Create a “Pets on Board” Decal
“Baby on Board” decals are a very important and common sight while driving – cautioning other drivers to be aware that a child is in the vehicle. Less common, however, are safety signs for our furry loved ones. Using permanent vinyl, you can make your own safety message for your pets – that is both informational and adorable!
- Permanent Vinyl (I used Oracal 631)
- Digital Designs: Script Crafts Font Bundle, Doggies Silhouette Font (optional)
- Measuring tape
- Weeding tools and scraper
- Transfer tape
- Alcohol wipe
- Light grip cutting mat
- Cricut cutting machine (or another cutting machine)
Make Your “Pets on Board” Decal
As always, I recommend preparing your workspace before starting this project. Gathering all of your tools, vinyl, and transfer tape will keep you organized and potentially save you from some mistakes that could happen along the way!
When you’re ready, the first thing you’ll need to do is grab your measuring tape and head outside. You’re going to need to determine the size of the decal that will be placed on your vehicle. You definitely don’t want it so big that it becomes dangerously distracting, but not too small either that the message goes unnoticed. A good rule of thumb is to stick to close to 5” x 5” and go from there – increasing or decreasing depending on your vehicle and your final decal shape.
Once you have the maximum measurements, the next thing you’ll need to do is to grab your Script Crafts Font Bundle from over at Creative Fabrica. This beauty font bundle contains 35 fonts that are absolutely stunning and can be applied to a multitude of different craft projects. I also used the Doggies Silhouette Font for the “on board” text which fits the theme of this decal perfectly, but you can use any font you wish.
Download and install the fonts, and then open up Design Space to begin a new project.
Designing the Decal – Images
First, you’ll need to gather the images for the design, this way they will already be on the canvas when you’re ready to implement them. Open up the images library and search for “paw print trail”, then select the image. Now search for the silhouette of an animal that represents your pet. I have two labrador retrievers, so I searched for “labrador silhouette”. Once you find the animal image/s, select them and then “Insert Images”.
Your canvas will now have all of the images that you selected, including the paw print trail. Move the images over to the side for now.
Now you can begin working on the message. Insert a text field and type in the name of your pet/s and change the font to the new “Groenly Script” from the bundle of fonts that you just installed. Feel free to create the texts in Inkscape if you are familiar with that program; in fact, I recommend it in order to avoid messing around with the letter/line spacing in Design Space.
Insert another text field and type the “On Board” text, and then change the font to the Doggies Silhouette or another font of your choice. Once again, you can create this in Inkscape or just play around with the letter/line spacing directly on your canvas.
At this point, you can go ahead and organize the names in any manner that you like, and that fits well with the spacing on your vehicle. I recommend using multiple lines so that the decal isn’t covering too much of the window area.
When you’re done, use the alignment tool as needed.
Now that you have created all of your texts, grab one of the animal silhouettes and play around with the weld tool. Place one (or more) of the animals on top of the corresponding pet’s name/s; zooming in to ensure that it is slightly overlapping the text. When you are ready, hit the weld button to create a single SVG that contains both your animal and text together. Alternatively, you can place one at the beginning, or at the end of their name as I did with my second pet.
- 👉 Welding Tip: Don’t worry if you welded before making sure that they were connected properly – just hit undo to start again.
Adding the “Trail”
All that is left now is to add in the paw print trail! Find an area that the trail will fit best, and if you can (depending on how many pets you have), duplicate and flip it for the other side, resizing as necessary.
Now to add a drop of color! 🌈 I feel it’s important to have a color that will stand out against the color of your vehicle. Use your preference and judgment for your particular car, especially if you are placing it on the tailgate. The choice is yours, so long as the decal is clearly visible!
Cutting the Vinyl
Once you are happy with the final look of your decal, insert a small diamond shape from the Shapes Library. This will act as the registration mark for lining up the different colors. Make it smaller and place it somewhere on your decal, close to the paw trail. Don’t worry, this shape will not be going onto your car.
Select everything and group it – then change the size according to the measurements that you took earlier and duplicate it.
On the layers panel for the original design, hide the paw print trail/s, and then select everything and attach. On the copy, hide all of the text so you are left with only the diamond shape and the trail, then attach. You now have your layers ready for cutting!
Go ahead and click the Make It button and choose premium outdoor vinyl (or washi sheet if it’s quite small) for your material type, then cut!
- 👉 Details Tip: If you chose to use the Doggies Silhouette like I did, depending on the size of your decal, some of the tiny pawprints around the “N” may not cut easily. I actually lost some of mine so instead, I removed them and just used a craft knife to fix the top of the letter. It’s a small correction that will not be seen from another car!
Applying the Decal
Weed as per usual and then grab a piece of transfer tape that is slightly larger than the size of your finished decal. Place the tape over the paw print trail first, and burnish. Peel it off the backing and then line up the diamond shape against the diamond on the lettering decal. When you have it perfectly aligned, lower the tape on top and burnish.
Now your decal is assembled and ready for application, but before you remove everything from the backing you will need to first prepare your vehicle before placing it.
Grab your alcohol wipe and head outside with your decal. Thoroughly clean the area using your wipe to remove any dirt or debris that could interfere with your vinyl sticking. Do not use Windex as the chemicals in this product can interfere with adhesion.
When the area is dry, slowly peel the transfer tape off the backing and then with your weeder, carefully take off the diamond shape and discard. Apply your decal and burnish gently.
- 👉 Alignment Tip: To help with ensuring your decal goes on straight, you can use a level and masking tape to create a boxed guide!
That’s it! Now you can sit back and feel a little more reassured about the safety of your pets while driving – be safe!
Keep on Crafting! 💖