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New to Cricut or Cameo? Start Here!

So you got a Cricut or Silhouette Cameo this Christmas and you’re like “OMG Where do I start!?!!?”

We get it, we’ve all been there. You’re so excited to get this amazing vinyl cutting machine. The day finally comes, you have the box in your hands and all the sudden you’re overcome with anxiety and frozen by fear.

Well, STOP! :) If you can learn to ride a bike, learn to drive a car, and keep a human being alive … you can do this!

Will there be frustration and doubts along the way? Of Course!

But we’re here to help and hope these 10 tips help you on your journey to crafting success!

Girl frustrated with cricut, cameo and vinyl
Feeling overcome by fear and anxiety? Stay Calm! We’re here to help!

10 Tips & Tricks to make your new Cricut or Cameo more enjoyable!

#1 – Read The Instructions!

This sounds so simply right?

We continually see so many people asking “Where do i start?”

It’s simple! Open the box and read the instructions!

Did you consult a facebook page or group before going to the DMV to get your drivers license? Doubt it … but i bet you read the handbook!

YOU have to do the work. Once you taken the initiative to educate yourself, THEN ask questions. 😁

#2 – Don’t waste your time with the “tools” in the box.

We might catch some flack for this one, but in our opinion after 16 years in the sign and vinyl business that the “Scraper” and “Tweezers” included in the Cricut are not user friendly.

The scraper is entirely too firm and does not conform like a tradition vinyl application squeegee. Your squeegee should be firm yet flexible to contour to the surface you’re applying your vinyl to.

The tweezers are backwards from every set of tweezers we have used our entire lives and rather than squeeze them to grab vinyl, you let them go … it’s a mind bender for sure.

Having spent so many years working with vinyl, i always came back to needle nose tweezers no matter how big or small the project was. I found them to be the fastest way to weed vinyl with little to no hand fatigue.

#3 – You don’t have to use Cricut or Silhouette Vinyl

We find so many people getting frustrated right out of the gate working with Cricut and Silhouette vinyl.

We’re not saying they are bad, but there are MUCH better options.

Oracal 651 Adhesive Vinyl and Siser EasyWeed Heat Transfer Vinyl are wildly popular and have become the crowd favorite amongst crafters and industry professionals.

These materials have a proven reputation for ease of cutting, weeding, application and durability.

#4 – Start with Adhesive Vinyl

Heat Transfer Vinyl is all the rage. People love making customer t-shirts, hoodies, tote bags and more. You will too! But …

We highly suggest you get your feet wet using Oracal 651 first.

Why? IT’S CHEAPER … like 6 times cheaper.

When you start, you’re going to screw up.

You’re going to have incorrect machine settings, weeding mishaps, etc. Would you rather these learning curve experiences cost you 48 cents, or $3.50?

This Oracal 651 All Color Pack is where we direct most people to start. You get a huge array of colors at a price that allows you to learn without overwhelming fear of screwing up and losing money.

We understand so many people do this to put extra money in their pockets or to simply keep the lights on. Failures can seem like monetary losses, but they are truly small lessons that you learn through trial and error … mistakes you likely won’t make again moving forward because you learned FIRST HAND.

#5 – Choose Your Facebook Group Wisely

Lets face it … some people are just mean and miserable. While there are a great number of amazing Facebook Groups out there to help you through your journey, there are an equal number of people within those groups that simply enjoy bringing other people down.

Don’t let one failure keep you from continuing to learn, and don’t let a Facebook group troll or bully destroy your self confidence because you didn’t produce a Picasso right out of the box!

Be sure to read the instructions and watch a few YouTube videos before popping into a Facebook Group and asking “Where do i start?” … We warned you :)

UPDATE: We also suggest avoiding the question “What’s your best seller?”, especially in groups that are local to you.

This is the same as asking “How can i take money out of your pocket?”

Keep in mind, the people that are somewhat willing to help you are also your competitors who have already been through the trial and errors of finding out what works. Many of them don’t take kindly to people looking to shortcut the process.

#6 – Buy, Do not steal or trace SVG files

Do you remember in 3rd grade when Becky stole your idea and presented it to the class as her own before it was your turn?

It hurt, didn’t it!

You wanted push Becky down on the playground, didn’t you!

Just think of how a creator or maker feels when you poach their hard work and offer it as your own.

Do not trace someone else’s unique design, or use photos of their final products to promote yourself. I promise you, the ladies of the crafting world will find you.

The old adage “good artist create, great artist steal” was scripted well before the days of social media … if you “borrow” a design in today’s world, odds are you’re going to get called out and your reputation or wallet will take a hit.

#7 – Find your niche

You may have heard the expression “Jack of all trades, master of none” once or twice in your life. Usually on the heels of a project that been done by someone who got it done, but the end result is “MEH” at best.

Trying to be a “Jack of all trades” tends to lead to frustration, lack of interest and products that usually aren’t up to par, let alone exceed customer expectations.

You will find great happiness in making the products you LOVE to make, and the things you’re good at making.

It will take some searching to find what you love to make the most, but when you find it, become the best at making it!

#8 – Buy vinyl from Authorized Resellers

The craft market is thriving.

As soon as an industry shows massive growth, overseas importers start flooding the market with knock-off and fraudulent materials.

A recent audit conducted by one of the top manufactures in the vinyl industry found that nearly 33% of the vinyl sold through online giants like amazon are fraudulent. That means 1 and 3 sellers are shipping knock-off materials.

Did You Know: Not all products sold ON Amazon are sold BY Amazon. They are an unregulated marketplace that allows anyone and everyone to sell on their platform. There is no guarantee that the products shown are genuine, and little to no recourse for those selling fake goods.

Why does this mater? Because your reputation is on the line!

Generic or off-brand materials hav a history of failure. The last thing you want as the person who made the shirt, is getting an email with letters missing after one wash.

VinylPacks.com is an Authorized Reseller for Siser, Orafol (the manufacturer of Oracal), StarCraft Vinyl, Stahls, and Styletech Films. We only sell the best because our reputation matters to us.

Even if you don’t buy from us, do yourself a favor and make sure your vendor is an Authorized Distributor or Reseller.

#9 – Color Charts are your friend!

Ever buy a gallon of paint at the hardware store, only to get it on the walls and hate it?

The lighting is different, you thought it would go better with your furniture… ugh! All that work and energy only to go back and do it again.

Have you purchased clothing or decor online because “oh that color would work perfect” only to be disappointed when it arrives…

Avoid that heartache and invest in Color Charts!

Every computer monitor and phone screen on the planet is slightly different. There is no way to match colors consistently across all devices.

For this reason, we offer 651 Color Charts & Siser Color Charts. These are an invaluable tool that every crafter should have on hand. There is no better way to test or compare colors than in your own environment.

#10 – Have Fun!

I am not going to BS you … The learning process of using any vinyl cutting machine can be frustrating.

Cricut, Silhouette, and Brother have done an amazing job at bringing us machines that allow us to express ourselves in so many unique ways.

But … you have to do the work! You have to invest in yourself and have confidence in your ability.

You CAN do this!

Crafting with vinyl opens up so many doors. Not just financially but in building relationships with other like minded people in your home town and across the country.

You have to be willing to laugh at yourself and not allow the goofs to get you down.

We can’t wait to see what amazing things you create!

Have Fun!

If all else fails …

Take a nap :)

If all else fails … take a nap :)
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