How To Set Up A Four-Layer Decal For The Vinyl Cutter Using Illustrator

Picture of How To Set Up A Four-Layer Decal For The Vinyl Cutter Using Illustrator
Many people make one-color, single layer decals using the vinyl cutter. However, there are so many more possibilities when one creates a multiple layer decal. In this Instructable I will show you how to set up a file in illustrator for a Four-layer, Three Color Vinyl Cut Decal.

While we will only be setting up the file for the vinyl cutter in this Instructable, you will eventually need four 12” x 24” sheets of vinyl: two black, one white and one red. At two dollars per foot for the vinyl you can fit 8 total hand layered decals on the sheet at a cost of about one dollar each.


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Step 1: Open Up a New File and Create Four layers

Picture of Open Up a New File and Create Four layers
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In Illustrator create a new file with the size of your vinyl, 12” High by 24” Wide. Once you have opened your file, open up the layers panel and create three new layers for a total of four layers.

Step 2: Layer One

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For the first, or the base layer, I will create approximately a 5.25-inch, solid black circle that all my other layers will rest on. For future projects you can create any shape base you like, just make sure you create it in layer one and that it’s a solid piece, so the rest of the layers will easily attach. This layer will be on one of the black sheets of vinyl.

Step 3: Layer Two

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For the second layer I find it helps to layout two guides in an x shape over the first layer to help align the next layers.  After you have laid out your guides, create an image for your next layer; make sure you create it in layer two. For mine I will use a white circle and a star, which I will center perfectly on the first layer. This layer will be on the white sheet of vinyl.

kyjeeper3 years ago
Looks good! I do this daily, and I might suggest that you combine the text and the white circle to make one layer and also add registration marks for alignment. Having the text knocked out of the white lets the black show through, eliminating the need for that extra layer of black. Most cutting software will also allow you to select which color to cut, eliminating the need for separate files. You've definitely got a good grasp on the process though! ;)