get the hang of it after a few tries. There are plenty of tutorials on this tool on YouTube if it’s new to you.
My second method: I used the ERASER tool on the left menu to snip off parts of other letters to create a piece that I would weld together as a bridge between the text and the side of the heart. (You’ll see in my free cut file that I left a few of these extender pieces on the side for you to use with future hearts.)
Use your select tool to draw an outline around the entire heart and text within (all shapes selected). Then, WELD these shapes together.
After you have welded your text to your heart outline, click OBJECT, then MAKE COMPOUND PATH.
Pull this heart off of your “mat” on the screen, set it off to the side, then start the process all over again with a new copy of the empty heart.
Step 6. Cut! When all of your designs are completed, it’s time to cut. I did a test-cut and decided that my original heart was too large. So, I resized all of my hearts to 5.35″ x 5.55″. I was using a medium-weight cardstock, so I used the patterned paper setting which recommended a speed of 5, thickness of 30, and blade setting of 3. My Cameo cut out each heart with ease!
The Crafty Part
Step 7. Glue hearts to burlap. After cutting out all 10 hearts, I glued each one to a scrap of burlap using Elmer’s Craft Bond: Fabric & Paper Glue. Then, I laid them out on wax paper to dry.
Step 8. Trim burlap into heart shapes. I let them dry overnight, then cut the burlap to match the heart shape, leaving a margin around the edges about the same width as the heart. (No measuring here – - I just eyed it.)
Step 9. Test run. I grabbed some twine I had on hand and strung it between two thumb-tacks on my living room wall. Then, I attached each heart to the twine using mini-clothespins, just to get a sense of layout and distance between each hearts.
Step 10. Glue twine to back of hearts. Once I settled on a distance of 3″ between each heart, I laid the hearts face down and used two dabs of hot glue on each heart to secure it to the twine.
I gave the glue a millisecond to dry, then hung it up so we could start enjoying it…and broadening our language horizons.
Our burlap love banner has been a delightful addition to our living room wall display. If you dare me, I just might leave it up even after Valentine’s Day has come and gone. I mean, it’s right beneath my favorite photo from our wedding day. It just feels like it belongs.
Want to check out more Silhouette projects today?
Click on the links below to visit the projects shared by my Silhouette Challenge buddies:
Valentine’s Day Mantle and Banner - (Daily Dwelling)
“We’re Better Together” Valentine’s Day Card - (Tried & True)
“Love is All You Need” Art - (Coley’s Corner)
Silhouette Heat Transfer Onesie - (Crafty Jac)
Do you have a Silhouette machine?
Looking for Silhouette inspiration, support, trouble-shooting? Interested in joining us for our group posting event next month? Then, we’d love to have you join our Silhouette Challenge Facebook group. Contact me by email if interested.
Thanks to one and all for stopping by today. Sending lots of love your way.
Amor, upendo, lieben…
P.S. I like to link up my projects at these fabulous parties.
P.P.S. At my sister’s suggestion, I’m adding in the significance of the languages I chose to include in my burlap love banner to satiate the curious:
Vietnamese: My Mom spent her high school years in Vietnam and Malaysia as her parents were missionaries to the American servicemen and women in Saigon during the Vietnam War. We hope to visit there someday.
Greek: I have a dream to go to Greece one day, and I love this particular meaning of love (Greek has four different words for love). Agape: sacrificial love.
Swedish: Sweden is the home of my maternal great grandparents. Our family celebrated St. Lucia Day growing up, a Swedish Christmas tradition, where the eldest daughter (me!) prepares breakfast for her family and delivers it to everyone while they are still in bed.
French: I have French blood on my paternal grandmother’s side. And the French are such a romantic culture, I had to include them in a love banner!
German: My husband’s ancestry is German on both sides; and he speaks a little, too.
Spanish: I have a huge heart for Spanish-speakers and have traveled to Spanish-speaking countries on many mission trips: Mexico (2x), Cuba (3x), and Ecuador (1x). One of my goals is to become fluent in Spanish in the next few years.
Chinese: Mark has taken a trip to China and Mongolia. It was one of his favorite adventures!
Swahili: I visited Arusha, Tanzania in summer of 2011 to teach a theatre and playwriting workshop to secondary students there. It proved to be one of the most challenging and inspirational experiences of my teaching career. And I learned a few Swahili words, too!
Italian: Italy was the homeland of my paternal great grandparents. I also grew up in a suburb of New York City that was practically Little Italy, so this is the culture with which I identify most strongly.