I was so proud of the very first cut of vinyl I made. By some miracle I pushed the cut button and when the machine spit out that perfectly scored sheet of vinyl I was HOOKED!
I am telling you, when you learn how to do this vinyl thing the right way, it is SO ADDICTIVE!
You will soon have 3/4 of the smooth surfaces in your home covered with the stuff. I figured out how to week vinyl, got that very first sheet all cleaned out...and then stared at it wondering how to get my cutouts from the glossy white paper that backs vinyl to the freshly painted block I was planning to use. What is a crafting nut to do...Google. I googled, it answered. After reading tons of posts and articles, I learned that I needed some sort of transfer paper to make the move. Many said you could just use contact paper. Basically that was all I found..use contact paper.
At first, I did. I had a roll of white contact paper inherited from somewhere that had never been touched. I placed that contact paper on top of my vinyl and smoothed it out. Bad idea. It totally stuck to the vinyl. I read more and one lady said to stick the contact paper to your couch a bunch of times to make it less sticky, then use it. Did that. It was OK, but certainly not something I could sell.
Finally, I ran down to Hobby Lobby and bought a $10 roll of transfer paper, about 6 feet of it. It worked well for getting the vinyl off the backing and transferring it to the wood, but when I did try to use it to sell vinyl, I found that the transfer paper wouldn't stick to the vinyl backing itself and had to buy a bunch of masking tape to keep the two together for transporting. If you are just making things for around the house, go for the craft store stuff you can buy with a coupon.
If you plan to try and sell your work, get the real deal online. The first roll I bought was 100 feet long, 12" wide, and sells right now for $33 on Amazon. I personally love to work with the seller Vinyl Ease. The really do sell a great product. I just bought a 300 foot roll at the start of this season for about $43. So for $10 more you get three times the length. Fabulous! I think I have about 100 feet left right now.
Anyway, get your roll and find the open seam. Pull out a foot or two of length like you would packing tape or something like that.
For this example, I will just pull out enough to do one 12x12 sheet of vinyl. Normally, I have 20+ sheets weeded and end up pulling out 5 feet all along my table at one time.
Don't cut anything yet. I like to place my scissors or some other non-rolling tool under the roll so it stays where I put it. That way I can concentrate on getting my vinyl on without any bubbles. It takes two hands to do that!
I can't photograph it very well with one hand :0} But basically I put one corner of the vinyl sheet down meeting corners with the transfer tape. While still holding the rest of the paper in the air, I line the rest of that bottom edge of the vinyl up with the bottom edge of the transfer tape. Once you get the bottom all lined up, press the vinyl paper on top of the sticky transfer tape pressing from the bottom up.
Once you get it down completely, smooth your hand over the whole sheet so that it is completely in contact with the transfer paper.
Now cut it off. Normally I do use scissors, but the exacto knife was just sitting here and my scissors are all the way across the room. Yep! Lazy. I know. It still works though :0}
Turn that sheet over and cut into individual pieces, being careful to stay away from the vinyl with your scissors. Now just rub down any of those whiter areas. They are just air bubbles. No big deal. Now you are ready to either use that vinyl, or if you are selling, pack it up in an envelope and mail it out.
Up next, what to do when applying Transfer Tape GOES WRONG!