silhouette sunday: how to make laptop vinyl decals from doodles

I did it. I bit the metaphorical bullet and bought a Macbook after years of oogling over the sleek, shiny machines (and lets be real-- getting jealous over the slew of cases, skins and other accessories).

In no time at all, I knew I was going to cover it in a vinyl decal. But which one?! I scoured Pinterest for hours only to find that no decal quite matched what I had in mind for my new gadget. Then I thought "why not... make my own?"

So I bought a clear case and waited patiently for it to arrive (that same day...thanks, Amazon Prime!). While I waited for the mailman that evening I took to my sketchbook, doodling various floral combinations and swirls.

By the time the case arrived, I had my pattern sketched out (for this method, I found that using a felt-tip thin marker worked best-- Flair pens are a staple in my pen cup!). I used Adobe Capture to "scan" the doodle into my Adobe CC Library and brought it into Illustrator to fine tune the vector file.

I didn't realize it at the time but I had a lot of weeding ahead of me. Like, a lot. I spent an hour and a half prying tiny black dots away from the backing until my eyes went numb. But the end result was worth it!

*Someone* got caught red-pawed trying to use my new computer (I don't blame him)
Here are some tips and tricks if you want to make your own hand-drawn decal:
  • Try to find a happy medium between too "plain" and crazy intricate. If I had to re-do this, I would possibly leave out the lines in some of the swirls to cut down on weeding time, even if the end result came out great
  • Like I said before, felt tip pens are your friend! Sketch designs in pencil, then trace definitive lines over them once for a clear path. Sketchy lines will make your vinyl cutter go nuts (and take much longer than simple designs)
  • Know your tools! I used the Adobe Capture app, but you could also use the Image Trace feature in Adobe Illustrator or Trace method in Silhouette Studio (Melissa has a great tutorial over on Silhouette School) to turn your doodles into awesome decals for just about anything 
And just because I'm feeling generous, here's a link to the cut file I made. Feel free to pin this post for others if you liked it!

Enjoy and see you next week :)

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