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Hello and welcome to my first Instructable. Here I will show you my method of creating vinyl art for sticking on stuff. Most of my work goes on the back of my truck, I've sold some stuff. Also, white vinyl is decent for masking some stuff for painting because it is the most flexible color (least amount of creases which account for paint leakage) although it's not 100% water [paint]-tight.

I pretty much taught myself how to do this out of frustration for the rip-off shipping costs of online sellers of decals. I am fortunate to live down the street from a plastics store (S&W Plastics on University Ave) that carries a huge selection of adhesive vinyl for sale by the foot or by the roll. They also have the transfer tape.

In this instructable I attempt a two-tone decal. It's just double steps and lining up the two parts properly  and I even ended up with an extra sticker when I cut out the shading part!

List of ingredients:

- A design. Preferably two colors only with high contrast and not too much detail. Keep in mind; gradients are impossible to cut but photoshop filters can help. For starting off, the simpler the better... practice on line-art stuff then move up to more detailed work.

- An  X-Acto knife or other suitable sharp cutting utensil.

- A cutting surface I use the poster board mailers my "other vinyl" comes in. This part totally depends on how much you care about your work station surface, although I still recommend something as you'll see explained in step 2.

- Scotch tape

- Adhesive-backed colored vinyl
color choice is up to you.

- Tweezers I prefer a needle-nosed pair, really sharp points.

- Scissors

- Transfer tape specially made tape with the adhesive strength in between that of scotch tape and a post-it note.

- Patience and a penchant for the meticulous.

Once I save up for an electronic cutter I will laugh at my once archaic ways... but until then I like doing it this way.

Step 1: The design

Create in photoshop (or illustrator, corel or whatever), xerox a cool design, cut something out of a newspaper... this is the fun idea part! 
After you have your design on paper and the size you want cut it with about a half-inch margin (you can use this as a template and hold it up to whatever you're sticking it to in order to make sure you have the right size and the placing looks good).

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Since I did a multiple layer design I printed out two of the same image. I could have also printed each layer separately but I didn't feel like it. It's kinda like screen printing.

Note: Had I printed out each layer individually I would have been able to combine the two post-cutting onto the same backing with a tricky application of transfer tape. I preferred to combine the two on the actual surface itself because it is easier... but if you're making a multi-layered decal for someone else or don't yet have somewhere to stick it, you can do it that way.
<p>This is amazing! I wanted to see if I could order a few different custom decals online but you're right, the pricing is crazy. I'm going to try this. Thanks for making it!</p>
<p>Also, I like the b&amp;w Darth Vadar in the first pic. I'm not good with highlighting like that but I hope I can achieve my goal!</p>
<p>Thanks! My trick (which I honestly should've posted in the instructable) is to jack up the brightness and contrast of the image before I convert to cutout in photoshop (Filter/Artistic/Cutout). This helps to tone down a lot of unnecessary detail and wash out the gradients.</p><p>If you're sketching by hand, squint at your subject and only draw the most prominent contrasting shapes. Simple is better, even if you think you're cutting out too much detail, the image usually reveals itself if you take a few steps back. Unless it just looks like a blob... then I'd start over lol. Good luck!</p>
<p>does it come off easy</p>
<p>Depends on how long they've been on and how harsh the sun is where you are. UV rays will make the vinyl brittle and when you go to remove it, will chip instead of peel. I just took Darth off last year (so he'd been on my truck about 3 years?) and it came off pretty trouble free.</p>
<p>Thanks for this, I used your instructable to help make my daughter a sweet Star Wars longboard! http://www.instructables.com/id/Customize-Your-Skateboard-Deck/</p>
<p>That looks amazing! And your daughter looks thrilled! Good job, man!</p>
awesome I've been doing this for years trying to explain it to friends and now I can just link them here thank you
<p>love this.. .thanks for posting. </p>
<p>Awesome collection!</p>
<p>Never knew or checked or had any interest whatsoever in decals before, thinking they wouldn't be worth the trouble, but saw your &quot;POW!&quot; and had to check it out. It turns out that it's the exact same thing as semi truck ICC and authority number decals which have been around for decades, LOL which never occurred to me. Easy as pie. I assumed it was something &quot;new-fangled&quot; but it's the exact same thing...VERY good instructable. Well done!</p>
<p>could you please be more specific in wich transfer tape are you using? I can find a proper equal in my country becasue a transfer tape is a tape that transfer the adhesive to a surfice so the surfaace becomes sticky and you can stick other thinks</p>
<p>Carpet Protector from the home depot could work as it is a low adhesive film..use it a lot at Trades shows to protect carpet during setup..also had an alternative idea..inkjet for dark material is sort of a vinyl type material ,I wonder if that could be used as well,..either print out a graphic and be done or use it as a template to cut out a mono design.</p>
<p>Hi! I was just wondering where you can buy the transfer tape? I see <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=transfer+tape" rel="nofollow">Amazon</a> has it, but it's like $20 something a roll, is there an alternative to this tape? Could I use blue painter's tape? </p>
<p>No masking tape would not work. You could use a low-adhesive tape like scotch tape I imagine. Anything that has less adhesion than the vinyl itself. If you do a piece small enough or with little detail you could transfer it without tape. Just peel and set. Yeah that price on amazon is ridiculous. I forgot how much mine was but not $30 that's for sure.</p>
<p>Thank you for replying~!! I've been hoping to find the transfer tape at the craft and hobby stores in my area, but no such luck... :(</p><p>I've searched online for an alternative and some people say I could use clear, reposition-able contact paper or the Glad Press n Seal wax paper. I've not tried either of them yet. I wasn't sure how sticky they would be or if they would even work... I'll try the scotch tape too! Thank you again~! ^__^</p>
<p>I don't think the press n seal wax paper would have enough adhesive to grab it off the backing. After thinking about it, masking tape might work but you wouldn't have the advantage of seeing how you're placing it. As long as you're peeling totally parallel to the work surface (as I believe I demonstrate above) it may work. Scotch tape could leave sticky residue. I say try 'em both out, return with results.</p>
<p>Where do you get the vinyl sticker paper, transfer tape etc. at to do these vinyl stickers?</p>
<p>S&amp;W Plastics on University Ave.</p>
<p>What kind of vinyl do you use for the part that sits on the paint on a car? My friend is cutting it for me but I don't know what type to buy or where. </p>
<p>Ok just called the store they said: 3 mil or 76 micron which is apparently 0.076 millimeters</p>
I buy the stuff my local plastics store sells. I don't know the thickness. I know the thicker it is, the easier it is to work with (thinner stuff will be harder to get off of the transfer tape).
<p>Very cool instructable. </p>
These are really cool! do you think I could buy some from you? I would make them but I have no way to get the materials. :( <br>
I would love to, send me an email at salazam@hotmail.com regarding the details (size, color, design) and I'll work with you on a quote. :-)
btw, for any interested I don't do orders anymore. Teach a man to fish... you know? That's what this site is about. I don't have time to work for other people when I have ideas of my own. Happy cutting!
try my trick friend i think it would help you alot it is easier thatn yours,try to see it in my page.
Not bad! That's a good idea because cutting through the paper and the vinyl it's hard to judge the depth. I'll definitely try it on my next decal. I also just found out I could use the negative parts of the decals for silkscreening thanks to a few other instructables, I'm gonna try that too once I make/buy a screen.
Very nicely done!
Nice way to get inexpensive decals. I am gonna use it to make window decals and stickers for my car
Where can i buy the vinyl?
There is a whole sale supplier called &quot;Regional Supply&quot; in SLC, UT web page found here: <a href="http://www.regionalsupply.com/default.aspx?Page=Home" rel="nofollow">http://www.regionalsupply.com/default.aspx?Page=Home</a>.&nbsp; Also a&nbsp; place on line called:&nbsp; Gregory in Buhler, KS, &nbsp;found here:&nbsp; <a href="http://www.gregory1.com/" rel="nofollow">&nbsp;http://www.gregory1.com/</a>.&nbsp; They both are wholesellers but they do sale retail.&nbsp; I bought my first vinyl from Gregory.&nbsp; The vinyl sold by Provo Craft for use with the Cricut is from Regional Supply.&nbsp; That vinyl is Oracal 631, matte finish, lots of colors.&nbsp; I am still working on my first roll of vinyl&nbsp;I bought before I knew better, 50 yds of 24&quot; wide gloss black, should have bought matte.&nbsp; Oh well.&nbsp; Hope this helps.&nbsp;
thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!
dude, it says you live in LA. Shop local! Esp for something as heavy as a roll of vinyl! There are tons of plastic supply shops in L.A.
Lol Not L.A. DUH! LOUISIANA!!!!!!!!!!!!
You could enter this in the <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Scoochmaroo-Challenge-Fathers-Day/">Father's Day Challenge</a>!
idont game the grandsons allway on but love the controler
I have always wondered how this is done. Thank you for sharing the method.
cool

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