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13 Way to Save Money on Silhouette Supplies

Silhouette supplies, save money
If your craft fund is running low or is getting a little too pricey, there are ways to save money on Silhouette supplies.  We all know crafting isn't exactly a cheap hobby - but it can be a cheaper one.  Just follow these 13 tips for saving money on Silhouette supplies.

Buy in bulk or wholesale:  Vinyl and blanks are like a lot of things: the more you buy, the cheaper it is.  Buying a yard or more of vinyl or HTV can actually be cheaper than purchasing a 12x24 piece.  Several sellers on Amazon offers mix and match yard rolls of HTV. Buy four or more yards of the same color or get a yard of each...plus free shipping.  eBay is also a great place to find deals on heat transfer vinyl and adhesive vinyl and again, many sellers offer free shipping.

Silhouette supplies, save moneyUse Coupon Codes and Make Large Order: If you don't need rolls of vinyl you can still get good deals by using coupon codes and placing large order at places like Expressions Vinyl or My Vinyl Direct. Expressions Vinyl puts out at least two coupon codes a week (I almost always share them on the Silhouette School FB page).  Plus, there is a sale section on their page and all sales earn you rewards which you can cash in for free stuff - like vinyl!

Silhouette supplies, save money
If the purchase is more than $75 at Expressions Vinyl or My Vinyl Direct you quality for free shipping.  A great way to reach that $75 threshold is to keep inventory of what you have.  Create an on-going list of items as they run out or run low.  When your 'need to order' lists gets to half a dozen or so - then order.  If you can't make it on your own - do a combo order with a friend!  Making one big purchase is more likely to get you to the free shipping threshold than buying one sheet of vinyl at a time where you'll pay at least $4 for shipping.

Avoid the Store: Avoid buying Silhouette supplies and materials in the store unless you have a coupon.  Prices - especially on vinyl and HTV - can be much higher in the store and the selection is far more limited.   Instead, comparison shop online and plan ahead so you have what you need to make your next project.

Silhouette supplies, save moneyStarter and Sample Packs: When trying out a new Silhouette technique start with a sample pack or a starter kit - if it's on sale.  From time to time there's an awesome vinyl deal on Amazon for 30 sheets of 12x24" assorted color vinyl (either removable or permanent) it's a great way to start with lots of colors for not much money!

Look for sales of at least 30% off on Amazon on the Silhouette Starer kits.  For instance, while I don't recommend the Silhouette brand vinyl or HTV, both Silhouette Starter kits comes with the tools you need, a set of 10 free designs, and the material you need to get started - all at a price that is lower than if you purchased separately.  While the quality of the vinyl and HTV is not ideal - it's a great product to learn on before you fully commit on more expensive materials. There are Silhouette Starter Kits for: HTV, Vinyl, Fabric Paint, Etching, Rhinestones, Adhesive backed paper, Stamping, and Sketch Pens

Silhouette supplies, save money
Find Cheap Alternative Supplies:  You don't always have to use transfer paper or transfer tape.  Think about what it is: something that's sticky enough to move vinyl, but that can be removed without any residue left behind. Kinda sounds like tape, uh? Painters tape and contact paper both work as transfer materials.
The contact paper, found in rolls at the Dollar Store, can also be used to create stencils for wood projects and etching.  And dare I say you can save a bundle on cutting mats, by purchasing the 2-pack of 12x12" Cricut mats instead of spending just a little less on a single Silhouette mat. 

Reuse and Repeat!  Reuse your materials, when you can - everything from etching cream to transfer paper can be re-used.
  • Transfer tape is easier to re-use than transfer paper because it doesn't wrinkle, so save it and keep reusing it until it no longer picks up the vinyl. I have been known to use a piece of transfer tape for several days (!). There's no reason to throw it out after just one use!  
  • Silhouette's Stencil Vinyl can be used more than once- even after painting.  
  • Freezer paper stencils can be used again and again if it's not painted. (For instance, I  use my Silhouette to cut freezer paper into flag shapes for burlap banner...then iron the freezer paper onto burlap (since the Sil can't cut burlap). The same pattern can be used over and over again just by re-ironing it.  
  • Gently scoop etching cream back into the bottle instead of washing it down the drain.
Silhouette supplies, save money, cut settingsTest Cut! Don't cut a new medium without test cutting - even if you're using the recommended cut
settings.   Every machine is different. Every blade is worn differently.  You risk wasting a whole lot of paper, vinyl, glitter HTV, or whatever you're cutting on if the settings are right!  Instead just do a test cut, examine the half inch box that's been cut and then determine if you need to adjust the settings before cutting the full design.  To find the test cut in V3 go to the Cut Style Window > Select Material from material list > Scroll Down 

Practice on Paper: This is key for beginners! Before you jump right in and start cutting up a vinyl sheet, fabric, stamping material or any other more expensive material practice cutting on a piece of cardstock or printer paper first.  A sheet of paper is much cheaper than pretty much any other material and you won't be made that you wasted a $3-10 sheet of vinyl if you realize a mistake on paper first. 

Leave Yourself a (Friendly) Reminder:  We've all done - we go to cut a huge piece of HTV only to realize while weeding we never flipped the image before cutting. What a huge waste of HTV! Don't waster another inch of heat transfer vinyl this way.  Cut yourself a friendly reminder out of adhesive vinyl and stick it on the underside of your Silhouette's cover.

Silhouette supplies, save money


Nest: If you have the Silhouette Studio Designer Edition use the nesting feature! This is one of those tools that will literally save you money by using less material.  The software will put all of your shapes as close together as possible without them touching so you're cutting on the smallest possible surface area.  Get the full lesson on nesting...

Silhouette supplies, save money, Silhouette Designer Edition, nesting

Keep Your Scraps (and Raid Your Stash!): If it's large enough to stick on the cutting mat, it's big enough to keep. That's my rule of thumb for scraps - especially for vinyl, htv and paper. You never know when you're going to have to cut out a 3/4" vinyl charger decals, a teeny tiny eyeball for a bear on a get well card or a sweet little heart for a NB onesie. Whenever I have tiny cuts to make I raid my scrap draws (yes, plural) and binder (yes, I made a color coded vinyl scrap binder - thanks to the genius idea from idea Christine from Where the Smiles Have Been) first before cutting off a piece from a full size sheet or roll.
Silhouette supplies, save money, scraps, chargers

Reach for the Painters Tape: Need a 24" mat to cut a longer piece of vinyl, but don't have one or
hand?  Or maybe you have the Portrait and sadly there's no 24" Portrait mat on the market.  Or perhaps you rarely cut longer than 12" and you just don't want to invest in the longer mat. No problem...save yourself a few bucks on a mat and tape two 12" mats together to create one longer mat. I've even gone so far as to make a 36" mat by taping three mats together.  I would not call this a long term solution - but for a time or two or in a jam it does the trick!

Silhouette supplies, save money, painters tape, cutting mat

Painters tape also works great to extend the life of your Silhouette cut mats. You can use it to help clean the mat and also to keep the material in place when the mat starts to lose its stick.

Silhouette supplies, save money, painter's tape, cutting mat

Silhouette supplies, save money
Invest in a Silhouette Roll Feeder: If you are like me and many other Sil users who've wasted an Silhouette Roll Feeder.  Long cuts are definitely possible, but it's a well known issue that the vinyl gradually veers off course (likely due to the weight of the hanging vinyl) and out from under the rollers causing it to slip and the cut to be either off.  The Roll Feeder holds the roll of the vinyl exactly where it's supposed to be while it's cutting ensuring it stays straight and cuts correctly.
entire 10' roll of vinyl while trying to make a single long cut - learn from our mistakes and invest in a

Have you found an awesome way to save money on Silhouette supplies? Share it by leaving a comment below.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing products through my links, I receive a small commission. That's what helps fund Silhouette School so I can keep buying new Silhouette-related products to show you how to get the most out of your machine!

Thanks for coming to class today at Silhouette School.  If you like what you see, I'd love for you to pin it!


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16 comments

  1. I've used lint roller as transfer tape :) Works just fine!

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  2. Anyone got a suggestion for a DIY low-tack mat?

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    1. I've made a great mat out of a plastic folder that I got at the 99 Cents Only store. It had pockets so I sliced them down the side so I could have the width the same as my Silhouette mat. I had to cut off some there on the width. The length is 17" (it's nice to have a little extra). I had to splice in a little piece where the pockets were tapered. I did it like you splice wallpaper and then taped it down. I was able to lie the folder on top of my Silhouette mat and trace all the necessary lines with a Sharpee. When I go to put paper on it, I spray the back side of the paper lightly with Spray Mount before I stick it on the mat. I like this mat better than my Silhouette. I've also made shorter mats with the flexible cutting mats that are used in the kitchen. I think I got those at Dollar Tree. And I've also made some with the plastic place mats.

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  3. Love, love your blog! Silhouette instructions stink! I have had my Sil for several years, but haven't really used it because I didn't know how to use it. In the past month, I have made 3 projects using your tutorials. Thank you so much!!

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  4. What's the difference between transfer tape and transfer paper?

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  5. Sign maker shops sell their vinyl for cheap sometimes. Especially if it's what they consider scraps!

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  6. Sign maker shops sell their vinyl for cheap sometimes. Especially if it's what they consider scraps!

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  7. Excellent posting and I like this posts. Great.

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  8. I use the plastic card that came with my pens as a scraper too clean my mat. No need to buy one!

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  9. I use the plastic card that came with my pens as a scraper too clean my mat. No need to buy one!

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  11. I got a couple circut 6x12 mats free. They did not alien with my rollers, so I just cut 1/2" off one end and then it fit perfect laying long ways on the cutter. I had to adjust for the starting point, but a simple mark on the mat worked fine.

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  12. Most of the rolls are 15" or 20" wide but the cameo feeds 12". Am I crazy? What do you do?

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    1. I wonder about this too. I have the 9" portrait. I don't want to waste a bunch of material.

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