Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Week 2 - Mousemats

Second week of Challenge 52 and this week the focus is a new product. I have made several items for Anne of Anne Reeves Jewellery personalised with her logo in the past, including an apron for her workshops and a phone cover, so when she contacted me about making her a personalised mousemat I agreed to add these to my product range.

I make these items in the same way I do my t-shirts - with contour cut vinyl. Vinyl is an extremely thin sheet of highly coloured material that is heat activated to form a permanent bond with material. The manufacturers say that the bond it forms should outlast the life of the garment/item itself so it is a great alternative to screen printing, especially when one-offs are needed or when special effects like chromes, glitters etc are desired.

The first step in making something is to make sure the design itself can be cut. There are two main type of image files - vector and raster. Raster images are made up of pixels (like most "picture" and photo files) so the shapes and colours are made up of variations in colour of these pixels. As automated cutting machines need a shape or edge to cut these files are no use to them  and have to be converted to the second type of file, a vector file, before they're ready for cutting. Vector files contain mathematical information that describes the colours, shapes, lines etc within the image, essentially you can think of them being made up of actual shapes instead of a collection of dots. These my cutting machine understands as it gives it the shapes it's required to cut.

So my first task in making a personalised item for someone is usually vectorising their logo if they can't supply me a vector version (NB if you get your logo made up professionally they should supply you with this version as it's also the best version for print, it will usually be an eps, ai, or vectorised pdf file). Luckily in this case i had aldready done this the first time Anne ordered something from me. You can see her original logo and the vectorised version below.

Original raster image
Vectorised image

Once I have the vector version of the image I can then cut it in the vinyls I've selected to match the colours. In this instance Anne had told me previously she liked the metallic colours I used in her phone cover (I'd made one side with metallic vinyls and the other in a different process with her original logo printed full colour), so I used the same colours in this job - shimmery mettalic purple and shimmery baby pink. Once cut i then "weed" the logo and apply it using my heat press. I'll go further into this process in a future post I have planned where I'll take you through the steps I go through in making a t-shirt.

So the end result is I have a personalised mousemat ready to send out to Anne. I've added some pictures of the finished article below, the camera's not great at picking out the simmer of the colours!

Before Anne asked me about this I hadn't thought about making mousemats as I assumed that most people didn't use them anymore but I've been inspired to add them to my range in my online store.  I mocked up some pictures of mousemates with different logos on (including mine!) for the listing. If anyone's interested you can see the listing here

 Another Challenge 52 participant Louise from Nanuk Jewellery has posted up Week 2 as well, you can find her post here.


  1. Thanks for the mention! Really interesting post about your work, I would have no idea of the work involved in getting something like a mousemat made up!

  2. That looks really good... and complicated.
    I'm impressed...

    Jan x


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