Laptop Stickers with the Vinyl Cutter

One of my favorite activities in my new role in the design lab is creating laptop stickers with our vinyl cutting machine. It seems every other week or so, I’m inviting another friend into the lab to help them through the process until they become independent sticker makers. 

The process is fairly simple, but the machine has plenty of its own quirks you have to compensate for. It all starts with design, and for my two stickers below, I found these designs on the Noun Project website. They make lots of simple, free to use clipart that has an ideal structure for sticker making with vinyl. The cat sticker is more ideal for a beginner, while the constellation is meant for advanced users as it’s easier to tease out of the cut vinyl. 

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Once you have a design, you’ll want to upload it into the proprietary software for the cutter, which varies for each brand of vinyl cutter. From there, you use the trace tool to trace the outline of your sticker design and remove the original so only the traced lines are left. 

Now if you’re working with the cutter in the design lab, you’ll want your design to be ½ of a square away from all of the edges or else your design will probably be cut off :^(.

Then comes the fun part- taking a box cutter to tease away the waste from the actual sticker. Cutting away the excess vinyl is a meditative task, watching as slowly the image is revealed. Once you have your sticker peeled away from what’s left, all there is to do is stick it on and enjoy your work :^)