south carolina beach trays

time to break out the trays one more time for the summer. this time we are headed for the BEACH. of all the trips we have done this summer, this is the one that i am most looking forward to. the beach is where i can truly relax. it's not a very crowded beach, i can sit in a chair under the umbrella, read and still be able to keep an eye on the boys. the boys love the pool at the cond. it has a lazy river and a sinking submarine that is in the shallow section. each annual trip to the beach as the boys get bigger, gets better, things become even more relaxed and we have no timetable or plans ahead of time. we wing it. litchfield, sc here we come!

the trays have held up well with all the travel. after the FL trip they came home with crayon on them. after i peeled back the design i was them off with a magic eraser. once clean we were ready to roll again.

this sc design is the last one that i am partnering with expressions vinyl on. i have had so much fun working with them over the summer. they have amazing customer service and a fantastic product. i have been nothing but happy working with them. you can see some other designs that i created with their products on my etsy site.

we actually are going back to FL and disney in the fall, so i wanted to make sure that i was able to save the FL design. using the transfer tape i was able to peel back the design and save it. the first thing you do is cover the design with the transfer tape, burnish it down and slow peel it back. you have to use some tools or your fingernail to get it started. once it clings onto the tape you are in business. 

work slowly and from a strong edge

work slowly and from a strong edge

cover with the back of the transfer tape and store. i tape the edges so that it stays flat.

cover with the back of the transfer tape and store. i tape the edges so that it stays flat.

after the design is off, i cleaned the tray, wiped it dry and was ready for the new design. because we are staying in SC, i decided not to carry on the state design, instead i went with icons of all the things that we would do and see while we were at the beach. it's a good idea to save your working files in the silhouette studio application, that way you aren't redrawing similar things. for example, i used the alligator and house that made for the PA tray again in this design.

i started with the house as the hub of the design. 

remember to use the transfer tape when you have multiple pieces. 

remember to use the transfer tape when you have multiple pieces. 

after the house which i reused from the PA tray, i got to work on the second most important feature, the submarine at the pool. the boys absolutely love to play there. it's a yellow sub with a fun color scheme. although, it's yellow in the design i used green so that it would stand out again the yellow tray. here's a little insight on how i make the icons. i first start off drawing in illustrator.

once i have it drawn out the way i like it, i "save for web or device" this gives you the option then to save it as a .png file which is what the silhouette studio application wants.

once saved as the .pgn you can then open it in silhouette, trace it, size it, and cut it. pretty simple after you figure out all the steps. no one ever taught me how to do any of this, it's all been trial and error.

next i worked on the bike, it's definitely a favorite activity on the beach trip. we ride down to huntington state park and see all the birds, alligators, the historical house and beaches. it's so amazing. with the bike icon i used silver (metallic). it's one of my favorites. gives a design some pop.

next up was a stylized golf ball. this is something new on our trip. we played last year but with the boys another year older it will be even better. i used all circles to create this. so easy to do. 

perhaps a bit difficult to see but all the small dots are held into place with the transfer tape, lay that on top to of the larger circle and you have a golfball.

perhaps a bit difficult to see but all the small dots are held into place with the transfer tape, lay that on top to of the larger circle and you have a golfball.

then i added the red bucket and shovel. it worked out well since the negative space has a yellow background, it looks like sand. 

i then recycled my alligator from the PA trip and added that on. 

this year we are doing something new. we are going on a dolphin watch. this makes me a little nervous. the boys are so little compared to the great big ocean. but they are super excited so i am not going to let my fears scare them. there is also no guarantee on the sightings. this company, Blue Wave Adventures do not feed the dolphins or chase them in any way. so seeing them seems that much more special. kudos to them for understand that wild animals should stay wild! even when it might mean unsatisfied customers.

i added a dolphin and some recycled waves from the FL tray design. that completed the design for the beach trip.

it's a fun tray, something new and different to entertain the boys on this trip. i also filled the pockets with beach related color pages and word finds.

i hope that you have enjoyed the summer tray series. as i head back to school myself, work here usually slows down but i hope to keep sharing projects with you throughout the year.

florida travel trays

it's about time to pack the car again! thankfully this trip i am not driving alone with the boys. they did amazing last trip. our drive back to SC from PA went from a 9 hr drive to an almost 12 hr drive. still they did great. i couldn't wait to get out of the car.

this trip, my hubby get to go to a conference in orlando and the boys and i are tagging along. we get to have fun all day while he works all day. way to take one for the team, honey! the boys have no idea that we are going to disney. 

the travel trays to PA held up great. d pulled his text off before we even left the driveway i think. but lesson learned, it was too thin, it didn't have enough surface tension so it didn't stay put. they used their trays for their games, iPad, and snacks. this trip, the "pockets" of the trays will be filled with all kinds of fun disney related things.

so this blog is to show the change over of the locations. my main focus is how to save the old design with the transfer tape from expressions vinyl. i get to team up with them again on this project. (BTW, they have gotten some new items products, like holographic heat transfer vinyl. i ordered some this week and i can't wait to play with it when it arrives.)

i started by cutting the transfer tape larger than my PA map. i peeled it apart. the sticky side has the grid on it and the back is slick. don't through away your backing paper. 

once apart, cover your original artwork and burnish the tape down, this will have it stick to all the little items and put them up.

then pick a side to start working from. i chose to save the type side for last. the reason for that is because the typography has less surface space is more likely to rip, it's the weaker side of the design so with more of the design pulled up on the tape from the other direction it will help the typography stay intact. you may want to use some tools for the pulling up. i used my fingernails, a brayer and a small crafting spatula.

in the beginning of the peel up you may have to help the design stick to the tape, once you get working you won't have to do that anymore.


and then you get to the other side and keep peeling.

in the image above, you can see the peel off is not perfect but this is what i really enjoy about working with vinyl. it's pretty forgiving. so i pulled up the corner and straightened them out. also you can see the counters to the letterforms didn't pull up either. so using my tools i pulled them up and flipped them upside down and placed them down on the tape. 

* please note, what appears to be wrinkles in the design really is not. when you pull the tape off it's backing it wrinkles and when your design is then places on it, the lighting makes it look like the wrinkles are on your design. it's not. 

once i have it all peeled off, smoothed out, counter letterform replace, i smooth it down on the backing paper of the transfer tape. you can see that the corners of the tape peel up. i used a little bit of scotch tape to keep it all together. i store mine in a flat file with something heavier on top of it. 

ok, moving on… the florida state design. i am not going to go into a huge amount of production detail on this one because i did that in the original PA state design. you can go back and reference that post if you need a refresher. the steps are all pretty much the same until we get to the popcorn icon. 

cut the silhouette out of florida on the  silhouette cameo.

cut the silhouette out of florida on the silhouette cameo.

marked the capital.

marked the capital.

then i start making my icons, we are going to see the mouse, of course, sea world, and legoland. my boys don't necessarily know the logos for any of the places we plan to visit. they do know the icons that i created as those places though.

in the creation of the lego, i used a positive/negative effect and because of that design used the transfer tape to keep all the pieces together. once it's cut, i flip the cutting mat upside down to help peel it off onto the transfer tape. then i remove the backing paper, flip the icon to the correct orientation and then place it on the design. once placed, i burnish it in permanent place. 

the next icon i worked on was the popcorn. popcorn? you may ask. well, it's only the best popcorn in the world! i was introduced to it by my friends, tracy and carla on our first trip down to disneyworld for our race. it's peterbrooke chocolate covered popcorn! i believe the first one we hit is in jacksonville, FL. so we will be stopping! POPCORN! yes, my boys know it because every time since that first race trip we have stopped and i have brought some home for them.

the popcorn icon needed to be outlined, against the yellow tray with a yellow vinyl it would have lacked detail. i first drew the popcorn with motion lines and the outline. i could have then divided the colors and cut the yellow but i decided that i could cut it by hand using the outline as the guide. 

after this step i place the outline popcorn down on the yellow vinyl and cut around the outline with sharp scissors. then i placed it all down on the design.

after the popcorn, i created the killer whale to represent sea world. i used the same method as i did for the popcorn. first i cut the black shapes and placed them on white vinyl then freehand cut the white vinyl to finish the shape of the whale. 

i finished up the design with the word "florida" and some waves, to help the boys see where we are going geographically. i made the word much bolder in this design hoping that it won't be peeled off again.

here it is, the final tray! now to fill it up with goodies. i found adorable mickey mouse cups for the cup holders, all kinds of disney activity books for the pockets and they each get a pair of mickey mouse crocs.

thanks for reading! have a magical day!

*i will be adding a few more images to this post as i get everything finished but i made some great new clothes for the boys, avengers and star wars as well as some new mickey items. don't forget to check out my etsy store. you can also get these tray designs there.