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Think Outside...

Updated: Apr 17

I had a customer reach out to have a couple of custom camping night lights done. I was super excited to hear this because they always have some of the best ideas. The first one they wanted to say, "Think Outside", "No Box Required". Now, I don't know why, but the entire duration of working on this project, I just could not say the first part without my brain having to finish the phrase in my head, "The Box". When it makes your brain stop and think for a second, you know you've picked a clever winner. Hahaha

For this project I gathered my supplies....

  • 5 gallon buckets with lids

  • Puck Lights with remotes

  • Cutting Machine

  • Permanent Vinyl

  • Cutting Mat

  • Transfer Tape

  • Weeding Tool

  • Lint Roller

  • Scraper/Squeegee

  • Way to measure and cut vinyl & transfer tape

First I set out to find the perfect layout and design that would fit in my required measurements of 10 inches wide by 10.5 inches tall for the bucket. After a few hours of trying to find the perfect camper to go with this outdoor theme I gave up in frustration as each camper just wasn't perfect enough. The reason being this customer doesn't have a 5th wheel or even a travel trailer. They have a destination trailer. Each time I envisioned these night lights sitting out in the yard or on the deck I just thought it wouldn't seem right. So I found a picture of their actual destination trailer and went to work. It was an exciting challenge. I had to take a jpeg file and convert it into a cutting file and lose all the color and then make it look essentially, 3D. Once I got it to how I thought it should look I got busy creating their campsite to go with the trailer. I'm pretty excited as to how this turned out. Now, onto the cutting machine!

I took out my permanent vinyl and measured 10.5 inches in length and cut it. I then placed placed the vinyl on my cutting mat. Make sure the vinyl is on the top before cutting and the image is not being mirrored.

Once the machine is done cutting grab your weeding tool and lint roller. Set the lint roller off the side close by within reach. I have learned the easiest way to weed permanent vinyl is by leaving the vinyl on the sticky cutting mat while you are weeding it. When you are lifting out the teeny tiny pieces, use the lint roller to stick them to. You'll thank me later for that trick. It's a life saver for sure!

Once you've weeded out your image grab your transfer tape. I use a high tack transfer tape to hold my vinyl securely. Measure your transfer tape to fit over the complete image. Carefully remove the backing of the transfer tape and place the transfer tape over your vinyl image while it's still on the cutting mat. Use your scraper/squeegee and burnish the transfer tape onto the vinyl image. Be sure to get out any bubbles or wrinkles in the transfer tape. Once you've got all the air pockets out, turn your cutting mat face down and carefully remove your cutting mat from your vinyl. Tip: Remember to remove the mat from the vinyl not the vinyl from the mat. This will help prevent curling your vinyl.

Next, grab your bucket and get ready to place your image.

Go ahead then and remove the backing from the permanent vinyl. Carefully find the center of the bucket and begin to place the permanent vinyl. Start at the top center working your way from the top down and outward. Once you have placed your image, leave the transfer tape one while you use the scraper/burnishing tool to burning the vinyl image to the bucket. Be sure to push out any creases and/or air pockets that may have formed while placing the image.

Once you get all the wrinkles, creases and air pockets out of the image and transfer tape, carefully lift the transfer tape to leave the image behind on the bucket surface. If the image lifts, then you just didn't do enough burnishing. Burnish until only the transfer tape lifts.

Once your image is left on the bucket, place your puck light inside the bucket and enjoy your new night light! Hook and loop tape works great to secure your light to the inside of the bucket so it doesn't slide and bang around.



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