How to Weed Vinyl [Our Guide for 2019]

how to weed vinyl

For those not yet familiar with the act of weeding, this is one cutting technique that is hugely popular when creating vinyl designs.

Not to be confused with the act of gardening, weeding vinyl is a fantastic technique that derives some of the most intricate and indeed extravagant of designs!

Here we take a look at what the process of weeding vinyl involves, and offer you step by step guidance as to how you too can weed vinyl with confidence.

First Things First – Weeding Vinyl Explained

For those new to this method, weeding vinyl simply means the act of removing any unwanted vinyl that surrounds your designs.

A creative crafting process, weeding is, in many ways, likened to that of cutting – but is performed in a much more delicate and intricate way and by using a specialist tool to complete the job correctly.

Why Weeding Vinyl Is Necessary

Like its namesake, weeding on vinyl is similar to that of weeding in a garden – you work at removing all the things that shouldn’t be there while being careful not to destroy the work which you’ve cultivated.

Yet, taking a pair of scissors or using your hands to prise the remaining vinyl away from your actual creation would more than likely result in a spoiled design. By weeding, you can preserve the parts of the vinyl you want to keep while ensuring you also use less material in the process.

A Step by Step Guide to Help You Weed Vinyl with Ease

Weeding vinyl doesn’t have to be a complicated process. Once you have the right method and the right tool, it’s actually one of the most satisfying of creative tasks as you watch your design taking shape.

  1. Gently peel all the excess vinyl away from your design. This is the section you won’t be needing for your finished piece. Take care when it comes to the areas near smaller details of your design here.
  2. Select your tool of choice for weeding. This is where you can start to weed out those smaller and more intricate of vinyl pieces.
  3. Begin working on those areas inside of any letters in your design.
  4. Continue to work on all the other unwanted pieces of vinyl, taking great care as you do so. This can be done by merely placing the point of your tool, or digging it, into the corners of the piece that is to be removed, then gently lifting it away.
  5. Once this simple weeding process is complete, you’ll then be left with a vinyl design for transferring.

The Types of Vinyl You Can Weed Successfully

There are a couple of vinyl types available, but when it comes to weeding, some are easier to work on than others! This is especially so regarding specific designs, patterns, and more than often font type.

The three most accessible types of vinyl to weed include permanent vinyl, removable vinyl, and heat-transfer vinyl. All three of these offer a cleaner cutting and weeding process and therefore ensure a much more favorable operation and, of course, result each time.

The Types of Fonts You Can Weed Successfully

For those that find themselves regularly weeding vinyl, it often becomes clear that some fonts are much easier to work with. These are often those that have cleaner and thicker definitive lines. As well as sharper lines, those fonts that don’t include extra swirls are also easier to weed.

In addition to font type, the size of fonts also plays a part in how easy or more difficult the task of weeding is. Therefore, bigger fonts are more accessible, whereas those tiny letters can be a real challenge – especially so when they’re near commas and dots, for example.

The Best Tools Recommended for Weeding Vinyl Successfully

Weeding vinyl is best performed by the use of a professional tool. Though this may differ as everyone discovers their favorite over time, it should be considered specialized enough for the task at hand. This choice should also offer the most expert of finishes for the vinyl types and fonts you select.

Essential Weeding Tools

A Craft Knife

Otherwise known as an X-Acto Knife, this is an all-round multipurpose crafting item. A craft knife is usually the main tool for many crafters, and one most will have in their crafting toolbox.

This works well due to its sharp edge. The point of this knife can easily pick up the vinyl. Best of all, if there are any incomplete cuts, it will slice through them with ease, and without dragging the vinyl as it does so. As soon as the blade of a craft knife looks dull, be sure to change if for a new one, so it remains up to the task of weeding vinyl.

A Weeding Tool

Named and created especially for the task of weeding, this is another favorite crafter tool and one which can be found located next to Cricut machines in basic toolsets.

A weeding tool is a simple device shaped like a pen. It’s the curved metal pick at the end of it though that ensures it can get into those more intricate of vinyl designs and weed out those little bits that many other tools would struggle with.

Reverse Tweezers

Another standard crafter tool also found in a Cricut basic toolset; reversible tweezers are handy for weeding vinyl. These eliminate the need for constant squeezing to hold your vinyl in place as they merely open when pressed and clamp close when released.

Other Possible Weeding Tool Types

These are some other ideas for weeding tools, regularly used by crafters:

  • Tweezers: A most common and cheaper household item, tweezers work effectively when grabbing those tiny pieces of vinyl that other devices can’t quite pick up.
  • Straight Pins: With their tiny tips ideal for those smaller sections of vinyl, these are cheap to purchase – but won’t be that sturdy.
  • Dentist Picks: Those double-sided dentist picks are once again cheaper alternatives, especially if they offer a curved edge alongside an angled end.

Great video below introducing weeding, stacks of additional tips too! Enjoy.

Final Tips and Tricks to Weeding Vinyl

Hopefully, we’ve highlighted how simple, effective, and ultimately fun weeding vinyl can be!

Here are a few final practical tips and tricks that will ensure you get the best out of every project, producing some quality finishes as you do so:

  • If you regularly weed vinyl, consider a weeding box. These can be swiftly created in the Cricut Design Space to create a border around each part of your designs.
  • Invest in some good lighting to aid your vinyl weeding process. Many crafters like to use overhead lighting and lamps specially designed for crafting projects such as this.
  • Try using a lightbox to emit light up through your designs. This means you can clearly see where you need to cut individually.
  • Ensure the blade you use for weeding remains sharp and cuts to the right depth.
  • For those more intricate designs that you find yourself struggling to see, consider using a magnifying glass. Better still, look at those desk lamps that have such a lens attached to them.
  • Begin weeding the hardest part of your vinyl design first and move towards the trickier of parts afterward.
  • If a particular design is really awkward to weed, consider making it bigger by scaling it up in size.
  • Finally, keep your workspace clear and stop every so often throughout a weeding session to clear your desk/table. This way, you won’t be picking up or collecting scrap bits of vinyl or run the risk of cutting through pieces that have re-stuck to your work.

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