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Getting Started with a Vinyl Cutter

There are 4 important factors to consider when getting started with a vinyl cutter.

1. Heat Press

If you don’t already have a heat press, you will need one to heat apply the designs that you cut with your vinyl cutter.

Getting Started with a Heat Press Checklist.

2. Vinyl Cutter

A vinyl cutter cuts heat transfer material, vinyl decals, rhinestone transfers, and twill appliqué. When selecting a vinyl cutter, you’ll want the ability to cut the widest range of products with accuracy and efficiency.

Getting Started with a Vinyl Cutter Checklist.

See the 5 Reasons Your Business Needs a Vinyl Cutter

Vinyl Cutter Benefits:

  • Most cost effective for quantities under 24 pieces, including as little as one personalized item.
  • Cut materials when needed; don't have to wait for production or shipping time.
  • Ideal to create individual names and numbers for athletic uniforms.

Compare All Vinyl Cutters

3. Design Software

You may already have experience with Corel® or Adobe® software; if not, consider one of the following options for ready-to-use artwork:


CadworxLIVE™ features an online design studio and Easy Teams® creator for generating cut-able artwork, fast and easy. There are hundreds of predesigned layouts that feature editable text and clip art.

Graphtec CE6000 24"

  • Fast
  • Accurate
  • Versatile
Graphtec Vinyl Printer

4. Heat Transfer Materials

The material choice is typically based on the type of fabric of the garment/piece being decorated.

Be aware of polyester fabrics; they tend to bleed through heat transfer materials. When decorating polyester fabrics, select CAD-CUT® Thermo-FILM® to prevent dye migration.

Regardless of the heat transfer materials, start with basic colors. White, black, red, royal, navy, and athletic gold are top sellers.

For help with selecting the best materials for your project, review this chart of popular heat transfer material and fabric combinations.

Popular Heat Transfer Materials and Fabric Combinations
Best for Sports/
Lightweight Fabrics Stretch Fabrics Special Effects
CAD-CUT® Heat Transfer Material Best for:
Best for:
Best for:
Premium Plus™
Best for:
Glitter Flake™
Benefits Benefits:
Blocks dye migration
Great for T-shirts
Great for performance wear
Hottest selling special effect material
Suggested Fabric Types Suggested Fabric Types:
Suggested Fabric Types:
Suggested Fabric Types:
Suggested Fabric Types:
Cotton or polyester

View all Material & Fabric Combinations

Videos for Materials, Services & Equipment

View All Videos >
  • Do-It-YourselfMaterials

    See the latest innovations in CAD-CUT® heat transfer materials and learn tips, tricks, and instructions on creating the best designs possible.

    Go To Materials Videos >
  • Sports DecoratingServices

    Learn how to use Stahls' products to start your own T-shirt business. Watch videos on services, accessories and more.

    Go To Services Videos >
  • Heat Printing & SignEquipment

    Find the right heat printing equipment for your business and learn how to keep it running at full capacity.

    Go To Equipment Videos >