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How to Make a Spring Planter with Tattoo Paper

How to Make a Spring Planter with Tattoo Paper main article image
Posted on May 4, 2021 by Carrie Christenson
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Spring is finally here!  It’s one of my favorite times of year because it means the long winter is finally over and warmer days are ahead.

I wanted to do a mini front door refresh and decided to make a planter with our house number to hang right by it.  I found a ready-made wood and metal circle planter at my local craft store but wanted to add some personalized touches to make it something special.

One of my favorite ways to add details to wood is…..tattoo paper!  I know it might sound crazy, but trust me, it works!

Let me show you how I created the full design step by step in Silhouette Studio.

The Supplies:

  • Wood Planter
  • Silhouette Tattoo Paper
  • Silhouette Cameo
  • Florals (faux or real)
  • Floral Foam
  • Permanent Vinyl (only if needed)
  • Paper Towel

Step 1:  Create the planter shape

I measured the planter and re-created the shape so I could make sure my design was scaled properly.

Simply draw a circle (hold shift key down while drawing to make it a circle) or use your scale tool to write in the dimensions.

Next, draw a line (use the shift key trick again!) and then use the align tool to center it perfectly.

Finally, use the subtract tool to cut the circle in half leaving the half circle design to work on.

Step 2:  Create your design

A trick to having your design open up in the same page you’re already working on is to use the “merge” tool.  

Open your design file, I’m using a frame from this floral sketch collection.  It’s going to come in very large so to size it down to fit your planter design I like to use the scale tool.

You can just fill in the size you want it to be in the text box, making sure the lock is locked to keep it in the right comparative scale.

Then, I changed the line color to be black instead of red and thickened the line weight so it prints darker.

Step 3:  Trace the design

I moved my design up on my page so I could get a clean grab of the design with the tracing tool.  Slide the scale to 100% and then click “trace the outer edge”.

Now, with the outer edge you just traced selected, click on the offset tool and slightly offset the edge.  This is what will actually be cut by the machine.  

We don’t want the inner portions to be cut, so release the compound path and delete all of the small inner portions.

I wanted a clean line cut at the top so I drew a rectangle the width of the design and then welded the two edges together so the top most line was straight.

Step 4:   Add your text

Add your text, I used Ambique Wild to write my address number.  Scale it to the size you want and I filled it in to be black.

Side note: I wouldn’t do this step in with the tattoo paper again, I would just cut vinyl and add it at the end.

Step 5: Print your design

First, mirror your design by flipping it horizontally.

Next, you’ll want to add the registration marks, I’ve found that it’s best to leave them the default settings to ensure that it will register correctly.  I even added the barcode to mine after my first print didn’t cut right, anything to help!

Then, insert the tattoo paper into your printer and print it using your best settings.  Let it dry before adding the sticker sheet on top.

Step 6:  Add the sticker sheet on top

I repeat, make sure the ink is fully dry before adding the adhesive layer.  They give you a small strip at the top you can remove first and attach to the top of the page once you’ve aligned it perfectly.  

Next, use a scraper tool (or credit card) to slowly adhere the adhesive to the paper.  

Attach the paper onto your cutting mat and load it into your machine.

Step 7:  Cut your design

Head over to the send tab and change your material settings to be tattoo paper.  If you read the directions on their package it says to select to have it cut twice (2 passes).  

You’ll also want to make sure to select to cut the edges only.  Now hit the send button for it to cut. 

Fingers crossed that it registers correct the first time!  I have a serious love-hate relationship with this feature some days, LOL. Tattoo paper is expensive and wasting it is such a bummer!

Step 8:  Attach the tattoo paper to your planter

After your design is cut, carefully remove it from your cutting mat by placing the paper on the table and then pulling the cutting mat away from it.  This is a trick so the paper stays flat instead of curling up.

If you have multiple parts like me, add some transfer tape to hold it all together and peel off the extra paper. Now flip it over and peel off the thin plastic layer to expose the “tattoo”

Place the tattoo paper face down on your planter where you want it to be and take a damp paper towel and blot it over the design until it’s translucent and the paper portion slides away easily.  You’ve officially tattooed your wood!!

I found that the numbers didn’t cleanly attach to my wood for whatever reason.  I wanted a crisp look so I cut black permanent vinyl as well and attached it over the tattoo numbers.

Step 9:  Add your plants

This is where you can do whatever you want! I cut some floral foam to fit inside my planter and snipped apart some faux floral stems to add to my planter.

You could also use real flowers/plants too!  I live in Michigan where it’s still frosting at night (we had snow last week!!) so it’s too early to plant anything real outside and hope for it to survive.  I’ll pretend like I live somewhere warmer with my faux plants for now.

Step 10:  Hang the planter

I used velcro command strips to attach the planter to my brick wall outside my front door.  I wanted a way to cleanly remove it if needed without doing any permanent damage to our brick.  (Don’t mind the ugly light fixture, it’s on my to-do list to replace it this year!)

It’s fun to add a little pop of color and personality to our front door while also helping our delivery drivers know they are in the right place.

Thank you for following along!!  I would love to know what you use tattoo paper for besides skin!  It’s such a fun product with so many possible creative uses.

-Carrie Christenson @designedtobecrafty


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How to Make a Spring Planter with Tattoo Paper
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