Monday, March 15, 2010
I guess I could actually name this post buying vinyl. But oh well, it's part of the Cricut series. If you need to catch up with us. You can read Part 1 here.
So now you have your Cricut firmware updated and the drivers are found on your computer for your Cricut so they can "talk" to each other. You have one of the programs too, either Sure Cuts a Lot or Make the Cut. Once all of that is set up and ready, you are ready to create!
You can use paper, fabric, vellum, etc to cut out things with your Cricut and your software. But if you are wanting to get in on the vinyl craze, here are a few things you should know. (I don't claim to be an expert by any means so if you have any tips or info you would like to share, please leave a comment!!) You can buy vinyl at Hobby Lobby, Michael's or other craft stores but you are going to pay more for it. They usually sell it in sheets. I don't know if I have ever seen it in rolls there. But if that is just easier for you, that is a good place to start. If you are a frugal girl like me, then you are going to search out the cheapest place! I found a lot of places online that sell vinyl. I bought mine from Ebay because I found a place I could get free shipping which lowers the cost substantially. I believe I got 10 rolls that were 12 inches wide and 10 feet long. I was able to choose from about 26 different colors, which was plenty of choices for me! It was around $33.50 so each roll was about $3.35. Not too shabby. Plus I went in on it with my Mom so it was an even better deal. I know there are tons of places out there to buy vinyl from so I would just suggest searching in Ebay or googling "vinyl rolls." Maybe there is someone near you that would be willing to split vinyl too that way you get more color choices for less cost.
There are different thicknesses of vinyl too. The kind I have has been great and this is the description for it:
"3.0 mil polished flexible calendered vinyl with 200-5000, permanent acrylic pressure sensitive adhesive laminated to a 78# clay coated liner. Commonly used on computer programmable sign cutting machines."
Just as a comparison, the Cricut website has 2 vinyl sheets that are only 12 inches by 24 inches for $9. So buying it by the roll is WAY cheaper. Their vinyl is also the 3 mil vinyl.
Once you purchase the vinyl, you may also want to buy transfer tape. You can use vinyl without this, but if you are doing sayings or word strips, you will have to place each individual letter one by one onto the surface you are putting the vinyl on. I didn't want to have to do this, and the perfectionist part of me definitely did not like this idea! So I opted to get transfer tape. The nice thing is that it is super easy to use and can actually be reused until it just isn't that sticky anymore. It kind of reminds me of clear contact paper. You can actually buy the transfer tape in clear or white but clear allows you to see exactly where you are placing it so I liked that better. It came in rolls just like the vinyl did. We bought 35 feet of Clear Low Tack Reusable Transfer Tape for about $32. It was 12 inches wide. This was TOTALLY worth it. It made transferring the vinyl a breeze!
Here is basically how you use both of these. (I do have a tutorial with pictures coming in the next week or so too.) First, cut out your shape or words with your Cricut. I recommend using a sharp blade. If the shape is very intricate or a fairly skinny font, it will be harder to get out if your blade isn't really sharp. You do not need the deep cutting blade though, just the regular one. You should also cut at a 3 or a 4 blade depth. The speed can be set at 3 and the pressure at 3. There is the option to cut multiple cuts, meaning it will go over the same spot more than once. Sometimes this is helpful too.
Now that your objects are cut out, remove the part of the vinyl that is not wanted. This is basically the outside around the shapes or words that you DO want. Keep the vinyl that you are wanting to use on the original backing it came on. Then cut a piece of transfer tape big enough to cover the vinyl area you are using. Then remove the paper backing on the transfer tape and carefully place the sticky side of the transfer tape on top of the vinyl. Press firmly down on the whole area. Then you will be able to remove the vinyl paper backing. Your shapes or words will now be backwards. This will allow you to place the vinyl down onto the surface you are wanting. You will be able to see through the clear transfer tape and line up the vinyl exactly where you want it. You can also write on the transfer tape if you want to put marks or something to line it up exactly center. Now, press firmly over the whole area with a credit card or other flat object and carefully peel off the transfer tape. I have found it sometimes works best to peel the tape off at a diagonal angle to your object rather than just straight at it from the side. Now your vinyl will be where you want it to be in one step.
Like I said, I do have a tutorial coming up with pictures on how to do this. I can also post a tutorial on how to reuse your Cricut mats. It will make them sticky again saving you money!! Hope that information helped you know how to use vinyl with your Cricuts. Please let me know if you have anymore questions.
**If you haven't purchased one of the software programs, I highly recommend that you do. They will save you TONS of money in the long run. You can purchase Make the Cut by clicking on the Make the Cut box on the right hand side of my blog. Save 15% right now too!!