How to set up your vinyl Start-Up

Knowing what to buy and where to buy it is not easy! There are so many incredible projects to distract you before you even get started with the basics.

I believe you should start with a simple process of choosing a Cutting Machine and creating vinyl decals first. Most adhesive vinyl has similar enough cut settings that you can follow most tutorials with ease. You can play around and label items for at home, create simple projects for the kids, label notebooks etc and even create simple birthday cards using adhesive decals. They look so good and are very simple!

A simple car decal I created in 2017

The following list does contain *affiliate Amazon links, feel free to shop independently to search out best prices, but this is how I got started ♡

  • A cutting machine.
    Personally, I’m a Silhouette girl. I love their adaptability and their digital software rocks! I’ve not wavered in that opinion although the Cricut machines are starting to look very attractive.

    I currently use a Silhouette 2 which has seen me through a sizeable and heavy workload. I would recommend starting with the best you can afford and it should not out date you! In spite of appearances the Silhouette is a easy machine to get started with. As regular users like me are tempted to update, are there any old models available for sale on your local market place?

You can buy the latest Silhouette Cameo 4 from GM Crafts, who I recommend as a reputable vinyl stockist also.

  • Vinyl.
    I wont bamboozle you with all the varying types, just trust me there is a lot. I recommend a bundle of colours in a single type so you can try a few projects and feel really proud of yourself. By mixing the colours you can keep the principles of how to use the software, how to cut and how to apply the exact same with each of your first projects! But with hugely different results – create a family decal for your car, label your water bottle, make stickers for gift bags etc.

    By making personalised gifts for friends and family you can learn the craft and it wont be long before you gain confidence in selling and start to make money.

Adhesive Vinyl Bundle
Oracal 651 is the best adhesive vinyl to use – permanent and waterproof. Great for a variety of crafts.

  • Transfer Tape.
    If you use adhesive vinyl, you will need transfer tape to ‘pick up’ the vinyl from its backing sheet and carry it to your project. Please, for the love of God don’t pick up vinyl letter by letter and move it over! It will never look neat or professional again.

    Use transfer tape to gently and uniformly move your vinyl and it will look perfect each time. This is where I can’t compromise – I only use gridded plastic tape that help me line up the design with ease. There are no second chances with adhesive vinyl! It can cost a great amount of wasted time, energy and vinyl if you don’t get it right first time, so be prepared with good tape.

Transfer Tape
Use a recognised brand of clear plastic gridded tape so you know it’s “sticky” enough for all types of vinyl.

  • Accessories.
    A good accessory can be the difference between loving your vinyl crafting and cursing it’s existence! How organised your workspace is and how to store your current projects makes a big difference in how much you can achieve and how quickly you can create.

    Always keep your vinyl rolled up or laid completely flat. At the end of it’s project, put your vinyl to bed with as much care as you would a baby. It will not be your friend if it gets creased, folded or stood on. I personally lay my adhesive vinyl flat in some sturdy straight shelving and I keep my HTV rolled up in a wine rack.

Use a wine rack as a HTV holder
I’m sorry there’s no wine in mine! I collect HTV like people collect Beanie Babies so I overfill the space quickly!

Weeding Tool
Forget the traditional hook tools, I do not recommend! I love needle pointed tweezers, they are great for intricate cuts.

Vinyl Waste on the Go
This cheap gadget was a complete game changer for me! Originally designed to hold nail polish on your fingers, it works perfectly to collect scrap pieces of vinyl as you are going along. Promise me you will try it!

  • Heat Press for Heat Transfer Vinyl.
    This is a tough choice, and for me, harder than picking my first cutting machine. My first heat press cost £80 and lasted for 2 years. I loved it – it was small, convenient, versatile. It was a risk to buy such a cheap one but it worked. If it was still on the market I would recommend it to you but it’s no longer available, I’m sorry!

    Do not purchase one from overseas!! If there is an issue you’re obligated to post it back at your expense and they are h.e.a.v.y. Trust me on this, please.

    If you had £1000 to start your own HTV business I would absolutely recommend an industrial/professional press for around £600. It would not be money wasted. They are more precise, easier, have less chance of burning yourself and are guaranteed to have even heat distribution.

    Buying a cheap heat press is more work. You will need more pressure and more pressing time. There is more chance of failure and higher risk of product returns. It will cost you more in time. But it is much much cheaper.

A Budget Heat Press, Large
My latest heat press was another budget option at £140 from a reputable seller called Signzworld, and comes with a large 12″ by 12″ pressing plate.

  • An Etsy Shop
    There are plenty of free and convenient ways to get selling online. Personally I have LOVED having Etsy help in automating my business meaning I can get more creative work done through less time fielding questions. Does it cost? Yes. But there is automatic trust built in trust for buyers, it arranges payment and postage details with no work, and there is a direct source of people already shopping on there and you can get your product to them!

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