How To Make Vinyl Decals
If you're feeling creative and would like to get handsy with some artwork, hop on vinyl decals. You can create colorful and artsy decals to decorate several pieces, including water bottles, mason jars, cups, and photo frames. You can also use vinyl decals to decorate cars or your business window with your logo.
Fortunately, creating decals at home is quite simple and doable. All you'll need is the right set of tools and the determination to do it!
What Tools Do You Need to Create Decals?
The tools you purchase for this DIY exercise largely depend on your budget for the project. If you can spend some good money, then go for high-end gadgets. If not, don't worry; you can still achieve this with some home tools.
So, what assets do you need to create decals?
Computer and software
You can best design and edit decals with design software. Some of the popular design software for creating decals include Cricut, Easy Cut Studio, and CorelDraw. Make sure you choose software that matches your needs, as you'll learn later in this guide. You can also use Photoshop to design your decals.
A decal printer
That's right! Not just a normal office printer - a decal printer. The decal printer is designed to cut vinyl and print effectively. Using a simple office printer might bring out poor results and be less useful in the long run. Some printers come with design software, such as the Cricut printer, which is a factor you should also consider.
You can purchase a squeegee or else referred to as a scraper. The rest of the tools in this list can be purchased as a set. A squeegee is used to press transfer tape neatly onto the decal. To save on this, you can use your credit card instead or anything with a flat vertice. Avoid getting an item that's too sharp, for it may tear the transfer paper.
You will use a straight razor to cut out excess vinyl before the transfer step. Ensure the razor is super sharp. You may also use a sharp knife or a pair of scissors for this task.
Tweezers are used to weed or peel out vinyl parts that you won't need. You may use your fingers to do this, but use a pair of tweezers for better results.
Many people end up scratching their tables when trying out DIY decals at home. To prevent this from happening, buy a cutting mat. You'll be placing your vinyl on this mat.
How to Create Vinyl Decals
The first step is to design your text, image, or shape using Photoshop or any other design software. The other option is to download designs online or purchase them from graphics marketplaces such as Dribble, Envato Market, and Behance. Some software come with a collection of designs attached, so that's a good option when on a budget.
If you're good at designing, you may want to do this yourself instead of purchasing costly designs in online marketplaces.
If you can't do either of the above, cut out a design from any printed material and scan it. Find a long-lasting solution for you do not want to purchase a scanner for just one project.
The next step is to resize and fit the design as you please. You may have to try out some mock decals at first before creating the final print for your chosen surfaces. Use small or horizontal designs during the mock trial until you're confident with your skills, then go for something bigger or more complex.
The vinyl paper used when printing is always quite big; hence, the need for a razor to trim it down. This could be a waste of paper which is usually costly. To spare more paper, you can resize your design and fit in several designs in one paper.
We will explain the other option in the printing process. Otherwise, the size of your design will depend on the surface you're going to place it on. A mug takes a smaller design than a business logo.
Once done fitting and resizing, save your final design and click 'cut' on the software (or similar) to print.
How to Print Vinyl Decals
Place the vinyl in your printer carefully and adjust the printer settings. The other option (mostly when using a smaller printer) is to place vinyl on the cutting mat and into the printer.
When your design is small, you can size the vinyl paper into something smaller for the design only and avoid wasting more paper. You will place the sized paper on the top left or right edge of the cutting mat before taking only that vertice into the printer.
You can use any color of vinyl paper. It'd help to conduct the rest of the process in a well-lit area.
Once you're done printing, lay the vinyl on a cutting mat and take out your tools. The table or desk you work on should be well-leveled with your height to avoid straining during the cutting and transferring process.
How to Transfer Vinyl Decals
Before transferring, you need to trim the vinyl. If you used a larger vinyl with a small design, you'd have more to cut out. Start by slightly marking the points at which you'd follow to cut the vinyl. Don't mark too close to the design; you might cut it.
Unless you can cut a straight line without wobbling, mark a few centimeters away from the design. You can use a ruler if you want the cuts to be straight.
After cutting the edges using a pair of scissors or a razor, take out your tweezers and start to peel the insides. Be keen not to peel the usable parts. This is where good lighting comes in handy. Take your time doing this part until it's perfectly done.
The next step is to apply the transfer tape.
Cut the tape to the design size, peel it out from its backing and place it on your neat design slowly and carefully. It's best to place it from one end to another instead of from the top at a go. The transfer tape will stick to the design enough to hold it as you move it to your desired surfaces for application.
Use a squeegee or credit card to stick the tape to the design. Make sure to smoothly scrape every area at least twice. You may also scrape the vinyl backing for accuracy.
Once done, pull out the vinyl backing slowly. Your design is ready to transfer!
Place it on the item you want to decorate. Use the scraper again to fix the tape onto your surface. When good, roll out the transfer tape from the design. Avoid pulling it upwards to prevent it from pulling along with the design.
Disclaimer : When getting started, use one design. Once you've got the hang of it, you can try out different layered designs.
Several attempts will turn you into a decal pro. Play with different font types and sizes, various colors and matches, spacing, and different designs to bring out unique decals. Knowing how to create vinyl decals is good, mostly for those who may want to start it as a business.
The final disclaimer is to ensure that the surface you're applying your decals to is clean and dry. It would be best to clean it before you start the process with water and soap, wipe it with a clean cloth and leave it to dry for a few minutes as you create the decals. Enjoy crafting!