ABC Vinyl Wall Tutorial

Before my oldest was born, I discovered Pinterest and started searching it for random things.  I hadn't joined yet.  This was back in the day where you had to be invited and then you had to have Facebook to join.  So I would search for pictures but couldn't pin them.  One pin that kept catching my attention was the alphabet wall made of all different letters.  They would use the wood/cardboard letters from the craft stores and paint them in all different colors and display them on the wall.  We didn't have any open walls in K's room to try this, so I put the idea on hold.  Then once M was born, same wall space.  I figured I would just have to give up on the idea until they were older and we redecorated their rooms.  And then, we converted our formal living room into a playroom.  There was a wall free and I knew it could be the perfect spot.  Because it had taken a lot of convincing to get my husband to agree to the playroom idea and because he had just moved a picture collage and put up a gallery wall, I figured he wouldn't love the idea of hanging up individual letters on the wall.  So I thought - why not make the letters out of vinyl?  We wouldn't get the 3-D feel of the original idea but it would be easy, cheap, something I could do myself on my Silhouette Cameo and something that could easily be removed if we didn't like it or we changed the room again.

Here is what I did to create our ABC wall.

To start, I bought sheets of vinyl at Joann Fabrics.  Normally, I buy the Silhouette brand of vinyl that comes on a long roll.  I knew I wanted a bunch of different colors so I wouldn't need the amount of vinyl that came on the roll.  These sheets were 12" x 24" and perfect for this project.  I picked a bunch of colors and included a few that were glittery because...well...glitter.  I didn't know exactly how much vinyl I needed but that's sort of how I roll with projects.  I figured if I really needed to, I could run back to Joann's.
 The nice part about this vinyl is that I didn't need to use the cutting mat which is good since I don't have one that is that long.  Normally, you don't have to use a mat for vinyl but I've never had good luck with that.  I think it is because it is all rolled up so it just doesn't go in and out of the machine straight.  I had no problem with these vinyl sheets.  It cut perfectly.  The only one I had a problem with was the glitter sheets.  I should have double cut it because I ended up removing it and then discovering that it didn't cut all the way through and I ended up using scissors to cut the letters to save the vinyl.  The only other problem I ran into was I cut the wrong letters on one color and it got all wrinkled so I couldn't reuse the excess.  Instead of going back to Joann's, I used some vinyl from my stash which is how I ended up with silver letters that I hadn't originally planned on.

Once I had all of the vinyl, I opened up Silhouette Studio and set up my letters.  I wasn't concerned about size so I just used the normal 8 1/2" x 11" page.  I was using this to get an idea of what the wall would like.  I wanted to make sure the fonts looked okay together and that there was a good mix of upper and lowercase letters.  All of the fonts were part of the KG font collection (free for personal use, commercial use requires a license).

I changed each letter to a color similar to the vinyl colors I picked out.  This was to make sure that the colors were spaced out.

Then I created a blank page that was the same size as the vinyl.  I did one color at a time so that I could cut each color just once.  I made the letters larger.  There was no rhyme or reason to it.  Some are bigger, some are smaller.  The smallest letter is about 10 inches tall and the tallest letter is around 12 inches.

I moved the letters around to try to save as much vinyl as possible.

I also noticed that when I made some of the letters larger, they were not smooth and ideal for cutting.  I have found this with some fonts.  Some are great on a regular screen but sometimes when you blow them up, they are jagged and not smooth at all.  I've found that the Silhouette can sometimes have trouble with cutting this and when it does cut it, I don't like the end result.  Because of this, I traded out some fonts.

I continued to go back to the original to make sure the fonts and colors continued to be spread out.  Then I would move on to the next color.  Copy and paste to the large format.  Increase the size of the letters.  Move the letters closer to save vinyl.  Send to the Silhouette to cut using the vinyl settings.

Once I had all the letters cut out, I started to put it on my wall.  A little note about my DIY skills...with projects like this, I like to free style it.  I don't always like to measure and make things exact.  I felt like with a project like this, it wouldn't matter if each letter was evenly spaced since each letter was a different size and font anyway.  I started with m because it would be in the middle of the wall based on my original mock up.

 Then I just went through and built out from the m.
 I had a few letters left when the girls got up from their naps.  So I was trying to finish while keeping the supplies out of reach.  Not easy.  But I love the end result.  It adds color to the room and I think the girls will love it and use it once they learn their letters.
The wall has now been up for a few months and I still love it.  The only problem I have is with the magenta glitter vinyl.  I don't know what is wrong with that sheet but those letters are peeling off.  It is a different consistency than normal vinyl...almost more like sticky cardstock.  The N needs to be flattened back on the wall each time I walk in the room.  The v and f were starting to peel off too.  I don't know what the problem is but I'm sure the girls will discover this and start pulling them off soon enough.  It is on my agenda to get a different color of vinyl and replace those.