Learn how to layer vinyl and make a home state decal that’s cute and feminine! See step-by-step instructions with pictures for layering vinyl and making decals with a Silhouette!
I may currently live in Alabama, but the rolling hills of Kentucky will always be the place that I call home. The Bluegrass is where I was born and raised, where I started my life with my husband, where (most) of my family still lives….ahhh, I miss it so.
I’ve been slowly personalizing the front of my Silhouette Cameo (and as in slowly, I mean I have ONE thing so far, ha!), so I thought a vinyl decal commemorating my home state (and hometown) would be perfect.
I didn’t just want a regular boring home state decal that I’ve seen bouncing around the interwebs on cars and shirts. You may have seen the one I’m talking about….plain white, boring boxy font, no personalization. No thanks!
I like to get in touch with my feminine side and I freely admit that I love the color pink. Plus I love cutesy handwriting fonts. So, thanks to my Silhouette, I created the perfect little feminine home state decal of my Old Kentucky home.
Here I’ll show you how to layer vinyl and make a home state decal of your own….one of the cute and feminine variety, of course!
How to Layer Vinyl and Make a Home State Decal (That’s Cute and Feminine!)
Here I’ll take you through all the steps from designing to application….let’s go!
- Vinyl (I used three different colors)
- Silhouette Cameo
- Cutting mat
- Transfer paper
- Scraper tool or credit card
- Hook tool
- Scissors and/or paper trimmer
Designing The Decal in Silhouette Studio
The first thing I needed when designing my home state decal was my state of course! There are many different ways to get an image of a state into Silhouette Studio, and the method I chose was to use a dingbat font called State Face.
I love using dingbats whenever possible….they’re so much easier to use than searching for, importing, and tracing a JPG. My motto is work smart, not hard.
Kentucky’s shape is a “Q”, so I created a text box with that letter and then resized it to my liking.
Since I had already decided on the color scheme that I wanted to use in vinyl, I made things easier on myself in the design phase by filling in each aspect with its respective color using the Fill Color window.
In this case, the main Kentucky vinyl piece was going to be a bright magenta pink, so I filled it in with a matching color.
I really enjoy layered vinyl pieces….I think it makes them more interesting (and colorful!).
So to create a background layer, I used my Offset tool and made a simple outline around my top Kentucky layer. You can play around with the settings to get a thickness you’re happy with.
I then filled in this layer with a coral pink color to match the coral vinyl I’d be using (and to keep my simple brain focused and clear on what I was doing).
Next it was time for the text to be added. Whenever I’m working on a project that uses text, I feel like I could spend hours, maybe even days (only sort of joking), scrolling through all my different font options, then going through them one more time, then changing my mind and having to start all over again.
And let’s not even talk about choosing fonts to download online! There’s soooo many to choose from….total time sucker.
I like to use a handy dandy website called wordmark.it to preview all my fonts at once….you can read my tutorial for using wordmark.it and why I think it’s so amazing for deciding on fonts for a project.
Anyway….for this project I was going for a cutesy script font and I settled on a font called Mission Script….it’s a nice handwriting cursive font, but it’s thick enough that it will cut just fine.
I then simply spelled out “home.” (yes, with a period at the end) and filled it in with a mint color to match my mint vinyl….I just love this color scheme!
Since I wanted the word “home” to be cut out as a single piece, I needed to connect all the letters together. Otherwise, all those little connector pieces that overlap with the following letters will all be cut, which is not what I’m after.
To make the word one whole piece, I selected my text box, right-clicked on it, then selected ‘Weld’ from the options.
And tada! We now have one smooth word….perfect.
The only piece left to design was highlighting my hometown of Florence (Florence, Y’ALL!…anyone else from NKY??). I remember signing a petition in high school to change the name of Florence to Funkytown, because how cool would it be to say “I’m from Funkytown, Kentucky”??
Well, the petition obviously didn’t get enough signatures since it’s still called Florence, but I improvise and fondly refer to it as Flotown.
Anyway….I decided on using a heart over Flotown, so I went through my Silhouette Library and found a design that had the perfect little heart in it. I believe this design came free with the Studio software….or maybe it was a free shape of the week or part of a download card…? All I know is it was already in my library and it was exactly what I needed…jackpot!
When I opened up the file, it obviously brought in all parts of it, and I only needed the heart.
In order to select the heart, I had to separate all the individual pieces from each other. To do this, I simply selected the file, right-clicked on it, and then chose ‘Ungroup’.
Now all the pieces are separated and the heart is ready for me to snag.
I wanted the heart shape to be in the same color vinyl as the “home.” word so I filled it in with the same mint color and then I dragged it overtop of Flotown’s location to finalize my design.
The “love you bubble” file had served its purpose, so I needed to get rid of the remaining parts.
To do this, I selected all the pieces and then right-clicked and hit ‘Delete’.
Horray! The design is complete….looks pretty cute too.
Registration Marks = Easy Layering
I am slightly OCD and since I would be layering these different colors of vinyl, I wanted to make sure the coral outline was perfect and even around all sides. Just the thought of creating this, cutting it out, and then having it be crooked once layered sent chills down my spine…..the horror! And not to mention the waste of time and vinyl! More horror!
So to help me achieve layering perfection, I would be utilizing the help of registration marks when applying the magenta pink vinyl to the coral piece (I was going to be brave and eyeball the placement of the word and heart….I guess I’m not that OCD after all).
Creating registration marks is so easy (and fast)!
They’re just little boxes that will be cut out on each layer that you use as guides to help line up your placement. This is just a personal preference, but whenever I work with long designs, I find it easier to put the registration marks at the narrower end and line up the layers that way. I’ve done it the other way though, too, and had success, like with our family growth chart ruler.
For this project though, I rotated my design and then used my Rectangle tool to make a small box at the top near the left edge of the design….
….then right-clicked on it and duplicated it to make my second box. (I just happened to fill them in with the same mint color I’d used earlier, but the color doesn’t matter….they’re not going to be part of the final decal.)
Then I moved the second box over to the right edge of the design.
Next, I opened up my Align window and used the options to align the top of both boxes with each other, as well as each of the boxes with the outside edges of the state. This just helps to make sure everything is even and easier to line up.
[***Note: I don’t always use registration marks. I find that using registration marks is especially helpful when layering vinyl with thin elements (like with my son’s Halloween footprint craft) or lots of layers (like this personalized Halloween tumbler).
Sometimes if I’m layering pieces that are chunky or thick, I’ll skip this step and just eye-ball the placement….there’s enough wiggle room that is very forgiving if it’s not EXACTLY centered. Since this decal had a thin outline, it was registration marks to the rescue!]
Cutting The Vinyl
Now I was ready to cut! Finally, right?
I opened up my Cut Style menu and it defaulted to cutting every single element in the design, which is not what I wanted. Since I’m cutting the pieces out in different colors, I needed them to cut separately.
So I ungrouped the design first….
….then changed the settings so only the OUTSIDE layer as well as the two registration marks were selected (highlighted in red) to cut.
Vinyl Cut Settings
From there, I then went to my Silhouette Cut Settings menu and selected ‘Vinyl’ as my medium.
- Speed: 8
- Thickness: 9
- Blade: 2
For this layer, I was cutting from a roll of vinyl and didn’t need my mat, so I also made sure to uncheck the ‘Cutting Mat’ option.
I then loaded up my coral vinyl into my Silhouette Cameo machine (remember to select the function ‘Load Media’ instead of ‘Load Mat’ on your Silhouette), and then hit ‘Cut’.
And we had success!
It was then time to move onto the magenta vinyl.
For this, I went back to my Cut Style menu and changed the outer layer to ‘No Cut’, then selected the INSIDE layer and changed that to ‘Cut’. I still wanted the registration marks to cut with this layer too, so nothing was changed with those.
Then I loaded up my magenta vinyl and cut out this layer. Wahoo!
Now for the last of my cuts, this time with the mint vinyl. I could have loaded and cut this color the same way as the previous two, but since I had a scrap piece of mint that was the perfect size, I decided to use that up. This required the use of my cutting mat.
To make it easier on the placement, I moved everything off the grid except for the word and the little heart.
Like I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t concerned with using the registration marks on this layer, so those went with the state and rested on the sidelines here.
Since I was using my mat, I had to reopen my Silhouette Cut Settings menu and check the ‘Cutting Mat’ option now.
I then placed the scrap piece of vinyl on my cutting mat and loaded it into my machine (I had to first move the white roller piece all the way to the right).
Then I hit ‘Cut’ and watched the magic happen again!
How To Layer Vinyl
All three of my vinyl pieces were finally cut and ready to be made into one! I just needed to weed them (or remove the excess unnecessary vinyl).
It was easy to weed the two pink colors….the text on the mint vinyl, however, needed the use of my hook tool to remove the little pieces on the inside of the ‘o’ and the ‘e’.
Now that all the pieces were cut and weeded, it was time to layer them.
To do this, I needed to remove the TOP piece from its backing. I first placed the magenta vinyl piece on my cutting mat….the stickiness helps act as a third hand and keeps the vinyl piece nice and still.
I then grabbed some transfer paper and applied it over top the vinyl and used my scraper tool to make sure I had nice and smooth contact.
Registration Marks = Easy (and Perfect) Layering!
I then slowly pulled the transfer paper up and the vinyl of course came with it, then I reapplied it back down on its vinyl backing EXCEPT for the registration marks…..those needed to be left off so I could line them up with the registration marks on the coral vinyl.
I chose to reapply the rest of the vinyl to the backing because it is VERY sticky and I didn’t want to chance accidentally touching it to the bottom layer before the registration marks were lined up….that would have been very bad, very bad indeed. You can, of course, skip this step if you want….you’re braver than I am, though!
Next, I placed the back coral layer on the mat (once again to utilize its stickiness to keep the vinyl nice and flat), then I CAREFULLY (and slooowly) lined up the registration marks on both layers….and held my breath hoping they were even….
After both marks were aligned and applied, I peeled off the vinyl backing of the top layer and, using my scraper again, slowly applied the magenta vinyl on top of the coral (be careful to work in one direction while applying to try and avoid getting air bubbles! But hey, they tend to happen.).
And looky there! A perfect, even, BEAUTIFUL outline…..ahhh, this makes me so happy to see.
Applying The Vinyl
Now it was time to apply my Old Kentucky Home decal!
I first peeled it off the backing and then cut away the registration marks since they had already done their duty.
So here was the way my Silhouette Cameo looked before this little project. The only personalization that I’d done so far was my cute little chevron monogram initial (which you can find here).
It is also in the same mint and coral vinyl that I’m using with this project, so the two should coordinate nicely.
And what do you know! It also has my name in the same Mission Script font….I didn’t even realize this until writing this post! How serendipitous…
Anyway….I eyeballed the decal’s placement and scraped it on….
….and then peeled away the transfer paper.
BEAUTIFUL…if I do say so myself. It would be just lovely as is. But I still had my personalization left, and I just love that mint color.
Now it was time to apply the heart and word.
I quickly applied the heart over my beloved Flotown with a pair of tweezers, then slapped some transfer paper on top of the word and gave it a good scraping.
Next, I held my breath as I eyeballed its placement and hoped/prayed/crossed all fingers and toes that it was level….
And it was. Oh happy day!
The Finished Layered Vinyl Decal
I think this cute and feminine home state decal of the Bluegrass makes the perfect addition to my machine.
I know it’s nothing amazing or super special, but it’s a daily reminder of home…and a mighty cute one at that.
***I’ve done a little more personalization to my Silhouette! You can check out how I made the most adorable little decal of my son’s newborn footprint here….it just melts my heart. *sigh*
More Silhouette Fun!
Be sure and check out my Project Gallery for LOTS of other tutorials and project ideas for your Silhouette….what can I say, I’m obsessed with mine!
Thanks so much for stopping by!
Thursday 28th of May 2020
Browsing through Pinterest for design ideas (I just got a Cricut for Mother’s Day), and your blog caught my eye. Well, the heart over NKY caught my eye. Lol. I grew up in Burlington, and now live in south Alabama. My brother and his wife still live up there, in Union, so we visit as much as possible. Thank you for these tips on layering! I will definitely be saving to my board! Oh, and go Cougars!
Thursday 6th of February 2020
I live in NE Alabama and grew up in Kentucky also. Go Wildcats!! Your easy instructions take away some of the fear, so here I go with layering.
Monday 10th of February 2020
Wow, Ella! Small world! I hope you find some help here for playing with vinyl...you'll get the hang of it in no time! And yes...Go Big Blue indeed! :)
Friday 10th of August 2018
I’ve just stumbled on your website as well....nice tutorial. What made you decide a Silhouette over a Cricut?
Wednesday 7th of February 2018
I just stumbled across your blog looking for help cutting vinyl Thanks for the great tutorial. I just received a Cricut for Christmas and have been a bit overwhelmed and it seems most tutorials gloss over important steps. I'm looking forward to playing with vinyl and appreciate all the tips and how thorough your tutorial is.
Btw, I also lived in Florence, Y'all (BCHS '93). It made me smile to get halfway through the tutorial and see you were too.
Tuesday 5th of December 2017
What's up Kentucky Girl! I'm from NKY too, Bellevue- or you know B-town because we thought we were cool!
Thanks for such an amazing blog post! I am new to all of this stuff and even though I have a cricut, I still feel like I know how to do a lot of it. The pictures also help A LOT for someone like me who is inexperienced with the terms and systems.