Baby Clothes Keepsake Shadowbox Vinyl Decoration
Last week, my neighbor text me and asked if I was up for a fun project. Since I’m always up for a fun project, I told her to bring it over and we would make it perfect. She brought over the cutest, most perfect shadow boxes with her kids’ baby clothes in them and asked me to put their name and birthday on the glass. Ummm, YES!
How cute are those?!? First, we dug through the vinyl I have in stock and chose colors to compliment the clothes she had already put inside. For his, we found the right color in a matte, repositionable vinyl in baby blue and gray. For hers, we found three pinks in glossy, permanent vinyl.
- vinyl (permanent or repositionable) in the colors that suit your project
- cutting machine (I use a Silhouette Cameo 3)
- weeding hook (some people prefer tweezers)
- transfer tape & scraper (my transfer tape comes with a good widget)
- alcohol pads or glass cleaner
Purchase and fill your shadowboxes. The shadowbox in the link has a neutral, linen backing board to pin the clothes to and a generous 1.5” depth to give room for layers and bulkier items. That’s also not so deep that the clothes get lost in the frame.
Use decorative push pins to make sure the clothes and items don’t shift when you hang, and hot glue non porous items like binkies (pacifiers) or rattles. Be sure you don’t burn or ruin fabric, though, when you’re planning your hot glue places.
Choose your vinyl. Both permanent and repositionable vinyls will work unless you’re planning to heavily clean the glass on a frequent basis with a glass cleaner like windex. Any kind of chemical glass cleaner (along with heat) will break down the adhesive and eventually make the design peel off. In this scenario, permanent will hold up longer but both will be more than sufficient for dry dusting.
Choose your fonts for the names and the date. Cut, weed, and trim your vinyl pieces according to your machine's specs or your experience.
Lay out your weeded and trimmed pieces to make 100% sure you got the sizing and placement right.
Using an alcohol wipe, thoroughly wipe down the entire glass surface to make sure you remove all dust, dirt, fingerprints, and other oils. You can clean with windex or a glass cleaner, but make sure they don't leave a residue behind. I always follow up with the alcohol pad anyway.
Peel your transfer tape away from the backing material, carefully line the tape up with the vinyl to be transferred, and lay down onto the design from one side to another. This allows you to go slower with a little more control AND helps avoid wrinkles or bubbles.
Lightly burnish either the top of the transfer tape or the bottom of the design's backing paper to make sure the transfer tape evenly adheres to the design. Slowly peel the transfer tape away from the backing paper and make sure the design comes with the transfer tape. Using the grid on your transfer tape as a guide, position the design where you would like it then slowly lay the entire piece of transfer tape onto the glass starting with one side (I'm right handed, so I start with the left side and move right). Use the scraper tool to lightly guide the laying down process to avoid bubbles. Don't press too hard or go too fast, though, or you will get creases.
If you have any bubbles, you can quickly run a hair dryer on high heat over the vinyl, and the bubble should contract. Too much heat, though, and the adhesive will evaporate.
If you get a crease or lay the design wrong or just don't like it, you can remove the design with a razor blade or sharp edge and start over. Don't forget to re-clean the glass to make sure all of the adhesive residue is gone.
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