How to Vinyl Cut Decals

How to Vinyl Cut Decals

Vinyl is one of the most flexible materials to work with and gives less amount of creases, typically the main cause for paint leakage.

There are many things you can do with vinyl and one of them is a two-tone decal, which is a great way to get a nice sticker.

What do you need?

First thing to begin with is a two-color design with high contrast and not too many details. You may find it the hard way that gradients are almost impossible to cut. Photoshop filters to the rescue, some may say, but play it safe and simple, especially if you’re new at this.

You also need an X-Acto knife or any other tool that is sharp and great for cutting. Now that we’re in the “sharp zone”, don’t forget about the tweezers with sharp points and the scissors.

X-Acto knife

The list also includes scotch tape, adhesive-backed colored vinyl color, transfer tape that is strong enough.

The cutting surface may depend on you needs and likes.

Don’t forget about patience. On the other hand, should it be the first one to begin with? 🙂

Step 1: create

Use Photoshop (or whatever fits you better), a nice, interesting design and print it out on paper, in the size you want. Leave a half-inch margin and use it as a template so you may have the right size later on.

If you print out each layer individually, you may combine the two-post cutting onto the same backing using transfer tape. You may also combine the two on the actual surface, as it’s easier.

Step 2: choose the vinyl

As we said before, cut a piece of vinyl a half-inch bigger than your design. You should do it on the cutting surface if you’re handling a curvy piece of vinyl. Sometimes the vinyl is way too curvy though and it’s better not to tape it down, for easier manipulation of the project.

chooseing the vinyl

Continue by taping the template to the vinyl as flush and in more than one place. If you end up with a big empty space in the middle, cut a hole and tape also the middle. You may notice how the paper tends to move, so it’s better to use anchor points. It’s easier the remove the template later on if using small pieces of tape.

Step3: Let’s do some cutting!

You may need to put some muscles into it and even get a headache from focusing too much, but it has to be done. You don’t have to do it all in one day and the more complicated the design is, the longer it will take to cut it. In addition, the smaller the decals is, the harder it is to cut it. It’s also true that the large ones are difficult to put on, but we’ll get there…

Don’t let yourself dragged into the cutting the small details or straighten edges. It’s better to do it last.

It’s also better to begin with the inner design and to cut too deep than too shallow. It’s not bad either to overlap the cut-lines.

As some lines need to be straight, stop from time to time to see if you’re on the right track. In addition, if you’re in the middle of a mistake, wait a bit until you take the template off to make it better. When you feel you’re ready to take this to the next step, you can start using a professional cutter and a heat press machine.

Step4: let’s pick!

If you’re cutting right, pick a negative space or outside piece to start from and begin by cutting the border into sections for easier removal. You may skip this step if your design is a circle.

Use the tweezers and pick a piece to begin with. Some say it’s always easier to start in the corners. Go over your design and trim edges or line up straight lines.

Step5: Time for some transfer tape

The decal has to be flat when you apply the tape and static electricity is very likely to happen. Begin with one end and roll it down, using your fingers to keep the tape flush, with no creases or bubbles. You definitely don’t want any wrinkles, as they are difficult to fix.

Once the tape is on, it’s time to trim it a half-inch from the decal and leave one hand overlapping.

Step 6: Simply…apply!

In case, you haven’t done this until now: clean the surface you’re going to put your design. Secure the overlapped tape side and check for the tape overlap is large enough so it doesn’t move.

Apply the Vinyl Cut Decals

After you chose your surface, take the backing off and roll it down so that there are no air bubbles. Press on the decal and make sure it’s well adhered. Continue rubbing until you’re sure every single inch is covered.

Pull back at a 180-degree angle and take the tape off. Pay attention to the small details and the air bubbles. Small tip? Spray a mild soap mixture on the surface before applying the decal for better results.

However, if anything gets south, lance the air bubble with your x-actor (using a slicing motion) and slice any creases/folds, overlapping each other afterwards.

You’re not done until you rub the decal one last time so that every single piece is set. Not it’s time to take a deep breath and…enjoy the results!

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Cricut Iron Vinyl

How to Use Cricut Iron on Vinyl

There are many tips when using Cricut iron on vinyl and no matter how you choose to do it in the end, some steps are common and some rules are always great to follow. The more you practice, the more you realize that some things work and some don’t work for you or a specific project.

Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean you should be completely on your own out there when using Cricut iron on vinyl and it’s better to keep your creativity for the designs and not for this part 🙂 .

What you need

Obviously enough, you do need your Cricut machine (this is entirely up to you) and a Cricut mat.

Cricut machine

Choose your current project, no matter if it’s a t-shirt, a pillow or anything else. Don’t forget about the weeding tool and…the iron or the heat press. After all, it’s all about how to use cricut iron on vinyl.

Step 1: Let your imagination flow!

Use the Cricut Design Space and create the design for your current project. If you’re new at this, it’s better to go with a thicker font and pictures that aren’t that sophisticated. They may look interesting and impressive, but you do need to succeed at this, not to end up all bumped from the failure.

Cricut Design Space

Some like to use a lot the Canvas feature from the Design Space for this type of projects- with iron, which is. It includes many various options and you may get the right size from the beginning, visualizing your project easier.

Step 2: Choose the colors

It’s essential to have it all clear: are you gonna use the same color vinyl for your project or several colors?

Choose the colors

If you decide that all the parts of your project are the same color, select each item and select “weld” in the layers menu.

When you go with the various colors on different elements, do it accordingly.

Step 3: Let’s begin

Press “Go” and go to the page that shows you the items before you actually cut them. When your elements aren’t welded together, you’re gonna see multiple cuts instead.

cricut go button

For iron-on, you should definitely select “mirror image”. This is essential as you do want your project the right way, and not written backwards or anything like it. Unless, this is what it was you were going for in the first place. Continue by pressing “GO” once again.

Step 4 and a bit of Step 5: Let’s cut!

It’s time to change the dial on your machine to “Iron On”. The trickiest part? Knowing which side to place down your project. For some it may come natural right from the beginning, but some do find it difficult to do it right.

When ironing on vinyl, it’s good to know there is a clear, smooth sheet on one side that should be face down on the mat.

Step 6: Get into it!

Place the mat in the machine and load it in. as it’s loaded in, press the flashing Cricut button on the machine and enjoy the show!

Step 7: Do some cleaning

When the machine is done cutting, carefully cut off the piece of the cut vinyl. Take time, a deep breath and smoothly weed out any small pieces from your current design. If your project includes some thin fonts, go even more carefully.

Pull the rest of the excess material up and see that there are no other small pieces left behind.

Step 8: Iron on!

You finally got to the most important part: ironing. Note to self: it’s always better to pre-wash the material you’re going to use for your project.

ironing Cricut vinylBegin by “preheating” the selected material and iron it for 15-20 seconds, just in the place where you’re going the add the vinyl to. For best results, it’s good to have the iron on the cotton/linen setting.

It’s essential to have the right heat temperature and the right pressure. Try to play it safe and don’t get tempted into cranking the heat up as high as it will go. Never go over the “wool” heat setting and remember that a too hot iron ruins your vinyl.

It’s also important to firmly press the iron on the cotton-covered vinyl. Try not to move the iron back and forth, as you do on regular basics. You should instead press the iron hard across the whole project, waiting for 30 seconds in between sections.

Yes, having a sore arm in the end, means you have been using the right pressure for ironing. Just like going to the gym 🙂

Step 9

Keep in mind that the vinyl has to side down and place it onto your preheated zone, flipping over your shirt. When you’re ironing onto a pillow, for instance, you may place a piece of a thin fabric over the vinyl.

Carefully (it’s all about patience in this kind of projects) iron over the back of the shirt for no longer than 25 seconds.

Step 10

You should let the vinyl cool for a bit, 20 seconds or so, before you continue by flipping it back over. Use your last pieces of patience and remove the plastic from the vinyl. It may be you find some pieces coming up. Don’t worry! Simply try to iron it once more.

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