Don’t be nervous to craft with vinyl! I’ve got 15 projects for you to try and tips to make the beginner vinyl crafts easy and fun!
When I first got the box in the mail I was terrified of my Silhouette machine. I unboxed it the moment UPS dropped it at my door, but as soon as I saw it I became overwhelmed by all the crafting possibilities the machine had to offer.
I’m ashamed to admit that it sat on my desk for months before I worked up the nerve to turn it on.
I just had this overwhelming feeling that I wouldn’t be able to figure it out. Since I’m an anxious person by nature I kept telling myself that I’d waste materials (and money) and that made me not want to touch the machine at all.
Which is silly because I was essentially “wasting” money by not using this expensive machine I’d just bought. 🤷🏻♀️ So I finally just decided to pull it out and do it.
At lot of crafting is about learning how to do better. You make a mistake and then know that if you attempt the project again you’ll try to do it differently.
This happens to me on almost every single project. Something doesn’t go right and I get frustrated, but at the end I know better. And I know exactly what I need to do to avoid those mistakes next time.
So I get it. I hate messing things up too. I hate knowing that if I made one little change the project would’ve turned out so much better.
It’s annoying. It’s frustrating. And it sucks.
But it’s all part of the learning process. And even though I hate it I know that we all go through it, I don’t want you to. I want you to be able to get started and do it right the first time! So I put together a list of all the tips I wish I had known when I first started using vinyl.
These beginner vinyl tips are:
- easy to follow,
- will help you avoid mistakes, and
- are available to print out and keep by your machine for future reference!
Here are my favorite beginner vinyl crafts with tips and tricks to help you rock your projects!
- Painting a layer of mod podge onto a canvas BEFORE adding vinyl makes it stick. Not doing it causes a lot of pain and frustration….and about an extra hour of trying to get it to adhere to the canvas. That’s definitely not fun.
2. If you’re doing a stencil, paint a layer of mod podge over the stencil to seal the edges. The only thing that bleeds will be the mod podge, and it dries clear!
3. Silhouette transfer tape is MAGIC. I tried using different types of transfer tape and nothing has worked as well as the silhouette brand. Save yourself the headache and use it. Trust me.
4. Clean off all ceramic and glass projects with rubbing alcohol first. It helps the vinyl stick!
5. Make sure you mirror ALL heat transfer projects! You want it to be backwards after you cut it out.
Joining Silhouette groups on Facebook will give you access to lots of free files that other amazing crafters are willing to share! I used a few of those free files myself, and I love them!
6. If you offset your letters it makes them easier to cut (tutorial on how to do that is in this post)! Skinny letters are a pain to weed and they also don’t cut well. Offsetting makes them a little fatter and easier to weed, cut, and apply to your surfaces.
7. If you’re doing a layer project, add boxes to the top of your design so you can easily line up the layers!
8. Make sure that your design is inside the cut lines in your software. If the image is too big your blade won’t cut the entire design. You don’t want to waste vinyl like that!
9. Always, always, ALWAYS make sure the shiny side of your vinyl is down when you load it into your machine (this tip is for heat transfer vinyl!)
10. If your blade is not cutting through your material take it out and make sure there aren’t small vinyl or paper pieces stuck to the blade. Clean it and then put it back to try cutting again. DO NOT UNLOAD your material from the machine while you are doing this.
Your Silhouette machine doesn’t have to be scary! Don’t let it sit in the box collecting dust because you’re too afraid to pull it out and use it.
You will waste some material. You will make mistakes. You will get better!
Just do it.
The more you practice the better you’ll get.
Check out more of my beginner Silhouette posts!
- 10 Beginner Silhouette Projects That Aren’t Vinyl
- 4 Silhouette Projects For Beginners, and
- The Best Places To Buy Patterned Vinyl