Having a handmade business that has to run out of a tiny little home office means that space is a premium resource. I hang scissors on the insides of my desk cabinets and creatively fold fabric to make it fit in tiny places. But one hard thing as I got busier and busier was the space to cut my pillows, especially when I need to cut in bulk. I now have to keep pillow blanks on hand to fill orders quickly enough, so cutting in bulk is my only options these days.
I need to cut a length of 37″ for each pillow but my cutting mat only goes to 22″ and finagling with a tape measure was cumbersome and not particularly expedient. So, I got the idea to put a ruler on my desk using my Silhouette Cameo, the inspiration being those adorable rulers people make to measure their kids.
So, without further ado, here’s a lovely and simple DIY desk ruler:
I started with a template file that is available for free on Silhouette School’s blog.
I measured the length I wanted it, which turned out to be an odd 59 inches because inch 60 is the edge of the desk.
I then opened my design software and loaded up the file. I then deleted the numbers they included to measure in feet and changed them so that they measured inches. I also lined it up to cut along the endge, rather than down the center of my roll of vinyl to save on waste.
I changed my settings so that the width of my design software to 65 inches to give me wiggleroom because I’m always paranoided that I’m off somewhere and loaded my roll of vinyl into my Cameo.
Once the cutting was finished I trimmed off my cut both from the roll and also for the unused portion of vinyl. Then weeded my design. I personally use Cricut brand tools because they were on sale for cheap.
Now onto applying the vinyl to the desk! And here’s how to do that like a pro! (Or an amateur who can fool their friends).
First, make sure you weeded everything that is not supposed to be part of the final design.
Then, clean your desk or surface with some rubbing alcohol and allow to dry (this is not for painted surfaces, if they are painted, rubbing alcohol might be a bad idea). I grabbed hydrogen peroxide because I wasn’t paying attention so we’ll see how mine ends up sticking long term…
Cut your transfer paper to size and begin smoothing the air bubbles out. I personally use clear contact paper instead of transfer paper because it’s much cheaper and works just as well. All you need to do is stick it to your shirt once or twice first to decrease the tack a bit.
I recommend smoothing with a firm pressure, in multiple angles. If you don’t have a handy tool like mine, you can use a credit card, just don’t accidentally break it!
Once it looks nice and air bubble free, gently peel back the contact paper to remove the vinyl from the removable backing.
Make sure you have marked your starting spot on the table and line everything up mentally, and eyeballing it with the length of contact paper NOT touching down yet.
When sure, begin on one end of the table (that starting mark) and lay down a few inches at a time, smoothing with your hand as you go.
Once you have the length down, go back over and smooth with your tool again. Make sure all the edges are down and there are no air bubbles below your vinyl.
Now you just need to gently pull back the contact paper. Do this slowly to catch any bits that might need an extra rub down to stay in place.
And you are left with a great ruler to help you measure those long cuts, quickly measure scraps or whatever else you can measure. I use it constantly now and rarely have to pull my tape out for little things anymore.
What would you use a desk ruler for?
Do you have any vinyl application tips to add?