I’ve been cutting vinyl and other bits and bobs since 2012, and I’ve learned quite a bit about cutting techniques, materials, and also business aspects (since I was selling my products almost right off the bat).

Here are some of the products and services that I really LOVE and recommend highly. Please note some of these might be affiliate links, but it won’t increase your cost a bit.

ALSO – this is just a list of resources and equipment/materials I have used personally and loved – I welcome your recommendations in the comments as well. I am by no means excluding any other great products, but these are simply the ones I have personal experience with.

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Equipment & Accessories | Supplies | Suppliers | Where To Learn Techniques/Tuts

Equipment & Accessories

  • Silhouette Cameo
    I got the Silhouette Cameo back in 2012 and loved it. I still use my same Cameo 1 – it is “well loved” but is trusty as ever. If I had to replace it, I still would buy a Cameo. I think Cricut Explore is also a pretty great machine but I can’t stand the Design Space software so I’ll probably always stay with Silhouette.
  • Silhouette Curio
    I have really enjoyed the Silhouette Curio, especially when I was selling finished products online. Since you can cut/etch/do stuff with thicker materials, I was able to really create a variety of unique products for sale. The only problem with the Curio is there is such a lack of tutorials/information on what can be done with it, so there’s a lot of trial and error involved. But it’s definitely fun to experiment!
  • Silhouette Studio Designer Edition Upgrade
    If you use Silhouette, you HAVE to get the Designer Upgrade at least. Here’s why:

    1. You can open SVGs. Yes, I know, you can use the DXF file in Basic, but I hate DXFs because all the lines are disconnected and you always have to re-group things together and it’s soooo easy to accidentally move something out of position.
    2. You have Rhinestone tools. Which is not something I’ve used myself but my sister rocks at it and it’s awesome to see what glitzy things you can come up with using rhinestones.
    3. Sketch tools. And not just sketching using pens, but the sketch fill feature is a huge timesaver if you plan on etching jewelry using an etching tip (I love and recommend the Chomas engraving tip). It’s a massive timesaver and you get a gorgeous, consistent result each time.
    4. You also get better knife tools, better eraser tools, and a built in ruler & guides which are amazing.
    5. It’s usually cheapest at Swing Design (Click Here)
  • US Cutter Weeding Toolkit and/or tweezers
    Okay, bear with me on this one. It may seems like a very minor thing, but the right tools can really make or break a job. I’ve used tons of different tools – the Silhouette hook, dental picks, a zillion tweezers, pins, you name it. And this US Cutter tool kit is so amazing I actually buy it as gifts for people I know with cutters. This kit is my BFF. ALL of the tools are amazing – here’s what’s in the kit:

    1. Gooseneck Tweezers: these guys are the Cadillac of all tweezers and in my opinion, it is worth buying the set just for them. The best weeding tweezers for vinyl ever. They have that gooseneck angle that makes it easy to position, nice sharp points to grab the vinyl, and they are made from a nice hard steel that isn’t going to bend out of shape. I looooooove mine.
    2. Mini Razor Blade: This guy is handy for those odd times when the cutting blade skips a tiny spot and you just need to cut a teeeeeny spot to release the vinyl.
    3. Needle Point wood burnisher: This one is a handy tool if you do wood signs – the needle point is awesome for getting the stencil bits off the wood after you’ve painted the sign, especially those tiny parts like the insides of letters and whatnot. I sometimes use a regular pin but I always prefer this one because it has the long handle that gives me a little more control (which means I’m less likely to screw up and gouge the fresh paint)
    4. More tools: It does have a couple other burnishing tools that I haven’t used at all and a set of tweezers with a magnifying glass as well which comes in handy as well!
  • Cricut cutting mats
    Even though I use a Silhouette cutter, I prefer to use Cricut cutting mats. I think they are better made, thicker and less flexible than the Sil mats. The only thing is that there is a small size difference, so I have to plan on cutting my design about 1/4″ lower than it would look like on the mat. You can also trim a quarter inch off the top of the mat which would do the same thing but I’m lazy so I just eyeball it.
  • Heat Press – the Powerpress
    This is one of the most common introductory heat presses that I see people buying. Heat presses are a tough thing – if you don’t have the budget to buy a really nice press, the cheaper ones can be very hit or miss.

    I like the Powerpress – it’s a nice standard 15″ size and I can do shirts and whatnot easily, and it didn’t break the bank buying it (I think I paid around $200 for it but it can vary in price, it’s usually around $175). I’ve also owned it for about 5 years and while I don’t use it every day, that’s a LONG TIME to own a press and nothing has gone wrong.
  • Heat Press – the JP12
    I also have the George Knight JP12 press. I bought it because I needed a small press with lower power draw. I used to need a press to do shows when I was personalizing on the spot where I could never guarantee how much power I could use, and also being off grid I needed a press that I could run off my generator. It is 9×12 and uses a fraction of the electricity that my Powerpress uses.

    The JP12 has delivered that and much more. George Knight heat presses are made in the USA and so are more expensive and higher quality than most of the imported counterparts. I also at one point broke the thing and I emailed the company and was emailing back and forth with them for a long time and they sent me the parts I needed and it was just excellent service and a great experience all around.


  • Oracal 651
    Oracal 651 is the best permanent vinyl I’ve used, hands down, and I hear the same thing from others as well. It comes in tons of colors, is affordable, you can buy it by the sheet or roll, it’s easy to work with, and is super long lasting.

    Where I buy it: Swing Design | Expressions Vinyl | One Source on Etsy
  • Oramask 813 Stencil Vinyl
    I love Oramask 813 for all my stenciling. While I do sometimes use Oracal 651 (since I have a ton of it) I prefer Oramask. It is not quite so stretchy and tacks down really nice for great stencil edges. My only caution with this material is to buy it from a reputable supplier – because it doesn’t have as much “give” as regular vinyl, if it’s rolled too tightly for shipping it can bubble up and become unusable when you try to unroll it.

    Where I buy it: Swing Design | Expressions Vinyl | One Source on Etsy
  • Siser Easyweed HTV
    Siser easyweed is kind of the same as above, for heat transfer projects. I think most people use it – it comes in lots of different colors, is nice and longlasting, and is pretty much the standard for heat transfer vinyl.

    Where I buy it: Swing Design | Expressions Vinyl | One Source on Etsy
  • Siser Stretch HTV
    Any time I was making a t-shirt for a woman, I always preferred to use Siser Stretch. Stretch vinyl has “give” so if you put it on the chest of a woman’s t-shirt, or a hat or something that will end up being stretched a bit, it will move with the fabric instead of stretching permanently and then bunching up all weird afterwards.

    Where I buy it: Swing Design | Expressions Vinyl | One Source on Etsy
  • AT65 Transfer Tape
    AT65 is the BEST transfer tape I’ve used. It’s a medium tack tape, so for the most part I didn’t have issues with it either not picking up the vinyl or not wanting to let it go. It’s also clear, which is nice and professional when you’re selling decals and shipping them places and make things easy to position.The only problem I ever had with AT65 is when using it with 813 stencil vinyl, it doesn’t want to pick up that stuff but I suspect that 813 is just harder to work with in general.

    Where I buy it: Us Cutter | Expressions Vinyl (their brand)


Suppliers are crucial! I know a lot of people buy their supplies off Amazon but honestly, it’s so hit or miss. I actually know someone who bought a roll of vinyl off Amazon and it had already had things cut out of it. And imagine that sort of hassle when you have a project deadline and you NEED your vinyl ASAP.

So here are the ones I use and trust myself:

  • Expressions Vinyl
    Expressions Vinyl is wonderful – great service, fast shipping, and QUALITY product. A nice selection of products and they have a lot of gorgeous printed vinyl (and really, lots of other fun unique vinyls) for projects that I love.
  • Swing Design
    Swing Design – same as Expressions, also has great service and a quality product. These guys are probably one of the biggest suppliers and while they don’t always have everything I’m after, if I need a big order of vinyl they are the go-to. They also almost always have the best price on Silhouette software upgrades.
  • One Source on Etsy
    One Source is also one of my favorites. These guys have the basic stuff but they also have a lot of the oddball short run vinyl I haven’t been able to find elsewhere. Sometimes I go browse their shop just to see what weird things they have. Again, they don’t always have everything I want, but they ship FAST and are super reliable.
  • US Cutter
    I happen to live in-state with one of their distribution centers and I love US Cutter for that. They aren’t always the cheapest for vinyl but since I live so close, I always know I will receive my order the next day without paying for upgraded shipping. They have several distribution centers across the country, so I suggest checking out to see if you are close by one. It’s definitely handy to be able to pay $10 flat rate for next day delivery on anything you order!

Where to Learn – Techniques & Tutorials

  • Silhouette School Blog
    The definitive source, the Silhouette School Blog has got SO much information on how to use your machine you wouldn’t even be able to really even read it all! I’ve contributed there myself (how to get a solid fill when etching jewelry) but there is so much great info there, I’ve broken it down a bit here:

    1. Specific topics
      Anytime I am curious about something specific, I go search that blog to see if they have a tutorial on how to do it because chances are, they HAVE IT. I like to learn that way – I get an idea in my head of what I want first, and then I research how to do it. There is TONS of free information and videos on this site. If you are a self directed learner, head on over to the blog and start reading!
    2. The Ultimate Silhouette Guide
      This is exactly what it says – an ultimate Silhouette guide, that takes you from start to finish learning how to use your machine. It includes an ebook, video lessons, and tons of photos and screen grabs. If you are just barely getting to know your machine, this is for you!
    3. Silhouette U
      Silhouette U is a thorough, comprehensive membership program that not only teaches you to use your machine but teaches technique, tutorial, provides exclusive freebie commercial use SVGs, weekly office hours with live Q&As with Melissa the founder, an exclusive Facebook group, and SO MUCH MORE. I’ve been a contributor to Silhouette U (on the design end) and I just love the program. It is SO helpful for people. If you want someone to take you by the hand and go from start to finish, this may be what you need.
    4. Cutting a Profit
      If you are familiar with your machine, make some really cool products, and are interested in taking things a bit further and actually starting a business, the Cutting a Profit ebook is a fantastic way to get started. It has instruction, screenshots, worksheets, and more to help you get started – too much to list here! It’s a great resource for anyone who wants to start a cutting business but feels kind of overwhelmed and doesn’t quite know where to start.
  • Cutting for Business
    Cutting for Business is another fantastic blog – it is not machine specific, has tons of great businessy resources, freebie SVGs, and quick, easy to read overviews on SO many important topics.
  • Youtube
    When I asked, a LOT of my customers said they learned a lot from Youtube. Youtube is such a great resource, there are zillions of videos there on basics of your machine, specific techniques and tutorials, and more. I love Youtube because it works well when you’re searching for specific things – that is totally my learning style (which, as I mentioned above, is when I get a picture in my head of what I want and THEN I go figure out how to accomplish it).
  • Facebook groups
    Facebook groups are AMAZING. There are zillions of them, but here are the ones I’m in and have found to be really helpful. SO much inspiration, techniques, ideas, people to bounce ideas off or ask questions… you name it.

And that’s it from me! I’d love your feedback – if you have a supplier or product you’ve used and love and can highly recommend it, let me know in the comments and I can add it to the list!