Updated: Dec 18, 2021
Epson EcoTank Printers are industry workhorses, and as I'm just starting to print with professional photo inks and vinyl cut in my home robotics lab/craft room, it seemed prudent to set up to die and kiss cut laminated stickers and decals for the bands and brands I support. Working with two new pieces of equipment however, there has been a lot of trial-and-error, and thought it would be nice to share my findings for other DIY crafters to work from in the future--complete with Amazon affiliate links I can profit from when people ask me for free knowledge.
First, I give you the links to products I use to print and cut stickers with the Epson ET-2760 EcoTank Printer and Cricut Air Explore 2 tabletop vinyl cutting machine. As disclaimed, if you buy from these links, I make money. These items are listed by my preference for highest print quality and best volumetric value per COG analysis.
Best Glossy Inkjet Sticker Papers for Epson ET-2760
LD brand 8.5"x11" Water Resistant Photo Sticker Paper (GLOSSY) 100 pack, MSRP $22.23, COG ~$0.22 per sheet
This is my favorite paper so far; I will continue to test and update this post, but the LD glossy printable water resistant vinyl sticker paper is not only the highest print quality, but the best deal I've found yet.
The following matte varieties are treated as setting/placement test sheets on my vinyl cutter:
Matte Inkjet Sticker Papers that work with Epson ET-2760
QYH brand 8.5"x11" Waterproof Vinyl Sticker Paper (MATTE) 50 pack, MSRP $16.99, COG ~$0.33 per sheet
Buttercrafts brand 8.5"x11" Anti-Jam Waterproof Vinyl Sticker Paper (MATTE) 20 pack, MSRP $13.99, ~COG $0.70
Buttercrafts Anti-Jam GLOSSY sticker paper does not feed more than two inches into the ET-2760 without jamming, and I received a no-return refund for this product and used the gift card to purchase the LD brand glossy sheets instead.
The Buttercrafts MATTE sticker paper is thinner and feels less substantial than QYH.
I prefer the price and texture of the QYH waterproof matte vinyl sheets
I won't buy matte vinyl sticker paper again because it's too expensive and the print quality is worse than the LD glossy sheets due to matte paper absorption qualities causing unwanted inkjet feathering.
LEFT: LD Glossy paper. RIGHT: Matte sticker paper. SAME print settings, other than setting the one to glossy vs plain paper. Saturation and vibrancy is affected severely by matte paper tooth as opposed to glossy, which provided truer colors with the same settings. The loss of color depth is prevalent on all matte papers I've tried thus far.
Because ink can scratch off the vinyl, it's best practice to laminate your stickers prior to running the prints through your vinyl cutter. Upon the creation of this blog post I have only tried one variety of self adhesive laminating sheets, but will update COG analysis as I test.
As it stands, I make sole use of Avery 73601 9"x12" Self-Adhesive Laminating Sheets
COG: $0.58 per sheet
There was a sale in January 2021 on the 50 pack, so I actually paid $0.21 per sheet.
Meanwhile, the 500 pack cost ~$0.28/ea
HARDWARE & TOOLS
Epson EcoTank ET-2760 Wireless Color All-in-One Cartridge-free Supertank Printer with Scanner & Copier. I plan on getting a second one to fill with sublimation ink, because from what I'm reading, the sublimation ink needs to go into virgin tanks lest the 502 pigment minerals clog the print heads. It seems there must be dedicated machines per project type.
I have the teal version, which is no longer available. This affiliate link takes you to the official Cricut store on Amazon to see their in stock options. These machines sell out often and rotate stock routinely due to COVID lockdown inspiring the bored and homebound to take up new hobbies, which is exactly how I came to care about vinyl cutting tbh
The Cricut Explore Air 2 has vastly different functionality from the Cricut Maker, and Maker users may have a different experience with the same sticker papers I've listed for use with my Explore Air 2 model.
Lastly, not everyone bothers with them, but I like my sharp af 3-piece set of pink/purple/blue gradient rainbow vinyl weeding tools.
OTHER CONSUMABLES TO KEEP IN STOCK
DO NOT let your Epson EcoTank printer ink levels drop too low, or you'll have a bummer amount of maintenance on your hands.
Deep Cut Cricut blades
Official Cricut brand 1 blade + 1 housing, MSRP: ~$20
Off-brand 1 blade + 1 housing, MSRP: ~$14
Off-brand 30 deep cut blade refills, MSRP: ~$10
Fine Point Cricut blades
Official Cricut brand 1 blade + 1 housing, MSRP: ~$35
Off-brand 1 blade + 1 housing, MSRP: ~$26
Off-brand fine point blade refills, MSRP: ~$10
Light Grip 12"x12" Cutting Mats
What Letter size printable vinyl sheets do you use?