silhouette sunday: 5 ways to use up those vinyl scraps!

If you use a cutting machine (like my beloved Silhouette Cameo 2), chances are you have scraps.

Now, depending on the type of person you are, you'll have scraps at varying degrees. Some people hoard scraps, filing them away into a binder never to be seen again... others will use up scraps as soon as they're cut.

Here are some ways that I love to use up my scraps (and stretch those vinyl sheets farther than you'd ever imagined!)

  1. Small item decals
I'll say it shamelessly: I personalize everything. It's one of the reasons why I wanted a Silhouette so badly! When I have smaller areas of leftover vinyl, I like to cut out a monogram or quirky saying. Plain cases are available all the time on Amazon for projects like these, so I can change my phone case like I change my underwear! It's amazingly simple for an indecisive gal like me.

Tip: Don't limit yourself to phones! As you can see in the pictures above, I slapped a monogram on my journal and decorated my Cameo, too.

  1. Door decals and other homely "surprises"
Word of caution: if you rent your home, maybe use removable vinyl (like Oracal 631) for this. One day I was oogling over a photo of a vinyl'd door and came to the realization that with my decor, a full width decal would look silly. I did, however, decide that around the door knob? Fair game. So I used a small scrap of vinyl and a very Italian "arrivederci!" out for the edge of my doorknob. Perfect fit.

Tip: To get the right angle/curve of your doorknob, use a string to measure the perimeter and math to figure out how big the diameter of your circle should be in Silhouette Studio or Illustrator. Once you have an "outline," place text/design around it.

  1. "Accents" on otherwise boring decals
As I've progressed through my learning experience with a vinyl cutter, nothing has been more clear to me than the obvious need for "accent" colors in a design. Layering vinyl decals is an easy way to give your design more depth, and what better way to do that than using up some scraps you would have otherwise thrown away? Not only does it cut down on waste, but your decals will look super professional when you take this extra step.

Tip: Aligning layers of vinyl is sometimes easy to eyeball, but when it's a design that needs precision, use registration marks.

  1. Nail decals/stencils
I've been a nail polish fiend for a good 5 years now. I have an IKEA Helmer full of nail polish. Can I do a perfect french tip yet? Heck no! Plenty of nail companies sell stickers for "guides," but why waste money (and time) buying these from Wal-Mart when you can make them at home? Scrap vinyl is perfect for nail stencils and decals because nails are so tiny-- so you only need a little bit! You'll thank me for your upgraded manicures later ;)

Tip: Use a post it or small piece of paper to "map out" your nail bed, and customize the size of your decals to fit your own nails.

  1. Customize cheap sunglasses
Fake Ray Bans are all the rage these days. For a hint of custom flair, use a scrap piece of vinyl to cut a custom message for the side of your sunglasses! I've seen so many cute ideas for sayings, but don't stop there; you can also use teeny tiny scraps to put a design in the top corner of the glasses, like a bow or a star.

Tip: Tiny designs like these cut best when your cut speed is low and slow. Another trick I used was to get rid of tiny hoops within the script to simplify the weeding process. I think these sunglasses came out great either way!

I hope these sparked some ideas, and prevent you from tossing those couple inches of leftover vinyl at the end of your bigger projects. Big or small, vinyl doesn't grow on trees! So use up as much of it as you can.

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