Sat 29 May 2010
Introduction to Vinyl Cutting Machines: Tools & Supplies You’ll Need
By: Tay Silver | Creative Cuttables & Commercial Vector Designer
It’s Tay here again to help turn your Cricut, Silhouette or Wishblade craft cutter into a vinyl lettering machine! Our first blog post helped give you an understanding of how to import graphics into your machine’s software. Once you have made sure your individual machine can handle thin media, such as vinyl (see your user’s manual), it is time to purchase supplies! Here is what you will need:
Vinyl: Oracal 631 Matte is the most popular home interior vinyl because it’s non-glossy surface looks as if the vinyl was hand-painted on the wall. White, chocolate brown and ivory are the most popular color requests, followed by black, light pink and deep red.
Weeding Tool: Most gals use an Xacto™ Knife, available at any chain retailer or craft store. I personally use a tool called a Bubble Popper, which has a needle tip at one end and a burnishing wedge at the other. It’s intended to pop bubbles that occur in large vinyl applications but I find it the size ideal for weeding & applying craft-sized vinyl projects. (I purchased my Bubble Poppers, and all my supplies, from SignWarehouse.com)
Application Tape: This is what you use to peel the vinyl off the backing and put it on the wall without having to individually apply each letter. The tape is low-tack, so it holds the letters in place until you stick them on the wall. The vinyl adhesive is stronger than the tape adhesive, so the tape peels away, leaving the vinyl on the wall.
I recommend buying tape in a size slightly larger than the maximum cutting width of your machine. For example, my Silhouette can cut 8 inches wide so I purchase 8.5 inch tape. If you know you are going to be doing smaller craft-type projects, you may wish to buy a second roll of 4 or 6 inch tape to save yourself some time. Also, consider getting a higher quality tape for easier application. I personally use R-Tape ApliTape Standard Application Tape. However clear film application tapes that let the client view the vinyl design through the tape is a favourable new option.
Ruler & Yard Stick: You’ll need both. Chances are you probably have them. Both can be purchased at any chain retailer or craft store.
Comfy Grip Scissors: They’re not absolutely necessary but you’re going to use scissors a lot and saving yourself from hand strain is worth the money.
Not wanting to buy a full roll of vinyl? Search for other sites selling small pieces of vinyl specifically sized to fit your machine. This will allow you to cut several designs in many different colors for about the cost of one roll of vinyl. Just be sure to order a bit extra for test cutting and you’ll still need to purchase weeding tools and a roll of application tape.
In our next blog post, we’ll walk you through test-cutting and how to begin cutting vinyl for your home, craft projects and to sell!