Monday, February 18, 2013

12 Nursery: You Are My Sunshine

Every night when I was a little girl my mom always sang "You Are My Sunshine to Me" before bedtime.  It was our special little moment before dream time.

So I knew I wanted to bring "You Are My Sunshine" into baby girl's nursery somehow!  I thought I'd take a stab at the vinyl-letter-on-canvas pins that you always see on Pinterest.  The basic concept is that you cut out letters, adhere them to the canvas, paint over the canvas, peel away the letters, and voila - work of art!

Cost of this project was basically $0 - meaning I didn't have to go out and buy anything new for it.  I had a two-pack of blank 16x20 canvases in the basement we'd picked up on sale a long time ago and never used. I had all the paint I needed.  I was actually going to go buy contact paper instead of using vinyl, but I had a bunch of pieces of scrap wall vinyl from creating the "Glory, Glory" wall art in our basement.  The pieces were all too small to really be used for any wall art in the future, so I went ahead and used them.

The first step was figuring out WHAT the lettering was going to look like.  I wasn't a fan of just using one plain font and having the words written out.  That's too boring!  I also didn't want it to just be 2 colors and all the words be white.

So in Adobe Illustrator, I picked my 3 favorite fonts and laid out the idea on a 16" x 20" digital workspace.  This helped me to make sure all my letters would be the exact right size once I cut them out using my Cricut.

I picked two words (sunshine & happy) to have a different color than the rest of the words.  Those seem like two appropriate words that you'd want to stand out, right?

Laying words all out in Illustrator first made it a breeze

I cut out all the words onto the vinyl, and stuck them on the canvas, except for the words sunshine & happy. There were a few stubborn letters that wouldn't stick all the way down to the canvas, and I worried about how they would turn out.  I read a few blogs before starting this project and found a few where moms had their children help create art this way, and their children were so rough on the canvas it completely obliterated the vinyl lettering.  So lesson learned.  Since some of my letters were not stuck completely, I just made a mental note to be extra gentle when painting around those letters.

I left off the words sunshine and happy so they would be different colors
First I painted the entire canvas yellow, then let it dry.  This was an annoying part.  I'm used to pulling out my hair dryer and expediting this process, but I was too worried of the affect of the hot air on the vinyl lettering to do this.  I'm not sure if it was really necessary to paint the entire canvas, or if I should have only painted the area where "sunshine" goes, but I didn't want to get to the last coat of blue and have strange uneven areas showing through where the base was different colors.

After waiting (forever) for it to dry, I stuck the word "sunshine" onto the canvas, since it is the word I wanted to be in yellow, and painted everything pink.  Now repeat.  Let dry, stick on the word happy, and paint the entire canvas blue.

Now here's the part that one blog said you would like if you were the kid who was fascinated by peeling Elmer's glue off your hand in elementary school (guilty).  After the last coat is completely dry, pull off all your vinyl lettering and admire your work!

Some of the the thinner letters (sun, when, and only) did have some issues where the paint had leaked under the lettering.  Some white paint touch up fixed it though!

My singing voice isn't any better than my mom's, but hopefully baby girl enjoys hearing "You Are My Sunshine" sung to her every night as much as I did!


  1. Very cool project! I stumbled onto your blog from iheartorganizing, and I read a few posts to find this! I do a bit of vinyl work (with a Cameo instead of a Cricut), and I think I'm going to give something like this a go! Thanks for the tutorial!

  2. Thanks! It seems as the possibilities are endless with these cutting machines. I clicked over to your blog from your link and saw what you did with the hearts & little girl with an umbrella silhouette. Looks awesome!

  3. This is so cute! I too am expecting a little one, and I'd love to make something like this for his room.

  4. Do you still have this saved on Abode Illustrator? I love how the fonts you chose and how you laid it out!

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