Applying Vinyl to a Curved Surface – Garden Flower Pot for Mother’s Day

Opportunities to use vinyl has been popping up all over the place for me lately and I am so happy with the results!  I wanted to make a flower pot for Mother’s Day…

I know vinyl can be intimidating at first, but trust me it’s easier than you think!  Applying vinyl to a curved surface is a little trickier than a flat surface, but I will share some secrets with you to make it easier!

I used my Silhouette Cameo to design this saying, but you can follow this same process for any vinyl project and use different cutting machines too.  Make sure you measure your pot and keep your words within your measurements.  I used two separate fonts- one was the “regular” font and one was for words I wanted to accent in my quote:

When cutting vinyl you’ll want to make sure you do not cut through the backing sheet. You are only looking to cut through the vinyl itself.  Each machine is calibrated slightly differently, but I have found that a blade length of 2 and the preset “vinyl” settings work well for me with my Cameo!

Once you cut your design, you’ll need to “weed.”  Weeding is removing any extra vinyl that you do not want on your final project.  I find weeding very relaxing and almost therapeutic.  Some people find it a pesky task, but I like picking out all the little bits… Start by removing the extra around the text, this part should be pretty easy.

Once the big stuff is out of the way, grab a hook tool and take care of the little insides of the design.

I found that if you work on a piece of cardboard you can jab the sharp end of the hook tool through the middle of the letters (and the backing sheet), it will pull the pieces right out.  I am sure that is breaking some unspoken vinyl rule, but it works!

Now, since I have two different colors of vinyl, I wanted to remove the “accent words” in brown.  You can see where the blade left an impression of the vinyl- this is going to help me “cheat the system.”

Usually when you have more than one color of vinyl, you would make registration marks to make sure you are getting your layers lined up perfectly.  Since I was only doing two colors (and just 4 words in white), I didn’t want to waste all that extra white vinyl.  I just moved all my white words into the corner of the cutting window and cut them out at once.  To line the vinyl up correctly, I used those faint score lines the blade left when I cut the brown layer.  It was a little tedious to move these delicate words by hand, but it worked like a charm.  (I don’t always like to use transfer paper, have you seen my Easter Peeps Charger project?)  The key is to get one portion of the word lined up right and the rest of the word will fall in place (I usually use either the first or last letter of the word- or something that stick up, like the top of the L in world, below).

Once you have your accent words in place, cover the whole design with a piece of transfer paper.  Next you’ll want to burnish your vinyl onto your transfer paper (that is, rub it over really well so the vinyl will stick to the transfer paper and not the backing sheet).  I used my Cricut bone folder, but you can use a scraper or credit card as well.  Just make sure you go over all the letters well.

Now you can peel your transfer paper off the backing sheet and your letters should all stick to the transfer sheet.  If some letters are not sticking, put the transfer paper back down and rub over the letter again.

Next you’ll want to put your vinyl onto your pot.  I’ll admit, I have never applied something this size to a curved surface, but I assumed it was going to be like a smaller, simpler project I’ve done and I could just line it up with the top of the pot and smooth it down…. that does not work…

This lead to serious frustrations and the vinyl was NOT going on straight… transfer paper was sticking to itself, letters were sticking where they didn’t belong – it was a total disaster.  I was ready to scratch this project…

I went back and did the vinyl again with a little trick I found, but it took two hands so unfortunately there were no photos taken (one of the downsides to being the crafter and the photographer!)  It did work though:

I love the way this pot turned out and I can’t wait to make some flowers to put inside of it (of course, a real plant would work too, but then you have to water it, and I, my friends, do not have a green thumb).

I hope you found this tutorial useful!

Since this project was posted, I did the project again with more pictures, find it here: http://blog.craft-e-corner.com/2015/04/how-to-put-vinyl-on-a-curved-surface-take-2.html

Although putting vinyl on a curved surface requires a few tricks and some practice, I think I will try it again!  Now I just need to come up with some clever plant sayings… any suggestions?

 

 

 

Read the whole post over at http://blog.craft-e-corner.com/

25 Replies to “Applying Vinyl to a Curved Surface – Garden Flower Pot for Mother’s Day”

  1. can you explain the trick? the video won’t play so I cant see the solution to the curved surface issue

    Audra says:
    1. I did a follow up post about how to do it, without the video, here: http://www.craft-e-corner.com/blog/2015/04/how-to-put-vinyl-on-a-curved-surface-take-2.html

      Basically you tear a piece of the backing sheet out of the middle of the transfer paper. Next you attach the middle part to the project surface and adhere the middle down. Then you flip over the one side and peel off the transfer paper backing sheet and put it down, then you repeat on the other side. I hope that makes sense!

      Kala says:
  2. That is so helpful! I wouldn’t have thought to use the “cheat” to line things up!

    Holly says:
  3. i would love to do this on my Herb pots,and a little tips on how to use them! How neat!

    Sonja Kuvik says:
  4. I’m looking to start working with vinyl, and one question that I can’t seem to find the answer to is how to heat press 3d objects. How do you make the vinyl “stick” to the pot? I’m sorry if this seems like a silly question – I don’t have any mentors so I’m trying to learn as much as I can online before I make a start-up purchase.

    Anonymous says:
    1. Vinyl is sticky on the backside. It’s almost like a giant sticker. Once you take the backing sheet off, it is sticky and can be stuck down to whatever surface you want to apply it to. This is different than heat transfer vinyl, however. Heat transfer vinyl isn’t sticky and needs heat to transfer over to a surface. For 3D objects you can use an iron. I have also heard of people using a hair straightner on the bills of hats or on shoes as well. I hope this helps!

      Kala says:
  5. the video has been removed…. 🙁
    any tips you could give me that were in there?

    megan marie says:
    1. Oh no! That’s too bad that they took the video down. It was very helpful. I can try to explain what they showed… you will take your vinyl and remove all the extra stuff that you do not want (weed the design). Next you put on your transfer sheet over the vinyl and smooth that down. Next you’ll want to cut about a 1/2″ notch in the middle on both sides of the backing sheet (the part the vinyl came on) and peel off that 1/2″ strip (doesn’t have to be exact). Next line the middle up with the middle of your pot and press the vinyl to the surface. Once you have the middle smoothed down, you can then peel the backing sheet off one side at a time. Starting from the middle, work your way towards the outside of your design. Then repeat on the other side. If you put your pot on its side (in your lap works well), it will be easiest. I hope this helps explain! I looked for a replacement video and I couldn’t find anything that compared. I’ll keep an eye out and see if I can find one at will post if I come across something! If I didn’t explain it clearly, let me know and I can try to add more details or reword.

      Kala says:
  6. Did you use the technique in the video and cut out each line or did you do all lines at once? You did a great job. I love this. My mom has a major green thumb, and I think this would be a perfect Mother’s Day gift!!! 🙂

    Tonya says:
    1. Thank you Tonya! This pot did come out very nice! I did it all in one piece so I wouldn’t have to try to line the pieces back up again. I did use the technique in the video on this one large piece. It worked very nicely but was frustrating at first when I tried to stick the whole thing down on the pot (the “don’t do this” photo). I think with a little practice it will get easier 🙂

      Kala says:
  7. Brilliant Idea! What type of vinyl is this?..Would Sign Vinyl work? 🙂

    Abbie Rigby says:
    1. I used the Silhouette Premium brand vinyl- it worked great! I think sign vinyl would work too, but you may have to play with your settings to get a clean cut 🙂 Let me know how it turns out!

      Kala says:
  8. Did you remove the white words from their paper and then re-apply the white vinyl to the brown words paper?

    DebbieB says:
    1. I cut the entire design out of the brown and then just the accent words out of white. I removed the brown accent words and could see a little line where the blade left marks on the backing sheet of the brown. I just laid the white words down in those indents on the brown backing sheet before transferring everything over. If you had more accents or wanted to do layering, you can make a little box in the top corner of your design and the bottom corner of your design and then weed and apply one color at a time using the little boxes to make sure you’re lined up correctly. I hope that makes sense!

      Kala says:

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