How To Make Vinyl Decals At Home – Expert Guide

Hi friends,

Today, I will show you the best method of making vinyl decals at home. You can use these for sticking stuff onto. For instance, you can use the vinyl decals for masking during painting.

They’re also quite handy for t-shirt printing using the heat transfer method.

Frustrated with the high costs of online decals? This guide is for you.

Are you a DIY fanatic? This is for you too.

Let’s get down to it, shall we?

Making Vinyl Decals at Home – The Ultimate Guide

The ingredients you’ll need:

  • A design. These can be two high-contrast colors without lots of detail. If you’re a beginner, I recommend keeping it simple.
  • A sharp cutting tool, like a knife.
  • A cutting surface. It should be neat.
  • A scotch tape.
  • Get one with sharp points, like a needle-nosed pair.
  • Gum-backed colored vinyl. You can use whatever color you prefer.
  • Pair of scissors.
  • Transfer tape.

Something else you might need is a little patience and dedication to the job.

Here are the steps to follow:

Step I: Create the Design

Use photoshop or any good photo editor to create a cool design and print it out.

After printing the design, consider holding it up to the material you’re looking to stick it onto. This helps ensure you have the appropriate size with a great placing.

Doing a multiple-layer design? You might want to consider printing 2 of the same image. You can also print each layer separately, but then, it will feel like you’re screen-printing.

Step II: Select the Vinyl and Secure the Image to the Vinyl

Cut out a piece of the colored vinyl. Let it be about a ½ inch larger than your design.

Is your vinyl too curly? Try taping it to your cutting surface. But, if it’s not too curly, there’s no need to tape it down as that allows you to manipulate the project more during the cutting process.

Is there a huge empty space in the design? Cut it out and tape the edges.

As you begin cutting, the paper might move a lot but if you have many anchor points, you won’t face this problem. However, don’t use too much tape as that might make it more difficult to remove the tape once you’re done.

Step III: Cutting

This part might be a little tedious. It’s okay to take a break once in a while during the cutting process.

Contrary to what most of us imagine, the smaller decals are the ones that are harder to cut, and they take more time than the larger ones. That’s because they have a higher degree of fine details and the working space is too squeezed.

Here are a few cutting tips to make the process easier for you:

  • Doing a highly detailed work? Round the corners and ignore smaller details. You can also try straightening the edges.
  • Begin by cutting out the inner side of the design. For example, the inside of an A or an O. Note that if you start with the borders, you will have to tape the back before cutting the inner parts.
  • Cut too deep rather than too shallow. Moreover, overlap line cuts, for instance on the corners, to ensure there’s no gap left. This helps makes sure that you don’t have to re-trace cuts when picking the template.
  • In case you cut through the paper, tape the back when you’re done. This will fix it. After some time, you’ll be able to figure out the correct depth easily.
  • You’ll discover that some lines are easy to cut along. Nonetheless, be very keen. Certain lines, like borders, texts, circles and parallel lines have got to be straight or else the entire piece will be off.
  • Made a mistake? Don’t start correcting it immediately as the paper will get in the way and the repair cuts won’t be very clean. Wait till you’re done and take the template out to rectify it.

Step IV: Picking the Template

This part normally presents a daunting task for most people because they don’t know what parts to pick out and what parts to leave.

If you made your cuts right, the process will be seamless. Just pick an outside piece or a negative space to start off from, and the rest will fall into place.

Use the tweezers to pick out the design. The corners provide you with the easiest parts to grab from.

After picking your design, it’s time to make rectifications. Line up the straight lines and trim the edges.

Step V: Adding the Transfer Tape and Trimming

To avoid distortion, it’s important that you ensure the vinyl decal is level when you’re applying the tape.

Begin at one end and roll down the tape slowly. Use your fingers to trail the tape to ensure that there aren’t any bubbles or creases.

Once the tape is in place, trim it to around a ½ inch from the decal and leave one of the ends overlapping. This makes taking the backing off easy.

Step VI: Applying to the Surface

The first thing you’ve got to do is clean the surface you’re putting it to.

Now, place the template and secure the side with the overlapped tape. You can use a pencil to mark the opposite side as a guide.

Ensure the tap overlay is big enough to hold the template in place so it doesn’t move too much when taking the backing off.

As soon as the template is in the right spot on the surface, take off the backing. Make sure it comes out evenly to minimize the creation of bubbles. When removing the backing, press the decal firmly to ensure it’s properly.

Rub the decal all over, ensuring that every piece is well covered.

Take off the tape, peeling it at angle of 180°. Smaller pieces of the design might stick to the tape. Bigger pieces, on the other hand, might present a bubbling problem. To deal with this problem, try spraying a mild soap solution on the surface before you apply the decal.

The trick makes it easy to brush out bubbles and make placement adjustments.

Are there some stubborn creases? Just slice them and let them overlap one another to make the decal level.

Now, rub the decal for the last time to ensure each piece is in place.

And, you’re all done!

Final Word

That, my friends, is how you make decals easily at home. By following these easy steps, you no longer have to waste cash buying online vinyl decals. This can be very helpful if you’re looking to minimize your heat pressing costs and maximize your profits.

Remember that the cutting process is the most important of them all. You need to ensure those cuts are straight and in line with the design. Getting the right depth might not be very straightforward at first but with time, you will get it.

It’s all about practice.

Did you find this guide helpful? Why not share it with those you know can benefit from the knowledge you’ve gained here?

Feel free to leave a comment.

The Michel Grant

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