How to make vinyl decals with vinyl cutting machine


If you have already purchased best vinyl cutting machines or considering buying a new one, then as a next step you must learn how to make vinyl decals using your vinyl cutting machine. To help you here we have prepared a step-by-step guide.

Even though every vinyl cutter machine works differently and you need to follow the instructions included with your program and cutter, these guidelines will assist you get started.

Things or supplies you will need to start?

  • Desktop/laptop
  • Design software
  • Vinyl cutting machine
  • Vector art program
  • Rolls of vinyl
  • Transfer or app tape
  • X-Acto knife, tweezers, scissors
  • Putty knife tool or squeegee

Create artwork

Creating unique art is the most important and toughest part of the process. When your designs are more creative, unique and relevant, they are easier to sell. Sometimes, you will be working with plain text with simple and easy designs. You can easily convert the symbols and fonts available on your computer to stickers with a vinyl cutting program. Also, using graphics programs like Adobe Illustrator, you can easily create your own designs and shapes and prepare vector art specifically to cut vinyl.

No matter what art you make (complex design, photographs, simple shapes or text), you will have to convert it to vector art so your vinyl cutting machine can print it well.

Import your artwork into a vinyl cutting program

After creating your artwork, important it to your vinyl cutting program which will let you manipulate, rotate, scale, size, frame and format the image many ways before you send it to the vinyl cutting machine. If cutter machine didn’t come with a program, there are several on the market to choose from. Make sure the one you choose is compatible with the OS of your computer or laptop.

Load vinyl

Every cutter works in a different way, so it is important to read and follow instructions about how to feed the vinyl into your cutter before you begin.

Choose and set the blade

Select the blade depth and pressure. In some vinyl cutter machines you have to push the blade down manually while in some there is a button that does this for you. You will have to adjust the blade whenever you change the type of vinyl. Even if you will using the same vinyl, then its thickness and quality may vary from roll to roll so you may need to readjust. This will learn this eventually with practice.

Send to vinyl cutting machine to cut your art

Different vinyl cutters connect in a different way to computers and laptops, but most of them connect via USB port. Once you have installed the drivers, establish the connection, select the correct port in the cutting software and switch your cutter to the online mode and you will be good to go.

Depending on your complicated your design is, cutting may take a few seconds or a few hours, but most simple decals are cut in a few minutes. When the cutting is done, with the help of scissors remove the cut section from the roll.

Weed your vinyl

As the vinyl cutter only cuts but doesn’t remove the negative parts of the image, you will have to remove the irrelevant parts or pieces of the design manually. If you cutter blade was aptly set, your artwork will weed easily, but usually this part of the process is time consuming. You can use an X-Acto knife, a weeding pick or tweezers to remove the parts of vinyl that are not the part of your decal.

Put transfer tape

The final step is to put the stick on your sticker. You must choose a tape that remains flat or else the edges of the decal will start to curl up and attract dirt. Keep in mind the sometimes you want to put the sticker behind glass, and in such cases you will want the adhesive applied on the front instead of back of your design. App tape is like masking tape but has a different tack for adhering to your vinyl but releasing it on the target surface. Use a putty knife tool or a squeegee to press the transfer tape onto the vinyl for firm adhesion.

By following these steps you can have your vinyl decal ready.

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