Printing on vinyl is considered better than printing on paper, and it is easy to learn how to print on vinyl with minimal tools. Printing on vinyl material can guarantee your message stays up no matter the harsh weather conditions be it UV rays from the sun or any water or rain.
It is crucial to use the right type of vinyl if you would like to print on vinyl, and this means that the vinyl paper should have a film coating that you can use as a carrier for the ink. This ensures that the ink stays to your item and does not bleed or fade.
Below are the steps you should follow to print on vinyl paper and some useful tips.
Materials needed for Printing Vinyl
You will need a few supplies to print on vinyl, and they include:
- A vinyl printer paper
- An ink-jet printer
- A ruler
- A laptop/computer
- High-quality laminate sheets
- A knife
1. Come up with your Design
The first step in printing on vinyl paper is finding or drawing the designs you want to use. There are three ways of coming up with design ideas, and they include:
- You can always find inspiration for designs from researching other designs since there are plenty of images online. Checking other people's designs might get your creative juices flowing. Search online using some keywords such as printable vinyl stickers or vinyl sticker designs.
- Another way is to sketch your design and finalize the design on a computer. You can sketch the design on a piece of paper the scan the paper to your computer. You can then edit your design using any available free photo editing websites like Picfull, Pixlr, or Photocat.
- The final way you can design is using image editing software such as Photoshop or Illustrator, which are paid versions and free alternatives like Canva, MAGIX, or GIMP.
2. Printing Your Design on Vinyl
For this step, you should start by finding a home printer if you don't already have one that can make vinyl prints.
i. Get your computer and open a new document measuring 8x 11 inches. The document should allow you to size and edit the design to your preferred choice within the document.
ii. Paste your chosen design either from the software you have created it from. If you are interested in making multiple vinyl stickers, paste the design severally in a row in order. For Cricut Design Space, follow the instructions on the software to send your idea to the printer. The Print then Cut feature found in Cricut Design Space helps you easily print and cut images using your home printer and Cricut cutting machine.
iii. After pasting, preview your document to see how the stickers will print out. Make sure to avoid overlapping your designs, and if your sticker is cut off, move it from the margins to achieve a clear print of the designs.
iv. Load your Inkjet Printer, and you should make sure to use one with a four-color and a 1200 dpi print resolution. Load your 8 x 11 inch Cricut printable vinyl sticker paper, ensuring the adhesive vinyl side stays up because the ink needs to print on the non-adhesive side of the paper. If you are unsure of how your printer will print, you can use a blank sheet to test and do it correctly afterward. The printer settings could take a little time to get used to, but it's a breeze once you do.
iv. Go ahead to print your design by locating the print option from your document and pressing print. Use your printer settings to either print a single copy or multiple copies. If the printable vinyl did not print in the right way, adjust your settings by confirming your quality and paper compatibility settings, then try again.
You can also print on the printable vinyl using a silhouette or a Cricut Maker machine.
3. Laminate and Cut your Sticker Designs
You need to apply a laminate layer over the printable vinyl to ensure durability. Some printable vinyl packs have a laminate layer, where others are an additional purchase separately. To laminate:
i. Peel the over-laminate slowly
ii. Strip the top of the laminate sheet and align it with your printable vinyl paper.
iii. Press it down and peel it slowly while running your fingers smoothly over the laminate to ensure it sticks to the vinyl sheet. Continue running your fingers and using a ruler's edge to guarantee the vinyl sheets have no air bubbles.
iv. Cut the laminated stickers, and you can use a cutting machine to simplify this step of the process. However, if you don't own a vinyl cutter, use a craft knife and a ruler to make sure you achieve precise and straight cuts.
4. Apply Your Printable Vinyl Sticker Paper
Peel the back of the printable vinyl sticker adhesive and apply the sticker to your DIY vinyl decals items. The vinyl backing sheet is on the opposite side of the overlaminate and the sticker design back. Take the corner of the vinyl backing, peel it until it's off the sticker, and then place your sticker on a dry and flat surface.
Vinyl printable stickers are versatile as they can stick on most smooth and hard surfaces, and they are water-resistant; hence you can use them both outdoors and indoors.
Types of Printers for Printing Vinyl
There are various printers you can use printable vinyl material on, and the most popular ones include:
a) Desktop InkJet Printer
This is one of the best printer options for small office projects or DIYs for a small business. If you are looking for printable vinyl for inkjet printers, find or purchase a compatible desktop inkjet printer for easy printing. The ink dries quickly but to be sure your print vinyl is more resistant to harsh conditions, leave it for a day. Also, inkjet printable vinyl is better because inkjet decal papers can work in copy machines and laser printers, while a laser printer printable sticker paper will not work on Inkjet.
One of the best inkjet printers for vinyl is the Epson Workforce WW-7710. Another alternative for printing vinyl decals is the HP OfficeJet 5255.
b) Large Format Inkjet Printer
These printers are suitable for professional sign makers or someone looking to make a professional vinyl print. They feature an LED lamp that cures ink and comes with white ink to build some canvas that you can use to print graphics for transparent stock.
Some examples include the Canon Pixma wireless inkjet printer or the Epson Workforce Pro.