Proper Techniques for Cutting Vinyl Rolls
Using a vinyl roll is an efficient way to cut large banners and signs. However, it is important to use proper techniques to ensure flawless transfers.
Weeding is the process of removing all “negative” areas around and inside your cut design. This includes the paper liner backing and any uncut vinyl.
Vinyl has a long-held reputation for being flimsy and cheap-looking, but this flexible plastic material is now available in a world of colors, sheens, textures, patterns, and thicknesses. It can be cut into a variety of shapes and sizes, then applied to slick surfaces like cups, cars, windows, and signs. It can also be used with a heat transfer system and ironed onto t-shirts, bags, and other fabrics.
Heat transfer vinyl comes in rolls, but some brands also sell it by the sheet. It’s a great choice for those who want to add a customized, professional-looking design to clothing or other fabric-based items. It’s simple enough to use for even a beginner, and there are a few key steps to follow before you get started.
First, make sure your work surface is clean and free of debris. If it isn’t, your vinyl may not adhere properly. Then, preheat your material. This step is important, as it helps ensure that your vinyl won’t peel or crack when you apply it.
Next, lay out your vinyl and make sure you’re happy with the size. If you’re not, adjust it with your software program. Once you’re satisfied with the size, prepare your mat. Line up the vinyl with the top of the grid and the transfer tape with its sticky side Cutting Vinyl Rolls down. Place the vinyl and transfer tape together, then carefully rub over them using a scraper tool. You’re trying to “burnish” the tape and vinyl, which will help to ensure a smooth application later.
When you’re ready to begin cutting, remove the paper liner from the vinyl and position it on your mat. Use your grid lines to line up the image and make sure it is positioned correctly before you press it down.
Once the image is positioned, you’re ready to load your machine and cut it. If you’re new to this process, refer to our Kiss Cut Guide for some tips on how to use your machine and get the best results.
After the vinyl has been cut, you’ll need to remove the negative pieces that are around and inside your design. This is called weeding, and it’s an important step to ensure that your finished product looks good. Cricut has a special weeding tool that makes this job easier, but you can also use a seam ripper or thick sewing needle. Just remember that if you leave any part of the negative space in your final project, it will show through and ruin its look. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to weed your designs before you apply them. This way, you can make sure that all the vinyl you’ve paid for is actually getting used.
Whether you’re cutting heat transfer vinyl or regular vinyl rolls, the process is basically the same. Start by creating your design in Design Space, then click the Make button to select your material settings. Choose the “Roll” setting for heat transfer or “Vinyl” for regular vinyl. Select the correct blade and press Go.
Depending on the type of vinyl you’re using, you may need to preheat the base layer before applying your vinyl design. This helps ensure the vinyl sticks pvc film manufacturers properly and avoids any warping or bubbling once it’s applied to your project.
Loading a roll of vinyl can seem intimidating but it’s really quite easy. To start, ensure the roller bar is fully extended for the width of your vinyl (see this tutorial for tips on how to extend the roller bar). Align your mat or material with the left edge of the mat guide. If you’re cutting with the Cameo 4, make sure that it’s fully seated above one of the rollers in the roll feeder (the right side on the 24″ CAMEO 4 Pro). It should be securely held there to prevent it from moving during the cutting process.
You’ll also want to line up your material so that it’s facing the right side of your machine (facing away from you). Lastly, I like to bend up the leading edge for easier feeding into the roller bars and the CAMEO. This is especially helpful for larger widths of vinyl.
Depending on your project, you might have to cut the vinyl multiple times before the final weeding and application. When you’re done, remove the finished vinyl design from the paper backing and place it on top of a piece of transfer tape. Apply the transfer tape to your surface and use a scraper tool to burnish it in. Then, slowly peel the vinyl design off of the transfer tape and onto your project. When you’re done, cut off any excess from around your vinyl design. Use the weeder to remove any small pieces of vinyl that didn’t stick or were too thin to adhere. Once you’re finished, enjoy your beautiful new vinyl project! And don’t forget to wipe down your work surface with a damp cloth when you’re done. That way, your next project will be just as easy!