How to use custom vinyl stickers to transform a commonplace chair into a showstopper
This instructable will use:
- CNC vinyl cutter
- x-acto knife or scalpel
- spray paint
- spray booth (suggested)
You can check out the other stuff I make at www.sienabaldi.com
Step 1: Create a Vinyl Sticker
I have access to a CNC vinyl cutter at TechShop Pittsburgh where it's fairly straightforward to take a vector file from Adobe Illustrator, turn it into a hairline outline, and let the vinyl cutter do all the precision cutting. The trickiest part is weeding out the negative space. If you don't have access to this type of device, it's possible to cut the vinyl by hand. However, one of the great benefits of using a vinyl cutter (other than not having to cut the vinyl), is that any floating elements stay in place because of the backing paper.
The image shows two vinyl stickers after I had weeded them and eyeballing how to position them on the chair. The designs are the brain children of the talented artist Ashley Cecil!
Step 2: Transfer Vinyl to Chair
The unsung hero of vinyl stickers is the sticky transfer paper that one must use to ensure a successful transfer. This particular chair is made up of several slats with a slight curve and the back features two cross bars. On the back I had to eyeball where to cut the vinyl and figured out how to line it up and keep the design continuous. The fronts were easier, but also involved some slicing to continue the overflow from the back to the seat. This is a non precise practice. With smaller stickers this would not be an issue.
Step 3: Spray Paint!
Choosing a high quality spray paint with excellent coverage will make your life a lot easier. I utilized the spray booth at TechShop Pittsburgh, which made this step much less noxious than it would have been otherwise. I started with spray painting the bottom of the chair first, allowing ample time to dry, then flipping the chair over and spray painting the front/top. Each of these chairs took two full cans of spray paint. The key to success with spray paint is keeping each coat nice and thin. I made 2-3 passes to avoid drips.
Step 4: The Reveal
No matter what color vinyl you use, after the chair has been spray painted all your work will be hidden. Once the chair has completely dried I tested a small area by peeling up the vinyl. I carefully used the x-acto blade to separate the vinyl from the chair, making sure to not cut into the chair or chip the original white primer. The vinyl should come up fairly easily. This step reveals why having a well connected design will make your life easier instead of having to peel up a bunch of separate individual pieces.
Step 5: Ta-dah!
The printmaker in me wants to try this with several different layers of paint to see what kind of cool effects are possible...