Learning to Use Your New Vinyl Cutter

Are you looking to start your own at home business? Are you just looking for a side hustle to supplement your income? Or maybe you own your own print shop and are looking for ways to diversify what you are capable of. Well whether you are looking for a fun hobby or a serious business venture Vinyl cutting could be a great place for you to start. Not only is vinyl cutting easy to learn and a relatively small investment, it is also useful for many different things. You can make decals for just about anything, including walls, phones and even your car. The sky’s the limit once you have your vinyl cutter figured out, and that is what we are here for.

If you are just starting to shop around for a new vinyl cutter you just might be feeling a little overwhelmed with all of the different options and accessories that are available. Vinyl cutters can range wildly in price so it might be a little overwhelming at first while deciding what to buy. If you did a quick search on amazon you might have seen that some vinyl cutters can cost upwards of four grand. Now don’t worry, if you’re just trying to start up your home business you won’t need to spend nearly that much, a decent home use vinyl cutter should only cost you around $300. A machine in that price range should be more than enough for the average home user. If you are looking for something suited to larger scale commercial production than things get a little more complicated and a lot more expensive. The biggest factor influencing price of vinyl cutters is the size. Now the number that you see associated with vinyl cutters while shopping online isn’t the size of the machine itself, but the width that the machine is able to cut. So essentially, the bigger the cutter, the more it will cost. There are plenty of other factors that influence the price like the force of the blade and the motor speed, but to keep things simple the aforementioned price range is where most readers will want to be shopping. 

So, once you have found your perfect vinyl cutter the next question is what kinds of materials and accessories you need. First off and the most obvious is the vinyl itself. There are many different kinds of vinyl available. The main differences which affect the cost of the vinyl have to do with how durable the vinyl is, how resistant it is to the sun, and more fun things like if it is glow in the dark or metallic. Luckily for most project you’ll be just find using cheaper more basic kinds of vinyl. Another accessory which you will commonly see advertised is a stand for you’re vinyl cutter. Whether or not a stand is a good investment for you depends on the size of the projects you plan on working on. Aside from being a space saver the stand serves as a roll feeder which will become valuable if you want to print longer designs or decals. Another tool which you might consider purchasing if you are looking to get into apparel is a heat press. A heat press will save you a lot of time and hassle if you are looking to make custom t-shirts, hoodies, sweaters, etc. While I won’t go into too much information on heat presses here, it is a great way to expand you’re vinyl cutting business. If buying a heat press in addition to your vinyl cutter is a little too much of an investment for you, have no fear, you’ll still be able to make all sorts of awesome decals and stickers. For those uses all you will need is a roll of transfer paper which is very cheap and a great way to get started. 

So you’ve got you’re vinyl cutter set up and ready to go and now you’re wandering, How the heck does this thing work?”. Well to break it down, the first thing you will need to do is create your design. For that you’ll need a vector based design software. Most commonly used are Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, and, for a free alternative, Inkscape. Designing is a crucial part of making money with your vinyl cutter so it is useful to be fluent in one of those programs. Once you have your design all ready to be cut out, you will need to put the vector file into the cutting software that came with your vinyl cutter. Your next step will be to start up your cutter, feed the vinyl paper into it and let it do all of the cutting. Once the design is all cut out your next step will be to “weed” the vinyl. Weeding is the process of picking out parts of the vinyl that are not part of your design. Depending on the intricacy of the design weeding can take quite a while, but unfortunately there is no way around it. Once your design is weeded, it is ready to be pressed onto transfer paper for either apparel or decals. 

You should now have all of the basic knowledge you need to get started with your vinyl cutter. Of course there is always more to learn and plenty of great tips and tricks out there that you can find out online or by yourself. There is a whole community of people online getting into vinyl cutting that will be a big help while you figure it all out yourself. At the end of the day vinyl cutting is fairly simple and once you get the basics all figured out you will be on your way to making money in no time.

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