Introduction: Personalized Mugs

About: In a valiant attempt to keep myself from dying of boredom, I create.
I have been using my Cricut Expression to make stencils from vinyl almost from the time I first got it.  When I stopped working for Robert’s Craft, one of the first things I did was buy a copy of “Sure Cuts A Lot” by Craft Edge.  This program allows you to use your Cricut (or other personal electronic cutter) to cut the fonts on your computer and internet available graphics; I bought the updated version a couple of years later. I was excited because I no longer needed to buy the cartridges sold by Provo Craft to be creative with my Cricut.   Only one problem, if you don’t already own it, you can’t get it for your Cricut, because Craft Edge lost the lawsuit to Provo Craft and they can’t sell it to you.  They do, however, have versions for almost all other personal electronic cutters out there.  So this Instructable is on how I used the SCAL2 (Sure Cuts A Lot 2) program to cut stencils to for personalization of some hot drink mugs, to be used as gifts.

Step 1:

Sure Cuts A Lot for Cricut program downloaded on to computer (not shown)
Cricut machine (not shown)
12”x12” Cricut machine mat
12”x12” piece of vinyl
Weeding tool (or an exacto knife)
Transfer tape
Knife or scissors
Bone folder
Silver Decoart Glass Paint Marker ($4 at a craft or hobby store, or Google it)
Ceramic Mug (+/- $2 each)
Oven (not shown)
Glass cleaner (not shown)
Paper towels (not shown)

Step 2:

Open the Sure Cuts A Lot 2 program on your computer.  Your computer screen will look like this.  It has an on screen mat that looks like the mat you put the vinyl upon.

Step 3:

I clicked on the font tab on the left (see the red arrow).  Then I went to the right side of the screen and clicked on the drop down menu to choose the font I wanted.  I clicked on the mat, and I typed the names I wanted to put on the mugs.  I spent a little time seeing how different fonts would look; until I found one I was happy with, Britannic Bold.

Step 4:

Then I went back to the left side and clicked on the arrow button.  This allowed me to move the name as a unit, by clicking and dragging on the upper left hand corner and to change the size of the name just by clicking on the lower right corner and dragging.

Step 5:

Yes, but I still had most of the sheet of vinyl to use for a project and to show you what else this program can do.  I have a t-shirt that I plan on decorating and putting in my Hubby’s Christmas stocking.  So I right clicked on the picture button located on the top tool bar.  It allowed me to search my picture file for a picture I had already saved off the internet. 

Step 6:

I opened the picture and then right clicked on the preview button.  This is what it would look like cut.  I right clicked on the “ok” button

Step 7:

and it appeared on my on screen mat.  I used the upper left corner and the lower right corners to move the symbol and size it to the size I wanted and the place I wanted it on the mat.

Step 8:

When everything was just where I wanted it, I clicked on the floppy disk to save what I had created under a name I would recognize.  This one step will save you a lot of time later.

Step 9:

Put the vinyl (I bought a roll of 24” wide by 50 yard long, too many years ago), on the cutting mat.  I opened my Expression and turned it on, then loaded the mat with the vinyl on it into the machine (I pushed the load button while pushing the mat up against the rollers).  I set the blade depth to 3 and the pressure to 2 (these are the optimal setting for cutting through the vinyl without cutting through the paper backing).

Step 10:

I then clicked on the scissors on the screen and the conversation box showed up, asked which Cricut I was using, I right clicked ok, then it went through several other screens checking out if everything is connected and in working order. 

Step 11:

Then it began to cut. 

Step 12:

When it was done cutting, the little conversation box told me it was done.  I right clicked okay, unloaded the mat and went on to the next part of the project.

Step 13:

I used the weeding tool, to remove the positive parts of the cut vinyl.  Yes, that looks good.

Step 14:

I cut the name out

Step 15:

and put it vinyl side down on a piece of transfer tape. 

Step 16:

I used the bone folder to rub the transfer tape onto the vinyl. 

Step 17:

Then I pulled the paper backing off the vinyl. 

Step 18:

I cleaned the area of the mug that I wanted the name to be located with glass cleaner, drying with a paper towel.I place the name where I wanted it on the cup.  You can remove the vinyl and replace several times, yet once you have remove the transfer tape, you are done. 

Step 19:

Rub the transfer tape again with the bone folder, and then pulled off the transfer tape.  You can see the name on the blue mug, but you can’t see it on the black mug. Sorry about that.

Step 20:

I read the directions on the back of the Art Deco Glass Paint Marker package.   I shook the marker vigorously, and then pressed the white tip down on a piece of paper

Step 21:

until the paint covered the tip.  When you need more paint, just repress down on the paper and the paint will reload the tip.

Step 22:

I used the paint marker to fill in the missing positive places on the vinyl.  It doesn’t matter if paint gets on the vinyl.  Fill in the spaces of the letters. Not bad.

Step 23:

Don’t wait until it is dry to remove the vinyl.  I have learned from sad experience, if you wait too long, the vinyl will take the paint with it.  That’s when you will be really glad that you saved your work, so you can cut new stencils quickly and efficiently.  If you didn’t rub the vinyl on tight enough, you will have a little paint bleed under the vinyl.  A cotton swap or a tooth pick with its end wrapped in cotton will let you remove any unwanted paint.

Step 24:

Now let it dry for 4 to 8 hours.  The next step needs to take place between 4-8 hours once you have started the drying process.  This will ensure that the paint on the cup will withstand being washed in a dish washer.

Step 25:

Take the dry mug, and place it on a rack in the oven. Close the oven door, and turn the oven on to 375°F and set the timer for 40 minutes.  When the timer goes off, turn off the timer  and turn off the oven, leaving  the mug in the oven until it is completely cold.

Step 26:

Then remove the cold mug.  Done!   The “Richard” mug is for my Hubby’s supervisor.  The other one will be in my Hubby’s Christmas stocking.  Not bad.  Enjoy!
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