St. Patrick’s Day Project: Make a Lucky Keychain
Let’s face it, this year feels like we could all use a little extra luck, and with St. Patrick’s Day fast approaching, this lucky Irish keychain project couldn’t have come at a better time! Keychains are such a fun and decorative accessory; and aside from the obvious, you can attach them to bags, shoes, coats, pencil cases, or pretty much anything with a zipper! But the best part about this project? You get to take a little luck with you wherever you go!
- Acrylic blanks: approx. 2.5 – 3mm thick (I used this set from Amazon)
- Embellishments (tassels, yarn, beads, etc.) (optional)
- Jewelry pliers
- Permanent vinyl and/or HTV
- Parchment paper (if using HTV)
- Transfer tape (if using permanent vinyl)
- Digital products: Get Your Green On SVG (or other luck-themed images/SVGs)
- Weeding tools and scraper
- Cricut Easy Press Mini (or other heat press)
- Cricut Explore Air 2 (or another cutting machine)
How to Make Your St. Patrick’s Day Lucky Keychain
Prepare Your Workspace
As I always recommend, it’s important to prepare your crafting area before starting any project. Gathering all of your vinyl types, tools, blanks, embellishments, or any other supplies you might need, and having them in easy reach on your crafting table helps to keep everything organized and efficient.
When you’re ready, open up design space and insert a circle shape. Measure the diameter of your acrylic blank and change the size of the circle accordingly. Mine is 2 inches so my circle is 2 x 2.
You’ve just created your keychain template!
Creating Your Design
Now that you have your template, you can begin preparing your design for cutting! Upload the SVG that you would like to use on your keychain. I really love this “Get Your Green On” download from Creative Fabrica. Even though the design will be drastically reduced in size to fit the acrylic blank, it weeds like a dream!
Once you have your design uploaded, go right ahead and size it so that it fits nicely on your keychain template, then center it.
The only thing that we will be changing within the uploaded design is the horseshoe. While many cultures believe that the horseshoe should hang like an upside-down letter “U”, I was raised by an Irish family and we have a strong belief that horseshoes must be upside-down so that the luck doesn’t run out. Let’s alter the SVG to reflect this!
Manipulating the Horseshoe
Changing the horseshoe is actually quite simple. After you have sized the upload and adjusted its placement on your template, all you then have to do is select only the horseshoe within the uploaded cut file. Right-click and duplicate it. Now you will need to flip it vertically. Select the horseshoe copy and then Flip > Vertical.
Your horseshoe is now the right-side-up!
On the original SVG, simply hide the original horseshoe. You can then move your flipped copy into the same place as the original. Select everything, except for the circle template, and group it. Next, select all (including the template) and center.
Now your luck is sure to stay!
Getting Ready to Cut
At this point, you can start preparing your design for cutting. You can delete the circle template as you will not be cutting that. If you are using multiple colors and/or layers, remember to apply your layering techniques before sending it to the machine.
- Remember: If you are using HTV as I am, you will absolutely want to remember to MIRROR your images prior to cutting. Nobody likes wasted vinyl!
Using HTV on Acrylic
Perhaps a surprising tidbit of information in the world of all things vinyl, is that you can use heat transfer vinyl on an acrylic blank! Of course, this is not without taking some extra precautions such as heat temperature and using some protective parchment.
While acrylic does soften at higher temperatures, the actual melting point is approximately 320℉, so you will need to heat press at a much lower temperature than this to avoid melting your blank and risking injury. You will also need to protect your equipment and supplies; in walks parchment paper to the rescue! As all vinyl brands can often vary in pressing temperatures, you will have to find a temperature range that is roughly 45 – 50 degrees less than the melting point of 320℉ and to help prevent too much softening.
I don’t have an Easy Press Mini (yet) so I used my Easy Press 2, which is a little over the top for the size of my blank but I compensated with a very big piece of parchment! For my vinyl, I set the temperature to 275℉ as I used a 3 mm thick blank and a combination of regular iron-on and glitter.
Place a sheet of parchment paper on top of your pressing mat that is large enough to completely cover it, and then put your acrylic blank on top. Line up the design on your blank and then add a second large sheet of parchment to cover it. Press for no longer than 5-7 seconds for regular HTV. Remove the mask (HTV transfer) when it’s cool enough to touch – but still quite warm. For the glitter layers, make sure that you protect your first layer of regular iron-on by re-using the mask and parchment. If you are using an Easy Press Mini it is much easier to avoid damaging your first layer!
Place the glitter HTV where you want it and press for no more than 7-10 seconds (again, this may vary depending on your brand of vinyl and the thickness of your blank). If you find that the glitter vinyl is not sticking, then just replace the mask and parchment (be careful!) and then press again for a couple of seconds; always protecting your first layer of regular iron-on.
Once you have all of your HTV pressed, remove the masks (again, be careful!) and quickly place your acrylic under something heavy until it cools in order to avoid any warping from the heat softening it. Voila!
- Acrylic Pressing Tip: While many people love using teflon sheets for added protection (myself included) I do not recommend using it with acrylic. Because we are working with a material that can soften and melt, the teflon sheet tends to leave behind the fabric marks in your acrylic; essentially ruining your blank!
For some finishing touches, you get to add some lovely embellishments to make your keychain just as snazzy as it is lucky!
I kept it simple and used a keyring with a short chain, then I added a mini tassel – green of course! Attach an “O” ring to the end of the chain. Add your tassel onto the ring and with your jewelry pliers, carefully close it so that the tassel is secured.
Now that your keychain is complete, take it with you on St. Patrick’s Day for a little extra luck!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Keep on Crafting!