Of course, a vinyl cutting machine isn’t enough to get started. You need to actually cut material in order to sell it!
You have to deal with driving traffic to your site, selling the product, taking payment and dealing with logistics. It’s a lot to get your head around — that’s why we recommend starting off your vinyl decals business on Etsy first while you find your feet.
So, you’re thinking about starting a vinyl cutting home business.
No matter what art you make (text, simple shapes, photographs, or more complicated designs), you will have to convert it to vector art so your vinyl cutter can print it properly.
Phew! Now that’s everything you need to know about starting a vinyl cutting home business.
Websticker assumes complete responsibility for production schedules, product quality, and optimized pricing on every job. If production mistakes are made we will make it right immediately by reprinting the job or finding the best solution for the client – 100% guaranteed.
At some point you may want to invest in marketing material, like business cards — especially if you plan on visiting craft shows and the like.
Event organisers Party planners Political organisations Product owners needing labels Small businesses needing signs Interior designers Wedding planners
Other slightly more sophisticated machines to consider for your vinyl decals home business are those from Klic-N-Kut:
First things first, you need to come up with a name for your small craft business.
1 Starting a Decal Business: Are You Ready?2 Setup Costs for a Vinyl Cutting Home Business2.1 What Machine is Best for a Vinyl Cutting Business?2.2 What About Materials?2.3 What Cutting Software Should I Use?2.
4 A Note About Licensing and Copycats3 The Selling Side of a Small Crafts Business3.1 Online vs. Offline3.2 Selling Vinyl Decals Online3.2.1 Selling Vinyl Decals on Etsy3.3 Selling Vinyl Decals on Your Own Website3.
4 Social Media and Your Vinyl Decal Business
(Really, if you think hard enough, anyone might use stickers for some reason!)
It’s possible to build a small crafts business on a shoestring budget. Passion trumps Capital.
A commercial licence is usually more expensive than a personal one, although you can occasionally find them discounted or even free if you look hard enough.
Adobe Illustrator’s Tutorial courses 100 Amazing Illustrator Tutorials Learn Illustrator From Scratch (Udemy video courses) CorelDraw Training Videos (Lynda video courses) CorelDrawTips.com
These are great programs and ideal for people trying to find their feet with design. Like we’ve already said, try as much as you can to work out which is best for your needs.
You may want to register a trademark for your business name once you have your website in place.
Regardless of whether you choose to sell on a platform like Etsy or on your own website, one of the best ways to drive traffic to your listings is by creating a social media profile.
Packing and shipping supplies Computer Printer Camera Accounting software (we’d recommend something like Quickbooks where plans start from $10 a month)
Here’s a few tips and tricks we’ve learned over the years about how to run a successful Etsy store:
At the very minimum, we would recommend that you’re passionate about vinyl cutting and know your way around a craft cutting machine already.
A vinyl cutter is a computer-controlled machine that “reads” your design and translates it to an outline, then uses a sharp blade to cut that shape from a sheet of vinyl. After you’ve designed your art in an art program, you send it to the cutter which cuts the image. A small vinyl cutter might look like your computer printer and the big ones hold large rolls of vinyl.
Many of those 1.4 million sellers are thriving small businesses; run by individuals with a passion for crafts and — thanks to the new Internet age — a huge global market accessible from their home computers.
In fact, we think some of the smaller, desktop machines are the perfect springboard for making and selling vinyl crafts with.
An online presence — like a store, or a blog — means that your work can do the selling as people naturally stumble across it. You don’t have to be present.
Note: Photoshop uses raster graphics, which is essentially… dot art. Pixels instead of lines. Unfortunately your machine cannot read dots. It uses a blade that can only follow lines (vectors).
This is fine — especially when you’re just starting out — but you must ensure that you buy a commercial licence for the design if you intend to sell it online.
Once you’ve found an audience for your products, you’ll be more likely to find success when you branch out on your own.
Of course, you’re not guaranteed success when you open an Etsy store for your home vinyl decals business.
Even so, we’re not talking more than a $50 investment to have enough vinyl to get started.
The size of the decals you make depends on what kind of machine you buy, but you can put stickers anywhere. For example:
If you don’t own the store/blog, then you are in debt to the platform that does The work can’t be appreciated first-hand (without good photography) We miss the human element of selling each piece
All you need to do is set up your profile, make sure that it’s optimized, respond to queries and shipping the item promptly once it’s sold.
Things may start slow, but with every client comes the opportunity to impress, build your portfolio, and add to your chain of contacts.
That was the extent of it, really. My advice to people who are considering this is that you really can’t expect that the cutter will arrive and then it will somehow magically make money for you. It all comes down to you and how you choose to get your product out there. But keep in mind, I did this with a very minimal advertising budget and I was making $800 a month on average.
Two of the most popular blogging platforms where you can build your online presence:
Plus, you can put your store into Vacation Mode if you’re away, sick or simply can’t run your shop for a period of time — a luxury not afforded when you own your own store.
But it’s something we must do if our small business is going to be successful.
While the Internet has fuelled huge growth for small businesses, many of us have been selling our designs offline for much, much longer.
But what’s perfect as a personal machine is not necessarily the best machine for running a commercial business.
If you see anyone using your work without permission, you can request a lawyer send them a cease and desist letter. You may be able to pursue a legal case against them — remember to consult with a lawyer on whether this is worth your time and money.
Different vinyl cutters have different ways of connecting to your computer, but most will do it via your USB port. Once you’ve installed the drivers, established the connection, selected the correct port in the cutting software, and switched your cutter to the online mode, you should be good to go.
You’ll select blade depth and pressure. Some machines require you to push the blade down manually while others have a button that does this for you. You’ll need to adjust the blade every time you change the type of vinyl you’re using—even if you think you’re using the same vinyl, its quality and thicknesses may change from roll to roll so you may need to readjust. Every cutter is different and you should follow the instructions. This step may take a little practice.
Certain platforms are well designed for setting up a small craft business. Pinterest is particularly excellent for vinyl crafts and the main platform for many of us crafters.
You’ll be able to design basic vectors, or load in templates that you can buy and download online, that your machine will cut.
Here are the pros and cons of starting a decal business: Cons: Let me tell you, this is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It is not kick-back-and-relax type of job. There is real work involved. You will need to invest in some expensive supplies and equipment, set up your cutter, and use software to design the work. Don’t even think about trying to do this if you don’t already have a computer with design apps and know how to use them. You’ll also need to be an outgoing person in order to make connections with a steady supply of customers and continually expand your network. Pros: This is a fun way to earn a living and not much overhead is needed. Assuming you already have a computer with design and vector-art-making programs, after the initial purchase of your cutter, all you will need is vinyl, app tape, various blades, and motivation. Starting a small home business like this can cost as low at $700.00. I bought my vinyl cutter on Amazon and it came with a design program. Plus, you can work wherever and whenever you want, and how much money you make depends on how much time and energy you put in.
What are the advantages to running an online vinyl decals business?
Now, you don’t have to invest in either CorelDraw or Adobe Illustrator, but if you plan to sell your crafts online — as opposed to serving local clients — then you will be competing with lots of other talented designers.
If you do this whilst leveraging the Internet to market to a global audience, we have no doubt whatsoever. Your passion will turn in to pennies, which will quickly snowball into an income that lets you do what you love every day.
Once you have your machine, your software, and a growing confidence in your ability to make awesome vinyl crafts… it’s time to get selling.
None of these factors are deal breakers, which is why we generally recommend that anybody who wants to start a vinyl decal business should build an online presence — even if they only intend to sell to local clients.
Disclaimer: This site is part of the Amazon affiliate program. We earn commission for purchases made through our links.
Many people prefer the more simplistic but easier to use design software like Make the Cut and Sure Cuts a Lot.
Obviously Etsy isn’t a charity and won’t handle everything for free, but fees are generally low and, we think, very reasonable. It’s free to open your store, ¢20 to list an item and they take 3.5% off the selling price once its sold.
Next you need to decide if you want to sell via a platform like Etsy, or direct through your own website. Or both!
The bestselling Silhouette Cameo 3 and the Cricut Explore Air 2 both boast a low price tag, but their technology has launched many small businesses that are now worth considerably more.
The tools above will help you in the cutting process, but our view is this:
Websticker is committed to helping businesses and organizations brand and market more effectively with stickers and labels. The promotional goal: strengthening identity, exposure, word-of-mouth and sales.
Our personal goal: the peace of mind and success of our clients.
Vector art is different from raster art. Raster art, including bitmap and .jpeg, is made of pixels, which are a bunch of different-colored dots without clear edges, while vector art has clearly defined edges and lines. Vinyl cutter-ready vector art (aka VCRVA or VCVA) can’t be saved as .jpeg, .gif, .png, .bmp, .psd, or .tif. With raster art, the edges will become fuzzy and distorted when the picture is enlarged, but with vector art, the image stays the same, no matter what size it is. In raster art, you’ll have thousands of different colors, but in vector art, the choices are limited. Thus, vector art is much clearer and easier to print. Your vinyl cutter can cut circles, lines, and arcs but it can’t cut a pixel so when you first bring an image into your cutting program and convert it to vector art, you’ll probably have a big mess to clean up. The cleaner the art you start with is, the less time you’ll spend cleaning it up.
Although every cutter works differently and you should follow the instructions included with your program and cutter, these guidelines will help you get started.
Plus, there are some issues that inevitably come with owning a vinyl decal business.
Depending on how complex your design is, cutting may take seconds or hours, but most simple decals are done in a few minutes. When it’s done cutting, use scissors to remove the cut section from the roll.
I am a work-at-home mom who makes vinyl decals for a living. I love being with my kids and still making money. I don’t make a lot, but I can make a significant amount of cash from home.
Once you’ve found your footing with Etsy, you may want to take more control over your sales (and avoid those pesky Etsy selling fees!).
Computer Design Program Vinyl Decal Cutter Vector Art Program Rolls of Vinyl Transfer or Application (App) Tape Scissors, Tweezers, X-Acto knife Squeegee or Putty-knife tool
Less than 1% of Esty sellers took out loans to finance their businesses. Source: Startup Smart
Facebook and Instagram are also a good idea — just ensure that you take the time to capture excellent photos of your creations for the best results and user engagement.
Spread word to your family and friends that you are launching a small decals business and would appreciate any recommendations.
If you don’t buy a commercial licence, but use these designs to sell your own products, you’re essentially stealing — and you can be sued for this.
Vinyl Cutting Machines — Copyright © — Your guide to the best vinyl cutters.
While for many people, owning their own vinyl cutting business is a dream come true, not everyone is cut out for it.
Vinyl rolls Application tape Weeding tools and blades Cutting mat A squeegee
Set up a profile, respond to questions where you can offer your two cents.
It’s a perfectly understandable concern that most of us would rather come up with new designs and work with our hands than study the logistics of turning our love in to money.
On the flip side, if you’re creating your own designs, you may want to consider creating your own commercial licences.
While the evidence suggests that setting up a small craft business to sell vinyl decals is quite cheap, there are a few costs that you should be aware of.
When you buy a cutter, it will usually come with its own software.
Here we bring you our latest tips, tricks and guides for getting the most out of your craft cutter.
Remember, you must keep your business’ image consistent across all your social media profiles, Etsy store and website.
Be sure to visit the many small crafts forums around the web.
By creating the work first, then trying to sell it to people who like it. By finding what a client needs doing, then negotiating the job.
Sometimes, you’ll be working with easy, simple designs, like plain text. The fonts and symbols you have on your computer are easy to turn into stickers with a vinyl cutting program. Also, with graphics programs like Inkscape or Adobe Illustrator, you can create your own shapes and designs and prepare vector art specifically for cut vinyl.
The learning curve to both Illustrator and CorelDraw is fairly steep, but this is a good thing.
The crafts economy is booming. Take, for example, the peer-to-peer handmade goods website Etsy.
Unless you are truly a supremely talented designer, the best way of building a small business is to focus on the latter:
While you do have an obligation to stay in line with Etsy’s policies, including prompt shipping, it’s generally a very easy and rewarding experience.
From Cricut cartridge guides, to SVG freebies, to step-by-step walkthroughs on how to use your machine. We hope you find this section useful!
Copyright and trademark violations Having to buy commercial licences for any cut files you want to use Tax obligations Hiring staff Running a social media profile across multiple platforms Dealing with rude customers Expertly photographing your creations to show them in their best light Managing the logistics of receiving and completing orders
These apps work with vectors, which is essentially line art.
Recommended: Check out our complete guide to the best vinyl cutting machines in 2017, which we’ve split into commercial and hobbyist machines.
Readers who are naturally extroverted may relish the chance to get involved with their local community.
You can check domain name availability using a resource like this.
That way, craft fans will know where to find you and will keep coming back to buy new products.
Aside from your cutting materials, you’ll need a few more supplies to get your vinyl business off the ground:
The good news is that making money from vinyl decals is easier than ever before.
There is a steep learning curve for using the software for your cutter, but you’ll probably get the hang of things pretty quickly. After that, it all depends on how good you are at following through on projects, finding customers, and delivering good product quickly. Since you won’t make much selling one decal at a time, you should think big when promoting, marketing, and approaching potential customers.
But that doesn’t mean that you have to rush out and spend big bucks on a huge Graphtec cutter, for instance.
What are the advantages to running an offline vinyl decals business?
This business model requires heavy networking, ‘keeping up with the Joneses’, and having your ears pinned to the ground at all times.
parties (to stuff the swag bag) birthday parties (they make excellent party favors) weddings (to remember the day in a fun way) business events (to generate brand recognition) shows or concerts or community events (to promote the event, band, or cause)
Do you want to become the next vinyl decals ‘work from home’ success story?
It’s worth asking yourself if you could deal with the following:
It had collected over 55 million registered users by late 2014, boasting an audience of 19.8 million active buyers, and served by 1.4 million sellers.
The marketplace is huge Your customer base is scalable It’s easy to find ‘true fans’ Your website (or store) can sell while you sleep
You can buy snazzy fonts or cool pre-made vector art that’s already cutter-ready. For really complicated designs, it might be worth it to save yourself some time by sending it out to have it vectorized or purchase software (like Vector Magic) to clean it up for you.
Chances are that if you’re considering home business ideas like selling vinyl decals online, you already own a vinyl cutting machine.
It can be hard running a business: you want to be sure that you’re able to produce quality products that will satisfy your customers and make money without causing you too much difficulty.
It means there is plenty of reward for those who commit the time and energy in to getting better at them.
Related Posts 17 Of The Best Silhouette And Cricut Wedding Projects
Good luck to you! If you have any more questions, please ask! 😉
CorelDraw is very similar and many people prefer that to Illustrator — if you can, try them both out to see which works best for you.
So stick to the most common colors, or those that you will definitely use.
Creating original art is the hardest and most important part of the process. The more original, skillful, and relevant your designs are, the more likely they are to sell.
Just make sure that you’re starting a decal business with your eyes open and your expectations not too high — at least at first.
Have someone you know invite friends and family over and show them some items you made using vinyl. Make school logos for fundraisers. Sell your designs wholesale to small boutiques and other local businesses to use as give-aways.
Sell your original sticker designs at craft shows. Set up an online store (like etsy.com).
Remember that you can use e-commerce platforms like Shopify and even Facebook to help you sell your product on your website.
Because the cutter cuts but does not remove the negative parts of the image, you’ll have to “weed” (remove by hand) all the pieces of vinyl that are irrelevant to your design. If you did a good job setting up the cutter blade, your artwork should weed easily, but this part of the process usually takes some time. You may need to use tweezers, a weeding pick, and/or an X-Acto knife to remove the parts of vinyl that don’t belong in your decal.
Below, you’ll find step-by-step instructions for exactly how to make a vinyl decal.
Find people who need your services — because it is an expertise — and then give them what they need for a fair price.
Think big—sure, friends and family will buy a sticker or two, but to whom can you sell a bunch of stickers at once?
One way you can use social media to drive buyers to your site or Etsy listing is to stage a giveaway, or offer discounts — while these may not make you as much money in the short term, they’ll drive big numbers and create a ready-made audience for you.
Make sure that your business name is available on Etsy and open your store Add a cover photo and your business logo, as well as an ‘About’ section Create an item listing, which should include a good description, photograph, price and shipping costs.
Make sure that your listing is populated with keywords that a buyer might use to search for that item. Be descriptive! Decide what payment types you are willing to accept Add your billing information securely Publish your store policies and your shipping timeline Add your location so local buyers can find you
Selling your vinyl crafts on Etsy is the best way to launch your vinyl decal business.
Our view is that any startup business checklist which involves an investment in a squeegee… can’t be too bad!
Many of the top cutters come with vinyl rolls included in ‘bundle’ deals.
It’s no cake walk — but it is a rewarding endeavour if you get it right.
Once you have created your artwork, you’ll import it to your vinyl cutting program which will allow you to format, frame, size, scale, rotate, and manipulate the image many ways before you send it to the vinyl cutter. If your cutter didn’t come with a program, there are many on the market to choose from: Flexi Starter 10, SignCut, DragonCut, etc. Many vinyl cutters aren’t particularly Mac friendly, so if you’re a Mac user, you’ll probably want to go with DragonCut or SignCut.
If somebody has a need for your work, they won’t automatically find you.
When I first started, it took me about six months to get my business going. I didn’t do many sales locally because instead of a storefront, I had a home office and wouldn’t feel comfortable with strangers coming and going in my home. I have an online store (at Etsy) where I used to make about $800 per month just selling on that site. I did minimal work, meaning I designed the work, then posted my item and waited for it to sell.
The last step is to put the stick on your sticker. You’ll want to choose a tape that stays flat or else the edges of the decal will begin to curl up and attract dirt. Remember that sometimes you’re planning on putting the sticker behind glass, and in those cases you’ll want the adhesive attached to the front, not the back, of your design. Transfer tape (or application, aka app tape) is like masking tape but has a different tack for adhering to your vinyl but releasing it on the target surface. You can buy this tape in different widths, but if you have an image that is bigger than the tape you have on hand, you can always lay two or more sections of tape down side-by-side, overlapping each section a quarter inch or so. Use a squeegee or a hard, flat tool to press the transfer tape onto the vinyl to ensure good adhesion.
Etsy was founded 10 years ago as a site where small craft makers could go to list their creations and connect with a marketplace.
on helmets, bikes, and skateboards on cellphones and computers on school binders and backpacks on windows or walls as wall art on envelopes to show a return address or seal the flap on cars (to advertise a business or as a fun window or bumper sticker) on jars of homemade jam, home-brewed beer, or other gifts or food items
Take beautiful photos (hire a photographer if you can’t!) Optimize your listing with relevant keywords Respond to all queries ASAP Curate your store with similar listings — so it looks like a traditional shop, rather than a hodge podge of craft ideas Make sure your prices are reasonable but not too low — you want to start turning a profit quickly Consider your competitors — what’s working for them? How can you make it work for you? Monitor your stats to see what type of listing draws in the most buyers and interest Consider paying for advertising to get more eyes on your product Set up social media profiles to increase interest in your store (more on this later) Selling Vinyl Decals on Your Own Website
Set up a blog and offer useful, practical advice for the type of people who could potentially become your clients.
If you have a passion for vinyl decals, you’ve probably thought once or twice about turning it in to a small business.
local businesses party-givers and event-throwers schools or school-related events political events or organizations anyone who needs labels on their product fundraisers
If you are a heavy user, then yes, buying vinyl rolls in every color of the rainbow can get expensive.
This can be anything you want — just make sure that there’s no trademark on that name already (you can search the US trademark database here) and that you can buy the matching url domain for a blog or online shop.
These are great places to network and find people who share the same passion, or need your expertise.
These computerized craft cutters are more expensive than the Silhouette and Cricut ones, but are perfectly tuned to cut the most accurate vinyl decals in the fastest time — ideal for a successful home business.
If you’re more of a visual learner, take a look at this video about getting started with your Etsy home business:
As for customers, I have often offered trades, which led to big sales later. I did craft shows with already-made home décor items such as signs, tiles, jars, etc. I gave them to my daughters who gave them to friends whose moms went crazy for them and placed orders for stuff as well. Word-of-mouth is the best advertisement when it comes to your business and always offer something free to your customers, even if they are horrible! Many people write their own blogs and word will spread, even if it is negative. I have customers who found me through blogs that were written about me. Then, I started attending an online college, which put my shop on hold for awhile.
Every cutter works differently, so you should read the instructions for how to feed the vinyl into your cutter before you start.
There are a couple of popular tools that will help you here:
If you’re not designing your own cutting creations, chances are that you’ll be downloading other people’s designs to use.
Create a page that advertises the various services you can offer, with a clear call-to-action so that anybody who is interested can get in touch.
To stand out, you must improve the quality of your designs. While you can design in programs like Silhouette Studio and Cricut Design Space, you don’t have as much creative freedom.
You’ll find plenty of stories online from people whose stores tanked, usually because they didn’t put enough effort into optimizing their listings, or they weren’t well enough prepared to deal with orders and customers.
The answer is to become proficient at using the software and design tools on the market.
Note: We are big fans of Adobe Illustrator. It is available as part of a rolling cloud subscription fee of $19.99 per month. A good deal for some of the best software in the business.
But if you want to build a small business out of your passion, you have to double down on what will soon become one of your competitive advantages:
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