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Play Ball! Upcycling cardboard for use as a sign.

Play Ball! Upcycling cardboard for use as a sign. main article image
Posted on March 3, 2022 by Jan Hunter

They keep saying we’ll have a season this year and a few games are now open for purchasing tickets for our local Triple-A team.  Hoping for more.  Not sure that a big-league game will be on the roster this year for our family to attend, but baseball is the favorite sport here.

This baseball-themed sign is a perfect addition to the sports-themed wall in the “man cave” or “she cave.”  The quote used in this project is from the 60 Baseball Quote bundle and is the same bundle that was used to create the home plate piece for the tiered tray in a recent post.  Check it out here!


  • 12 x 12 cardboard or chipboard
  • Off white Acrylic Paint
  • 1-inch foam brush
  • Vinyl (blue [12 x 12 inches] and red [6 x 6 inches] were used in this sample)
  • Transfer tape
  • Frayed burlap distress ink
  • Blender tool with felt or foam applicator
  • Electronic die cutting machine and associated software (Skycut C24 and SCAL 5 Pro)
  • Tool for weeding the vinyl
  • Tool for burnishing the vinyl
  • 12 x 12-inch frame (opening should be about 11 ½ inches)

Let’s get this quick and easy piece started!

Paint the cardboard or chipboard with a dry brush coat of the off-white paint, using the foam brush.  Let dry.  It does not take long.  It will take longer to dry if you go heavy on the paint.  If you were a little heavy-handed with the paint, the cardboard may bow and may need to have a couple of heavy books set on top after drying to get it to lie flat again.  Be sure to clean your brush when you’re done.  It’s an easy soap and water clean-up.

While the base (cardboard) is drying, the following steps can be accomplished:

Choose the desired quote from the collection.  It may be difficult to choose from the 60 quotes found in the quote bundle but we’re sure you’ll find one or more that you will like.

Open your machine’s software and import the SVG to the mat.

TIP:  Choosing the SVG format allows you to ungroup the image and change out the baseball stitched hearts and insert stars (it’s a guy thing at this house), change colors of each of the parts of the quote, and/or hide sections of the design for cutting purposes if you’re using different colors in your design.  Using the SVG format is also helpful if you’re creating a design that will use print to cut and you want specific colors for printing purposes.

Size your chosen quote as desired. The size selected for the quote used in this project is about 11 inches.  Choose the quote that works best for you.  For this project, we’re using the Eat, Sleep, Baseball, Repeat quote found in the collection.

**Using the Object dropdown, Ungroup the SVG version of the file then highlight all but the baseball using the options in the layers panel and Hide all but the baseball outline and stitching. You don’t need to move the design.  Leave it where it is.

Secure the 6-inch square of red vinyl to the mat noting the area of the mat where the image is located.  Then cut the baseball and stitching using the vinyl settings for your machine.  Weed (remove the excess vinyl) and apply the transfer tape.  Leave just the baseball outline and stitching on the backing for the time being.  Again, do not remove the backing and set it aside.

**Using the Object dropdown, select the Show All command in the SCAL 5 software, you should now be able to see each of the components of the design.  Right-click on the baseball and select Hide to remove it from view.  The stars and words should be visible on the mat.  Place and secure the blue vinyl on the mat and cut using the vinyl settings for your machine and software.  Weed the image by removing the vinyl that isn’t needed for the design.  Leave the vinyl design on the backing.  It is easier to apply all the vinyl at once – so at this point, remove the backing from the baseball and transfer to the larger portion of the image. For placement, look at the original design.  Center and apply the baseball and stitching with the transfer tape to the larger image.

It’s okay to have the two layers of transfer tape.  This will keep things from shifting during the transfer process.

Now that the painted surface of your cardboard has dried:

Let’s add the vinyl to the base. Carefully remove the backing from the vinyl; you will want to check to make sure that all of the cut pieces of the vinyl are on the transfer tape.  You can use a pair of tweezers to help move any errant pieces back to the vinyl.   Center the vinyl and transfer tape over the painted piece.

Burnish the vinyl onto the board.  Carefully, remove the transfer tape and if needed, burnish any vinyl that lifts while you remove the tape.

Burnish again to make sure the vinyl is on the cardboard securely.  You may see some texture on the finished piece if your cardboard has a corrugated center.   It looks kind of nice with the extra texture.

Finishing touches:

If the surface of your image is too “clean,” for your liking, add a little “dust and dirt” to the surface of the project. Some Frayed Burlap distress ink was used and applied with the blender tool across the face of the entire board, making sure there was a light smearing across the face of the baseball as well.

Add some deeper color along the edges if desired.  This edging of color can be about ¾ of an inch from the edges all around.  About ½ inch of the board will not be seen around the edge of the inside of the frame.

Frame your project.  Here, a recycled 12” square whitewashed frame with no glass was used.

All Done!  Hang it up and Enjoy!

For additional inspiration, visit Jan’s page here or her blog.

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