Garden Labels Cricut Project

Slate etched herb markers
How to etch slate

Design

I’m new to Cricut. For the past 12 or so years I have been the proud owner of an ex-demonstation model, first release Silhouette which has been a much loved friend. Lockdown for Covid19 (which at the time of writing has been in place for 8 weeks) has however given me enough time to browse websites far and wide and determine that now was the ideal time to upgrade my beloved Silhouette – and, if there was going to be an upgrade, it needed to have new and exciting capabilities. And so, I have embraced the possibilities that are offered to me by the Cricut Maker.

So, beyond the initial papercut that the Cricut suggests out of the box, what to make first?

I have a large garden and last year we planted a big variety of herbs for our raised beds. I often send the children out for a bunch of oregano or chives – and each time I have to describe exactly which herb I need and where they will find it – it’s definitely time for new labels!

It is a new discovery to me that you can etch slate (though I have etched glasses before). I ordered Artesa premium vinyl from Amazon (see below) and set about my project. It was simply a matter of setting up the file with words that were the rightsize for the pre-cut pieces of slate. My slate was just the common or garden variety – a bit too old and a slight bit flakey but good enough for a first practice piece!

INSTRUCTIONS.

I began with precut pieces of slate which we trimmed to size using a tile cutter. Ours were rectangular but you could choose tapered to help get them intot he soil.

Cut letters to suit the style you’re looking for on the Cricut or cutting machine of your choice. I had to ensure I used the “attach” instruction to ensure the different words cut exactly where I wanted them on the cut mat. I used Cricut Sans font for this project

It wouldn’t be a bad idea to set a line to cut between the words so they come apart – but set the cricut to cut right through the vinyl by using a different material settings (like paper) so it cuts right through.

Weed the letters out. Cut each word away from the main sheet and using transfer tape, transfer the vinyl onto the slate. The vinyl acts as a mask, helping you to make sure the etching cream doesn’t mark the areas you want to remain blank.

Vinyl in place ready for etching

Using your fingers, ensure the film is pressed carefully over the lumps and bumps of the slate – every letter, top sides and bottom. Apply etching cream to the letters liberally – I like to ensure the slate can’t be seen through the cream. Leave the cream for 15 minutes to do its work.

I’ve seen some people scrape the cream back into the pot but on these old slates, there were a few bits of dust and flakes of slate that came off with the cream so I wouldn’t recommend it. Instead I simply scrubbed it away with a nailbrush and some water. When the slate is completely clean, you can remove the vinyl.

Etched slate after the etching cream was removed. Still wet.

That’s it – It’s a simple process – and now you have the etching creme you can also use it on glass and ceramic – with a reduced wait time – just 5 minutes will do it!

Home made slate herb markers
Etched slate cricut garden markers

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