Sunday, November 9, 2014

Vinyl–It cuts like butter!-Once you get the hang of it!

How to weed and apply transfer tape
Part two.  How to clean up a font

You must have 6 things…which I will explain in detail below.

1 - Machine

2 – Blade

3 - Mat

4 – Vinyl

5 – Tools

6 – Transfer Tape

1 - Machine

Those of you, who know me, know I have had an electronic die cutter since the Circuit Expressions came out.  It was limiting…..I sold it for a Pazzles Inspiration.  Best tool I have ever bought, since 2003!  Now that’s a mouthful.

I will say it again, best tool I have ever bought, since 2003!

Reason…It cut’s more material than the others in it’s price range.  Including pastry (yea I said that even cookies)  The Training in the Craft Room is invaluable.  What good is a machine, if you can’t use it?  Well, the support and training is superior.  For that reason along, I would recommend this machine….and I don’t get any money for saying that…I have no connection with the company to say that, other than being a satisfied customer for years, and I am on my second machine.  Sold the first one, nothing was wrong with it, the company just came out with a new model and I HAD to HAVE it.  It’s called the Vue.

2 – Blade

Just the same blade that comes with your machine….BUT….a new one.  or one that has NEVER cut paper.  Then ONLY use this blade with Vinyl.

3 – Mat

Your mat is important.  Get one mat and ONLY use it for Vinyl.  Be very careful with it.  If it is a new mat….you really have to condition it so that when you pull up your vinyl, it does not stretch it.  How to condition your mat, instructions can be found here.  The key is….You have to do this maybe 3 times….Vinyl is more sensitive than paper  If you have a paper mat, that is working well and is very very clean with no cuts in the mat, I would suggest using that one.  It takes a long time to get a new mat conditioned.

When you put your vinyl on the mat, make sure nothing is on the mat.  Practice taking the protector off and hanging it on the wall…it’s very important that your mat is clean.  I had my hubby hang a hook by my machine…

After I inspect my mat I put my vinyl down on it.

Then I squeegee it down, to ensure my vinyl will not slip.  If my mat is getting old…I use painter’s tape around the edges…but that rarely is needed.


4 – Vinyl

Ok ALL Vinyl is not EQUAL.  Trust me on this!  I bet a good year went by before I ever cut vinyl the 2nd time!  I hated it!  Then I tried again, and hated it again.  Let’s just say, the vinyl I owned came off ebay…Goodness knows what brand it was……….let’s just say, it was the vinyl from hell.

With that said, and after the experience I had, I will only cut vinyl I purchase from   

Maybe when I get braver, I will try buying it from somewhere else.  My vinyl from there costs me about 1.99 per 12X24 sheet.  I buy it in the rolls. 

See this “bump”


Look what it was…



Grass and a hair…..I simply lifted up my vinyl to that point, and removed it, then laid my vinyl back down.

See those bubbles?


When you squeegee your vinyl down, start in the middle and push out to all edges.  If you see a bubble then start in the middle and squeegee towards the edge


As long as the vinyl does not wrinkle you are good to go

This is a bad cut.  Two things here I want to point out, that I have found true for me.  This cut was made in Pro 2014.  Pro 2014 recommends the blade length to be 1.5.  I don’t cut as well in Pro 2014, so I did the second cut in InVue with a blade length of 1.0.  Just my preference.  Pro probably would have made the same cut changing the blade length….


Here is what the back of the sheet looks like….Do not Cut through to the paper like this.  It’s very hard to weed, and very hard to hang.  Not impossible, but if vinyl is done right, it’s a dream to weed and hang.


You probably can’t see this, but both cuts are side by side  The good cut is on top…no tearing of the vinyl, or of the backing paper


Remember to hang up your mat.  My protective sheet is behind my mat.  On the protective sheet I took a Permanent Marker and wrote “Vinyl Only – This side Up”  That tells me which side to put down on my mat, when I am finished working on it.


5 – Tools

Now for weeding!  I love this part!  Ok tool on the left, is a bondo scrapper.  Pretty cheap, just go to Lowe’s.  I paid 3X’s as much for the scrapper on the left.  I use this to squeegee my vinyl down and to squeegee down my transfer tape and to apply my vinyl on my wall or other surface.

….  Next tool is a craft knife.  I use this to cut around my letters when weeding, or to cut off a good piece of vinyl to save that would otherwise be thrown away.  Great when I have lots of lines that are close to each other.  Those are hard to weed and sometimes hard to separate with scissor, so I use a craft knife and cut only through the vinyl…not the backing paper.

The next 6 and the blue tool next to the scrapper….are tools I bought on line.  Just search for Craft Dental Picks or tools.  These are soooooooooo wonderful.  they help with all kinds of weeding tasks.  The green one is a cricuit tool  I use it to lift up the vinyl…very rarely, but I do have it.  The far right one I believe I bought from Pazzles, I use that one rarely.

Scrapper…I clean my mat with this….when I have lots of junk left over on it.


I forgot to say Scissors!  I love these scissors… other one do I ever want to pick up.  I need about 3 more of these!  Tim Holtz is the brand.

Ok, back to business.  The first thing I do, is separate my images.  See the two pieces on the left?  One is the bad cut and the bottom is the good cut.

The square on the right is a pieces with nothing on it.  I save these pieces for other projects…they work perfectly on cups!  You could use the craft knife to do this with or the scissors.


I usually start in the corner and hold my finger down on the Vinyl piece I want to keep and kinda “pop” up the piece I am weeding away.  Hope this makes since.  Most the time, I can just wiggle the vinyl left and right and I am all done weeding.  All the vinyl that will be tossed just comes right up.  This piece, has VERY delicate cuts…So I have to be a bit more patient and carful. 


;When it’s a delicate cut I take one of the dental tools and run it around the outside cuts.  Hope you can tell that from the photo.  See how its now separated?  It’s rather hard to take photos while I’m doing this…so I pray, this is making since.  Oh my goodness!  I forgot to tell you about my light!  If I did not have this light, I would not be able to see to weed….gosh, I’m getting old!


Can you see the line around the top of the image?  That is what I was trying to show you in the photo above.  It has already been separated.  I use the dental tool to “pick up” the inside pieces like I am doing below


This is the best thing I learned when I first started weeding.  To cut away what you don’t need ASAP.  You know, if you don’t do this…by the time you get to the end of the piece its sticking back to the vinyl you do need!  DUH  I bet I am the only one who did this…until it dawned on me to cut it off, so I am lifting and cutting constantly, IF the vinyl doesn’t wiggle off right away…which would mean, no need to do this…remember, this is a delicate cut…most cuts are not this hard.


See, I weeded a little and cut it off.  Of course I have a hand problem…this technique just works for me.  Less to hold and I can see better where I am at.


All done!  Vinyl makes my life GRAND!  LOL!


6 – Transfer Tape

I prefer the Clear Transfer Tape, which I purchase from Expressions.  I bought the 12 X 100 Yard… I like the clear because you can see through it to place it on the vinyl and you can see through it when you go to put it on your project. 

Ok, for my cut, I need a piece that is 2.5 X 17.  My roll is 12 across.  So, I cut off a piece that is about a inch bigger than 17.  Thank you Hubbie for letting me take this photo.  The ruler sticks to the transfer paper and that allows me to cut it pretty straight.


I then “bow” the transfer tape over the top of the cut.  Since I can see through it, it’s pretty easy to place.  I always put down the transfer tape in the middle first and just let the ends “fall”  You want to get it pretty much right the first time, then squeegee it out.


For this one I placed it way at the bottom.  (I have to make 10 of these cuts, so I will use the left over transfer tape on the others.  Until then, I just stick the “left over” tape back on the roll.


All done!  9 more to go!


I need 10 of these cuts, so I only cut one, to see how it cut.  It works but was a bit to much work, I will create another blog, showing you what I do in the software to “clean” it up, so that weeding is much easier.  It took me about 3 minutes to weed, which is to much work, if I can clean it up. 

It makes it worth it to me, taking the time to take the photos and put this together, if you comment!  I love your comments!  If you take the time to read this, please leave a comment!


Anonymous said...

Great job!

La Miscelanea said...

Thanks for share your experience with vynil. Yesterday I did my first cut.

Robin Spitzer said...

Congratulations on your first cut! I fell in love cutting vinyl!

Robin Spitzer said...

I need to update this! i found a vinyl supplier that is 1/2 the price of where I was buying.