Introduction: Creating Vinyl Stickers

About: Space Technology and Planetary Exploration Engineering, working in development for Magna Parva Ltd. Also a proactive member of St John Ambulance and volunteer for various open source electronics and programmin…

My hackspace has a Silhouette Portrait and I thought it would be nice to make a big sticker to put up on our hackspace door.

For the supplies I stumbled across MDP Supplies who do a variety of different vinyl by the roll.

Step 1: Preparing the Cutting Mat

I have roughly cut out the vinyl, not worrying too much about the edges, because it is just going to end up taking the logo out of the middle.

The vinyl then gets stuck down (paper size down) to the cutting mat and inserted into the cutter (by pressing the button which looks like a grid).

Step 2: Converting the SVG to Silhouette

Fortunately for me the Leicester Hackspace logo can be downloaded from the contact page on the hackspace website.

However, SVG's are not naively supported by the free version of the Silhouette Studio. I downloaded and installed inkscape and used the "save as" feature to save it as a DXF.

  1. Import the SVG into inkscape
  2. Resize the page to fit the drawing
  3. In the hackspace logo the H and the outline were separate, I used the "Path" -> "Difference" tool to subtract the two from each other so that it is one solid object.
  4. Save the logo to your desktop as a .dxf
  5. Tick the ROBO-Master type of spline and untick LWPOLYLINE
  6. Inside Silhouette Studio use the "File" -> "Import" -> "Import to Library" feature.
  7. The logo should now appear in your library.

Step 3: Placing the Item on the Cutting Mat

Because they are vectors graphic in Silhouette they can be scaled to whatever size you want/need. As to not waste too much vinyl I placed several in the unused spaces of the page.

Step 4: Setting the Cutter Depth

The software advised for vinyl to set the cutting depth to 2, so I did that with in built in knife adjustment tool that is fitted on the inside of the cutter.

Step 5: Sending It to Cut

Make sure you leave plenty of space behind the cutter too! I made the mistake initially where I left the rolls of vinyl behind the cutter and they all got pushed to the floor.

When it is complete, the cutting mat is mostly ejected (back to how it was when you loaded it) and you press the eject button to finally push it out.

Step 6: Peeling It Off

Now comes the fun part, peel off all of the waste to be left with only the bit you want! These are the stickers to be transferred on to whatever you need.

Step 7: Transfer Tape

I tried a load of different tapes (duct tape, sellotape, masking take, micropore medical tape, zinc oxide tape, parcel tape) but they were either all too sticky or too hard to work with. I ended up using electrical tape in lots of lines as my transfer tape.

To lift the sticker off the page make sure you use a shallow angle when pulling. Lift the corner no more than 15 ish degrees at a slow and steady rate. I used a hook shaped tool to lift off any of the detail bits that stayed stuck to the page.

Step 8: Sticking It Down

To transfer it down, line it up in whatever way you can, and don't stick it down all at once!

I typically start from the bottom and push the sticker up and onto the surface. That way you push out all of the air bubbles and abnormalities as you go along.

To remove the tape you now go at a steep angle. I pretty much come back on myself and slowly pull. Any bits that try to come off with the tape I push back with the hook tool again.

Step 9: The Finished Item

So, now can put stickers on my box, and have put sticker on the hackspace door :)

Hope you find some useful tips in this instructable, and if anyone in the UK knows of good suppliers for alternative transfer tape please let me know in the comments.