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How To Make Vinyl Decals

How To Make Vinyl Decals at Home

Vinyl decal stickers are a fun way to show others your favorite sports team, band, or product. This is a DIY article that provides a step-by-step process on how to make vinyl stickers and decals at home.

How to Make Vinyl Decals

Making vinyl decals at home is easy as long as you follow the right steps and have all the supplies needed. If you would like to know how to make vinyl stickers, below are the necessary supplies that you need.

  • A printable vinyl like Expression vinyl inkjet printable vinyl
  • Inkjet printer
  • Design software: Silhouette Studio or Cricut Design Space could work
  • Clear vinyl laminate
  • A cutting machine such as the Silhouette Cameo 3
  • Application tool
  • Cutting mat

Here are the steps you need to follow.

Step 1: Prepare and print your design

How To Make Vinyl Decals

We are going to prepare vinyl decals using the Silhouette Cameo 3 and the Silhouette Studio. Here are steps of preparing and printing your design.

  1. On Silhouette Studio, open a new design
  2. Choose the leftmost tab for page size from the page setup panel. Set the size to letter (8.5 x11 in) or any size of the vinyl sheet in use.
  3. Choose the rightmost tab for registration marks under the page setup. Set the style to Type 1 (for the Cameo) so that the registration marks can turn on. The registration marks will help everything to be cut perfectly by ensuring your Silhouette lines up its cuts with the printing.
  4. Open or import your designs, logos, or pictures then arrange them on the page.

If you are selling them, arrange them in a neat grid. You can as well rotate them and move them around.

Avoid placing anything within the hatch-marked red box. Doing that may cause the machine to fail cutting beyond those lines.

  1. Add the cut lines
    • Go to the right and open the trace panel. Click “select trace area” then drag a rectangle around your designs
    • Change your threshold up to 100% to fill your design with yellow.
    • Outline by clicking the “trace outer edge.” This will add a cutline at the edge of each sticker.
    • You can use the offset tool to get a colored or white border around your stickers

Set your desired distance by opening the offset panel on the right then click offset. Doing this adds a cutline on the exterior of your drawing

Ensure that you delete the original cutline from the trace tool if you had added the offset. Choose them all as a single rectangle like when you first traced them.

  1. After arranging your designs and finalizing your cut lines, click File > Print, to send the job to your printer.

Step 2: Applying the Vinyl Laminate

While this step is optional, you can do it for better results. A vinyl laminate helps the stickers last for up to 5 years.

Below is how to apply the laminate.

  1. Place your printed design on a flat and hard surface
  2. Begin to peel the backing off of your vinyl laminate starting from one edge. You can start by peeling off only an inch.
  3. Arrange the edge of the laminate in a row, and then smoothly place it down to avoid air bubbles or creases.
  4. Use a scraper or a ruler to smooth the laminate on the printed page while pulling away from the backing.
  5. Burnish the laminate to the printed vinyl using the same tool so that the laminate stays in place. This also prevents air bubbles.

Step 3: Cutting your vinyl decals

How To Make Vinyl Decals

  1. Put your printed and laminated sheet on your cutting mat, and then feed that in your Silhouette. On the left, arrange the cutting mat with the arrows and click “load on the touch-screen on the right.”
  2. Select the material/cut settings and the mat size in Silhouette Studio.
  3. You can send the file to cut. The Silhouette is going to use the registration marks that have been printed on the page. This ensures that you get accurate cuts on the edges of your stickers

Step 4: Peel them and place them

This is the final stage that involves three phases.

  1. Peel them off
  2. Stick them on
  3. Smooth them out. You can smooth out any bubbles, air or wrinkles under the sticker to make it last longer.

Before starting this process, use a printer that can handle heavy paper.

It should be a printer that has a straight path and not a U-shaped path. Choosing the right printer prevents the paper from bending.

After placing the acrylic spray or the laminate, your ink may start running. In case you notice that, allow the spray to dry for one day for the ink to be fully set.

What Can You Make with Vinyl Decals?

You might be wondering about the importance of vinyl stickers. You can use them to personalize, advertise, or customize anything.

Below are some things you can do with DIY vinyl stickers.

  • You can use them to decorate lockers, lunch boxes, and pencil boxes
  • Customize mugs, tumblers, and water bottles
  • Decorate your laptop or phone
  • You can use them as stickers for your band
  • Label all jars and containers in your kitchen
  • To market your company, blog, or Pinterest

Read Related Topic: How to Make Decals for Shirts – A Guide

James M. Rai has been screen printing T-shirts and other textiles professionally and as a hobby for more than 15 years. During that time, he owned and operated a small screen printing shop in northern California for more than 7 years. More recently, James has gotten involved with Cricut and other cutting machines.