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.
- 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).
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.