How to Use a Vinyl Letter Plotter Cutter

Written by jennifer moore
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How to Use a Vinyl Letter Plotter Cutter
Easily make vinyl lettering for signs. (stack of signs image by Mat Hayward from

A vinyl cutter is similar to a printer and is used to make lettering, vinyl decorative items or graphics that are later placed on signs, windows, walls or other surfaces. This computer plotter has a swivel knife where the ink would normally be, so instead of printing it cuts vinyl. The lettering is created in the software that comes with the plotter or in a graphics program used by sign makers. If a program other than the printer software is used, then a special plug-in must be used. The plug-in comes with the printer software.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Vinyl
  • Vinyl cutter
  • Cutting software
  • Cutting plug-in software

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  1. 1

    Move the tension guide to the "up" position so you can easily insert the vinyl. Move the cutter's side guide to where it lightly touches the side of the vinyl. This will depend on the size of the vinyl you are cutting.

  2. 2

    Choose the vinyl you want to cut. You have two options, calendered and cast. Both options have different outdoor life. Calendered is best suited to curved surfaces and lasts three to six years outdoors. Cast vinyl has an outdoor life of seven to nine years and is suited to flat, curved or uneven surfaces.

  3. 3

    Insert the vinyl into the cutter using the adjustment dialer to pull it through the printer. Check the blade pressure of the cutter. Adjust it so that it cuts the vinyl but does not cut the backing paper. Many cutters adjust automatically or give you a testing button on the cutter.

  4. 4

    Open the software program that came with the vinyl cutter. Write the word you want to cut from the vinyl. Click on the "Cut" button in the program or the "Cut" button that comes with the plug-in you installed in your graphics program.

  5. 5

    Wait for the cutter to cut the vinyl. Remove the vinyl from the cutter when the machine finishes cutting. Use the adjustment dials to help remove the vinyl.

  6. 6

    Remove the vinyl you don't want from the backing sheet. This is known as "weeding." Pull one corner up and away from the page slowly; the cut letters will remain on the backing sheet. Pull the rest of the unnecessary vinyl away from the spaces between the letters.

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