How to make thing your “own” thing. A tut for the cheap folks
I tried printing the thing graphics available in this thread and it simply WILL NOT print to the correct size. Since this site won’t allow anything other than pictures to be posted (you’ll see what I mean later) I am going to tell/show you exactly how to get this done. I also cover where I screwed up so you don’t have to repeat my mistakes. And for those that ask why I don’t offer to email instead – people disappear/die. This way the work lives on forever.
Things used in this project: (See what I did there?)
Color printer, vinyl adhesive paper, exacto blade, Thing box artwork from here, Microsoft snippet, Microsoft Word 2016, household cutting board and a little imagination.
Download the graphic from here:
Now open the picture you just downloaded full screen and start Microsoft Snippet. You will want to as accurately as possible trace each individual item and save all 4 pieces as a .PNG file. Try NOT to get any outer “white” when you snip. What you put in is what you get. One at a time open BOTH side pictures and whatever default app they open with should allow you to rotate them 90 degrees. Save the changes.
QUICK NOTE: For the record the attached pictures show my photo customization against a person who sells these decals and the original picture on this site. The colors of mine are much richer, define lines in the leather better and the sheen of the vinyl paper I used is much glossier. Very happy with the end result!
Open Microsoft Word. Instructions provided may have different options/locations due to versions. Start a new blank document. (If you don’t have word then do it at your place of employment.) Open file explorer and browse to where you just saved those 4 photos. Hold down your CTRL key and one by one click each photo. Ensure you choose then in this order (side, side,top,front). Once they are all highlighted, left click one of the photos and keep your clicker down. Move your mouse downward. You’ll see the photos coming with your mouse. Position your mouse over Microsoft Word at the bottom of your screen and let your clicker go. The photos will be imported into your blank document. You’ll likely notice that you now have 2 pages instead of one. It’s OK we’re going to fix that right now. For each photo you are now going to have to set the dimensional parameters.
NOTE: For ALL photos ensure under the scale section that checkmarks are REMOVED from “lock aspect ratio” and “Relative to original picture size”.
Right click side picture – set parameters as Height Absolute 0.78” x Width Absolute 4.45”. Click OK
Right click other side picture – set parameters as Height Absolute 0.78” x Width Absolute 4.45”. Click OK
Right click TOP picture – set parameters as Height Absolute 3.77” x Width Absolute 3.95” – Click OK
Right click FRONT picture – set parameters as Height Absolute 1.27” x Width Absolute 3.95” – Click OK
Now all photos are on one page. To create gaps in between each photo simply click at the bottom right of the photo. You'll see a blinking cursor bar. Just press enter until you have the gap you want. SAVE your document. While the picture sown shows the gaps fairly minimal use as much as you can between the pictures that keeps everything on one page.
It’s time to reap the fruits of your labor! Let’s print this bad boy. The vinyl gloss paper is sticky. REMOVE ALL current paper in printer tray and insert one sheet glossy side down. DO NOT OVERUSE your printer tray alignment tools to “snug up” the paper alignment. Have it sitting flush against the right edge of the tray and gently resting as far forward in the tray as you can. This paper is finicky.
Go ahead and select print. This part is a little grey area as most printer driver options will look different. Some offer certain options that others either don’t or the options are just located/buried some where else. Attempt to replicate my printer settings shown in the pictures. I do suggest you run a test print choosing black ink/gray scale to see if things print correctly. No sense of wasting ink (ask me how I know). When printing is done let her sit for 15 minutes or so. You may choose to use a rattle can clear coat or a self-adhesive laminate sheet. I chose neither originally and found the ink is so easily marred up I'm going to go buy some self-adhesive laminate. Apply it, cut around decals and then apply. Heed my advice
IF you did it right, you should have a beautiful printout laying in front of you. Since most of us don’t have a machine that we can use to scan and cut for us we’ll have to do it by hand. The vinyl material is easily marred, whatever you use for straight edge – ALWAYS lift it up when you move it. Picture showing circled items in blue is showing how I marred the ink and I how also slipped with the knife and scraped the decal. I use a standard plastic household cutting board to cut the decal on. Using any straight edge item you’ll want to align the straight edge to the VERY outer edge of the picture. I suggest you choose a couple spots to test blade depth cut/strength first. You’ll “feel” the blade actually cutting into the paper. The idea is to cut the vinyl and not the paper – which sounds easier than what it really is because the vinyl I used is super thin but did so to ensure no feeding issues through the printer. With your exacto blade (fresh blade of course!) you’ll now cut a line from one side all the way to the other. KEEP THE BLADE STRAIGHT. Cutting at an angle can result in ink damage. Wipe your blade after every cut. A small amount of debris on the blade can cause an ill cut and when you attempt to peel it off it WILL deal you grief. You'll literally feel a difference in blade cutting if you have a chunk of glue get in the way. Cut it again!In the attached photos I show I have cut everything possible so the excess (white unprinted areas) can be peeled off first. Start peeling the excess vinyl off. Peel at an angle where you are pulling the vinyl away from the decal. This is where you find out how badly you suck at cutting things. When you reach the edge of your photo and it appears to be coming up STOP! Put your exacto blade tip in the cut line of the outer cut and follow it back to the graphic pressing down harder. You’re going to likely have to do this more than you care too. The vinyl should easily pull away from the graphic. If it doesn't DO NOT PULL the vinyl. This will distort the graphic piece. (Ask me how I know)
Now it’s not mandatory for you to paint Things box – but c’mon now – you just went through all of this and you’re going to get lazy? Lightly sand the box to rough it up, wipe it down clean so the black rattle can paint has something better to adhere to.
Lastly – to apply the decals. Use the tip of your exacto blade to lift the decal away from the backing so you can get a hold of it. These things are THIN and SUPER sticky. Likely a one chance type of ordeal if you use the dry method. You can shoot Things box with Windex and lay the decal down. When you are satisfied with its location then place a paper towel over the decal and press down gently attempting to squeeze any liquid from underneath and absorb on the paper towel. As a test I sprayed Windex on top of the decal and wiped. Yes, the ink did in fact slightly come off but the effect is was actually kind of cool!
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