So you’ve cut your first label. Now what? Lucky for you I’ve been doing this for a long time and I have all the answers. (And some hot tips too.) Here are my best tips, tricks, and how-to for vinyl application.
Weeding is the process of removing excess vinyl from your design. After it’s cut, the vinyl outside AND inside of your lettering needs to be removed by hand. Remember in Part 3 when I talked about the challenges to small or thin lettering? This is where you get to experience it first hand. Refer to Part 2 for the tools you’ll need to weed your labels (and any other supplies) which include a hook and (my favorite) pin pen.
Trouble Shooting: If your lettering is not easily separating from the excess vinyl it could be due to one of 2 things. The first is your cut settings. If you are using a more advanced machine like a Cameo of Explore, the cut settings can be adjusted to cut deeper (or shallower) depending on your material. The other issue could be sizing. If you are cutting something super small it can take some more finesse on your part to weed the design. Go slow and use your pin pen to help separate the design from the excess.
In Part 1 I talked about the types of material are best for vinyl application. Whatever you choose, make sure it is clean and dry before applying a label. You can use soapy water or rubbing alcohol and then let it air dry completely. A dirty surface can affect the stickability of your label.
Trouble Shooting: Not all plastic is an ideal surface for vinyl application. For plastic containers with a coating, like IKEA Trofast bins, it’s harder but not impossible to apply vinyl labels. To apply, pull the transfer tape back very slowly at a sharp angle and use your fingernail or the pin pen to release the design from the transfer tape. Once the transfer tape is removed rub over the design firmly again with your finger and give it 24 hours to cure. Once you have it on, it will stay. It’s just getting it on that is the challenge.
To transfer your design from the backing paper to your container of choice you’ll need to use transfer tape. Cut a piece of transfer tape that is large enough to cover your design plus a little extra so you have room to handle it. Place the transfer tape over the weeded design and firmly rub the entire design in order to get good adhesion. Starting in one corner, slowly peel the transfer tape away from the backing paper and lift the vinyl label away with it. Place the label, with transfer tape, onto your container. Be careful! You only have one chance to get it right or else it’s stuck for good. Firmly rub over the entire design again and slowly peel the transfer tape away. Ta da! You now have a fancy labeled container.
Trouble Shooting: If your design is not lifting from the backing paper try using your fingernail or the pin pen to help it along. Usually if you can get a piece of it to release the rest will follow. The same goes for applying the label to a container.
Whew. That was a lot of information over 5 blog posts. I hope it was helpful and if you have any questions feel free to shoot me a DM on Instagram. Happy labeling!