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CCL Makerspace

Makerspace at the Camden Carroll Library - Morehead State University

Which Vinyl Should I Use? Determining Which Vinyl to Use Where - 
Expressions Vinyl - (2:20)

Design, Cut, Apply

Design: The first step in vinyl cutting is finding or creating a design that you want to cut from a larger sheet or roll of vinyl material. This can be achieved in your choice of image editing software such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Gimp, Inkscape, etc. A clean, high resolution image is the best starting point when importing into the vinyl cutting software and preparing the cut. Designs should generally be at a low to medium level of complexity, as small and/or intricate details can be hard for the machine to cut, and add a ton of time and effort in the weeding process after cutting. Using multiple colors of vinyl is possible by separating a design into distinct pieces to cut from multiple selections of material, layering the results relative to one another. This is also the stage in which any special considerations should be taken into account, such as mirroring the design based on the type of vinyl and application method (ex: Heat Transfer Vinyl).

Cut: When the design is ready to cut, the next step is preparing the cutter and software, then making the cut and "weeding". Most vinyl cutting machines are sold with a preferred or proprietary cutting software, which will have unique interfaces and features. Generally, the software will allow you to make final preparations of the design considering size, layout, orientation, mirroring, etc. With the vinyl material clamped into the machine and tested so that no snagging or bunching will occur during the cut, the cut speed and pressure can be set, and the cut can be sent from the vinyl software. If the cut is successful, it's time to weed the results. Weeding is the process of removing any material which is now cut away from the design, and not intended to be included with the final vinyl application. 

Apply: There are several types of vinyl made for a variety of applications, each with their own process and set of requirements. Everyday, or permanent vinyl has an adhesive backing, which should be stuck to a waxy paper backing after cutting and weeding. To apply this type of vinyl, you will need transfer tape. This is a clear or semi-opaque tape that is applied over the design, so the vinyl can be peeled away from the paper backing, and applied to a surface with the adhesive backing down. This can be a slow and tedious part of the process to avoid any wrinkling in the vinyl, or any air bubbles trapped beneath the surface. Another popular type of vinyl is heat transfer vinyl or HTV. Instead of an adhesive layer sticking the vinyl to a paper backing, HTV is cut on the matt (back) side of the vinyl, with a glossy layer over the front surface. With the vinyl side down, and clear glossy layer up, the design can be positioned in place over a number of materials. Using the proper heat and time settings, a heat press is used to heat the vinyl to the point of application, and the glossy layer is peeled away. 

When to use Heat Transfer Vinyl and when to use Adhesive Vinyl - Expressions Vinyl - (4:55)


Vinyl Layering Hack | How to Create 4 Color Vinyl Decal without Registration Marks - TheRhinestoneWorld - (7:34)


How to Create a Bride Shirt with EasyWeed and Holographic Vinyl - TheRhinestoneWorld - (3:50)



Cost for Vinyl Cutting / Heat Press

There is currently no cost for use of the vinyl cutting or heat press machines. This is a guided service run on a "Bring Your Own Material" basis.

*CCL Makerspace staff will provide guidance for use of the machines and material, but is not responsible for the use or misuse of patron purchased materials.

*Camden-Carroll Library insists that all users abide by local, state, and federal laws at all times, including all applicable United States copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code), as well as all Morehead State University Policies and Student Conduct Codes. It is the responsibility of each user to ensure personal compliance with copyright law. Users must be respectful of the health and safety of other library patrons, and must use good faith in handling all machines, equipment, and materials provided by the library. Library staff reserves the right to deny any Makerspace project request for any reason.