Vinyl cutting 101: A comprehensive guide to craft cutters- Part 1

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The crafting world is exciting and colossal. In fact, it is so exciting and colossal, that it can often be complicated to find your niche.

Here we will be introducing you to our favorite crafting niche: vinyl cutting.

We have prepared this beginner’s guide to vinyl cutting to help you get started with your new craft interest or business.

What is vinyl cutting?

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Vinyl cutting is the technique of making a design in a software program then sending that design to a vinyl cutting machine, which will cut out your design with a blade on sheets of vinyl.

Once the vinyl cutter completes its work, you would need to weed the cut vinyl sheets- remove all the extra vinyl from the paper backed sheet and transfer the ready design onto wherever you want it- your walls, for example, on a car, scrapbooks, cards, or any other place or surface.

Vinyl cutters

A vinyl cutter is a computer controlled machine. They usually look and work a lot like printers, but in place of a pen, a blade is used in a vinyl cutter to cut your design into some materials.

The software you use for designing will export your design from your computer to the best vinyl cutting machine, controlling the movements of the blade similarly like it does in a printer. Cricut vinyl cutter is one of the most popular vinyl cutter brands.

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The other terms used interchangeably for vinyl cutters are: plotters, die-cutters and craft cutters because as a matter of fact, they can do a lot more than just cut your vinyl designs.

What can I make with the best vinyl cutting machine?

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Below are only a few of the many things that you can make with your vinyl cutters:

  • Signage
  • Origami
  • Cards
  • T-shirt transfers

Vinyl decals for laptops, smartphones and wallpaper

  • Electronic circuits
  • Car wraps
  • 3D objects
  • Stickers and labels

It all depends on your creativity.

Vinyl cutting machines for crafters vs. vinyl cutters for business

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Many of you might be considering small business ideas when you can turn your passion into a source of income.

When it comes to craft cutting, there are two highly different markets.

There are people who enjoy the excitement of making crafts at home, the ‘crafters’. And then there are people who need the vinyl cutter for commercial purpose, and have to meet the requirements of the customers.

Anybody can get started on a budget. But the exact requirements will impact the type of cutter required.

What types of businesses use a vinyl cutting machine?

  • Small craft fans
  • Vehicle sticker brands and modders
  • Custom apparel brands
  • Home decor businesses
  • Signage businesses

It goes without saying, that many of the cheap vinyl cutting machines are designed for light usage and don’t provide the exact cutting or the larger printing surface that is needed by most of the businesses.

But these cheap vinyl cutting machines are great for crafters: they generally don’t take up too much space and are great for small designs.

Why vinyl cutting is cheaper today?

Initially, commercial vinyl cutting machines were accessible only to the large businesses that could afford to pay big upfront sums for the technology.

Thankfully, things have changed now. The advancement of technology has seen significant cost savings in the production of personal vinyl cutters.

Some of the vinyl cutter manufacturers that once specialized in commercial cutters started producing bestselling digital machines that can be bought for under $199.

Also, an ‘economy’ market has emerged for professional-grade cutters. This means you can now buy highly powerful equipment for as less as $600, or a mid-range cutter under $1000.

What size should my vinyl cutting machine cut?

One of the primary things you will notice when searching for the best vinyl cutting machine is that they are available in a wide range of cutting widths: From tiny 6-inch cutters to gigantic 64-inch cutters.

The best selling vinyl cutting machines provide a maximum cutting width somewhere generally between 9-12 inches, which should be perfect for crafters and hobbyists – but may prove limited for other users.

Somebody selling crafts or t-shirts will have a nice idea of what size machine they need, but if someone is launching a signage business, he would probably need more flexibility and the ability to scale up. So, going for a bigger machine would be the solution.

There are many more things that you must know about vinyl cutting and those things we will be discussing in the Part-2 of this post.

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