Have you ever wondered how beautiful car decal stickers are made? The most common material used for making such stickers is vinyl simply because vinyl is a versatile material. It is very easy to cut, shape and assembles vinyl and with a vinyl cutter, you can make any design and at any shape at all.
Using decal stickers for your car is the alternative option if you don’t want to use the water transfer printing.
Vinyl Stickers and Vinyl Decals
You may have also heard about vinyl stickers and vinyl decals and have wondered if there is a difference between the two. The terms are mostly used interchangeably but vinyl stickers and vinyl decals are very different. It is important to understand the difference when the two when buying materials needed for your projects.
About Vinyl Stickers
Vinyl decals are available in different colors and finishes but they are usually only in one single color. This is because decals are physically cut from a roll of vinyl using a vinyl cutter or plotter (visit 10techy.com to chose one). The vinyl cutter is connected to a computer where your file patterns are.
The cutter uses a small blade to cut into the vinyl according to your desired shape and size. The big roll of vinyl is moved back and forth while the blade cuts into the material. The blade only cuts deep through the vinyl material and not the backing paper where the vinyl is stuck to. You won’t see the cut unless you place it against a table and take a closer look.
Once the vinyl has been cut it’s removed from the machine and lay on a table. It is now ready for weeding. Weeding is when the excess vinyl or the negative space in your decal is removed by hand. Once the decal has been weeded, it’s ready for the taping machine. When the decal is pushed through the taping machine it rolls a layer of application tape on the decal. This is used to apply the decal to a surface.
About Vinyl Stickers
Vinyl stickers can still have shapes cut out from the vinyl. In creating die-cut vinyl stickers, after your sticker is printed on the role of vinyl, the same machine goes back and cuts a contour for each sticker on the roll. This is exactly the same for decals with one difference: the blade is set to cut all the way through the vinyl and backing paper. This creates a die-cut sticker that can be removed from the big vinyl roll.
Making a Car Decal Sticker by Using a Vinyl Cutter
This is a tutorial that will make use of a Cricut Explore Air 2. The Explore Air 2 is one of the most popular vinyl cutters that have been used by DIYers and people who want to make their own personalized vinyl stickers. To use the Explore Air 2 you also need premium outdoor glossy vinyl, transfer tape, and a scraper tool:
1. Use the image tool in your Cricut Design Space to look for the design you want to turn into a decal. You can turn any cut image into a window decal with a Premium Outdoor Glossy Vinyl. You can pick an image from the Cricut Design Space or you can also purchase a special image from the web. Just make sure that the image you chose is compatible with a Cricut.
You can also find the best image by doing a simple Google search. There so many designs to choose from but an important tip: the simpler the design, the easier it is to use and to create a decal out of it.
2. When you find the image you want the image, right-click to save the image to your computer.
3. Go into Cricut Design Space and click on the New Project. Click the bottom found at the left sidebar button that says Upload. Click on Upload Image and drag or drop the image to the next page.
4. Next, you will be asked to select your image type. It would be best to work with a simple image type if your image doesn’t have multiple layers of different colors.
5. Select which areas of the image is not a part of the final cut. For a very simple image, click on everything white. This will turn into a blue and white checkerboard. Always be sure to click on every area that is white.
6. Select the image as a cut image. After selection, you will have a preview of what the cut image will look like. You will find a back button you can click if you need if you want to adjust the image even more before you start finishing your image.
7. When you think that the image is set, you will now see your newest cut file among the images. Click on the image to highlight to select Insert Image.
8. Clicking on the image adds this to your design area where you can adjust the size or even the direction of the image. After this, you are ready to cut.
9. After the image is cut, carefully weed or remove the excess vinyl.
10. Place a layer of transfer tape on top of the cut vinyl. The transfer tape will help you place the vinyl without letting anything stretch or move out of place.
11. Now you must clean the surface where you will place the car decal sticker. Clean the window really well. Place rubbing alcohol to remove excess grease, dirt or fingerprint smudges on the window.
12. Now peel back the paper backing of the vinyl. Move slowly to make all parts of the image release from the sheet.
13. To apply the vinyl, lay it down in a rolling motion. Doing so will make sure that the sticker will be transferred to the surface in a very even manner.
14. Go over the transfer tape with the scraper tool. You will use the tool to push out any bubbles from underneath the vinyl.
15. Now you are done, peel back the transfer tape to completely release the sticker.
How To: Make A Car Decal Using A Cricut Explore Air 2