Metal Etched Wedding Place Cards with the Silhouette Curio

Have the invitations started pouring in at your house too?  It’s beginning to look a lot like wedding season around here!  Friends of mine, a beautiful couple, are tying the knot this fall and I offered to help them with a few handmade touches for their “simply elegant” wedding.

Custom place settings were at the top of their list, so I provided them with a few different options based on their somewhat nautical color scheme (navy, white, and copper).  These pretty watercolor printables and engraved copper place cards were one of their favorite options, but since we’ll be changing some of the elements before the big day they agreed to let me share them now!

Setting Up The Designs For Etching

I started out my design process by choosing a font to fit the look of the ceremony and reception, which my friends describe as simple but elegant.  Grassy Meadow is a great font because it’s got that trendy hand-lettered feel…it’s not formal calligraphy, but it’s still pretty and scripty.  I typed out a few sample names spaced far enough apart to create more than one tag.

To ensure a smooth and continuous etch of the designs, each name was then selected and welded by opening the Modify Window and clicking “Weld”.

I swathed each name with a simple flourish design on each side like this one and lengthened the flourishes just a bit for longer names.  To center the text evenly within the flourish bracket, open the Align Window, select all parts of the design, and click on “Align Center”.

You’ll next apply an “emboss effect” to your designs…otherwise only the outline of each will be etched.  Open the Emboss Menu (arrow 1), click on Emboss/Deboss (arrow 2), and select an effect (arrow 3).  I chose “Concentric” to fill in my images and lowered the spacing (arrow 4) as low as it would go to get the most amount of fill possible (0.004 inches).

Etching Your Designs

When you open the Cut Settings Menu, you’ll notice that you need to select which tool slot you’ll be using in the Curio’s dual carriage.  Click on “Tool 1” and select “Metal Etching Sheet” as your material type (red arrow).  The software will tell you the appropriate platform configuration to use with your material.

In this case, I used two 2mm platforms and the Curio Embossing Mat under my metal etching sheet.  Click “Send to Silhouette” once you have loaded the base into the machine and have placed the Curio Etching Tool into the appropriate slot.

For these samples, I used half of a copper metal etching sheet (Silhouette calls this “gold”, but it skews coppery) that I had left over from another project.  When the Curio has finished etching, remove the sheet from the embossing mat and wipe any etching dust off with a synthetic chamois (this will brighten the etched design considerably).

Creating Metal Etched Place Cards

Don’t be afraid to trim your metal etching sheets into simple shapes!  I simply cut the designs apart with a guillotine paper trimmer (you may need to manhandle it, but my Martha Stewart trimmer worked just fine), snipped the top corners off with an ordinary pair of scissors, and punched a hole in them with a Crop-A-Dile.

I created a sample menu using some of the gorgeous watercolor printables from Angie Makes in the Silhouette Design Store (Flower Laurel and Flower Bunch) and the Grassy Meadow and Jess fonts.  Once I had tucked the menu into the napkin, I secured the bunch with a simple bow of navy satin ribbon after adding my metal etched place card.

My friends loved how elegant and unexpected these metal etched place cards were…so although we’ll be tweaking the designs a bit over the next few months, this element was definitely a winner for them!  Will you be customizing wedding decor with one of your Silhouette machines this year?

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