This year I have decided to go with a Scandinavian-style Christmas theme using mostly natural woods, white, and green with a tiny touch of red. I didn’t want to go out and buy a ton of new ornaments and decorations because I live in a very small condo and don’t have the storage space, plus I didn’t want to spend a lot. I saw these inexpensive natural wood ornaments at Michaels and decided I could jazz them up myself with some vinyl to fit my theme. I recently purchased a Silhouette Cameo 4 cutting machine and this seemed like the perfect starter vinyl project. I found some amazing SVG snowflakes on CreativeFabrica.com and went to work. The result are these very easy and cost effective Scandinavian-style ornaments. If you haven’t tried using vinyl in home decor before, this project is super simple and will make you appreciate all that a small amount of vinyl can achieve with minimal effort.
Check out the video tutorial below or scroll down for instructions with photos:
Step One – Download the Snowflakes
Follow the link at the top of the Supply List below and purchase the Snowflakes Christmas Bundle (the one with 40 snowflakes) from CreativeFabrica. com. As of the publication date of this post, the package is $4.00 so pretty inexpensive for 40 snowflakes and you will receive file formats for each snowflake in .DXF, .SVG, .PNG and .EPS. If you already have some snowflake SVG or DXF files of your own, feel free to use those. Just make sure they are fairly simple shapes as overly detailed snowflakes won’t show up well on the wood ornaments (believe me, I tried – lol). Once downloaded, save them on your computer where you can easily find them again.
Step Two – Silhouette Studio Open Snowflakes and Welding
Please Note: The instructions shown below are for a Windows PC. If you are using a Mac, the keys needed to perform some actions may vary.
Open Silhouette Studio (free download here) and click on File>Open. Navigate to the snowflake bundle you downloaded in Step One, find Snowflake 25 and click on the .DXF file and then OK to open it in the Studio workspace. Click and drag across the entire design to select all of it and click on the Group button in the upper toolbar. Drag this snowflake off the mat into the gray work space to the side for now. Click on File>Merge and find Snowflake 32. Open it in the workspace as well. Click and drag across this entire snowflake to select it all, hit the Group button as with the previous snowflake. Make sure the Lock Aspect Ratio icon in the upper toolbar is locked (the lock icon is closed) and then select Snowflake 32 again. Click on one of the corner handles and drag inward to shrink the snowflake down to around 3-4 inches wide. Move it from the center of the mat into one of the corners and click and drag the first snowflake back on to the mat from the gray area. Click one of the corner handles and repeat resizing down with this snowflake. Drag the two snowflakes closer together on the mat and click on Snowflake 25. This snowflake is slightly skinnier than Snowflake 32 and skinny snowflakes don’t show well on the wood ornaments, so you need to widen him up a bit. To do this, with Snowflake 25 still selected, click on the Offset button in the upper toolbar or right toolbar; it looks like a star with a border around it. When you click on the Offset button, a small dialog box will appear in the upper right and a large border will appear around Snowflake 25. The default border is way too big so click on the arrow down button in the Offset dialogue box next to the Distance amount until you get the number down to .05. Now the border is much thinner.
You need to weld this new border to the main shape but if you do it now, welding it will fill in the whole snowflake including the decorative cutouts and you don’t want that. So, with the snowflake selected go to the upper toolbar and click on Ungroup. Then click away from the snowflake, zoom in and very carefully only click to select the new offset border and the main snowflake shape that is right next to it; do not select any other part of the snowflake. Once those two parts are selected, click on the Weld button in the upper toolbar. The border and main shape should now become one, thicker snowflake while leaving the cutouts in place. Click and drag across the entire snowflake to select all parts of it and click Group in the upper toolbar again.
Step Three – Silhouette Studio Size for Ornaments and Send
Measure the space on your wood ornaments to determine how large your snowflakes can be to fit nicely in the center. On the ones I used (linked below), the space was about 2″ x 2″. The snowflakes being used are taller than they are wide, so the tallest proportion needs to be only slightly over 2″ to fit on the ornaments I used. So, click on each snowflake and change the Width box, shown on the upper tool bar, to 1.8″ or whatever dimension will work for your specific ornaments. Since the Lock Aspect Ratio button is still locked, this should resize the snowflakes proportionately down to 1.8″ W x a bit over 2″ H. Drag each snowflake into the upper left corner of the mat and place near each other so you can cut them from a relatively small piece of vinyl and you will know where to place the vinyl on the mat. Mine fit nicely on a piece of 5″ x 3″ vinyl when placed close together in the upper left corner of the mat with about a 1/2″ border all the way around. You are ready to cut the design!
Turn on your Silhouette Cameo 4 if you haven’t already and make sure Silhouette Studio sees it by clicking on the Send tab in the upper right corner of the Studio screen and checking the machine shown at the bottom of the tab. Cut some glossy white permanent adhesive vinyl to the size needed for the snowflakes to fit (mine was 5″ x 3″) and place in the upper left corner of your Silhouette Cameo mat. Load the mat into your machine. Return to the Studio program and under Tool 1 on the Send tab, under Material create a custom material called Vinyl, Oracal 651 (or whatever you want to name it) if you plan to use Oracal 651 vinyl for this project. Leave the blade depth as is and set the Force to 5 and the Speed to 7. There is a default Silhouette Oracal 651 material setting in Studio but this custom one works perfectly for me every time, so I prefer it. I got these settings from Expressions Vinyl and they have many other recommended settings for a variety of materials and machines in their charts that I have linked here. If you are using a different kind of vinyl, you may need to experiment to find the proper cut settings for your machine. Once that is set, you can hit the Send button at the bottom of the Tab and your Cameo 4 machine will cut the designs.
Step Four – Weed & Assemble
Once your Cameo finishes cutting the designs, unload your mat, flip it over and peel the mat away from the vinyl so the vinyl won’t curl. Then adhere a transfer tape of your choice to the vinyl on the glossy side. Burnish the transfer tape down well with a squeegee and flip it over to peel away the Oracal backing. I then use the backing paper as a cover while I weed off the excess vinyl so my fingers don’t stick to the vinyl. Carefully remove the parts of the vinyl that you don’t need from the design aka anything that is not the 2 snowflakes. This is called reverse weeding because you are removing the excess vinyl after applying it to the transfer tape, rather than removing the excess vinyl before and then applying the transfer tape to the design . I prefer this method particularly with small or more intricate designs. Once weeded, cut the two snowflakes apart and trim the transfer tape so you can see the shape of the snowflake from the front.
Center each snowflake in the middle of your wood ornament using the shape of the snowflake on the transfer tape as a guide and press down. Burnish each snowflake down thoroughly with a squeegee and slowly remove the transfer tape. Add a small ribbon bow in silver and/or gold to the top of the wood star with liquid glue or hot glue. Let dry and then put dots of liquid glitter drops at the ends of each of the points of the star and in the center of each snowflake. I used red glitter drops for one ornament and green for the other one. Once dry, hang on your tree and enjoy!
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