The new vinyl cutter…

Maggie is serious about wanting to start a sign company. And we’re all excited about it. Her father graciously bought her a fancy new vinyl cutter and software package to get started with. About 18 years ago, I used to work at a screen printing and sign company so I know a lot about it, and can help to guide her through the learning process. Right now, she just wants to do signs and stickers, with her wood cutouts and embellishments. I think it’s a perfect compliment to her woodwork.

So when the cutter arrived late this week, we were ready to start learning and playing with it! Pretty neat, and I love the software, it’s SO much better than it was 20 years ago! Haha… of course! But it’s truly very intuitive and easy to learn. We were cutting out the first design within an hour of using it. That’s really good for Maggie, since she doesn’t have quite the background I do in computer graphics and I was hoping that it wouldn’t be tooooo frustrating for her, but it was a breeze! I guess you get what you pay for.

She got an entry level machine, called a Silhouette Cameo. It probably will not serve her when she gets to a higher volume but I think it will be an excellent learning tool. It’s well rated for so many applications and well supported. And I am shocked at how fine a detail it cuts! Simply amazing! It was cutting out 12 point thin cursive lettering just fine. Wow!

If you’re not familiar with vinyl cutters, basically these machines are printer/plotters that drive a little blade in a cartridge and will cut out rastered or vector graphic images. They move the material in and out and around as they cut, it’s super neat to watch it work. The primarily cut an adhesive material that is thin and on a thick carrier back. The blade is super sharp and swivels to cut the thin top layer, but not the thick backing. It can cut cardstock as well, and other thin materials for t-shirts and outdoor and reflective heavier vinyls, too. Very versatile!

First thing, you design your cutting on the computer. Then the cutter cuts it from a full sheet of vinyl. When it’s done, it spits it out and you can then “weed” the image. Neat thing is you get to decide if you want a positive or negative image. If you want the letters clear, you pick that vinyl out. If you want the background clear and the letters the colored vinyl, you pick the background vinyl out. It’s fun to weed! We all got into pretty quickly.

Once it’s weeded, you lay this low tack transfer film over the top of the image. Using a little plastic squeegee you adhere the vinyl to the film and carefully pull away from the backing, exposing the adhesive back. And then, you stick it on whatever smooth and clean surface you want. Glass is perfect and so is metal or plastic. Painted wood is okay, but can sometimes be a little lumpy or bumpy but you can usually smooth it out nicely. Then you use the squeegee again to burnish the adhesive down to the new surface and carefully pull away the low tack transfer film! Perfection!!!!

We’ve been talking about the name of her company all weekend long! Trying this and trying that on for size but I think we’ve finally hit the best after a lot of searching and consideration… we’ll announce it later on with a logo and website! She is so excited to join the family of entrepreneurs that we are so excited for her. Of course, I think she is already on her way to building her own empire since she is doing a good job with selling eggs and chickens and turkeys soon! But she likes the idea of having something that is not just animal related. And something she can learn more and more with computers and such. I think it’s lovely!!! And I can’t wait to be her first lackey slave and advisor!

Speaking of which, I better get back to work. She wants a logo on her desk by tomorrow morning! She’s a tough boss!!!

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About Mobymom

the banjo player for Deepwater Bluegrass, and the editor of as well as the main graphic designer of the Westvon Publishing empire. She is a renaissance woman of many talents and has two lovely daughters and a rehab mobile home homestead to raise.


The new vinyl cutter… — 1 Comment

  1. Oh! How long before I can bug her for a quote? I’ve never done anything like that, but after reading your description I want to see one of those things at work!