How to Layer Vinyl

If you love DIY projects or would like to decorate and label some of your home items, using vinyl is the best way to go. You can have colorful and decorative vinyl stickers on cups, water bottles, labeling jars, use as book covers, phone stickers, and so much more.

You can also use vinyl stickers in your business to label doors, windows, business cards, and other items and surfaces. Different types of vinyl can be generally categorized by their texture; soft or hard. Before you start the layering process, ensure to identify what type of vinyl you have. Soft surfaced vinyl can be used as a base and have other vinyl layered on top of it. On the other hand, hard-surfaced vinyl can’t hold layers on top of it, making it best as the topmost layer.

You can purchase readymade decorated vinyl or make your own at home. If you do have the required items, then the rest is easy-peasy. In this article, we will guide you on how to layer vinyl Cricut and create beautiful stickers.

What You’ll Need to Layer Vinyl

The following are a few items you’ll need to get started:

  • Your preferred vinyl ( a couple of them should be soft surfaced)
  • Cricut maker ( machine plus design space )
  • Transfer tape
  • A pair of scissors
  • Weeder
  • Tweezers
  • Spatula
  • Scarper

Quick Tip: Purchase a Cricut toolset that’ll contain all tools you need.

How to design using the Cricut design space

Every Cricut comes with a printing machine plus design software where you can create the sticker design you want. The system is quite simple to use and has various design templates that you can choose.

The first step is to identify the design you want. If you don’t have a specific design in mind, go through the readymade templates and pick one.

If you choose to design from scratch, it’s advisable to have a sketch of what you want, in order to foresee the final look. During the design process, you may use text, shapes, images, and symbols. Each one of these should be designed as a separate layer.

For example, if you want a design with two circles and a dollar symbol, then you’ll design each circle separately as individual layers and the dollar sign as another layer. In total, you’ll have three layers. All your layers can be viewed and selected on the right sidebar of the design tool.
Once you’re done designing the monogram, it’s time to separate the layers.

Preparing Layers for Vinyl

The greatest challenge when trying to combine different layers of anything is alignment. You do not want to have the final design looking distorted. To get a perfect final from separated layers, create a marker.

What some refer to as a registered marker, is a shape that points to the center of the final design and helps you align each layer accordingly.

To make this simpler, I’ll break the process down into manageable steps. As you face your designed label on the Cricut design space, do the following without skipping a step.

Step One:
Select a shape to use as your marker. It can be any shape from triangle to circle, a diagonal line, or any other.

Step Two:
Let’s say you picked a hexagon in step one. Drag the hexagon and place it above your design - somewhere at the center. To be accurate, select the hexagon and on the top (horizontal) toolbar, click ‘align’ and choose ‘center.’

Step Three:
Pick any point near the design, click and hold your mouse, then drag it to capture both the design and your hexagon. After selecting them, click duplicate as many times as the layers you have.

Quick Tip: We are trying to separate all the design layers you have, so if your design consists of 5 layers, then duplicate five times.

Step Four:
After duplicating, you’ll get the same design with a hexagon on top. However, we want only to be left with one layer for each duplicate. To achieve this, remove every other layer from the duplicates and maintain only one.

For example, in our two circles and dollar sign monogram, we would triplicate the design. After which, we would delete the second circle and dollar sign from the first copy. Then delete the first circle and dollar sign from the second copy and finally delete the first and second circles from the third copy.

Our final look would be as follows:

Copy 1 - First circle and a hexagon on top
Copy 2 - Second circle and a hexagon on top
Copy 3 - Dollar symbol and a hexagon on top

Therefore, when we layer these three together, we get our final design.

Quick Tip: Make sure each copy has your marker on top. Do not move the marker.

Step Five:
If each layer of your design has a different color, match the hexagons to the respective colors. If all are black or one color, leave it as is.

Step Six:
It’s time to Make It!

But, before you finalize, select each copy of the layers (one at a time and not forgetting the hexagon). With each selection, click attach at the bottom right of the system. Attaching helps everything stay in place even after printing.

Once done, click ‘Make It.’

How to Layer Vinyl

Note that if you handle the design part carefully, then the layering part will be a walk in the park. The most important tip to remember is to keep off from activities like moving or resizing after the duplication step. Such edits will mess with the final alignment of the design.

After clicking ‘Make It,’ connect to your Cricut machine (printer) and print the layers. You can print each layer on a separate transfer tape or print in one large piece of paper, then cut files to separate them.

On your vinyl, place the topmost layer. Depending on your design, you’ll know whether to center it or indent it to one side. The indentation may be necessary if the upcoming layer is protruding to one side.

Carefully place the first layer and use a scraper to clean out the transfer tape. Once it sticks correctly, slowly pull the tape out to leave the design only.

For the following steps, you need to follow this one tip.

Pick the next layer of design. Slowly peel out the backing from the top where your marking (in this case, the hexagon) is. Only leave out the marking; don’t peel it all out.

Place this layer’s marker (hexagon) on top of the first layer’s marker. Make sure they align so well that one can’t notice they are two shapes. If the shape markers fit, then the rest of the design will also fit perfectly. You’re now safe to take out the backing and transfer tape.

Quick Tip: Use a weeding hook or a pair of scissors to cut files or excess paper, if any. It gets harder to place layers when the printed papers are large.

Once all the layers fit your vinyl, you can transfer the vinyl to your blank item or surface. For outstanding results, make sure you prep the surfaces for vinyl.

Enjoy the Craft

The more you practice how to layer vinyl, the better your skills will get. Do this with different designs and colors and explore your creativity.

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