Flashy vinyl stickers are almost everywhere, but seldom would you give them a second look, simply because they are quite common nowadays. You would often see a kaleidoscope of colorful vinyl stickers on billboards, building facades, buses, commuter trains, taxi cabs, and shirts, and they come with fantastic pictures. Occasionally, you would see them bedecking the sides of cars, but you would often mistake them for paint jobs. Yet, vinyl stickers are different from paint jobs. Moreover, they are easier to install and are less labor-intensive than paint jobs.
Steps on Making a Vinyl Sticker Decal
We all know how vinyl stickers are cut either manually or using a vinyl cutter, but how they make vinyl stickers is definitely a good question to ask. If you are interested in knowing how to make your own, you can follow these simple steps:
- Making the Design
Whether you are manually cutting or using a vinyl cutter, you should first make a design layout. Previously, the layout of designs was labor-intensive, but now, you can use computers to make the design, allowing you to adjust the design and letters according to desired sizes. Moreover, you can readily copy or mirror shapes and images using your computer, making it doubly easy for you to lay out the design.
One caveat, however, when laying out design is this—your drawn lines should always end at the starting point for easy cutting. Software like Corel Draw, AutoCAD, and other software can come in handy when making your design layout.
- The Cutting Process
When cutting manually, you should use a sharp, pointed blade like the X-Acto #2 or #11 with round handle. A round handle can let you swivel the blade in the direction of your hand. Vinyl cutters, on the other hand, are equipped with ultra-sharp pointed tungsten-carbide blades that float to facilitate fast swiveling actions. You can adjust the blade pressure accordingly to cut through the vinyl sticker.
The vinyl cutter can be easily hooked up to a PC or laptop using some simple plug-and-play program. Since the designs are drawn using an appropriate software like Corel Draw or AutoCAD, these designs can be readily exported to a dedicated cutter program for immediate cutting. Many, if not most cutters, are marketed with accompanying programs and a USB dongle switch, and without this dongle switch the cutter will not work.
Weeding is the most tedious and time-consuming stage in the creation of vinyl stickers because it is manually done. You need to carefully remove the overlapping areas in the design. At this stage, the sharpness of the cutter’s blade will be greatly put to the test. A new sharp craft knife can come in handy during this stage if the cutter’s blade fails. Moreover, you should use slow repetitive cuts for better results instead of the usual strong single-pass cuts.
- Mounting and Installing
The final stage is mounting and installing your new vinyl sticker. At this point, the mounting tape is applied to the front surface of the vinyl. The adhesiveness of the mounting tape should be greater than the adhesiveness of the vinyl to its paper backing, for you would surely not want the sticker to peel off from the mounting tape as you pull the paper backing off. Lastly, when mounting a multi-color sticker design, you should include a mounting mark on all colored layers.