If you’re interested in adding some extra flair to clothing or house wares as a pastime or you’re thinking about establishing your own business but don’t want to invest a massive amount of money, vinyl decals are a great option.
With vinyl decals, you can create various designs that can be applied to a myriad of objects, from textiles to glass, and from wood to rubber. While a heat press machine can certainly be used to produce large quantities of images quickly, since heat is required to transfer images, the mediums you can print on are limited; for example, you can’t use a heat press to apply an image to glass because this medium can break under excessive heat. However, with a vinyl cutting machine, you can produce images for virtually any medium.
If you’ve never made vinyl decals, you’re in luck because the process if relatively simple and straightforward. Using the detailed instructions below, you can create your own vinyl decals and add interesting, colorful images to pretty much anything you can think of.
DIY Vinyl Decals
Making your own vinyl decals as actually a lot easier than it sounds. Once you get the hang of it, it’s a lot of fun, too!
In order to make your own vinyl decals, first, you need to collect all of the necessary supplies, including:
- A vinyl cutting machine. There are various options available that offer a variety of feature.
- A computer
- A scanner (optional)
- Design software. There are a variety of options to choose, such as Photoshop or any design software from Cricut, for example.
- An inkjet printer. We suggest a color printer; otherwise you’ll only be able to create black and white decals.
- Printable vinyl material. Be mindful of the dimensions; they need to be able to fit into your printer.
- A cutting mat; again, there are multiple options to choose from.
- A tool to burnish the decals; a plastic straightedge, such as a credit card or a ruler.
Steps to Follow
Set your tools up in your workspace. Make sure that you have a flat surface that offers enough space to work on. Once you’re set up, use the following steps to create your own vinyl decals:
- Step 1 – Create your design
Choose an existing design or create a unique image with your design software.
- Step 2 – Edit your design. Whether you used a preexisting design or created your own, you’ll need to edit it so that it fits on the item you’ll be applying it to.
- Step 3 – Add cut lines. Cut lines tell the vinyl cutting machine where to cut around the decal. The process for creating cut lines may vary from cutter to cutter; however, generally, you’ll need to open up a trace window, click on a “choose trace area” option, and then drag to create cut lines around your designs.
- Step 4- Printing test-run. To avoid wasting vinyl, print a test run on plain paper to ensure that the colors, shapes, and cut lines are just right. If there are any errors, make changes within your program.
- Step 5- Print on vinyl. After approving a trial printing, print the design on vinyl paper. Make sure to load the vinyl so that the images will print out on the matte side. Click print and the images will be sent from your computer to your inkjet printer, and then printed out on your vinyl sheets.
Once your vinyl decals are printed, you can apply them to any surface you would like – T-shirts, caps, bags, mugs, picture frames, thermoses, pillows; virtually anything you can think of!