Oil Painting Tips…Got Any?

First time oil painter here.

And to be honest, up until this project I would have told you I had absolutely no desire to ever even attempt to use them.

But I had a request for a sign that requires some serious color blending, and if you know craft paints or acrylic paints…getting a great fade ain’t easy.

So, I’m jumping into oil painting.

Anyone have any tips for this beginner???

Nikki, In Stitches

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Creating Large Designs With Your Silhouette Cutting System

Don’t let your Silhouette’s cutting size fool you! Whether you have a CAMEO or a Portrait, large projects are always doable. My Surf’s Up sign is proof…it is 75″ across at its widest point!

The key to large projects is registration marks. Take a peek at a screenshot from my software below. I will cut this design in FOURTEEN pieces (7 for each color!), and every letter “O” you see will help me match up the pieces perfectly.

I use the same exact technique to layer multi-color designs and decals! The video below is an oldie (it’s still in V3 of the Silhouette Studio Software), but it’s a goodie. You’ll see exactly how I use my registration marks to match up my pieces!


Nikki, In Stitches

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How To Guarantee Perfectly Centered And Straight Designs With Your Silhouette Cutting System

If you are a Silhouette (or Circut!) user, the video below is a serious game changer.

Take a peek. I walk you through exactly how I edit my designs in my Silhouette Studio software to guarantee perfectly centered and straight placement on my signs.

Two things to note:

  1. I use the exact same shape and method for every design. It really is super simple.
  2. This can be used for more than just signs. Think designs inside a frame, decals on a wall, etc.

Game changed, right? You can thank me later.


Nikki, In Stitches

PS…As always, I use Oracal 631 for my stencils. If you need to stock up, you can use my affiliate link from Expressions Vinyl, here. I buy my vinyl from them in 5 yard rolls so I can paint this entire sign with one large stencil. (This post was published in February of 2018. If you’re reading then, the rolls I just mentioned are more than 20% off. Again, click here to stock up. Happy Shopping!!) Be sure you sign up for the rewards program if you haven’t already!

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Senior Night

I do not take for granted the fact that I live in a community that appreciates my work so much that the high school basketball team ordered custom signs.

It is truly an honor to touch so many peoples’ lives, and it warms my heart to think that these plaques will travel with their owners to college dorm rooms this fall.

You never know who will take an interest in your work, so don’t be afraid to show it proudly.

And always be grateful to those that challenge your creativity and push you to be your best.


Nikki, In Stitches

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Teaching Is Good For My Soul

I always find my way back to a classroom.

Of course, so many of you know me through The Craft Academy, but my first love is sewing. And teaching sewing is quite literally my dream job.

There is something in the air at MADE Institute that gets my creativity flowing like no place else. I’m not sure if it’s being around other creatives…maybe their energy is contagious? Or maybe it’s knowing that for most of my students I am lucky enough to help them through their very first moments behind the wheel of a sewing machine…moments they may never forget.

Either way, teaching is good for my soul.


Nikki, In Stitches

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Back To My Roots

The new year is calling me back to my roots.

Back to sharing what I love, teaching, and most importantly…creating.

Hope to see you around here more often in 2018.


Nikki, In Stitches

PS…Take a good look at the subway sign above. Each painted line of text represents something special for the family it was given to…zip codes, anniversaries, initials, etc. The Roman numerals represent their seven grandchildren. You’d never know it, but that line only is actually a vinyl decal. This family is still growing. Just like it was an honor for me to make this sign, it will be an honor for me to update it when their family is complete.

DIY Tips

1. I cut and assemble the wood for my signs myself. Untreated, plain old pine is my favorite.

2. I use a vinyl stencil to paint the signs. Base coat the stencil first in your background color, then your desired color. You’ll be much happier with how crisp your lines look.

3. I use Oracal 631 for my stencils, and in this case, the Roman numeral decal. If you need to stock up, you can use my affiliate link from Expressions Vinyl, here. I buy my vinyl in 5 yard rolls so I can paint this entire sign with one large stencil. Be sure you sign up for the rewards program if you haven’t already!



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Work Table Wednesday: SIGNS!

Just thought I’d stop in today to share what’s on my worktable!

And invite all of you to do the same!

The last few weeks have been spent cutting, sanding, and painting…signs seem to be in high demand as fall inches closer.

I’d love to hear about what you’re working on! Feel free to post in the comments below!


Nikki, In Stitches

PS…For those of you that will ask. Yup! The stained signs are done with my homemade tea and vinegar stain mix. I told you! I use it on EVERYTHING! And these are stenciled…all my stencils are made with my Silhouette!

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Create Your Own Story Wall

Every little thing on this wall means so much to me.

Special days, lyrics, favorite pictures…

It’s our story…literally from the day we met, to our most recent family photo.

It’s all there, with plenty of room to grow.

Plenty of room to fill it with even more of our story.

Ready to tell your own story?

Here are a few quick tips to get you started.


Nikki, In Stitches

The “M” in the center is just a pre-made brown paper mache letter from the craft store. Give it a coat of black craft paint, let it dry, and then put on a layer of Martha Stewart’s Sterling Metallic craft paint…it will look exactly like punched metal.

You guessed it…the wood is all stained with my favorite tea, vinegar, and steel wool technique!

Those square frames…they aren’t really frames. Use your imagination when roaming the aisles of your craft store. Unfinished blanks from the craft store, with a piece of canvas textured poster board inserted in the center…instant (and simple!) frame.

The dates in the frames are metallic silver vinyl. I know what you’re thinking…but vinyl doesn’t stick to canvas! Nope. It doesn’t! But give the canvas a quick coat of paint, and it will stick on there forever! I use Martha Stewart’s Wedding Cake White…it’s a perfect match for the color of the blank canvas!

Because I know you’re going to ask…the dates in one “frame” are the day we met, the day we were engaged, and the day we married. The other set are our children’s birthdays. (And I Believe by The Four Tops was our wedding song!)


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Before And After Entryway…A Chalk Paint Makeover

Did you ever have a piece of furniture you’d been carrying with your for a long time knowing that one day you’d find the perfect project for it in the perfect place?

That was me.

See that brown wine rack up there?

You know…the one that was missing the glass in the front door long before I ever stumbled upon it nine years ago in a tiny little hodge podge antique / pottery / garden decor shop outside of Scottsdale, Arizona?

You know…the one I carted to four different houses in three different states because I *knew* one day I would find the perfect project for it in the perfect place?

Well, it turns out it just needed a partner to complete the set!

I found the purple mirror for $8 at GoodWill. A coat of white chalk paint later (plus a little gray dry brushing on top!) and my entryway is now complete!

I’ve given all of you my “go-to” method for painting and aging furniture with chalk based paints before. You can find it by clicking here! You know me…I keep it simple. Base coat, dry brushing, and wax…I promise anyone can do it!

And the part I love the most about this little makeover? The front of the wine cabinet.


Again, I keep things simple around here! I painted a piece of the thickest black poster board I could find grey. Cut the design using my Silhouette. Weeded it as a stencil and painted it right on there! Some of the grey paint lifted with I peeled off the stencil, but that was totally ok by me…it looks like it’s just as old as the cabinet itself! You can find the design I used for free from The Graphics Fairy here!


Nikki, In Stitches

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Philly Home Show Make and Take Workshop

Just a quick note today to all my local readers…

Ditch your Valentine and come craft with me this Sunday!

I’ll be teaching dry brushing and stenciling techniques at the Philly Home Show. Everyone in class will take home the adorable project you see above.

I’ll also be demonstrating Silhouette cutting systems and how I used them to create the stencil for this project.

My class starts at 4:00pm but you can find the entire workshop line up by clicking here!

I hope to see you there!

Nikki, In Stitches

P.S. Thanks to Jen T by Design for the “hello” we use in the project. You always so graciously let me use your designs. I can never thank you enough…you are the best!

P.P.S. If you need help with your Silhouette cutting system but can’t make it to this workshop, you know you can always have access to my lessons in the Crafting With Your Silhouette monthly program. Click here for more details!

P.P.P.S Are you planning en event and would like to me to teach a workshop? I’d love to talk more about what we can create together! Nikki@NikkiInStitches.com

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