Save yourself wear and tear on your machine as well as your vinyl inventory through making several cuts to see which colour will look best on each item. It’s actually quite simple, The programs that I use are Silhouette studio, the Paint program that comes with the computer and a free watermark app to claim each photo as mine so they are not stolen. Please note that this process is for silhouette, PC users, I’m unfamiliar with the Cricut program, but I’m sure something similar could be done.
Take a photo of the blank item, simple, right?
I suggest setting up the photo as if you’re trying to sell it, use your backdrop or scenic background. If you’re doing a glass it will be best if you put tissue paper inside so that the lettering will show up well. Once you have taken the photo you need to transfer it to your computer, if you took the photo with your phone you can email it to yourself, if you took it with a real camera then you can upload it onto your computer.
Open the photo in your Silhouette studio.
Once you have opened your blank item photo in Studio you can create and place your design on top of the item. You will be able to see what it looks like in different fonts, different colours, with an offset, everything that you can do in studio and how you would cut for a sample you can do digitally without wasting any materials. I always recommend measuring the actual item and comparing the design that you have made to that measurement to ensure that your mock up is as close to the real thing as possible. Please note that the colours will not be exact, you can only choose the colours that your computer has to offer unless you cut each design out of the colour swatches provided by your vinyl supplier, but that is a lot of extra work and not really necessary. As long as you explain to the customer that the photo you are sending them is just a mock up and will not be exact to the final product, but as close as possible.
Screen shot your mock up.
This process will vary depending on the computer you are using. I use an ACER aspire and my process is CTRL+PRTSC. The screen shot will now be able to be pasted into your paint program (Note: make sure the photo is as large as it can be on your screen or the quality will suffer). Once pasted into your paint program you can crop the unnecessary pieces out of your photo and save it to your computer.
Step four: (optional)
Import your photo into a watermarking app and add your watermark then resave and send or post as desired. I use Visual Watermark 4.60- Trial Version, it leaves their watermark in a small grey box in the bottom of every photo that you put through the water marker. That doesn’t bother me at all, it’s a free app, you can always either pay to upgrade to remove their watermark or leave enough empty space on the bottom of your photos so that you can cut it out in an edit feature of your photo gallery.
Kylie McCullough-Haddock, January 9th 2018