Geek Speak – VINYL GRAPHICS

This monthly I got myself into a sticky situation. My friends recently introduced me to the world of Vinyl Cutters. Previous to this I had never heard of the Silhouette or the competing Cricut. They are electronic cutting machines for personal use. They look similar to your standard ink jet or laser printer, but instead of a printer head, they have a blade. The blade can be used cut a variety of materials including paper, cardstock, transfer paper, fabric, vinyl and more. They can cut sheets that are 12”x12” or rolls 12”x10’ long.

I’ve designed vehicle graphics and have seen commercial cutters at sign shops, but I didn’t know that they made them for personal use. Silhouette and Cricut are two leaders in the field. silhouetteamerica.com | cricut.com You should be able to pick up a top of the line (personal) machine for about $250.

A little research showed me that they both come with software to help you design and cut. From the reviews, the software for the Silhouette is traditional software that you download and install on your Mac or PC. It is more full-featured and has a larger learning curve, but it is powerful software. I personally downloaded an alternative product from Silhouette that allowed me to work directly with Adobe Illustrator. One potential advantage of the Circut software is that it is web based. You can use it from any computer or even your smart phone.

Which one cuts better? I’ve read reviews declaring each one the winner. So you will have to do your own research there.

These cutters would be a great toy to create a bumper sticker. The problem was I don’t like bumper stickers. I don’t think I’ve ever put one on a car before. My Jeep came with a vinyl sticker on each of the back side windows. I thought they were pretty cool but, I decided to replace one of them.

What would I want the sticker to say?

There are limitless possibilities on what you can put on your car. Anything from family to politics to gun control to pets to bacon to unicorns to saving babies or the whales.

Mostly worthy causes, but I wanted to start at the top. I decided to make my sticker for Jesus. I know he didn’t need the sticker, but that was still my motivation. I wanted to have a message to encourage people to think but not preach. I googled for some ideas and found the inspiration that I needed. With some help from YouTube I was able to learn how to cut, weed (prepare the artwork with an X-Acto knife), put the vinyl on transfer paper and then apply vinyl to my window! Pretty Cool.

It was a fairly laborious process , but I found it very rewarding. I look forward to cutting and applying some more graphics in the future. Thanks to Mike and Julie for getting me started!

That’s all I have to say about that.

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