How to print vinyl stickers

Written by tara hornor
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Vinyl printing can be a fun hobby or a lucrative start-up business. Breaking into this challenging field can be difficult, but rewarding. Here are a few tips to get you on the right track.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Vinyl printer
  • Computer
  • Raster editing software
  • Vinyl cutter
  • Vinyl rolls

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    Find a Vinyl Printer

  1. 1

    Expect to spend between £1,300 to £32,500 for a vinyl printer.

  2. 2

    Do you want to just print a few vinyl stickers for you and your local band? Are you trying to start a business? Once you know your goals, you can decide on what size printer to acquire.

  3. 3

    You should be able to get a vinyl printer that is around 36 inches wide for around £4,550.

    Purchase a Vinyl Cutter

  1. 1

    The cutter is important because it allows you to make custom shapes. Small-format cutters can only accept smaller sheets/rolls of vinyl at a time, so make sure you cutter can handle the same size of vinyl as your printer. Otherwise, you will need to cut your vinyl manually, which can be rather risky business.

  2. 2

    Once you know your printer and vinyl cutter sizes, make your purchase. Expect to spend between £162 to £6,500 on a cutter.

  3. 3

    The cutter will come with software to help you make the cuts in the right places. If you cannot find the CD or DVD, go to the manufacturer's website or give it a call.

    Order Supplies

  1. 1

    You need at least one roll of vinyl to get started. Rolls range from £58 to £650, depending on length and type.

  2. 2

    Choose from vinyl stickers, vinyl decals or a number of other formats.

  3. 3

    Many companies do not accept returns of consumable supplies. If this is your first time to order, call the company to see what vinyl will be compatible with your printer and cutter.

    Put It All Together

  1. 1

    Design your first sticker. You can use tools as advanced as Photoshop or as simple as Paint to make your first picture. You can even use a photograph on your computer.

  2. 2

    Simply print the image using the vinyl sticker printer. The software will convert the image into a format the printer can use.

  3. 3

    Now that you have your first vinyl sticker, you can either cut it manually or use your vinyl cutter. If you use your cutter, align the sheet properly in your printer and use the software to tell the printer where to make the cuts.

Tips and warnings

  • Here are a few more items you may consider:
  • Cutting mats, so you don't slice and dice your table. These also make your cuts look cleaner.
  • Cutting knives/tools, so you can use every sticker you print or just print one sticker.
  • Rulers, to make sure a large lot of stickers are the same size. This is especially true if you have to make individual cuts.
  • Squeegees, to clean off any cleaning liquids or dirt.
  • Vinyl application tools, so you can get a smooth application to a surface.
  • Vinyl removal tools, to get the stickers off.
  • Corner makers, for those projects that need either rounded corners or to make a clean corner when you need it.

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