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After coveting one since the day they were announced, I finally bought a Silhouette Portrait machine a few weeks ago! (A full review will be coming soon to Craft Critique.) One of the first things that I decided to try cutting was their premium vinyl. I’d never cut anything like this before on a die cut machine, and thanks to Silhouette, I was given the chance to try it out.
Silhouette Premium Vinyl comes in rolls that are 9″ wide, and 10 feet long, or 12″ wide by 6 foot long. It comes in 14 colors, plus chalkboard, frosted glass, gold, and silver. Two of the specialty versions, frosted glass and chalkboard, come in shorter rolls than the standard colors. The premium vinyl is manufactured for indoor or outdoor use, and is labeled as easily removable from most smooth surfaces, which I found to be true while working with it.
The MSRP is the same for the 9″ width and the 12″ width, $9.99. This makes the 9″ roll a better value for pure price per square inch, since it has about 200 more square inches than the 12″ roll.
A Silhouette Vinyl Starter Kit is also available, which contains 4 sheets of premium vinyl (9-inch by 24-inch of black, white, dark pink, leaf green), 10-feet of premium transfer paper, a Silhouette hook, a Silhouette scraper, an exclusive download card good for 10 vinyl designs,an idea booklet and instruction guide, and an instructional DVD. The kit’s MSRP is $39.99 (but it’s currently available on Amazon.com for less than $27).
Silhouette also sells Vinyl Transfer Paper in 9″ and 12″ widths. It is supposed to be used to move the vinyl die cuts from their backing paper to the final surface, and has a grid for alignment on it. I was able to move my small die cut shapes without the transfer paper but the paper certainly would have made it easier to line up elements like the letters and get them straight. It also would have made it easier to transfer and align die cut shapes that have two parts (like the bathroom icons in the bottom project). After my experience working without it the first time, I have some on order now to use for future projects.
My daughter has been wanting a sign on the door of her room. It occurred to me that the vinyl was perfect for that project! So I cut the shapes below:
After running the vinyl through my Silhouette Portrait, the result was beautifully cut vinyl shapes with no rough edges. The settings provided by the Silhouette software were perfect! There was barely even a mark on the backing paper – it cut the vinyl without denting the backing.
After cutting, it was simple to peel away all of the “waste” space to leave behind the items I actually wanted to use. I was left with, essentially, a sheet of stickers.
Applying vinyl is surprisingly easy, especially working with small pieces. My husband works all day everyday with vinyl wrap and I understand now why he says the material is so forgiving. You can shift it as you apply it, and if you get an air bubble you can “work it out” with your fingers. In my first time working with the material, I was able to get a perfect application with every single one of the pieces for the door.
One warning – when you are manipulating the vinyl it can bubble and wrinkle a lot if you bend the backing paper, which is unavoidable in removing it from the cutting mat and doing other things. If this happens after it is cut, the wrinkles are easy to deal with because they can just be smoothed out in the application process. If it happens before cutting, however, it will distort the shape as it is cut. I found that rolling the vinyl up in the reverse way that it was rolled in the package, and then “unrolling it” onto the cutting mat, worked well to keep the vinyl nice and flat before cutting.
As you can see, Bridget was a big fan of the result! And if she gets tired of it or wants to add to it, changing it will be easy.
In fact, Bridget loved her bedroom door sign so much when it was finished that she demanded a matching one for the bathroom door that is in the same hallway (just in case any guests had any question whose territory they are infringing on, I guess):
Supplies | Electronic Die Cutting Machine: Silhouette Portrait. Vinyl: Silhouette Premium Indoor/Outdoor Vinyl (Pink). Font: LD Franks Friends. Cut File: Silhouette (Chore Chart Icons #2 by Samantha Walker).
This was the set of images that gave me trouble with transferring the two pieces without the transfer paper. It would have been so much easier with the transfer paper!
Next up, I’m planning to add the vinyl to some canning jar tops to decorate them a bit! And maybe a “no soliciting” sign for the front door….but I’ll have to get some black first. And I want to use the chalkboard to put labels on my office and studio drawers of my Ikea Alex units so I can tell what is in them without opening three drawers to find something.
- Extremely easy to work with
- Good variety of colors available
- Cuts perfectly cleanly with Silhouette recommended settings
- Only available in large quantities
- Must be handled with care to avoid wrinkling before cutting
Silhouette Premium Vinyl is available at specialty and online retailers for an MSRP of $9.99.