I started making vinyl decals in 2013. At the time, my boyfriend (now husband) was stationed in Afghanistan with the Marines, and I wanted to make a car decal that showed my support. It never occurred to me to reach out to someone to make a custom decal for me. Instead, I purchased a Silhouette Cameo and some outdoor vinyl. Armed with a little knowledge of graphic design, I set off to create my first decal and shortly after, began selling them on Etsy.
Throughout the past 8 years, I’ve tried many different vinyls, transfer tapes, and more. None of the links below are sponsored. They are just the best I’ve found and I’m happy to share with you!
Once business took off, I realized purchasing 12×12 sheets of vinyl just wasn’t economical. So I splurged on a 24″ guillotine paper cutter so I could easily cut 24″ vinyl rolls at home. I purchased my paper cutter used on eBay but you can also find it for sale here.
I am now on my third Silhouette Cameo. I still have my Silhouette Cameo 1 which my husband uses from time to time for club decals, but I upgraded to the Cameo 3 and recently the Cameo 4 Pro for my business. The Cameo 4 Pro is a game changer because I can place a 24″ roll in the feeder and then cut just below the graphic once it’s finished cutting. I waste a lot less vinyl this way when I have to cut long graphics.
My Cameo is on top of an Ikea KALLAX shelf unit with 2 KALLAX bottle inserts for my leftover vinyl. I just roll them by color and store here until I need a smaller piece. The cubes are perfect for holding all of my shipping supplies like envelopes, padded mailers, and crinkle paper, and packing peanuts.
Even though I’m a Silhouette user and have been since the beginning, I love using Cricut tools. I just recently upgraded from using a credit card to a scraper tool and it’s amazing! You can purchase my pastel scraper + spatula bundle here.
VINYL + TRANSFER TAPE
Next, I began purchasing 24″ x 10 yard rolls of Oracal 651 vinyl to stock my colors. My favorite places to purchase vinyl are SignWarehouse and USCutter. This is also where I purchase transfer tape. Currently, I have been using the AT75 and AT65 which are both high tack transfer tapes. They work well with the glossy Oracal 651 vinyl that I use.
For many years, my business focused mostly vinyl decals, so I offered different colors and styles of vinyl. Glitter vinyl was a very popular choice. When I scaled down my color offerings, I chose to go only with the glossy standard colors, but from time to time, I receive custom requests for glitter, so I special order vinyl. I’ve always ordered glitter vinyl from Expressions Vinyl and they also have a ton of other patterns and finishes like metallic and glow in the dark! They frequently run sales on their vinyls and have a great selection of HTV as well.
I use Adobe Illustrator and Silhouette Studio Business Edition for all of my designs. I recommend upgrading to the Business edition if you are making your own designs or want to be able to use SVGs. Another perk of Business edition is being able to run both of my Silhouettes at the same time. It makes large orders go by much quicker!
If I’m making a hand lettered design, I use my iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, and the Procreate App before transferring to my computer. From there, I typically work in Illustrator to get it ready to cut.
Do you have a favorite vinyl tool or trick that I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments!