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.
Use 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!
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.
Starter 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
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.
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.
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...
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.
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!
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 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.
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