DIY Monogrammed Tumbler

I used to have a terrible problem.  I was the kind of person who would wait until the absolute last minute to give a gift.  Or sometimes weeks later.  There were such good intentions, but with procrastination in the mix, I ended up being a TERRIBLE gift giver.  My memory tends to be lacking, but I distinctly remember my family commenting on how I either 1. Gave a kinda-sorta-terribly-wrapped gift because I didn’t have time.  2.  Gave a “It’s almost finished but here are the pieces that will eventually go together.  3. Gave a “I’ll make/buy this for you eventually.”

Now, I still have my moments of procrastination [I may have started actually putting everything together for this project at like 9:30 last night.  and finished them before work this morning]. BUT I’ve been working on improving my gift giving and thoughtfulness over the years.  One thing I’m doing is trying to be very intentional about gifts I give.  That means having an ongoing list on my Evernote where I write down any ideas I have for gift giving.  Sometimes that may mean enthusiastically squealing in excitement, getting out my phone, and ignoring my loved ones looks of confusion as I say “never mind!” This also means being creative and using Pinterest to find ideas, modify them, and make them my own.  I’m SUPER excited about this one, because I really did work hard to make it fabulous!

I wanted to do something special for my coworkers for Christmas and found this lovely tutorial on Pinterest.


I loved her idea, but wanted something with swirls.  So I got brainstorming and testing.  Here’s what I came up with.


For this project, you will need:

  • Die-cutting machine and program that you can add JPG or SVG to create custom cuts.  I have a Cricut die-cutting machine and Sure Cuts A Lot 2.  I love my SCAL; however, they no longer support Cricut.  I was lucky and got it a week before this mess happened.  If you’re thinking about getting a new die-cutting machine, go with something that allows the use of some sort of computer program rather than cartridges.  It’s usually more $$ up front, but you won’t regret it!!  Make sure you have a new blade for your die-cutting – if it’s not a fresh blade, it may not cut cleanly enough!
  • Tumbler or water bottle. Make sure you get something that is smooth.  So no silicone sleeve or bumps.  I would also go with something that is double-walled so there is no chance the condensation or heat will negatively affect the vinyl. I love me some Tervis. Head to Bed Bath and Beyond and check out clearance and/or use a 20% off coupon!  For this Christmas, I went with the Joann’s route – they had the cutest ombre, chevron, and polka dot tumblers!  $7.99 and I used a 50% off coupon.  $4 for a quality cup.
  • Outdoor Vinyl.  I ordered a bunch of colors of Oracal 651 from Expressions Vinyl.  I’ve read the outdoor vinyl will last even when used in the dishwasher!  We’ll see if that’s true (it has so far for me!)  You can get normal vinyl at craft stores, but DON’T DO IT!  It’s not as durable, and it’s at least twice the price.
  • Transfer Tape.  I ordered it from Expressions Vinyl as well.  Don’t forget this.  And don’t be afraid to order a roll – I regret not doing so.  I saw a tutorial on Pinterest for using Glad Press and Seal to transfer vinyl.  Terrible mistake.  I have not successfully done it with that method.  However, I’ve only had 1 problem when I’ve used the transfer tape.

STEP 1: Creating the monogram

I liked the concept, but wasn’t a huge fan of the font on the above tutorial.  I found a great script monogram, but it seemed too skinny to do well with the Cricut/vinyl.  I had so many high hopes for designing my own script monograms using a bold script font, but that just didn’t go well (too time consuming and not my cup-of-tea).

SO I found this awesome website that creates a monogram using a pretty user friendly template.  Here are the directions for creating a FREE monogram through  Make sure to choose a high contrasting color. Click on the pictures below for the templates I used.  Only use script font if you can make the monogram at least 3″ wide, otherwise the thin lines may not cut properly.  I did most of mine at 3.5″.


I created the monogram in the PDF, but I didn’t save it there.  I used my lovely MacBookPro to screen-shot it (command+shift+4).  Then, you can find the images on your desktop.  If you use a PC, here are some ways you can take a screen-shot.  You could also download IrfanView, a program that allows you to take a screen shot in a few simple steps.

Screen shot 2013-12-12 at 8.16.45 PM

STEP 2: Adjust monogram in your computer program

I needed to remove the leftover circle and in my “test” cut, I noticed some of the swirls didn’t work well because there were two thin ones next to each other.

Screen shot 2013-12-14 at 9.38.21 AM

In SCAL2, I used the “break apart” function, and then selected those pieces and deleted them so that it looked like this:

Screen shot 2013-12-14 at 9.58.04 AM

Resize so it will look good on your tumbler and yet not be too small to cut effectively.  For my larger tumblers with the swirl, I did about 3.5″ or 3.75.”  The circle anchor font can be done at about 2.25.”

NOTE: I found this Mark & Graham monogram maker just today.  Check it out if you want something different.  They will e-mail you the graphic.

Screen shot 2013-12-13 at 10.30.52 PM

STEP 3: Cut the monogram

Use your machine to cut it.  Make sure you use a “kiss cut method.”  That means it will only cut through the vinyl, and not through the white backing.  On my Cricut, that means my speed is at 2 or 3, my pressure is at 3, and my blade depth is at 3.  If these settings don’t work for yours – adjust it as needed.  I changed the blade, and needed to adjust my blade depth to make it cut correctly.

Photo Dec 14, 1 25 12 PM

[[Here’s a great tutorial on how to cut vinyl using a Cricut.]]

STEP 4: Weeding

Remove all the pieces you do not need.  Here is a great tutorial on weeding vinyl if you need further instructions.

Photo Dec 14, 1 28 19 PM

STEP 5: Transferring the vinyl

For a great video tutorial, click here.  Cut the transfer tape slightly larger than your image.  Start peeling the back of your transfer tape – you can take the whole thing off at once, or you can start peeling it and just place one side – this does make it easier to line up if you choose to do so.

Photo Dec 14, 1 29 46 PM

Use a gift card, scraper, or your fingers to firmly press on the vinyl to the transfer tape.

Over at The House Hunter Blog, she cut the backing/transfer tape so it would go on smoothly, but for me, that just made it more complicated to remove the transfer tape. I only had one monogram (out of 17+) that did not go on smoothly.

STEP 6: Applying the vinyl to your tumbler

Peel the white backing off your vinyl that is still adhered to the transfer tape.  If some of the vinyl tries to stay on the backing, just press down the transfer tape again or try to peel it off from a different direction.

Line up the vinyl on your tumbler.  It’s MUCH easier to do this if you lined up the transfer tape to your monogram.  Otherwise, it ends up confusing matters 🙂

Photo Dec 14, 1 35 38 PM

It helped me to press on the center of the monogram all the way down (thank you to my sweet engineer friend who helped me put about 8 of these on!), and then move out from there.  Make sure you move from the center outward.  If it messes up, you can occasionally lift a small piece of it to reposition, but it isn’t always successful.

STEP 7: Peel off the transfer tape

This is pretty simple!  Peel off the lined transfer tape – if any vinyl tries to come back with it, STOP, go back, and press it back down.  If it continues, press the transfer tape and vinyl back to the tumbler and remove from another side.

STEP 8: Gift or enjoy your personalized tumbler!! 

Monogrammed Cups

**You can also make a personalized tumbler with an image a loved one will appreciate.  My aforementioned engineer friend loves owls, so I made her this awesome Tervis:


My boyfriend is restoring a 1964 Airstream.  With the help of my amazing engineering friend, we made a vector of his actual airstream, down to the window placement, the vent, and everything.  I used the airstream font to add his hashtag.  He loves it!

I also monogrammed my computer.  I haven’t gone monogram crazy or anything 🙂

Photo Dec 14, 1 31 59 PM


Pretty Magnetic Pen Container (DIY from spice tin)

Does it drive anyone else CRAZY when there is no pen nearby to add things to your fridge notepad? I tend to forget things easily, and sometimes, by the time I get my pen, I forgot what I needed to write down!

My mom has the same problem, so I made her this as part of her birthday week.  [I’ll add the link once her birthday week is over! I don’t want to ruin any surprises so I’m waiting…]

Magnetic Pen Container by thisthatandcraft

Super easy and ended up being super cute gift!  I got the notepad at Michael’s.

Here’s how to make the super cute magnetic pen holder!

What you will need:

  • empty spice tin (got mine at Kroger – they have 2 sizes, I used a large one)
  • scrapbook paper
  • Mod Podge (make your own with Elmer’s glue)
  • small foam brush
  • magnets & glue (E6000 is good stuff)

Magnetic Pen Cup Supplies


  1. Remove the lid of the spice tin.  I opened it and was able to get it out with my fingers.  You could also use pliers.
  2. Cut your paper to fit the spice tin.  I set the paper on top of the ridge, and made it the paper about 1/2 – 1 inch taller than the container to create nice edges.
  3. Using the small foam brush, put a light coat of Mod Podge on the tin.  Place the scrapbook paper on the front – starting on the bottom rim, making sure the seam for the paper will be on the back.  Use a credit card to smooth the paper.  Smooth it around the corners.
  4. Cut a diagonal slice down each corner, put Mod Podge on the paper sticking out the top and then pressed it firmly to the inside of the tin.  Put more Mod Podge just where the paper overlaps the tin to secure the seal.
  5. Attach the magnets to the back of the tin (the side with the seam).  Let glue dry.
  6. Add pens, attach to fridge, and VIOLA!

My inspiration from Not Without Heels:


I also love the idea of using a pretty tea tin!  No paper necessary!

Tea container

Airplane Travel Survival Kit (Great Gift for Overseas Travelers!)

I’ve made some fun survival kits for my coworkers like this Hospital Survival Kit for new mommas and the Wedding Day Survival kit.  I did not expect a gift for my birthday, but they made me this AWESOME Travel Survival Kit in an adorable purse/messenger bag for my upcoming trip to Taiwan!  My best friend had the same idea!  She got me a decorative suitcase filled with fun things for my trip.  What’s crazy is the only things I got double of was things I’ll use – like hand sanitizer.  I feel so blessed for such thoughtful and sweet coworkers and friends!

Airport Travel Survival Kit

Some ideas of things to include:

Comfort and sleep: (especially for long flights)

  • travel blanket
  • neck pillow (inflatable take up less space)
  • earplugs
  • sleep mask
  • benadryl or other sleeping medication


  • hand sanitizer (travel size)
  • compact mirror
  • chapstick & lotion to combat dryness in air
  • travel comb or brush
  • hair tie
  • Tide To Go or Shout Wipes
  • nail file
  • dry shampoo (travel size)
  • hygiene supplies: check out the travel size section in your pharmacy or grocery store for what you think your recipient will need: toothbrush/paste, floss, deodorant, etc. – include a quart size bag for liquids!
  • face wipes

Stay healthy:

  • disinfecting hand wipes
  • hand santitizer
  • tissues
  • bandaids
  • pain relief tablets
  • motion sickness medicine
  • barf bag

Just in case…

  • snacks
  • hard candy and gum (to help with the
  • pen
  • luggage tag

For fun:

  • deck of cards
  • favorite magazines
  • paperback book
  • Sodoku or crossword book

You could even include a few things for your recipient to use on the trip!

  • plug adaptor
  • battery operated fan
  • sunscreen
  • bug spray
  • scarf
  • travel journal
  • sun hat
  • bra stash or money belt
  • travel clothesline

How about a packing list or other infographic:

If you have little ones, here are some good ideas:

What to Bring on a Flight for a Baby and Toddler

What to Bring on a Flight for a Baby and Toddler

Flying with a Preschooler & Baby from The Active Toddler

Flying with a Preschooler & Baby from The Active Toddler

Toddler Airplane Survival Kit from Blog by Ben

Toddler Airplane Survival Kit from Blog by Ben

Homemade Reusable Disinfectant Wipes

**Update 4/12/2012

I was looking at one of the blogs I got ideas from, and I found A Word of Caution about Vinegar and Castille Soap.   SO, I am going to try this version on Living on a Dime.

Original Post:

I LOVE using Clorox wipes and DREAD the kitchen sponge for counter cleaning.  I am not a fan of reusing a wet rag to wipe the counters.  I assume the germs and bacteria multiply, even if the rag dries (which it rarely does).

So, when I saw a post by Live Renewed (and a few other bloggers who tried it as well, like Life is Nothing Without Him and One Good Thing) about making reusable disinfectant wipes, I knew I had to try it!

I also found this version on Living on a Dime – she uses rubbing alcohol, claiming it is more disinfecting.  However, I believe vinegar and tea tree oil to be disinfecting enough.   BUT here’s what I did…


I got out a 2 cup measuring cup and poured in approximately:

1 c. water (warm it up before adding the rest)

3/4 c. vinegar (disinfectant)

a few drops of tea tree oil* (disinfectant)

castile soap** (extra cleaning power)

Old T-shirts to make your “wipes” – I collected a few white and gray t-shirts from my family members and cut them into wipe sized rectangles and squares.  I just used as much of the shirts as I could; I did not care if they were all exactly the same size.  I used 2 shirts (maybe 3) and got more than 30 rectangles!

Now, put all those wipes in a container that has a decent seal.  You want something that won’t allow your wipes to dry out. You could use an old baby wipes box.  I found a large peanut butter jar in my “to reuse” pile of containers.  I didn’t fold them.  That’s a little too much effort for me :).

Pour just enough mixture over the cloths to get them a little moist – you don’t want them soaking wet.  Put the remainder in an empty water bottle so you can use it next time (I only had a few tablespoons left.)

When you’re done with a wipe, just toss it in the laundry!  Easy peasy, better for the environment, less costly, less toxic, and BAM – DIY!

*Tea tree oil:  2 fl. oz. at Wal-mart in the Supplements/Vitamins section for $7.96.  It was about the same at Target.

**Castile soap: Target had 16 oz for about $11 and 32 oz. for $17 near the make-up section.  My Target also had tea tree oil, unscented(only 32 oz), and lavender.  I don’t really like lavender so I bought peppermint.   GNC/Vitamine Shoppe supposedly has citrus, but it was more expensive (at least online).