Posts tagged ‘vinyl’

How to Foil Adhesive Vinyl

Wait, what??? ... Foil works with vinyl, too! ... Who knew?? I wrote my first article on laser foil back in 1993 and I couldn’t be happier to see the shiny stuff making such a strong comeback. Since a lot of you don’t have laser printers, but you do have diecutters, I want to let you know of yet another method you can use for foiling. Foil sticks to the plastic in adhesive vinyl (gloss finish works best), just like it does to toner, so have at it!

IMPORTANT: Please use caution when using parchment or copy paper instead of the folders. If the combined stack is not large enough or stiff enough it can wrap around the rollers and possibly damage your machine.

May 28, 2015 at 3:22 pm 55 comments

Vinyl Cost Calculator

I’ve recreated my Vinyl Cost Calculator on Instacalc, along with some instructions (it’s easier than it looks). Type in a few particulars and it quickly returns a comprehensive total cost per square foot. This is great for comparison shopping or for deciding what quantity you should order.
Here’s an annotated screen shot (click to enlarge) with all the info (plus overkill) you need to get started.

Screen Shot 2013-03-12 at 9.59.37 AM

Click here for a printable PDF of the above instructions

Click here to go to the calculator

April 17, 2013 at 10:30 am 8 comments

Stencilizer: a shortcut for diecutters

My latest web app crush is squarely on Stencilizer, a cool online tool for automatically posterizing, smoothing, vectorizing and color separating photo input. Upload an optimized (clear, close up, cropped, background removed, high contrast) image and Stencilizer first presents you with 9 choices in various brightness levels and number of colors.

Choose your favorite and then Stencilizer yields up to 5 SVG files ready to download, cut and layer.

In addition to its intended purpose of making layered stencils, I see at least 3 more ways the digital diecutting community can put this tool to use. First off, if you are familiar with the stunning Paper Portraits by Greg over at Paper Kutz Studios you may have wished for a lazy crafter’s version. Stencilizer gives you that.

The Stencilizer output is not nearly as detailed as what you would get through the meticulous methods Greg generously shares in his tutorials, of course, but should work fine for smaller projects, greeting cards, etc. Though I haven’t tried it yet, I can foresee combining the Stencilizer output with Greg’s advice on paper colors to create some nice pieces.

Secondly, rendering photos in vinyl for tiles and for etching on vases, etc is very popular. File creation has been a challenging proposition, though, as most crafters lack the image editing savvy to translate a photo into a single color cut file that is recognizable, much less flattering. While the SVG files from Stencilizer are not suitable for vinyl work, the enlarged previews it generates are adequate for tracing.

I’ve put together a video tutorial on how you can use Stencilizer to make cut files for vinyl. In it I use Silhouette Studio for the tracing, but any cutting program or Inkscape would do the job just as well if not better.

Though not diecutter related, I will mention (since it happens to be October) that you could use Stencilizer in this same manner for custom pumpkin carving designs. Assuming the black will be cut out, be sure you add “bridges” so that you don’t have any white completely surrounded by black.

Thirdly, Stencilizer works well for the posterization needed for the hatched sketch technique I recently posted and for other projects such as glitter/sand painting where areas of discreet color need to be delineated. The SVG files Stencilizer generates are meant to be stacked, so they will not work for this, as we can not have hatching layers overlap, but once again, the previews can be traced with good results.

I’ve made a video on using Stencilizer as part of the sketching process, too.

Finally, let me mention that Stencilizer’s revenue stream comes from sales of custom cut paper stencils. Since those of us with our own diecutters will not need to buy stencils, I encourage you to take advantage of Stencilizer’s donate button if you find the web app useful.

October 19, 2012 at 8:51 am 13 comments

Which vinyl do I need?

This is such a common question among diecutter users that I made a flow chart to answer the question. Now get out there and cut some vinyl!

Download the PDF version here.

March 9, 2010 at 12:45 pm 33 comments

Stick Family Roundup

It seems that stick people are all the rage these days, at least for those of us on the minvan/SUV circuit. I have seen lots of questions about where to get stick people graphics to cut in vinyl on a Cricut, so I decided to do a little snooping about the stick family world.

You can always draw your own stick figures in Inkscape with the pen tool (use brush settings), but maybe you want to borrow some inspiration. I was amazed at the variety in styles I encountered online. Here are a few sites that are great for idea shopping:


Samples from

The next 4 sites have interactive stick family generators where you can play all day:


Awesome sticker generator at

As far as downloadable files, precious few freebies seem to be available.

I did find a nice set of faces in .png format at CuddlyBuddly.

Update: And this great set of stick figures in eps and ai format from Dezignus

Update: And four free fonts: Girl Characters, Boy Characters, Pet Animals, Todds Stick People

In the early days, if you wanted to buy designs  in SVG format there was only one choice and that was a package from

MyVinylDesigner sample

MyVinylDesigner sample

Update: Since this original post, has made a set of svg stick people available as well as a free sample.

Another update:Vinyl-Ready Designs also has a nice set of stick people in svg format.

Update: Lettering Delights has released a whole lot of adorable stick people it calls String Beans.

Yet another update: Here is an incredibly detailed tutorial on drawing stick people with Inkscape. Be aware that this does not use all closed paths so you will need to convert strokes to paths when you are done to get a cuttable file.

A much more comprehensive package is available from It features, standard stick families, as well as angels, Disney fans, ATV-ers and more. It is vector format, but not SVG, so you will have to convert the images. Likewise with this Stick People Clipart package.

Lindsay Weirich has a set of digistamps and SVGs here.

New: A font package from Lettering Delights with dozens of stick figures.

Another update: Provocraft has released a stick figure cartridge called Car Decals. A different cartridge, called Cricut Decals, comes pre-loaded on the Cricut Expression 2.

And finally, Stick Family! A blog from a stick family stalker.

March 17, 2009 at 6:00 am 10 comments

You made that !?!?

Hands down this is my favorite Cricut project yet. Styrofoam, spray paint and cut out numbers are all you need to produce a great looking 3D sign.

The idea and detailed instructions came from this Instructable.

Update 6/10. This sign is still mounted on the side of a building and holding up well.

March 9, 2009 at 8:58 am 5 comments

The geeky way to install vinyl

A while back I got my husband a laser level. He was not impressed, but I have enjoyed playing with it. When I wanted to slap some freshcut vinyl on a wall at home, I remembered the long lost laser level. A new set of batteries and it was good to go. The one we have has a magnet on the bottom to connect it to the dangerous looking pointy thing that goes in your wall, presumably while your house is still under construction. Hmmm, what could I stick that magnet to? The ceiling fan seemed just the right height and it’s made of metal so why not? it helps to turn the fan off first, by the way.


I turned the laser on and adjusted the position of the level and/or moved the fan until I had a nice straight line projected onto the wall where I wanted my words. Then I began lining up my 3 piece installation.


The finished result from my Cricut and 1 Corinthians 13:8:


January 26, 2009 at 6:35 am 7 comments

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