How to Make Vinyl Decals and Creative Stickers

how to make vinyl decals
If you are interested in decorating, whether it is for your home or elsewhere, you have undoubtedly come across vinyl decals and creative stickers. In the past ten years, vinyl decals have become more popular than ever before.

Want to add a cute design to your living room wall for added decoration? Or are you trying to label things around the house with a nice and decorative font? Do you have the desire for graphic design and helping businesses with their logos? No matter what your reasoning if you are looking for how to make vinyl decals you have come to the right place.

Creative people love working with art supplies to use their creative outlet wisely. If you know you have a passion for vinyl decals and creative stickers and have long wondered how to make vinyl decals why not try starting a business at home selling them? It is a great way to make some extra money doing something you enjoy, and the best part is you can do it right from your own home.

In this article, we will go over how to make vinyl decals and creative stickers as well as give you the necessary information on how to start your own side-hustle (or full-time gig! It’s up to you!) selling them. By the time you are done with this article, you will practically be a vinyl decal expert.

What Are Vinyl Decals and Creative Stickers?

Vinyl decals and creative stickers are a super-popular trend right now, and for good reason. If you are wondering about how to make vinyl decals, you probably want to know a little bit more about them.

One of the best things about vinyl decals is how versatile they are. Using special printers and cutting tools, vinyl decals can add color, a nice design, or just inspirational words. You can get as creative as you like when making vinyl decals and creative stickers, and you will quickly discover that the sky is the limit in terms of designing them.

Where Can You Use Decals and Stickers?

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You will want to use your vinyl decals on surfaces they can stick to, of course, so it is important to know where they actually stick. In general, you are safe to use vinyl decals on any wood, glass, metal, or plastic surfaces. That said, you will want these surfaces to be relatively smooth and not textured.

Since you have to use a squeegee to flatten out any air bubbles and ensure your vinyl sticker lies flat, any bumpy and textured surfaces will make your vinyl decal look sloppy and probably have air bubbles no matter how much you try to flatten it out.

Once you know the surfaces that vinyl decals can attach to, the possibilities are almost endless. Many people use vinyl decals to decorate the walls of their homes, so if you are interested in making wall decorations, that is a great idea for where to start. No matter which way you decide to make vinyl decals, you will be sure to find tons of applications for them around your home.

How to Make Vinyl Decals and Creative Stickers

In this section, you will truly become the expert of making vinyl decals and creative stickers. If you have been wondering how to make vinyl decals, you do not have to wonder any longer. We will outline the supplies you need as well as the steps you need to take to actually create the vinyl decals themselves.

To prepare you in case you would like to start a business making vinyl decals and creative stickers, we will also discuss the ins and outs of the business side of it, so you can be an entrepreneur as well.

Gathering Supplies to Make Vinyl Decals and Creative Stickers

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For any arts or crafts, the most important and first step to take is gathering all the necessary supplies. Luckily, when it comes to how to make vinyl decals, you will not have to break the bank to get started on this creative endeavor.

Here are the supplies you will need to get started:

  • Vinyl cutting machine
  • Printer
  • Computer
  • Vinyl rolls
  • Application tape
  • A squeegee of some sort
  • A cutting mat
  • Weeding tools
  • Sharp blades for cutting vinyl
  • Camera
  • Packing and shipping supplies (if you want to start a business out of it)

Now, vinyl cutting machines are one of the most important parts of the supplies you will need for this project. Not all vinyl cutting machines are created equal, as you probably imagine. As a result, the vinyl cutting machine you will want will highly depend on your vision for vinyl cutting. Why are you doing this? If you are starting a business, you will need a vinyl cutting machine that is more sophisticated and faster, as this way it can keep up with your demand.

You do not have to spend too much money on a vinyl cutting machine. Luckily, with how common it is becoming to make vinyl decals at home, you can get a reasonable vinyl cutting machine that will not drain your bank account. You will have to decide between a commercial vinyl cutting machine and a personal one, and that will depend on your intent.

You also do not have to worry about being overwhelmed with all the potential vinyl rolls out there to purchase. When starting out, a good idea is just to buy a few basic colors that are often used and in high demand. For instance, you may want to just buy white, black, red, blue, pink, and common colors like that. Once you know what colors you will be using, you can expand even further, but it is not needed for just starting out. You can even get patterned vinyl for more unique vinyl decal options.

With all of these supplies, you still should not have to spend more than about $50 total. That is not too bad for start-up costs for a business! Even for a hobby, this is relatively inexpensive and makes it super accessible if you have been wondering how to make vinyl decals and want to take the plunge yourself.

How Do You Get Designs for Cutting Vinyl Decals and Creative Stickers?

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Okay, so you have gathered everything you need to actually start creating vinyl decals. But you realize then that you still need something crucial — the design of the vinyl decals themselves.

Well, if you purchased a vinyl cutting machine, it should come with software, so you have some pre-made designs ready to go. The software should not be difficult to use, and they come with built-in designs and all types of different fonts that you can edit. If you are just looking to make vinyl decals for your own personal use around the home, this is probably all you will really need. You can still edit the options and make your letters as close or far apart as you want.

But what if you want to take things a step further? What if you are actually trying to get competitive with others and sell your vinyl decals and creative stickers? Or even if it is for personal use, what if you have your own vision for what the decals should look like, and it is not something that comes pre-made in a program? This is where, if you want to know how to make vinyl decals, you might want to start learning some basic editing programs.

Adobe Illustrator is a great program for anyone who wants to know how to make vinyl decals that are custom to your ideas and drawings. While some people gravitate towards using Photoshop since it is something they have heard of and are probably familiar with, Photoshop is not always recommended for making vinyl decals. Unlike Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop actually makes pictures using dots when it prints. This will not be ideal for cutting decals since you will want straight lines to cut along for the decals as opposed to circular dots.

Using a program like Adobe Illustrator will give you creative freedom. Anything you can imagine, you will be able to make a vinyl decal out of. This is important if you are trying to run a business, because you are competing with other people who will probably be making and selling their unique designs, not just using pre-made options from a vinyl cutting machine’s software.

If you are not so much of a creative drawer yourself and you would prefer to use the designs others have already made, that is another option for how to make vinyl decals. You can definitely use the designs of others and if you search, you will find countless blogs and websites where others have already shared their designs with the public. That said, if you intend to do this, it is necessary for you to purchase a commercial license.

If you want to sell the designs of others, you will need this license for a few reasons. By selling these items, you need more than just a personal license. A commercial license is more expensive, but it also protects you. By downloading the designs of others and selling them, you can actually be sued. To avoid legal action for theft, a commercial license will cover your back.

Conversely, if you are creating your own unique and custom vinyl decal designs, you will still want a license for this. You also want to protect your own hard work from others, who could try to take your creative design and market it as their own. If you have a commercial license, you will be able to send these people cease-and-desist letters, so they stop using your work as their own and profiting off it.

How to Decide Between Selling Your Vinyl Decals Online or At Home

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This is a difficult decision that any creative person has to make if they intend to sell their work. There are definitely benefits and drawbacks to both sides, so we will discuss both. That way you can make an informed decision on which business choice you prefer.

When selling from home, there are unique challenges. For one, it is quite a bit harder to gather an audience. While on the Internet, people are already searching for the vinyl decals they want, at home and in your community it is a whole different story. You will have to be your own marketer and spread the word from home. If you are an extrovert or someone who is well-connected in your town or city, you might not find this daunting and may prefer this method over taking your work online.

By networking with others in the community, your business will gain exposure far more easily. Once people start to talk, they will likely refer you to others and you will be able to make business based on a word-of-mouth model.

You may also want to factor in costs such as business cards, if you want them, or things like putting flyers up. It helps to approach businesses who may need decals, such as decals based on their logo, or even those to add some extra pizzazz on the inside of their shop. If you are professional and can show them examples of your amazing and unique vinyl decals, they may be happy to give you their business.

An added benefit to doing this from home is you do not have to lose any money to websites that like to take a portion for themselves. While Etsy and other websites have a platform and may make it easier to sell on, they also take a significant chunk of your earnings. By selling your services around the local community, you do not have to worry about this.

You may also be able to save on shipping costs by dealing with your business on a local level. If everyone you are directly dealing with is in your immediate area, you can simply drop your work off to them in person, which may cost a little bit of money in gas, but is hardly comparable to spending money on shipping. Decals can get pretty large and be quite heavy, so this money will definitely add up. By saving that money, you can invest more into your business.

Selling Online

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On the other hand, many people like to sell their vinyl decals online. When wondering how to make vinyl decals, you probably already came across tons of websites, blogs, and photos on sites such as Etsy or Pinterest that caught your attention. These websites are convenient because, as we have said before, the audience is already there. This means you do not have to put in as much hard work in getting people to initially see your amazing creative vinyl decals and creative stickers.

We all know that often, creative people are not necessarily the most outgoing or business savvy. If you know this about yourself and know you would rather spend more time designing your next vinyl decal than doing aggressive marketing for yourself, you are probably better off simply using one of these sites that already exist. The downside is that you will have to pay their fee-for-service, and this can sometimes be a large chunk of change. It can be difficult seeing how much money you lose that way, and you may even want to raise your prices to account for that fee coming out of your sales.

That said, Etsy and Pinterest, along with making individualized Facebook pages and other social media profiles for your business, can help to drive a ton of customers your way. There is not really anything that can compare with the Internet in terms of shareability, and you will reach way more people if you have a presence online. Etsy and Pinterest are huge, and if you add search terms that are in high demand, people are more likely to stumble across your amazing vinyl decals and want to purchase one from you.

You can also easily get your family and friends to help you with this because everyone knows that simply sharing a link with a tap of your finger is much easier than stapling flyers around town or handing out business cards at networking functions. The more you can get your friends and family to share your websites, the wider the audience you will reach. This is the largest benefit of selling your vinyl decals online. While with local business, you only reach those customers in your surrounding area. With an online business, you could ship anywhere in the entire world if you wanted to.

You will have to pay for shipping and handling costs if you choose to take your business online, but often the broad reach of audience is worth it. When you are making a ton of sales, the shipping costs do not matter as much as when you only sell a vinyl decal here and there. Not to mention, you can sometimes adjust your own shipping costs so you can still make money. In addition, you can choose when to run discount sales and other coupons to get people to make purchases.

The Ultimate Combination

The ideal combination is to really do business both online and offline. This will get you the best of both worlds and allow you to make more money than you ever thought possible! As long as you take amazing photos of your decals and are a bit Internet savvy, you will be able to garner tons of sales from your impressive online presence. And again, you will be able to encourage your loved ones and friends to share your profiles far and wide so that, no matter what, your vinyl decal business is reaching a large audience.

You can still do business locally this way, and this will earn you money without the chunk taken out by other websites. This brings us to one of the most lucrative ways to start this business, which is to gain your audience through websites like Etsy or Pinterest, but to then create your own website once you have a following. You can create websites for free using certain servers, and this way, you will be able to keep all the money you earn. You still get to avoid the fees of other sites, the same way you would by dealing locally, but with the added benefit of being able to reach anyone across the world online.

Conclusion: How to Make Vinyl Decals and Creative Stickers

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Now you know everything there is to know about vinyl decals and creative stickers, you are properly prepared to start making them on your own. You might have once wondered how to make vinyl decals, but now you have all the information you need, and you probably realize it is not as difficult as you once thought. 

Once you have assembled all the supplies you need, you can operate a small business out of your home making vinyl decals and creative stickers for people. Using social media and different websites like Etsy or Pinterest to boost your sales will get you plenty of money for your creative efforts in no time.

Even if you prefer to make vinyl decals and creative stickers for your own personal use without the business side of things taking up your time, you should now feel comfortable making vinyl decals on a small-scale. Once you start making them, you will likely see that they are very easy to make. Vinyl decals and creative stickers make great gifts since they are sure to add color and fun to anyone’s home, so you can also dish them out to family members and friends.

With all of this information to hand, you now have all the required information to start impressing people with your homemade decal skills. Whether personal or professional, vinyl decals and creative stickers are definitely a worthwhile interest and productive hobby to have. And now you can make this hobby profitable rather than just doing it for a bit of fun. So, start gathering your supplies together and get down to transforming your home or making an extra income.

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