When using your cutting machine I can’t think anything much more frustrating than wasting tons of vinyl. It’s like watching your money be cut to shreds…. literally. Today I have put together my top tips for how to have minimal Vinyl Waste with your projects.
HOW TO NOT HAVE VINYL WASTE
- Use Weeding Boxes: Now this might sound really strange at first but hear me out. It is a simple strategy whether you have a Silhouette or a Cricut and it really works! A weeding box is literally just a box that is added around any design that you cut. It makes a nice clean line around your design so when you weed you can keep your sheet of vinyl in tact. You don’t end up with a million tiny pieces of vinyl cut in weird shapes that nothing will fit on. Check out this screen shot to see what I mean.
Grab the SVG pictured above here.
- Put a Reminder on Your Machine: I don’t know about you but I am always forgetting to mirror my vinyl when I use heat transfer. Even though Silhouette now asks you if you want to mirror, I have found that a decal on my machine is AMAZING. It helps me so that each time I go to load my cutting mat I can remember do I need to mirror or not. I make tons of shirts and no-one has got time (or money) to be wasting vinyl and cutting the same design over and over because you forgot to mirror. I just applied the reminder pictured below with adhesive vinyl to the cover of my Silhouette. You can do the same thing on a Cricut.
- Note your Cut Settings: In addition to the reminder on the machine to mirror, I also have a little sticky note that has each material I cut with and the cut settings next to it. While the machines do have a ‘standard’ setting for each material I have found that sometimes the standard setting just doesn’t do it. Each machine is so different that when I find the exact cutting that works with mine I don’t want to forget it. I have Glitter HTV, HTV, Adhesive, Paper, etc on one row with the exact number setting next to each one so I don’t forget. While at this point I pretty much have them memorized, at the beginning this was a HUGE time and money saver for me.
- Arrange Your Items: Within your software you want arrange where you items go on the mat. Make sure that when you are lining things up that you move them where they waste as little vinyl as possible. Line things up, turn something upside down, and squeeze it in there like you are fitting into your favorite pair of jeans. This will save excess wasted vinyl from the middle areas. (see how we squeeze the two hearts together rather than lining them up and having wasted space on the bottom)
- Do a Test Cut: In the Silhouette Studio program it gives you the option to do an actual test cut which is a circle with a triangle in it. You can peel up the circle and see if the triangle stays. In Cricut while they don’t have that specific feature you can open the SVG below and put small, on the top left corner of your design and only select that section to cut. This will help you to test and see if your settings are correct before cutting everything and wasting vinyl.
- Save Every Single Piece: If you have watched any of our lives or been a reader on our blog for a minute you will know that we LOVE to save our vinyl. I can’t stand throwing stuff away that could potentially save me from buying more…. ok I still buy more but also LOVE to make projects out of scraps. I use this organizer and save my scraps by color. It helps me to stay organized and waste less vinyl. Check out more of our favorite organization solutions here.
What about you? What do you do to waste as little vinyl as possible? We want to hear your tips and tricks! As always we would be so grateful if you shared these tips and tricks with a friend on social media! Happy crafting, cutting, and chaos and see you next time!