10 Tips for Using Adhesive Vinyl

This post contains affiliate links, which when purchased through this site add no extra cost to the consumer, but help support this site to bring more vinyl tutorials and posts.

Have you wondered how to use adhesive vinyl to create gifts and projects?  It is easy to get crafty with adhesive vinyl! Do you scour Pinterest and think, “If I had a cutting machine, I could make that!”  Trust me…I was intimidated by adhesive vinyl at first as well! But, after a lot of practice and creativity, it has become my “go to” for creativity.  I want to share some of my best tips for using adhesive vinyl with you today! 

Now that you have a Silhouette Cameo, is it still sitting in the box? Or do you want to be the girl who is giving the cutest homemade gifts ever?  What about labeling your kitchen with cute decals?  Maybe you look at your boring plastic organizer and you just need to label it?? That’s me.  All of those have crossed my mind at one time or another. I know there are a lot of people out there who have purchased a Silhouette Cameo or Cricut, or received one for a gift…..and it’s still sitting in the box because they are afraid of it. When it comes to cutting materials, one of the most intimidating can be adhesive vinyl.  Personally, that is one of the first things I cut with my machine.  I had no clue what I was doing!  To this day, adhesive vinyl is one of my favorite mediums to use with my Silhouette Cameo.  

Tips for Using Adhesive Vinyl

Best Tips for Using Adhesive Vinyl

#1.  Start small.  I don’t mean small in size, I mean small in expectations.  My very first vinyl project was putting my child’s name on a beach bucket.   I made them for our kiddos, and used simple fonts I downloaded from Dafont, along with shapes that came free with my software. You do not have to design every project from scratch. There are A LOT of free downloads out there, and many people share their projects in Facebook groups, designed especially for a cutting machine.  

beach buckets

#2.  Use the right tools.  For adhesive vinyl, the vinyl is key.  I love the quality of vinyl that comes from Expressions Vinyl They are the only site I order any vinyl from. For adhesive vinyl, my personal favorite is the Oracal 651 and 631.   Next to vinyl, is a good transfer tape.  I also get this from Expressions.  And finally, have your weeding tools handy.

#3.  Know the type of vinyl you need for the project.  Are you adding vinyl to coffee mugs?  Making a monogram wine glass?  Then you want Oracal 651.   This is very durable, shiny vinyl.  It adheres well, and lasts a long time.  I suggest hand washing the cup you use it on, though.  Do you want to create a nice home decor project?  Or maybe put some vinyl on the wall in your home?  Oracle 631 will be great for those jobs!

Create a DIY Tile for your home using your Silhouette Cameo

#4.  Cut a small piece of vinyl from the roll or sheet that is slightly bigger than your design.  This helps avoid waste.  And when you lay it on the mat, it should be colored side up.

#5.  Be patient when you are weeding.  Weeding is just what it sounds like~taking away the excess.   Weeding is easy if you have a hook tool.  It is one of my favorite tools to use.  I tend to take the hook to the corner of my cut and lift a small piece.  Then I just peel it off from there.  If I am weeding a large piece, I cut off any excess from the edges, and cut it with scissors periodically along the way.

#6.  Wash the area you are adhering the vinyl to with alcohol.  When I made these Personalized Ornaments, the vinyl stuck SO much better when I cleaned them off.  I don’t know what was on them~they were fresh out of the box.  I wiped down the glass with alcohol, and the vinyl stuck like a charm. Preparing your surface before you apply the vinyl can make a huge difference in the ease of it adhering to your surface.

#7.  For your first few projects, use a flat surface.  Getting the vinyl on a curved surface takes some doing, and a flat surface is much more forgiving!  A pencil box, picture frame, tile….those are great projects for fist timers!

#8.  Layering is just that~layering.  How many of you look at something like the Disney Countdown and think the Mickey head and bow are all one cut?  Nope!  I cut the larger mouse ears and adhered them to the glass.  THEN, I cut the Minnie bow out and layered it on top of the black ears.  This means, on your machine, you are cutting one color at a time.  

#9.  A little heat can really help!  When I am adding vinyl to a large piece, like a wall hanging or a chalkboard, I have my hairdryer handy. Blowing some heat on the vinyl can stretch it just a bit, and it fits better on your surface.  Also, the heat bonds it to the surface, and I like to do that when I need extra assurance that it is going to stay on there!

#10:  Be patient, and be willing to start over!  Not all of your projects are going to be perfect from the beginning.  I cannot tell you how many times I have had to cut my vinyl again, got it wrapped around itself when I was weeding, or just didn’t like it and wanted to start over! Trial and error is the best way to learn…and before you know it, you will be creating gifts and putting adhesive vinyl on EVERYTHING!

This post was so fun to write!  I love looking back at my projects….even back when this little site was known as “My Favorite Finds”!  Check out more vinyl inspiration on my Silhouette Cameo Projects Page!



  1. I quite a few friends who so want to do the crafting but are still in the ‘I bought it but it’s still in the box’ phase! This post will be great for them 😀

    1. I hope you share it with them! You can’t make anything if you don’t take it out of the box :).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *