An Introduction to Reverse Weeding for Small Projects

If you've had your Cricut for a little while and you've been experimenting with different projects, you might have come across the snag that is weeding adhesive vinyl on really small projects! It can be a nightmare trying to remove the excess without altering the positioning of the little pieces you want to keep! I find this a particular issue with small text where I'm forever losing the dots on my 'i's.

What is Reverse Weeding?

Reverse weeding is a simple but effective technique to help you master weeding those pesky small pieces without the stress. It does take a little bit of practice to successfully master, but it can also be a complete game changer for small projects, saving you tonnes of time, wasted materials and extra cuts and just generally avoiding the stress!

Put simply, reverse weeding is where you transfer your project onto your transfer tape BEFORE you weed it. You can then carefully peel away the excess leaving your piece behind and in tact!

What you will need:

Weeder tool, Scissors and Scraper. The tool I use are from the Cricut Basic Tools set but other options may work just as well.

Adhesive Vinyl.

Transfer Tape.

Cutting mat. I use a standard grip mat for my adhesive vinyl projects.

Step One - Cut your Adhesive Vinyl

For small or detailed cuts such as tiny letters or designs which have lots of intricate detail I find that the 'Washi Tape' setting works best. Set the dial on your Cricut machine to 'Custom' and then in the Cricut software cut screen search for Washi.

Once my design is cut I usually trim off the excess vinyl to make sure I don't waste any. You never know when even the tiniest of scrap might be just want you need!

Cutting your adhesive vinyl

Step Two - Weeding

There are two options when it comes to reverse weeding. You might find that there is one which you just prefer overall, or you might find that the method you choose varies depending on your project.

You can either apply the transfer tape over your full vinyl design without any weeding what-so-ever.  Alternatively, you can peel away the majority of your background vinyl, as shown below, and then apply the transfer tape to reverse weed the tricky small pieces, such as inside the letters.

If you opt to peel the background first, I usually find it easiest to work in small sections, such as lines of text. I snip each with scissors to release an edge and then pull along using the weeder tool to trace round the edge of any letters which are potentially stuck to the background to encourage the two parts to separate.

Peeling background vinyl
Text on transfer tape

When you apply the transfer tape, either before or after removing the vinyl, make sure you rub over the entire piece really firmly. I use the Cricut scraper tool for this. You could also use the brayer tool if you have it, or even a bank card!

Rubbing the transfer tape

Next, peel away the backing material leaving your vinyl design on the transfer tape.

Peeling the background material

You can then use your weeder tool to pick out any remaining excess pieces of vinyl. I find using the point of the weeder to target pieces works best.

Tip: Be Careful not to touch your letters or the transfer tape! It might sound like common sense but this is the tricky part that I found came with practice. I'm so used to resting my hand or fingers on my design while I weed, but you can't do this while reverse weeding as the vinyl and transfer tape are sticky side up. There's nothing more frustrating than finding half your design is missing and then finding it scrawled down your arm!

Weeding the design

Once you've finished weeding, you're ready to apply your design straight to your piece as normal.

Applying the design

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