I’ve seen a lot of new split monogram designs floating around lately, so for today’s tutorial I wanted to show you how easy it is to make your own…well, these are split shapes, but you’d only need to trade out the shape for a letter of your choosing to make a split monogram. Of course, there are many ways to alter designs in this manner (like using the Knife Tool), but hopefully my method can help you figure out what’s easiest for you. With the “eating holidays” approaching, I’m just starting to make some new custom place setting pieces and these napkins will coordinate with projects I’ll be unveiling here and at the Silhouette blog in the coming weeks.
I always start by resizing my designs to fit the project…this helps me determine if a shape is too intricate for a certain purpose or if text will be sized appropriately. Here I’ve reduced my flourished leaf and snowflake designs to be a little over 2″ x 2″ to fit into the corner of my standard-sized napkins.
To make room for the personalization, I chose to draw a rectangle (1) about the size of the name I’d like to add and center it within my shape by clicking on Align Middle (2) in the Align Menu. I prefer to have my personalization centered, but you may like to shift it a bit upwards or downwards depending on the details of your particular shape.
We’ll be subtracting the rectangle from the design. If we had simply cut the design once with the Knife Tool, the leaf or snowflake would end up looking a little warped because inserting the name between the two pieces would result in a taller shape without compensating for the width. (You can just make two cuts with the Knife Tool to remove the center, but the rectangle makes it easier to visualize your final design.) To remove the rectangle from the design, open the Modify Window (1), select both the design and the rectangle, and click on Subtract (2).
The resulting shapes will look like this if you’ve followed the directions above. The Subtract Tool also closes all of the paths automatically, whereas the Knife Tool could leave the ends open and create problems in your designing later on.
Next, draw a long skinny rectangle using the Rectangle Tool (1) to act as the border of your personalization on the top part of your design. If the design is an outline shape like my leaf here, I like to make the border rectangles about the same thickness as the outlines of the shapes for consistency. Make a copy of this rectangle and place it on the bottom part of the design. Select both ends of the design and your two rectangles and click Align Center (2) in the Align Window.
Add your text using the Text Tool (1) and the font of your choice. I like SNF Felicity for monograms like this one. If your font is a skinny one like mine, you may need to adjust the Character Spacing (2) to stretch it out and fit the design better. Here, the snowflake was much wider that my leaf, so I adjusted the Character Spacing to about 160% for this design.
Zoom in reeeeaaaaaal close for the next step. You’ll want to ensure that each of your pieces just overlaps the next one now. For example, move your top rectangle up until it is just touching the bottom edge of the top part of your snowflake. Then, move it one more step up by tapping the up arrow key once. Continue this process with each piece of the design until all pieces are barely overlapping as shown.
Now select all your shapes in each design and open the the Modify Window (1). Click on Weld (2) to create a single shape. If a single shape is not formed, you’ll need to click Undo and readjust the pieces again to ensure that they are overlapping properly.
I always fill a single layer shape that I’ve designed like this one in with color before I cut to make sure all the paths are closed. If your shape is filled in nicely like this, then you’re ready to send it to your Silhouette.
I’ll be cutting my designs out of black flocked heat transfer material, so I have one more step – reversing the design (I almost always forget to do this…). An easy way to reverse all of your designs at once is to select them all, open the Replicate Window (1), and click on one of the Mirror buttons (2). Then, delete the old “normal” versions of the designs.
I used heat transfer material for these because intricate designs will cut beautifully out of this stuff (remember, this is 2″ x 2″, so the text is pretty tiny here!) and I can mass produce these napkins since it only takes one press of an iron per item.
In just a few minutes, I have a tables-worth of personalized napkins for both Christmas and Thanksgiving this year. (BTW – I bought two packs of 12 pretty nice cloth napkins at Tuesday Morning for less than $20 to make these.)