How to Cut Vinyl Rolls With a Craft Cutter

How to Cut Vinyl Rolls With a Craft Cutter

Vinyl is a versatile material used to make colorful designs that can be applied to surfaces. It’s typically sold in rolls and can be cut with a craft cutter such as the Cricut or Silhouette Cameo.

When working with vinyl, it’s important to do a test cut to ensure that your settings will work well with the material you’re using. This will help you avoid cutting too much or making a mistake that is irreversible.

1. Select the Right Material

There is a wide variety of vinyl and other craft materials you can use with your cutter. Most craft cutting machine companies do great bundle deals which include a lot of materials and tools with your purchase. You can also buy supplies by the roll, which is often cheaper than buying sheets of material in large craft stores.

Adhesive vinyl comes in all sorts of colors and patterns, including animal prints, dots, and chevrons. It has a paper backing, called a carrier sheet, that is coated in silicone so it pulls off easily after the design is cut and weeded.

You can find etching glass vinyl, window cling vinyl, and chalkboard vinyl by the roll as well. Just make sure the side that is touching your project surface is the sticky, adhesive side and not the non-adhesive side. You want to make sure you can penetrate the surface with a weeding tool when you’re done.

2. Set the Base Material

Once you’ve selected your vinyl, make sure the premium fine point blade is loaded into the machine as prompted and the cutting mat is loaded correctly. When the machine prompts you to load materials and tools, select “Vinyl” from the drop-down menu (the default setting).

Place your vinyl on a blue or green cutting mat with the paper liner side down. Use the grid lines on the Cutting Vinyl Rolls mat to help you line up your design. Use a scraper tool to burnish the vinyl on the transfer tape.

Now, peel the vinyl and transfer tape away from the paper liner. Apply it to your project surface and burnish it again. Now you’re ready to start cutting! Just remember that you’ll need to leave the vinyl for 24 hours to let it come up to room temperature. This will help you get a smooth, crisp cut when cutting your floor pieces.

3. Do a Test Cut

As anyone who’s ever wasted a sheet of vinyl can attest, doing a test cut before proceeding with your entire project is always worth it. Whether you’re cutting vinyl or another type of material, this step will ensure that your cutter settings are right on target for the job.

Start by opening Cricut Design Space on your desktop, iOS device or Android device. Choose a design to cut from the Design Space library or upload your own SVG file and click Make It. Once you’re ready to cut, place your vinyl onto a (newish) LightGrip or StandardGrip mat and load it into the machine.

Once the cutting is finished, remove your mat and check the results. The Cutting Vinyl Rolls shape should be clean and fully separated from the vinyl backing. If not, this could indicate that your blade needs to be sharpened or the pressure changed.

4. Weed the Design

If you’re working with heat transfer vinyl, it’s a good idea to do a test cut. This will help ensure that your blade settings will work well with the material you’re using. You’ll know if you have the right settings when the vinyl easily separates from the carrier sheet during the test cut.

If it’s hard to remove the vinyl, try warming up your ironing board or towel. This will help loosen the backing making it easier to weed. Also, it’s important to use the correct weeding tool. If you don’t have one, Cricut has a Joy Starter Tool Set that includes a weeder and scraper.

When weeding, it’s best to take your time. If you’re rushing, you might accidentally remove parts of your design that need to stay on. Also, be sure to look at the soft copy of your design from time to time to ensure that you don’t remove any important pieces.

5. Apply the Transfer Tape

Once the vinyl is cut and weeded, it’s time to apply the transfer tape. Start by cutting a piece of tape slightly larger than your design. This way, you’ll have some leftover transfer tape to reuse later on.

Once you have the transfer tape in place, remove its paper backing and smooth it over your vinyl decal. Make sure to do this slowly and carefully. If you rush this step, you’ll end up with creases in the tape and uneven adhesive bonding on your vinyl.

This transfer tape has a nice transparent look with a discrete grid that helps you see your entire decal better during the application process. It’s also very affordable, especially if you use it commercially.

6. Peel the Transfer Tape

While cut vinyl may look like a big sticker that can just be removed from the liner and stuck to its final home, it needs help crossing that yawning gap between the liner and the unadorned project base material (whether it’s a glass window, car door, or corplastic sign blank). Enter transfer tape.

Start by attaching a small area of transfer tape to your design, such as the center or one end. Then, line up the design on your project surface and press it down flat with a scraper or burnishing tool. If the liner separates from the vinyl, burnish it back down and repeat. Be sure to use a high-tack application tape, such as our RLA or Main Tape Plus, because it’ll resist curling and keep your project looking professional. The best application tapes also have superior layflat properties, which will reduce wrinkles and maintain a smooth, even surface on your graphics.