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DIY (Vinyl) Faux Carriage Garage Doors (Free Studio File & Giveaway)

If you've been following along on Silhouette School's Facebook page, you know my big project lately has been transforming my garage door into faux carriage doors.   They sell hardware kits and pop in windows to get this same look on your existing garage doors, but a few weeks ago I got this nagging idea that black vinyl would give me the very same look for a much cheaper price.  I could cut it myself, apply without making any holes in my garage doors, and always have the option of removal if I changed my mind down the road.  I am so happy I got up the courage to do this, because it came out better than I even imagined.

Now I'm going to say upfront...I have the Portrait and this is one of the only projects that I really felt limited by the smaller Portrait.  Initially, I wanted a slightly different window design, but after I traced the jpeg image of the windows in Studio, I realized that the 5 yards of black 651 Oracal Vinyl (courtesy of Expressions Vinyl) I had would not be enough for the project since I was limited to cutting just 8.5" wide.  Those extra 3 inches on the CAMEO would have made a big difference.   If I had the Cameo or if I had gone with the 10 yard roll of vinyl I think I would have been fine.  Regardless, I decided to go with the four square windows on each panel and had just enough vinyl with only a small amount to spare.  Yes, I was sweating and praying I didn't have a mis-cut.

The first thing I did was measure the "window" panels on my garage doors.  Not all garage doors are the same, so be sure you measure yours first and then make any adjustments to the template.  Each of mine are 16 x 10.5". Obviously, I couldn't cut in a solid window piece due to the 8.5" (wide) of my Portrait.  That is the main reason I decided to go with four window panes for each.  The space between each pane is exactly one inch.  I went with 1" so that I could use one inch wide 3M Painters Tape and easily get even spacing between all the windows.   After some calculating and adjusting and more adjusting I figured out (math's not my strong suit hah) each rectangular pane needed to be 7.5" x 5.25". 
Below is how my cut file looked initially.  Since I created and designed this Studio cut file myself - without a trace or a purchased design - I can legally share it with all of you.

These are for personal use only, please!

(If you're not into the rectangular panes, here are some carriage house garage window styles you may like.  These would all make great traces...wink, wink.) 

I could have cut all 32 rectangles in one solid cut, but I wanted to have a little more control since I was dealing with such little wiggle room.   I cut four panes at a time using 20" pieces of vinyl.  I had to repeat this eight times to get all 32 panes. 

Now to cut on vinyl that's longer than the cutting mat you have to make some adjustments to your settings.   If you cut like this, only the first two boxes and a portion of the third will cut because the cut line is currently set to 8.5 x 11 (standard Portrait).

To change this, click the Page Settings icon (circled).

First adjust the page size.  Since my vinyl is 20" long I change the width (from the standard 11") to 21" (just for extra padding).   Now you can see the white area, that indicates the vinyl, has extended.

However, at this point the machine will still only cut 11" wide because you can see the cut border is still halfway through the 3rd block. That's because it's limited by the size of the cutting mat. Once I change the cutting mat settings to "None", the cut border will be extended to 21", as well. 

Now it's time to time to cut and cut and cut and cut....

Once all the window panes were cut, I was ready for the installation phase.  But's one last look at how my garage looked 'before.'

Since my panels are 16" across, I made two pencil marks each at .5" on either side of the 8" (middle) point. I made the two marks an inch apart so the middle of my painters tape was exactly in the middle.

I actually made two sets of marks: one at the top of the pane and another set at the bottom of the pane.  I did this to ensure the tape was straight which would ensure my window panes were all exactly evenly spaced.   I repeated this measuring process for the height mark as well at 4.75" and 5.75" (5.25" was my middle point).   With the painters tape cross guide up, it's time to install your window panes.  I know this may sound confusing...but hopefully this picture will help. My pencil marks are highlighted by the black dots.

I always transfer vinyl with transfer tape, and I planned to for this project as well, but it turns out I really didn't need to and after the first pane, I skipped it altogether and just applied the vinyl decals like stickers.

I started applying each pane by lining up the inside corner of the vinyl with the tape. Then I sort of stretched the side and the top/bottom along the edge of the tape before really pressing the full pane into place.   In this photo the vinyl looks a little bumpy, but it's actually flat against the garage door which is slightly textured.

If you get bubbles or the pane isn't perfectly aligned with the tape, you can remove the vinyl and reposition.  Repeat repeat repeat... Once all the vinyl decals are in place you can remove the tape. Stand back and admire your work...but not too long, you want to move on to the next window, don't you?!

The process of measuring for the tape and applying the vinyl window decals really goes pretty fast once you a system going. I would estimate it took me less than an hour total to do both of my garage doors. 

Once all the windows are installed it's time for the hinges.  To get the shape for the hinges I did a google search for carriage garage door hardware kits.  I found one (with size specs wooohoo) that I could easily trace in Silhouette Studio.  If you need a refresher on how to trace a jpg file check out our 101 tutorial.   The specs revealed that the brackets in the hardware kit were 16" long.   I wish I could share this studio file with you, but unfortunately I can't. I can tell you it's an easy trace...

The problem is I only had narrow 3" wide pieces of vinyl left to cut on and the Portrait does not allow you to adjust the rollers which mean I had to cut with the mat...of course that limited me to only cutting 12" long.  Ahhhhhh...the Portrait strikes again.  I figured my options were: cut in pieces and piece together on the door or make my hinges slightly smaller.  I really didn't want separate pieces so I made the design slightly smaller and put it on an angle diagonally across the entire mat. This maximized my cutting space and I was able to cut my design at just over 12".   Talk about sweating...
Again the Silhouette gods were with me and I had no mis-cuts.

I finished up the garage doors by applying the hinges...and then I took a step back and really marveled at my work.  This time you can stare at your beautiful new faux carriage garage doors for as long as you want!  The Silhouette is a thing of beauty, isn't it! (So is that blue editing needed on this picture!)

But wait...there's more!  Expressions Vinyl was kind enough to supply me with the vinyl and transfer tape for my garage door experiment and now they want to give one of you a chance to win your supplies to do this or another vinyl project, too! Win a $25 Expressions Vinyl gift card by entering below. Use it to purchase a 5 or 10 yard roll of Oracal 651 vinyl or whatever your heart desires!

Disclaimer: I received samples of 3M Scotch Blue Painters Tape and Oracal 651 Vinyl from Expression Vinyl for this project, but all opinions are my own. 

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing products through my links, I received a small commission. That's what helps fund Silhouette School so I can keep buying new Silhouette-related products to show you how to get the most out of your machine! 

Thanks for coming to class today at Silhouette School.  If you like what you see, I'd love for you to pin it!

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  1. Melissa this is such a great idea for dressing up our garage doors. Is there a URL that you can give us? This is not working on my iMac no matter what I do. Thank you! One more question... when do you sleep? LOL!

  2. You have done an amazing job! It looks like a fun room to work and play in. I really love it.
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  3. You have done an amazing job! these steps it is easy to understand and implement. thanks for sharing with us.

  4. Your Post is very useful,I new i could find some great ideas and even learn a few new tips from this site. thanks for sharing.Restaurant Glass Garage Door San Diego.

  5. I am a big believer in placing comments on blogs and forums to inform the blog writers know that they have added something useful to the world wide web!
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  6. Thank you so much for putting this up. We were just talking about changing our garage doors and we were not sure whether to just buy new ones or start a project with the old ones. I think you have just given us our next project. Yours looks absolutely fantastic and I can not wait to see how ours looks.

    Giovanni @ Coastal Contract Hardware

  7. Wow nice post. Thank you for sharing this information.
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  8. I appreciate efforts and caliber you have! Remarkable job done! I'm surely going to take most of your ideas to apply on my own bespoke door projects which is very special for me.

    Keep sharing! I would surely look forward!


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