Thrift Store Magazine Rack and a Silhouette Tutorial

I’ve had several people comment that they bought a Silhouette Cameo, but haven’t figured out how to use it, and  since I used it on the project I’m sharing with you today, I’m including a tutorial for how I did it.
Okay – about this project!  There’s pros and cons to being a stockpiler.  The good thing is, I usually have on hand what I need to work on projects, because I have a little of everything.  The downside is, I have so much stuff, a lot of it gets overlooked and unused.  I was digging through my workshop this week, looking to see what’s been overlooked that I could work on.
I spotted this old magazine rack that I picked up several years ago at a thrift store.  I’ll admit, it’s been overlooked all this time because I really didn’t feel any excitement about working on it.  Sometimes I look at old, worn out things and think, “I know I could make that pretty!”.   Other times, I look at them and think, “Dang, that’s ugly – why did I buy it?”, and just keep ignoring them. That was the case with this magazine rack, but I’m on a mission to continue clearing some space in my workshop, so it was time to send it some love, and stop ignoring it.
What better way to send some love, than to use a graphic of an antique postcard that I shared with you HERE (there are several different postcards there).
First, I took it over to Photoshop to remove as much of the background as possible.  If you don’t do that, the Silhouette tries to “read” every little bit of texture from the original postcard, and ends up creating a mess of little poked holes in the vinyl when you cut it.  Once that was done, I was left with this image.  Now, the Silhouette can read it.  Click on this image, then save it to your computer if you plan to use it for any project with a Silhouette. 
This is a little bit of a tricky design, because of all the little lines inside of the P and C.  Every little white space you see between those dark lines, will end up being cut out individually, and won’t be connected to the whole stencil.  I really wanted that shading to appear when I painted it, so I picked up every one of those little lines with a tweezer and put it back into place with the rest of the stencil.  Aside from that, it ended up being a fairly easy image and only took me about 15 minutes to get it in place.

Tutorial for this Project (which sounds like a long process, but isn’t – I promise!)
1)  Click on the cleaned-up image of the postcard above (which will show the original size), and save it to your computer.
2)  Start your Silhouette Studio program and open the image you saved.
3)  Click on the Trace button.

4)  Click on, “select trace area”, then grab the whole image with by right-clicking and holding your mouse down.  Click on “trace”, which will “read” the image and create the actual cutting lines (follow steps in photo).

The lines shown in red are the ones the Silhouette can “read” to cut the image.

5)  Slide the original image outside the white box. You’ll need to select the size of your vinyl you’ll be cutting, depending on how large of a stencil you need (step 1 below), then adjust the size of the image to fit inside the outer red line (step 2 below).  All that’s left is to send the image to the machine (step 3 below), load your adhesive vinyl affiliate link) in the machine, and click on “cut page” (not shown, but you’ll see it!).

6)  You should now have the image cut out on your vinyl, ready to use as a stencil.  Peel the vinyl away from the backing paper very carefully, so you don’t tear the the little details on the vinyl, then place it on whatever you want the image painted on (the placement is the hardest part of the whole process for me).
Remember!  If you want the shading inside the P and C, you’ll need to hand-place each of the tiny little pieces in position, once you have the larger part of the stencil in place.  It doesn’t take too long, and is worth the extra effort.  If you don’t do that, you’ll end up with a solid black P and C.  You’ll also need to get the “box” with the words inside the stamp area and place it where it needs to be, our you’ll end up without words and a black painted box.

If you have any questions about using this image or the process, let me know and I’ll do my best to answer.  It would look great on a variety of things, like trays and lampshades, as well.



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  1. Thanks Angie … that really turned out cute. The tutorial will be helpful as I plan to get a Silhouette. Need to do more research on it and carve out some time for study.
    Audrey Z. @ Timeless Treasures

  2. Wow…thanks for the tutorial…I’m going to pin this for when I’m finally ready to go for it 🙂 LOVE the magazine rack…you are so clever!!

  3. The magazine rack looks fantastic–thanks for sharing how you did it! 🙂

  4. Love this. You are so creative. Thanks for sharing.

  5. My, but this is a lovely magazine rack and you kicked it up a notch with the graphic. Love the watermark on the right!


  6. Great tutorial. That turned out so sweet. I love it and the graphic was the perfect finishing touch- xo Diana

  7. Pinned it. You are no longer a Silhouette newbie, you are now the teacher.


  8. Looks great! I haven’t taken the plunge yet…still using graphite transfer for most everything but all these posts are helping me decide! Thanks!

  9. I have to tell you I pinned this the other night and just used the tutorial IT WAS AMAZING!!! Thank you so much my piece turned out perfect!! I learn SO MUCH MORE from other bloggers and their tutorials than I learned from the Silhouette site. Thanks so much!

  10. This looks like something I could do when I get my Silhouette. Where do you buy your vinyl? Oh, and I like the one on the right the best!

  11. Haven’t tried any transfers, yet….I will pin it and have your great toot to refer to!

  12. I was just at an estate sale today where I saw that same type of magazine holder. I like the watermark on the right the best. I think having the Interiors part centered under the Knick Of Time part makes it look more balanced.

  13. What a great idea to use the post card back for the design… the holder is now so cute! I’ve got a similar one that my grandfather made and you’ve given me some inspiration! Thanks for the look at how the silhouette works too. (Just in case the Silhouette Fairy makes a stop here!)

  14. The magazine rack turned out just great, Angie! I think I have to put such a machine on my wishlist, sigh. As for the watermarks I like the second one better.

  15. So cute. Wish I had a silhouette. Everyone seems to make such cool things with them.

  16. Nice project!

  17. It turned out super cute. and great tute, I wish more people would explain details about their vinyl cutters… I don’t have one and am debating about getting one. Little Bit from

  18. I love the way this turned out. I wish I had a Silhouette to play with. Great hints on doing the transfer.

  19. WOW Angie – I gotta tell you – big or small – you ACE them all –
    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this!
    Beautiful job,
    Came by from The Farmhouse Porch

  20. So pretty!! I just love it!

  21. great magazine rack angie. I love using the trace feature in the silhouette program.


  22. OMG! I love this! What a transformation. You did a fantastic job 😉

  23. The difference between the before and after is amazing. I have got to start seeing potential in things because I know I would have passed that piece up.

  24. Looks great, plus I’m so happy, happy, happy that you gave such clear instructions on the silhouette. I need all the help I can get. 🙂 Thanks so much for linking up to ITS PARTY TIME. Hugs, Clydia

    PS — The one on the right AND I’m featuring your project tomorrow. Woot, Woot!

  25. Oh my gosh that’s cute!

  26. This is so cool! I love the french look 🙂
    I found you today at Handy Man Crafty Woman’s Linky. I hope you can visit my blog and leave a comment, too!
    ~ Megin of VMG206

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