All seasoned crafters know that vinyl is one of the most versatile and used materials across the printing industry. Whether you’re printing a design on a mug or adorning your room with floral prints, you’ll always end up using vinyl; it’s waterproof, can be used on all sorts of surfaces, and sticks to almost anything!
The problem is that not everyone thinks they can learn how to print on vinyl paper, but actually, vinyl printing is much easier than one would think. Vinyl printing is a very easy process and can be implemented by almost anyone, provided that you have the right tools!
In this step-by-step guide, we’ll tackle every step and the tools you’ll need, so read on.
1. Get Your Equipment
In terms of accessibility to vinyl printing materials, you shouldn’t have any problems finding any of these items at your house or the nearest store.
Be sure you have all these items before starting:
Typically, vinyl printer paper is the most important item on your list. If you don’t have a good amount of 8 x 11-inch vinyl paper, you can find them at any office supply store or crafts store. Of course, you can easily purchase it online.
You’ll have two options:
- Vinyl printer sheets
- Vinyl sticker sheets
Vinyl paper usually comes with laminate sheets to protect the printed surface and keep the ink from running.
However, if your vinyl paper doesn’t come with any laminate sheets (or if you fancy laminating your designs yourself), you’ll need to get some laminate sheets or spray. The product you buy will also have a matte or glossy finish, so you have to choose any type of lamination depending on your preferences.
A specialized vinyl printer could cost a fortune, so there’s no need to break the bank if you already have a regular inkjet printer at home. A laser printer will also work if you have one of them. In fact, it’ll give you optimal results.
If you’re a beginner, almost any printer will help you get started, so there’s no need to put too much emphasis on printers.
Also, if you often ask yourself, “can you print on vinyl paper using a monochrome printer” the answer is yes, especially if monochrome designs are what you’re going for.
Free vinyl prints and designs are readily available on any website. Once you’ve hit the search engine, you’ll find multiple results from which you can choose.
However, some experienced Vinyl DIY-ers prefer to do their designs themselves using various software programs on their computers. So if you want to create your customized vinyl designs, make sure to have your computer at the ready.
Once you’re done with your prints, you’ll need a cutting tool. Razor blades, Exacto knives, or scissors should do the trick, although you might need to use them with caution.
There are other fancier options if your budget allows, such as vinyl cutter machines, or Cricut machines, both of which can produce accurate well-cut vinyl designs. However, they’re not wholly necessary, especially if you’re already good with a pair of scissors.
2. Pick a Design
Next, it’s time to use your computer to pick your vinyl designs. To reiterate, you can either download free designs online or create them yourself! There are three steps for doing this:
Research, Research, Research
Sure, you might have a certain design of an animal in mind, but you might want to take a tour through the most common designs, especially considering how they look when they’re finally printed. This will inspire you to tweak your design and add a creative boost!
Some people are more comfortable sketching with a pencil notepad rather than sketching on a computer screen. That’s okay too. Just make sure that you sketch your designs on 8 x 11-sized paper, then scan this paper to your computer.
Specialized Image Editing Software
If you’d like to kick your design quality up a notch, you can choose any of the software programs made specifically for creating designs and editing them, provided that you have experience with illustration in general.
3. Print Using an Inkjet Printer
With this step at the core of the printing process, printing is arguably an easy step as long as you follow these steps below:
- On your computer, open a new Word document with 8 x 11-inch dimensions; this will allow you to edit the design size. If you’re using image editing software, you can resize the design inside the software program.
- If you have several separate designs, make sure to load them onto the same 8 x 11-inch photo.
- Choose the preview print option to ensure that your designs aren’t cut off or overlapping.
- Connect your computer to your inkjet or laser printer. Make sure that your printer has four colors and 1200 dpi print resolution.
- Load the vinyl paper into the printer.
- Don’t forget to make the adhesive side face up so that the designs are inked into the non-adhesive side of the vinyl sheets.
- Test-print a design to make sure that everything is in order and the resolution is correct (optional).
4. Cut Out the Design
As you might already know, cutting out the designs can be done with scissors or Exacto knives.
However, if you’d like to invest in a fancy vinyl cutting machine, a Cricut machine will do that for you! It’ll give your project a professional finish, especially for those with unsteady hands or who don’t want to cut corners with their designs.
With these instructions, you’ll now know to print on vinyl paper with minimal problems. Nevertheless, make sure to check that you have the right equipment at your disposal as well as the right type of printer.
You should also make sure that you choose high-quality designs to get high-quality prints. Skimping on any of these aspects won’t give you the desired results.
Finally, getting specialized vinyl machines will work, but using a regular home printer will work too. It all really depends on your budget, preferences, and the number of designs you’re trying to create.