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MY HANDMADE HOME: Fantastically geeky vinyl wall decals


May the Fourth be with you

In honour of this delightfully geeky weekend, I’m sharing some fun projects I recently finished up for my awesome friends/neighbours.

Their house is almost exactly the same as our own, except our friends weren’t really using their basement — and mine is where I spend most of my life, ha!

They had one tiny room crammed with memorabilia from movies, TV shows, video games, comic books, you name it. I couldn’t recognize most of it, but I could tell it was an impressive collection.

The rest of their basement, meanwhile, was pretty much unused. They almost never went downstairs, so their neat collections weren’t really on display and guests never got to see them. We decided to turn the biggest part of the basement into a geeky paradise, full of fun.

The pale beige walls were splashed with colour — green, blue and yellow plucked from the pixels of a Technicolour Super Mario game — and we decided to have fun with custom vinyl wall decals, too.

I’ve always been intrigued by those Cricut machines that slice up vinyl in perfect shapes and letters. It’s so darn crafty! I have not yet pulled the trigger on buying a machine, though, so I turned to a local company called Frozen In Time Designs.

We weren’t ordering something simple, like a word or phrase. Nope, we wanted elaborate, one-of-a-kind designs that required a lot of planning. I sketched out what we wanted for our three decals, mocked them up in a PDF and began painstakingly figuring out how big each piece of vinyl needed to be. So much math!

I have no idea how the Cricut process works, except that I squealed happily when Atasha with Frozen In Time Designs handed over a bag with all of our vinyl pieces. Now it was all on me to apply them ... gulp!

For the chest freezer, we’d decided to do an old-school Nintendo remote across the front. Piece by piece, I’d peel off the backing to reveal a super-sticky vinyl shape. Luckily, the vinyl can be peeled off and repositioned if you’re not happy with its placement. Smaller pieces are much easier to work with, I learned.

Across the room, we’d ordered a Serenity (the spaceship from Firefly) to span the two doors of the electrical panel. The graphic was cut straight down the middle so exactly half would go on either door, and they’d meet up in the middle. Since this ship is a very specific (and strange) shape, we had Atasha purchase the exact Serenity shape from the Cricut website.

Above the chest freezer, we’d reserved a big section of wall for an 8-bit Link from The Legend of Zelda. “8-bit” refers to the 8-bit colour graphics from the ’80s that made everything look pixelated.

We need almost 200 individual squares of vinyl to put this guy together. Surprisingly, though, it was easier to do than the remote. I just drew a straight pencil line on the wall so I could align the first row, and breezed along from there.

I left a tiny gap between each square so it would have that pixelated look, and kept referring to my original sketch so I knew where to put each colour. (Up close, it was just a blur of orange, green and yellow.)

When the squares were all up, I used skinny strips of black vinyl to do a border all the way around Link. Since you can cut vinyl easily with regular scissors, I just hand-cut these as I needed them. It actually made made me want to buy sheets of vinyl and just mess around with cutting out my own shapes.

My neighbours are really happy with how their new games room is turning out. They’ve bought gorgeous white Ikea cabinets and shelving to display their collectables, and we’re already thinking of designing an 8-bit Super Mario graphic for another wall, along with maybe a Firefly quote.

I still don’t have a Cricut machine of my own, but who knows if I’ll break down and buy one. It’s pretty addictive when you start thinking of the creations you can make with one.

Except, knowing me, I’d go full-on obsessed and start Cricut-ing everything in sight! I hope the kids like seeing their names in sparkly vinyl on everything they own.

Heather Laura Clarke is a crafty maker who perpetually has paint smears on her hands, sawdust in her shoes and bits of thread stuck to her leggings. She lives in Truro with her husband, son, and daughter. Follow her adventures at HeathersHandmadeLife.com.

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