Do you need a special printer to print on vinyl?

Many crafters want to incorporate printed images in their projects, like photo decals or graphic stickers, but are curious about how well their design will print on vinyl. We hear people frequently as: Do you need a special printer to print on vinyl?

The good news is NO. You can definitely print high quality images and graphics onto adhesive vinyl sheets using an ordinary inkjet printer. The basic printable permanent vinyl is white with a matte finish that comes in standard letter size that fits in regular inkjet printers.

How to Set up Print-then-Cut projects on an Inkjet Printer

  1. From the design software that operates your cutter (like Cricut Design Space or Silhouette Studio, for example), select the print option. This will create registration marks on your design that the optical scanner on your vinyl cutter will read.
  2. Print your design using the highest quality setting
  3. Depending on the printable vinyl you use, you may have to wait until the ink dries before loading it in your cutting machine.
  4. If you want to increase the longevity of your stickers or decal, you can laminate your printed sheet before you load it into the cutter
  5. Once the ink has dried, load the printed vinyl into your vinyl cutter, either on a cutting mat or as is if your machine is able to cut without a mat
  6. Set your machine to cut the design and select the appropriate material setting.
  7. Your machine should scan the registration marks and cut around the design, leaving a clean edge.

If you want to upgrade your printer to produce high resolution images for your printed material, that’s certainly an option. But, if you are only planning on occasional print-then-cut projects, then a basic home inkjet can do the job.

If you are going to produce commercial quality images, however, you might want to read further about true vinyl printer-cutter combo machines and their commercial potential. Click here to read our overview of vinyl printer-cutters.

Leave a Comment