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Digital Media Center Blog

Welcome to the Digital Media Center Blog. This blog will feature project ideas using the tools in the DMC, and also will let you know when new resources become available.

DIY Gifts in the DMC - Heat Transfer Vinyl Tshirts

Photo of the finished tshirts.

Need a DIY gift idea? Make a unique tshirt with heat transfer vinyl and the Silhouette Cameo cutter. Please note that the Cameo is only available when the Digital Media Center is staffed. Please check the calendar for staffed hours to plan your visit.


  • Heat transfer vinyl sheet (available at local craft stores and online)
  • 100% cotton pre-shrunk tshirt
  • vinyl pick
  • iron
  • parchment paper


    Photo of the design with the pre-cut heat transfer vinyl.
  1. Create your design in black and white. If just text, you can make it in Word and save it as a jpg or png. I drew mine in Illustrator (ask about our Wacom tablets!) and exported it as a png.
  2. Screenshot of the design being mirrored in the Silhouette Studio software.
  3. Use the Cameo cutter to cut your design into the vinyl. IMPORTANT! Make sure your vinyl is shiny side down on the cutting mat. You want the Cameo to cut through the vinyl, not the clear plastic cover on top of the vinyl. All designs will need to be reversed.
  4. Photo of the corner of the vinyl being peeled away.
  5. Once the design has been cut, you will need to peel away any vinyl that is not part of the finished design from the clear plastic cover sheet. This is known as "weeding" the vinyl. Be careful because the vinyl can stretch and tear if you weed too roughly.
  6. Photo of the vinyl pick.
  7. A vinyl hook is absolutely necessary to remove small detail pieces without damaging the surrounding vinyl.
  8. Photo of the vinyl design after weeding is completed.
  9. Keep weeding until only your design is left on the clear plastic. This is the hardest part of this craft; my octopus design took me 45 minutes to weed due to the many small outlines I needed to remove.
  10. Photo of the tshirt laying flat on the ironing board.
  11. Arrange your tshirt over your ironing board so the design can fit on the flat surface. DO NOT stretch the shirt! Just smooth out the wrinkles. Preheat your iron to the highest cotton setting.
  12. Photo of the fabric being preheated.
  13. Heat the fabric by pressing the iron onto the surface. Do not glide the iron as you risk stretching the shirt.
  14. Photo of the design being placed on the tshirt
  15. Lay your vinyl down on the shirt with the clear plastic sheet on top.
  16. Photo of the design being ironed.
  17. Place a sheet of parchment paper (found in the baking section of the grocery store) over the plastic, and press down with your iron (don't glide!). The amount of time you press down is dependent on the brand of heat transfer vinyl you purchase. Mine said to press for 3 seconds before moving to another spot.
  18. Photo of the clear plastic layer being removed.
  19. When you have covered the whole design, let it cool for a few seconds, and then peel off the clear plastic layer. Do this slowly to avoid peeling off the vinyl too. If your vinyl is not sticking to the tshirt, replace the parchment paper and repeat the pressing process.
  20. Photo of the second ironing of the design.
  21. Once you have removed the plastic layer, replace the parchment paper and repeat the pressing process. Again, do not glide.
  22. Photo of the design cooling on the ironing board.
  23. Let the design cool before you remove the tshirt from the ironing board.

DIY Gifts in the DMC - Modern Cameos

Photo of two custom 3D printed Cameo Pendants.

Need a DIY gift idea? How about a modern-style custom Cameo? Please note that the 3D Printer is only available when the Digital Media Center is staffed. Please check the calendar for staffed hours to plan your visit.


  • Photo of a person (or pet!) in profile, taken against a neutral background
  • craft paint or spray paint
  • satin cord
  • cord ends
  • clasp
  • jump rings
  • jewelry pliers


    Original photograph in profile.
  1. Open Adobe Illustrator (software available in the DMC), and import your picture.
  2. Image of the tracing around the original photograph and what the line looks like alone.
  3. Trace around the person's head with the pencil tool. If you are uncomfortable tracing with the mouse, ask DMC staff about our Wacom tablets.
  4. Image of the tracing line around the hair only.
  5. You may want to do two tracings: one of the head and face, and one of the hair if you want the hair to add a level to your cameo.
  6. Close up of the line and vector points around the facial features.
  7. You can zoom in and refine the tracings using the Direct Selection tool to move and adjust individual points.
  8. Save your tracings as svg (Scalable Vector Graphics) files. If you did two tracings you'll want to save each one separately by cutting and pasting one of the lines into a new file.
  9. Screenshot of the Create New Design button from Tinkercad
  10. Open in the browser of your choice. Tinkercad is a browser-based 3D modeling software. It is free to sign up for an account. If you are under 18, it will ask for a parent's email for permission. Click on "Create New Design."
  11. Screenshot of the Import function.
  12. On the right side of the screen you'll see an option to import a file. Import both of your svg files. You may need to scale them down by 50% depending on how large your pictures were.
  13. Screenshot of the hair arranged with the face shape in Tinkercad.
  14. Line up the hair with the face. You will want to use the white box on top of the hair object to raise the height so it is taller than the face. You can use the group tool to make this into one object once you have them lined up.
  15. Screenshot of the cylinder object added tot he project.
  16. From the basic shapes menu, add a cylinder.
  17. Screenshot of the cylinder after it has been manipulated.
  18. Stretch and flatten the cylinder until you have an oval that fits around your face and hair objects. Use the cone tool on top to lower the cylinder below the hair and face objects. You will want the cylinder to overlap these objects a little to make sure there is no gap in between them.
  19. Screenshot of the small cylinder transformed into a hole.
  20. Add another cylinder to the project. This one is going to create the hole for the jump ring to pass through. Make the cylinder tall and skinny and position it to pass through the top of the cameo. With the cylinder selected, use the Inspector box to turn the cylinder into a hole.
  21. Screenshot of the pendant design after the hole has been grouped.
  22. Then group it with the other cylinder to make the hole appear.
  23. Screenshot of the object after the final grouping.
  24. Group all of the cameo objects together. Bring up to the surface of the work plane and scale to the size you want your pendant to be.
  25. Screenshot of the object being exported in stl format.
  26. Export your design for 3D printing. Choose stl (STereoLithography) as the file type.
  27. Choose the color of filament you would like to print in. 3D prints are $0.15 per gram for all colors. Talk to a DMC staff member for more information about printing on the Lulzbot.
  28. Image of the cameos being painted.
  29. The printer can only print in one color per object, so your cameo can be subtle or you can use paint to make it stand out. Craft paint, spray paint, and even nail polish all work on 3D printed objects.
  30. Image of an open jump ring .
  31. Use the pliers to open a jump ring (always open sideways, never pull open!), and add it to the cameo.
  32. Photo of the cord ends being passed through a flame.
  33. String the cameo on some satin cord, and cut the cord to your preferred necklace length. Use a lighter to melt the ends a bit so they don't fray.
  34. Image of pliers flattening the edge of a cord ender.
  35. Use pliers to flatten the end of a spring-style cord end to your cord.
  36. photo of the finished cameos.
  37. Attach a clasp half to each end of your cord. Depending on the style of clasp, this may require more jump rings.

DIY Gifts in the DMC - Etched Glass

Photo of two glasses etched with custom designs.

Need a DIY gift idea? This one is simple, inexpensive, and can be completed in one day. Please note that the Silhouette Cameo is only available when the Digital Media Center is staffed. Please check the calendar for staffed hours to plan your visit.


  • A glass object such as a glass or candle holder (can't be Pyrex!)
  • Silhouette Cameo compatible vinyl sheet, can be purchased at local craft stores (vinyl sheets produced for the Cricut machines are also compatible.)
  • Glass etching cream, can be purchased at local craft stores
  • rubbing alcohol
  • paper towels or old rags
  • old paintbrush
  • painter's tape (optional)
  • old hand towel (optional)


    Screenshot of the design in the Silhouette Studio software.
  1. Choose a design. The designs that work best are high contrast and don't have a lot of fussy small shapes. There are no gradations of shade with glass etching cream, so make a design in black and white. Text is an easy option for personalized objects from monograms to dates. Original drawings can be scanned and digitized in the DMC. Or, if you aren't an artist, there are many creative commons clipart designs online.
  2. Import your graphics into the Silhouette Studio software (available in the DMC), and resize to fit your glass object. The more curved your surface, the smaller your design elements need to be to avoid looking warped. Staff in the DMC will assist you in cutting out your design in the vinyl with the Cameo.

That's all you have to do in the DMC! The rest of the process is completed at home.

    Photo of the glass being cleaned with rubbing alcohol.
  1. Clean your glass object with rubbing alcohol to remove any oils from fingerprints. You'll get a much more even etch with a clean surface.
  2. Photo of the Stencil being cut from the vinyl sheet.
  3. Cut your vinyl stencils from the sheet, leaving as much excess around the design as possible.
  4. Photo of the vinyl being applied to the glass.
  5. Peel the vinyl from the backing and carefully apply to your glass, smoothing out air bubbles as you go. The vinyl can strecth with too much handling, so try not to reposition too many times.
  6. Photo showing the inner vinyl pieces being applied.
  7. Any interior shapes (such as the centers of letters or the bager's nose stripe) will need to be peeled off and sepearately applied. Keep your stencil in front of you to guide your placement.
  8. Image of the full stencil applied and burnished down.
  9. Double-check fro air bubbles and carefully push them out. Burnish the edges of the vinyl to make sure they are completely adhered to the surface of the glass. I used the back of my thumbnail to do this. (I also missed a spot at the badger's tail? Can you see it?)
  10. Photo of the stencil with painter's tape applied around the edge.
  11. Optional: If you don't have a lot of excess vinyl at the edge of your design, you may want to add some painter's tape to make sure that you won't get etching cream where you don't want it.
  12. If your object is very round, such as the glasses I used, set your object on a folded towel to keep it from rolling away as you work.
  13. Photo of etching cream being applied.
  14. Apply etching cream in a thick layer with a paintbrush that you don't mind destroying. For a double-sided design, you'll have to do one side at a time. The etching cream is not viscous enough to stay in place on a vertical surface. Important! The etching cream is an acid. Use in a well-ventilated area and do not breathe in the fumes!
  15. Image of the etching cream bottle.
  16. Follow the directions on your package for the maximum time allowed for etching. Mine had a range of times based on the type of vinyl, and I was able to use the maximum time without the vinyl disintegrating.
  17. Photo of the brush lightly moving the etching cream around.
  18. While the cream is processing, move it around lightly with your paintbrush to ensure even etching.
  19. Photo of the glass being rinsed under running water.
  20. Wipe off the cream with a paper towel or rag, and then rinse the glass under running water.
  21. Photo of stencil being removed.
  22. Remove the vinyl stencil, and then rinse again. You may want to clean again with rubbing alcohol to remove an residual adhesive.
  23. Dry the glass and repeat the etching steps for the other side if you have a two-sided design.
Photo of the finished etched design.

Enjoy your unique gift!

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