Upgrade Your Dorm Room Desk (or Just About Anything) With Vinyl Art




Introduction: Upgrade Your Dorm Room Desk (or Just About Anything) With Vinyl Art

You're stuck in a dorm room with boring dorm room furniture. Add removable vinyl designs to your desktop or just about anything in your room. Is your taste ever changing? Live in an apartment? Decorate without losing your deposit. Use removable vinyl to change your space as often as you like. Once you get the process down, your purchase of a vinyl cutter can be turned into an investment into a vinyl art business; sell your creations.

Disclaimer: Always use safety when using knives and other sharp objects.

Warning: You will still be a novice after viewing this Instructable.

Watch out: You may become obsessed with vinyl.

What you need:

Substrate- what you will apply the image to

Design- An idea of what you want


Vinyl Cutter- For this project Vinyl Express R Series – Signwarehouse.com, Ebay bundled $299.00

Craft Cutter i.e. Cricut, Silhouette- Craft Stores, Online Stores

Cutter Software – For this project – VE LXI Expert – bundled with cutter

Graphics Software – For this project- Adobe Illustrator.

If you do not have software and the free online software does not have enough features there are many Freelance graphic artists on Fiverr.com that can design and format your idea for your cutter.

Vinyl – For this project- Removable Vinyl – Enduramatte from Signwarehouse.com 24”x10’ -$12.99

Application/Transfer Tape – For this project – Unknown Brand Paper Tape – Glass City Sign Supply Toledo-8 ½”x100’- $26.50

Also shown RTape AT60 Clear from Signwarehouse.com

Weeding Tool/Hook and Pick – Harbor Freight 6 piece $3.99

Squeegee – Signwarehouse.com - $0.99

Utility Knife- Dollar Tree yes you guessed it- $1.00 ?

Straight Edge

Painter’s Tape

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

Vinyl Cutter

Computer. I like a second monitor.

Blank Vinyl - Removable

Application/Transfer Tape



Utility Knife

Painter's Tape

Weed tool / Hook and Pick

Tweezers for detailed weeding and repositioning

Step 2: Create Your Image

After choosing your substrate and vinyl color create an image to cut.

Using your cutter software, you can draw or import your image. Images can be imported for the internet. Be sure to to violate any laws when obtaining pictures.

Once you have an image you have to make it into an image compatible with your cutter.

Freelance help can be found online. Fiverr.com

Step 3: Cut the Image

Adjust the cutter settings based on your vinyl and image.

Make a test cut. You want to be sure you are cutting through the vinyl but not the carrier paper.

After a successful test cut, send the image to the cutter.

Step 4: Weed Your Image

The image is cut through the vinyl but not through the carrier paper. Weeding is the process of removing the excess vinyl. Using a weeding tool or hook and pick, lift the area to be clear. Then remove. Continue until only the image is left.

Step 5: Mask the Image

Using the transfer tape, mask the image. Apply the transfer tape to the entire image. Squeegee the tape down to the vinyl image.

Ideally, the transfer tape would be the same width. If not, apply in strips slightly overlapping the edges.

Step 6: Remove the Carrier Paper

Once the image is completely masked, remove the carrier paper. Carefully pull the carrier paper away. Occasionally, pieces of the image will not get picked up by the tape. Simply rubbed the tape over the area lift it.

Step 7: Place the Image on the Substrate

Decide on the placement of the image. I use a ruler and square to find the center. Using painter's tape I mark the center on both the the substrate and the transfer tape.

Place the image transfer tape up on the desk. Use the squeegee to press the image down. Scrape the entire image.

Step 8: Lastly, Remove the Transfer Tape

Carefully, remove the transfer tape leaving only the image.

This method is superior to vinyl art bought at the store because there is no excess plastic around the image.

Step 9: Removing the Vinyl

After you have enjoyed your art. When the semester is over. When you are ready move out your apartment. Simply peel off the removable vinyl.

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    Question 3 years ago

    How much is the software? Where do you buy it? What systems does it run on (Mac and/or Windows)? How hard is it to learn?


    Answer 3 years ago

    The cutter software comes with most cutters. I paid $299 for a bundle that included the cutter, expert edition of their software, small accessories, rolls of vinyl, blank magnetic signs, blank corrugated signs, application tape, and clip art!. I know that the craft cutters come with their own software as well. I just looked on signwarehouse.com and the Expert is $499 standalone. Better to grab the bundle.


    3 years ago

    Very interesting. I wonder if there is a place to rent a cutter, the price tag is prohibitive for just testing it out. In some towns there are co-ops where tools are shared and people will train others in their specialization, nice way to get access to this type of specialized equipement.


    Reply 3 years ago

    I've never thought of that. I'm always trying things out. I usually get on a kick then end up trying to sell the "machinery" on Ebay. I know the smaller craft cutters can be found used.

    DIY Hacks and How Tos

    Cool design. My kids just saw me reading through this and they couldn't get over how awesome it would be to have giant stickers like this.


    Reply 3 years ago

    Thank you. I would love to start selling these but, my presentation - specifically my masking, is not perfected yet.


    Reply 3 years ago

    This would make for a great Etsy store KyndraW! Nicely done!


    Reply 3 years ago

    Thank you. I have been "just about to" Etsy, Fiverr, and others for some time now.