SignCut Blog | Christmas Lantern | Creativity | Christmas Decoration

Christmas Lantern

Creativity, Vinyl Cutting

Decorating for Christmas?
Check out this do-it-yourself Christmas lantern to cosy up and warm your home for the holidays.

To get started, gather all the supplies needed and download the files here and unzip.
Supplies needed:

1. Carrier mat with low tack adhesive if you wish to cut your vinyl on a mat. Otherwise, you can cut from larger pieces without a carrier mat.

2. 45-degree blade.

3. Lantern. The glass size measures 16 cm wide by 34.5 cm high, but the design can be adapted to suit other sizes.

4. Vinyl – black, dark green, red and silver. Or choose your own selection for the baubles and greeting. A4 sheets will be plenty large enough unless you have an extremely large lantern.

5. Transfer tape.

6. Tweezers with needle-sharp points or a weeding tool.

What to do.

1. For this project we will start with the baubles.scpro2 in SignCut.

2. When you have two or more colours that need to be aligned in position to each other, it is much easier to use alignment marks than to try to do it just by guessing the correct position.

Using alignment marks gives accuracy both quickly and easily. To access the alignment marks tool click on the alignment marks icon on the left-hand toolbar  – 1.

On the right-hand side, the bar will change to give an explanation of each tool available and the bottom toolbar will show each of these tools

Click on the bottom icon for adding a free alignment mark – 2.

3. Click in each of the four corners and a diamond shape will be added, these are your alignment marks.

Note: These must always be added with all the colours selected as they will then be cut with each individual colour.

4. Click on the silver box to select the silver-coloured objects. Note the alignment marks are still present. 

5. The objects are complex in shape and to weed (remove) the excess vinyl around the shapes can be difficult as larger pieces of vinyl get stuck together. To avoid this, we can use weeding lines.

To access the weeding tools, click on the weeding icon on the left-hand toolbar – 1.

In the bottom toolbar, click on the icon for adding horizontal weeding lines – 2.

Click in a couple of places to divide up the vinyl.

Once you have placed the horizontal weeding lines, it is time to place vertical ones. Click on the icon on the bottom toolbar for adding a vertical weeding line.

Then click in a couple of places to add the vertical weeding lines.

6. Once done, click on the scissor icon on the left-hand toolbar to bring up the Cut Out window.

In the cutout preview, you will see both the alignment marks and the weeding lines along with the objects to cut.

Then place your silver vinyl in the cutter and click on Cut Out.

7. Next, replace the silver vinyl with the red. Click on the red box to select the red objects.

Note that although the alignment marks remain in place, the weeding lines don’t as the design is different for each colour.

With just three very simple shapes, it is not necessary to add any weeding lines here, although you may do so if you wish. Click the scissor icon to cut the design.

8. Next, it is time to cut out the pine branch. Open the file pine.scpro2.

Then add alignment marks with all colours selected.

9. Place the black vinyl in the cutter. Click on the black box to select the black objects, add weeding lines and cut out.

10. Replace the black vinyl with green. Click on the green box to select the green objects, add weeding lines and cut out.

11. If you wish to use the greeting Merry Christmas as we do in this example, then open the file Merry Christmas.scpro2.

Add weeding lines and cut out from the silver vinyl.

If you want to use a different word, or maybe a relative, we have added an additional file – names and greetings.scpro2.

You can, of course, create something yourself too but if you choose the word you want by click on the matching colour box – 1.

Make sure you have optimised area selected – 2. Add weeding lines if you wish and cut out.

Assembling the design

12. Take the silver vinyl with the bauble designs.

We recommend using very sharp tweezers to weed with.

Carefully remove the excess vinyl making sure not to lift any of the design or the alignment marks.

13. Once you have finished the weeding you will be left with your objects and the four diamond-shaped alignment marks.

14. Repeat with the red vinyl.

15. Repeat again with the black, green and the remaining silver vinyl.

16. Now you have 5 separate pieces of vinyl which need to be combined to create the finished design.

17. To place each piece of the design onto the glass by peeling it from its backing paper would be impossible, the vinyl will stretch out of shape and stick and make a complete mess. Instead, there is an in-between stage using transfer tape, so-called because it is used to transfer the vinyl from its backing sheet to the desired surface. A transparent transfer tape is best as it allows you to see the alignment marks for positioning the different layers together.

Starting with the green vinyl, cut a piece of transfer tape large enough to cover the design and alignment marks. Place over the top of the vinyl and slowly let it down to cover all the design.

Once in place, rub firmly over the surface to make sure the vinyl is stuck to the transfer tape.

18. Remove the transfer tape and vinyl from the backing.

We find it easier if you turn the sheet over and peel the backing paper away from the rest rather than trying to peel the transfer tape and vinyl away from the backing paper. Try both ways and see which you find easiest. Keep the angle of the backing paper as low as you can and it will make the job easier.

19. Next, take the black vinyl and place the green vinyl and transfer tape on top of the black. This is where the alignment marks are used.

Make sure that each diamond is correctly placed on its matching counterpart and the two layers will line up perfectly without any measuring.

20. Rub firmly again and then peel away from the backing.

And because the black vinyl is larger than the green, you won’t see the two colours at this stage.

21. Take the silver bauble design, cover with transfer tape and remove from the backing paper. This now needs to be lined up on the red vinyl.

22. Use the alignment marks to make sure the two layers are accurately positioned.

23. Peel away from the backing paper.

And repeat with the greeting.

24. You should now have the three separate pieces: the baubles, the pine branch and the greeting. Remove all alignment marks as you don’t want them on your lantern.

25. Very gently (because you do not want the pieces to stick together) lay them on top of each other to make sure they fir together and within the area of your glass.

26. Most lanterns allow for the glass to be removed as they have little metal tabs that can be bent out to release the glass. Usually, you can just bend the top ones and then slide the glass out. It is much easier to work with the glass removed and flat on a desk than to leave it in the lantern.

27. Take the transfer tape with the baubles and place it in position on the sheet of glass from your lantern. Rub down firmly to make sure the vinyl sticks well to the glass.

28. Carefully peel away the transfer tape. Again, we suggest keeping the angle of the tape low as it is less likely you pull the vinyl up than if you hold the transfer tape up and pull it away vertically.

29. Next, take the pine and place in position making sure that your baubles look as though they are attached to the tree.

30. Peel away the transfer tape as before.

31. Add the greeting and remove the transfer tape from that too.

32. At this stage, we like to be certain that the vinyl is all well stuck down. In order to do this, place a piece of card over the top and rub firmly on that. If you rub directly on the vinyl you may catch the edges and pull it up.

33. Place the glass back in the lantern, make sure you bend the metal tabs back into position to keep the glass secure and your lantern is now ready to use or to give as a gift to someone you like.

Express Your Creativity!

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