Nuts about You mug

Hi everyone!  It’s Hybrid Monday and time for another project using Deena’s designs.  The best part about creating hybrid projects is the opportunity to create home decor and gift items using those same designs that are used for scrapbook and project life pages.  I love seeing the gift recipient’s reaction when I tell her that I made the item in her hands.

Today, I’m going to show you how to create a one of a kind coffee or tea mug using Deena’s Scenic Route cutting files vol. 2 that is not only perfect for gift giving, but it’s also perfect to keep for yourself!

Deena Rutter's Scenic Route cutting files vol. 2

squirrel mug

Nuts about you mug

Let’s gather the supplies you are going to need:

  • Scenic Route cutting files vol. 2
  • plain white mug (mine is from the local dollar store)
  • Silhouette Cameo
  • Silhouette Studio
  • Oracal 651 vinyl – I used brown, light brown, and pink
  • clear, adhesive contact paper (from the dollar store)
  • scraping tool (mine was included when I purchased my Silhouette)
  • font of choice – I used Cooper Black
  • pin – to weed out the small, unneeded pieces of vinyl from the inside of the letters
  • measuring tape
  • Photoshop elements (optional)

First, you will need to measure the area on the mug where you want to apply your vinyl.  It really is a personal preference on this part.  My area measured 4 and 1/2 inches wide by 2 and 1/2 inches tall.  I wanted to stay away from the area where someone’s lips would rest on the rim and I also wanted to stay away from the part of the mug that tapers down and in.  I decided to put the squirrels on one side and the wordart on the other.

In Photoshop, I created the wording “Nuts about you” for the mug.  Again, just a personal preference and a program that I’m more familiar with than Silhouette Studio.  I used the font Cooper Black.  I used the eraser tool to remove the “o” from the word “you” so that I could replace it with a heart.  The heart is just a basic brush included in the Photoshop brushes on a separate layer.


If you’d like the “nuts about you” silhouette studio file I created, you can grab it HERE.  (personal use only, do not sell this design)

Once I was happy with the wording, I hid the heart layer and saved the wordart I created as a .png file (a file with a transparent background).  Then, I hid the wordart layer and saved the heart as a .png file.  Both files will be able to be opened in my Silhouette Studio program and cut from vinyl.

After opening the acorn and squirrel cutting files in Silhouette Studio, I realized the acorn was a single shape and I was envisioning a two-color acorn – dark brown cap on a light brown nut – for my mug, so I had to do some editing to Deena’s sweet little acorn file.

In order to get the two colored acorn, I went back to Photoshop and, as shown below, used my selection tool to section off the top part of the acorn from the bottom part.  After selecting copy, I hit delete the remove the top of the acorn and then selected paste to put the top of the acorn back in place but on a separate layer.

creating the acorn

I hid the top of the acorn and saved the bottom as a .png file.  Unhide the top and hide the bottom of the acorn and save as a separate .png file.

In Silhouette Studio, I opened Deena’s squirrel svg files.  I had to play around with the sizes of the squirrels a bit to fit both in the area on one side of the mug.  I also needed to make sure I left room between them for the top part of the acorn which was going to be cut from the same dark brown as the squirrels.

The squirrels were just about ready to cut from vinyl but the acorn cap wasn’t.  I needed just the outline of the acorn cap.  After choosing the “open trace window” in Silhouette Studio, I choose “select trace area” and dragged a box around the cap as shown below.

tracing cap

Choosing the option “trace outer edge” gave me the red cut lines I needed around the acorn cap, but it also put red trace lines on the face and arms of the squirrels (which I didn’t want).  Being a total newbie to the Silhouette, I wondered how in the world was I going to get rid of the extra red lines.  Using the eraser tool erased lines that I did not want to erase.  So, I just randomly clicked on the red lines of one of the faces and it selected just those particular red lines.  I hit the “cut” button (it looks like a pair of scissors) on the toolbar and they were gone!  I was so relieved to have figured that one out quickly!!!

rid of extra red lines

Whew!  Crisis averted!!  After clicking on the solid acorn cap image and dragging it off the mat, I was ready to cut my squirrels and acorn top from the brown vinyl.

Once again, I chose the “open trace window” in Silhouette Studio, and then “select trace area” and dragged a box around the squirrels.  This time, I needed more than just the outer edge of my image traced – I needed the squirrels’ eyes to be cut also so I chose “trace” with the settings shown below which put a red trace line around my squirrels, acorn cap and the eyes.

trace settings

I cut a piece of 3 inch x 5 inch piece of dark brown vinyl and lined it up on the squares of the cutting mat that matched the onscreen cutting mat behind my squirrels.

vinyl on mat

After loading my mat into my machine, it was time to cut!  I clicked on the Silhouette Cut Settings button on the toolbar (it looks like a pencil to me! LOL)  and then I chose the medium I was cutting (vinyl), made sure the cutting mat option was checked and, finally, that my blade was set on the recommended settings.  Hit the cut button.

vinyl cut settingsOnce that part was done cutting and unloaded from my machine, I gently removed the entire piece of vinyl from the cutting mat and set it aside.

Following the same steps as listed above, I opened my wordart file in Studio, opened the trace window, selected the trace area by dragging a box around the wordart, and uncheck high pass filter, check low pass filter with a setting of 2.00.  Select “trace” to get a outline (including the inside of the letters a, b, and o) of the wordart.  Grab the solid, filled in wordart and drag it off the mat.  We don’t need it.

ready to cut letters

Position another 3 inch by 5 inch piece of vinyl on the cutting mat, select the Silhouette Cut Settings button on the toolbar, double check the settings and hit the cut button.  Once the machine is finished tracing the wordart on vinyl, gently remove the vinyl from the mat and set aside.

Follow the above steps to cut the heart from a pink piece of vinyl and the bottom of the acorn from a light brown piece of vinyl.  Set aside.

note:  Before cutting the bottom of the acorn, I reduced the size by 90% so that the acorn had more definition to it.

We’re almost ready to apply the vinyl to our mug.  But first, we need to “weed” our designs.  Weeding simply means removing the centers of the letters and the squirrel eyes.   The sihouette comes with a weeding tool that resembles the pick used by a dentist.  I use a sewing pin to gently stab and remove the centers.

Starting with the vinyl with the squirrels, apply a similar sized piece of clear contact paper to the top.  Before applying the contact paper, apply it to a cotton tshirt to remove some of the tack.

note:  cheap contact paper from the dollar store works best as it does what it is suppose to (pick up the vinyl that is being applied) and it releases easily from the vinyl once it’s attached to the project.

Once the contact paper is applied to the front of the vinyl, use the scraper tool to burnish the top of the contact paper.

contact paper and scraper

Burnishing is like scraping ice off the windshield.  You need to use pressure and short strokes.  This step will make it easy to remove the unwanted vinyl around the design and also help the wanted wordart vinyl to stay on the contact paper when you are removing the excess vinyl.

Gently remove the white paper backing from the vinyl.  Make sure that all the vinyl stays attached to the contact paper.  If not, put the paper back in place and burnish some more.  Once all of the white backing is removed, begin peeling the excess, outer vinyl away from the design.  Be careful not to let the excess vinyl touch any part of the design you are going to apply or it will stick to your design and make it unusable.

Apply the squirrels to one side of the mug.  I eyeball the position above the surface of the mug before letting the vinyl touch the mug in the center and then work my way out from the center applying the design.  Take your time and keep a small pair of scissors handy.  If it looks like the design may pucker, sometimes snipping slits in the contact paper allows for better manipulation and application of the design without puckers.

Here is the wordart being transferred to the mug with the clear contact paper.

letters applied

note:  you can also cut apart the design and apply it in several different pieces if working on a difficult shaped surface or even just to make it easier on yourself.

Smoothe the vinyl down and gently peel off the contact paper.  Rub the design to make sure it’s attached.

To finish this side of the mug, repeat the above process for the acorn bottom.  Use the same steps listed above to add the wordart and pink heart on the other side of the mug.

Once my mug was finished, I decided I needed a little bow on the female squirrel do I simply cut two small triangles from a scrap piece of pink vinyl and used the clear contact paper to transfer it to my squirrel’s head.

squirrel mug

Nuts about you mug

Overall, the project itself took about a half hour to design, cut and apply to the mug.  To make the process even quicker, I could have lined up all the designs to be cut on the Studio cutting mat on my computer screen and then put the colored pieces of vinyl on the coordinating squares of my cutting mat.  Instead, I did it section by section.

I hope you understood the steps I shared with you for creating and cutting a design to apply to a mug/cup.  If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below and I’ll try my best to answer them!


2 Replies to “Nuts about You mug”

  1. I just LOVE this to death LuAnn! I’ve been wanting to try out vinyl but I haven’t been able to pick any up yet. This just solidifies my need to get it now!

  2. Hello!
    I’ve been looking for the Scenic Route cutting files vol. 2 but all the links on this webpage or any other webpage show 404 Error.
    Would you help me please?
    Thank you so much!

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