Dream Catcher! Applying Vinyl to Canvas
The Ojibwe people were the first to make dream catchers. They believed that dream catchers could change a person’s dreams, allowing only good dreams to filter through the web like design. The dream catcher net would hold any bad dreams until the light of day, when they would disappear. While dream catchers don’t necessarily look like they did originally, they are still widely used, especially in children’s rooms to help children sleep peacefully.
I designed this dream catcher file and made a few paintings for my kids rooms to help ward off bad dreams. Let’s take a look at the file and then I will share with you how I made two projects with just one 12×12″ sheet of vinyl:
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I designed this file so the dream catcher is a continuous shape, which means that the cut image can be pulled up all in one piece. I used this to my advantaged and used the positive and the negative of the design to make two separate projects.
I decided to paint a sparkly dream catcher with a goodnight saying for my daughter. I used the negative of the dream catcher as a stencil to paint in all the details. I used the positive of the design to make another dream catcher project for my son too, you can see his project here.
Both of these projects were done on canvas. It can be a little hard to get vinyl to stick to canvas, so I have a few pointers to share. While the canvas is stretched, giving you some tension, it does not have enough support to allow you to really press down to get your vinyl to adhere to the surface. One thing you can do to help with this is to give your canvas a temporary hard backing. To give my canvas a hard back, I used a piece of scrap wood. This is just a section of standard board you can get in any hardware store that I cut a piece off of. You could also use a stack of paper or anything else that fits inside the insert of your canvas:
For this project, I wanted the words to be white so I used the vinyl as a stencil and decided to preserve the white canvas for the white lettering.
I used my Cameo to design the words for this project. I cut them out, weeded them and then transferred them to the canvas with transfer paper. Next I used my Scraper Tool to burnish the vinyl onto the canvas:
With the piece of wood under the canvas, I had the support I needed to really rub the vinyl onto the canvas.
Next, I removed the transfer paper by folding the transfer paper back over on itself and pressing down on the vinyl as I went.
To really make my vinyl stick, I heated it up using my embossing gun (a blow dryer would work as well). Your goal is to lightly heat the vinyl and press it into the canvas with your hand as you go. I heated small sections and pressed it into the canvas. If you can start to see the texture of the canvas through the vinyl, you are doing it right! But use caution, vinyl can melt and fine lines can melt curl onto themselves. Light heat is all that is needed.
To ensure the crispest of paint lines, I painted over all the words with white paint. This way, if the paint does bleed under the vinyl, it will be the same color as the canvas. Just a light coat of paint will do:
I did a cross hatch pattern over all of my words:
Once the white paint dried, I painted the whole canvas with a light gray paint. When the gray paint was dry, I peeled up all the words using a hook tool and a pair of tweezers. Look at those crisp paint lines:
Next, I added in the NEGATIVE of my Dream Catcher Design to the left of the words:
To pick up just the negative of the dream catcher, I weeded the positive of the dream catcher by peeling it up all at once and used it on another project (you can see it here). The negative of the design was left over once I did that, so I trimmed closely around the design and lined it up with the canvas and words. I used transfer paper to move it over to the canvas and applied it using the same technique I used for the words.
Next, I painted the dream catcher using some fun paints my daughter choose:
It’s okay to be a little messy here, the vinyl is acting as a stencil.
As a final step, I painted over the entire dream catcher with glitter paint to give it sparkle!
Once the paint was dry, I peeled off the vinyl:
It is now hanging by my daughters bed, here’s to sweet dreams!
If you wanted to add vinyl to canvas and NOT use it as a stencil, you can certainly do that as well. No need to “seal” the vinyl afterwards. Actually, I would recommend to NOT seal it as sealants may cause the vinyl to curl or warp. Just leave the vinyl as is and you should be fine!