As promised, I'm going to show you how to cut vinyl on your Cricut. If you have a different cutting machine, the application process should be the same.
The picture above is a quote that I put in my classroom this year, and I love it.
The tutorial that follows is for doing smaller projects. To do something like the quote I have above, you probably want to use a software program like Sure Cuts A Lot. It will use less vinyl that way because you can squish your letters closer together. You can also stretch and squash them vertically and horizontally. Also, you'll want to use the 12" x 24" cutting mat for the larger projects.
But for our purposes today, I'm just using the 12" x 12" cutting mat.
Once you decide what you want to cut out of your vinyl, you just smooth your vinyl down onto your cutting mat the same way you would with card stock. Please, do not peel the sticker backing off your vinyl sheet. That would be baaaaaaad.
Next, load your mat into your machine. So far nothing should be different than what you're used to doing with paper. Well, except that you're using vinyl. Doy.
This next step is so very important, so pay attention, okay? You are going to want to do a very small test cut on your vinyl. Just one little one inch letter would be sufficient. I want you to put your machine on low pressure, then do your test cut.
The test cut is so you can make sure the blade cuts through the vinyl, but not the sticker backing sheet behind it.
Very, very important. Once you've tested this, you are free to cut. Here is a picture of my test cut.
You can see that the sticker backing paper is still there when I peel away my test cut letter. Feel free to use a scrap piece of vinyl for this step. Vinyl is expensive and you don't want to waste it. I've cut a lot of vinyl on my machine, and low pressure is my sweet spot. Yours might be different. I'm sure it depends on how sharp your blade is.
Here is a word I cut on a piece of vinyl. After I cut it, I cut a rectangle around the word so I know how big a piece of Transfer Tape I need to transfer my lettering.
The Transfer Tape is on the left and the vinyl is on the right. You can find it wherever Cricuts are sold. Lately I've been buying my vinyl at Wal Mart because it's $9 a package there vs. $10 at Michael's. I've been buying the Transfer Tape at Michael's because my Wal Mart never has it. It makes me crazy. My Michael's also has a serious problem keeping it in stock. Lucky for me, Girl Genius works there so I just have her snag it for me when the truck pulls up. I'm a Transfer Tape Junkie and she's my pusher. I love her so much.
The next step is my favorite part. I grab my Cricut Captain Hook tool and start pulling away the extra vinyl. You have to do it slowly and pull at a 45 degree angle so you don't tear your letters, but it is oh so satisfying. I like to peel skin from sunburns though, so that might just be me.
I'm easily entertained.
Here you can see my image with all the excess pulled away.
Here I've cut a piece of Transfer Tape that is about the same size as my image. Sometimes I piece scraps together. You don't have to have a continuous piece of Transfer Tape like you do vinyl. Feel free to be frugal.
Next, start peeling the Transfer Tape from its sticker backing sheet. Don't pull it all the way off though. It's like Fly Paper and it sticks to everything. It's kind of like the clear scrapbooking stickers in that when you get close to something with it, it has a magnetic force that sucks it into exactly the place where you do not want it. It's extremely annoying.
So, as I was saying, just pull back enough to get it started.
You can see here how I've started sticking the Transfer Tape to my lettering. Take it slowly and ease it onto the vinyl.
I didn't take a picture of this next step because I don't have three arms, but you want to use something to smooth the Transfer Tape onto the vinyl. Okay, that's a lie. I forgot, okay? Nobody's perfect.
A credit card would work fine. The idea is to run the edge over the surface to make the Transfer Tape stick to the vinyl so it will pull it off the sticker backing sheet without tearing the vinyl. It's a tricky, slow process.
After smoothing the Transfer Tape down, you can start peeling the Transfer Tape away from the sticker backing sheet, making sure that the vinyl is coming up with it. Again, go slow at a 45 degree angle. If you have sections that don't come up with the Transfer Tape, back it up just a tad, smooth it down, and try that spot again. Sometimes it's a process of two steps forward, one step back.
Since this piece is relatively small, I was comfortable enough hovering over the spot where I wanted to stick it, then smacking it down before I could lose my nerve.
You could say there's no turning back now.
The final step is to slowly and carefully peel the Transfer Tape away. You sometimes have to back up, smooth, and ease sections off with this step as well.
Whew! That was a little stressful, wasn't it?
I assure you, it gets easier the more you do it. Just dive in and give it a try.
This bucket was a little trickier and I had to notch my word so it would wrap around the curved surface of the bucket without puckering the letters. Sadly, these notches were not enough.
I started peeling my sticker backing sheet away and it was too hard to keep the word from sticking to me and the spot I didn't want it to go.
So I ended up cutting the word into three separate pieces so I could have a little room to work. It worked much better this way.
Pretty nifty, eh?
Now that you've suffered through this little tutorial, I have a little surprise for you. Back in April, I joked in this post about how I wanted to put up a bunch of vinyl sayings in my house, and one of them was going to be "PICK UP YOUR CRAP!" Well, some of you thought it was a splendid idea so I went ahead and did it.
I put it in Peanut Head's Man Cave because it's such a pigsty. Pigsty with a capital "P."
I kid you not. When Stinkerbell was five she walked into Peanut Head's shop and exclaimed "Daddy, pick up all this crap! It's a disaster in here!" I promise you, I am not lying. It even made it into our Christmas letter that year. These are the sorts of proud parenting moments we brag about in our annual holiday letter.
It's that juxtaposition thing that I'm so fond of.
See what I mean about the mess? Actually, this is a horrible example. He just cleaned it up. But it will not stay like this, mark my words.
So what I'm saying is that Peanut Head deserves this little gem.
And he needs to stop talking like a sailor because Stinkerbell has been using inappropriate language appropriately since she was three. And it's very hard to discipline your child when you're laughing hysterically and rolling around on the floor. Very hard.