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Adhesive Craft Vinyl-Tips And Ideas

I love to learn new crafts and are always on the lookout for new products and ideas to make crating easier for the crafting community

Adhesive vinyl can be either permanent and temporary, It is perfect for almost any project you can think of.

Adhesive vinyl can be either permanent and temporary, It is perfect for almost any project you can think of.

What Is Adhesive Vinyl?

Adhesive vinyl is a thin, flexible, self-adhesive material (think durable sticker) that is typically used to create wall and window decals and business signage. It’s durable and can also be waterproof which makes it very versatile. Adhesive vinyl comes in many forms; glossy, matte, glitter, patterned, metallic, just to name a few.

It is different from heat transfer vinyl. Adhesive vinyl has a sticky back that adheres once it is applied. Heat transfer vinyl (HTV) on the other hand requires a heat source to make it adhere to your surface.

Adhesive vinyl comes in both rolls and individual sheets. The overall width of a vinyl roll is 12in, and the length can go from 12 into 20 and even 40ft. There’s less variety on large rolls, but tons of it when you buy anywhere from 12x48in.

Sheets are sold in different sizes; the most common ones are 12x12in and 12x10in. The cool thing about individual sheets is that you can get a single package with all kinds of colors.

However, the two main types of adhesive vinyl are removable and permanent.

Removable Adhesive Vinyl

This type of adhesive vinyl is usually used for temporary applications like seasonal window decor, decals, wall decorations, indoor signs, and chalkboards, It usually has a matte finish.

Permanent Outdoor Vinyl

Considered one of the most popular vinyl, it is a permanent application. The permanent outdoor vinyl is perfect for things like coffee mugs, water bottles, car decals, and any other outdoor projects. While it is not totally permanent, it will last up to 8 years of use. It usually comes in a glossy finish, but there are a few matte finishes available.

Technically you can remove permanent adhesive vinyl with some effort. But more than likely you will find that the surface it was applied to will be damaged.

Adhesive Vinyl always has a paper backing. When cutting adhesive vinyl, the paper goes directly on the cutting mat. You cut with the shiny side facing you.

More About Adhesive Vinyl

Adhesive vinyl is fun to work with, easy to cut, and has lots of craft opportunities

Adhesive vinyl is fun to work with, easy to cut, and has lots of craft opportunities

Types Of Adhesive Vinyl


There are several different types of adhesive vinyl, depending on your needs.

  1. Matte-vinyl that has little if any shine. Comes in lots of different colors.
  2. Patterned-Comes in different patterns and designs in both permanent and removable.
  3. Glossy-Shiny vinyl with multiple colors.
  4. Metallic-Bright metallic colors.
  5. Glitter-Shiny glitter materials in multiple colors. It can sometimes be hard to see where the cut lines are once you cut your design. It also needs an extra-strong transfer tape to pick it up and apply it to your project.
  6. Adhesive Foil-Removeable vinyl only so you will have to use indoors
  7. Mosaic-Is a permanent vinyl, but you can only use it indoors. It is a water-resistant vinyl
  8. Stencil Vinyl-Designed specifically for stenciling
  9. Etched Glass Vinyl-Has a frosted look that makes the glass look like it has been etched.
  10. Printable Vinyl-Can is printed on using a regular home printer. This is especially useful when a design has many colors and you don’t want to cut each color out individually and layer them together.
  11. Chalkboard Vinyl-You can turn any surface into a chalkboard with this vinyl.
  12. Dry Erase Vinyl-Turns any surface into a dry erase board
  13. Holographic Vinyl-Very shiny vinyl. When light hits it, it shows all kinds of color variations.
  14. Glow In The Dark Vinyl-After being exposed to light or sun, it will glow in the dark.
  15. Window Cling-If you want to add a touch to your windows and want to remove it quickly, window cling vinyl will be your best friend. You can cut fun figures and let your kids decorate their windows or mirrors with it too.

Oracal Vinyl

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Oracal vinyl has been the standard for vinyl for many years. They have a numbered system that helps differentiate the different types of vinyl.

  • Oracal 631 This is a matte finish indoor wall-safe (removable for up to 2 years) vinyl. It is for use on walls and other indoor items that will not be washed such as shadow boxes, picture frames, ornaments, etc
  • Oracal 641 is made with a water-based permanent adhesive. It can be used outdoors and has a 3-5 year rating. This product can be used on hand-washed items such as mugs, car windows, cups, etc. We currently carry 18 colors plus clear.
  • Oracal 651- This is the main type of adhesive vinyl that most people end up starting with. It is a 5-8 year rated outdoor safe permanent solvent-based adhesive vinyl. It can also be used on items inside that you would like to be able to hand wash such as mugs, cups, cutting boards, etc.
  • Oracal 751-This is a higher-grade cast series of vinyl. Cast means that it is poured in layers and cooled instead of stretched through rollers. This allows them to make a product that is easier to apply to multi-dimensionally curved surfaces and is thinner and also will hold up a couple of years longer in the harsh sunlight (around an 8-year lifespan) It is important to note that this product is more expensive and sometimes trickier to get the hang of cutting, weeding and applying without stretching/breaking it.
  • Oracal 951-This is an even higher-grade cast vinyl. It is designed to last about 2 years longer in the sunlight than even 751 (around 8-10 years). It is also more expensive.
  • Oracal 5600-This is a reflective permanent outdoor vinyl rated up to 7 years. This product was specifically made for vehicle graphics that produce reflective lettering such as trailers, police cars, ambulances, construction, etc.
  • Oracal 6510-This series is the fluorescent (neon) colors of Oracal 651. They are not solid-colored throughout, meaning that the backside of the vinyl is not the same color as the front. For this reason, you would not want to use 6510 where you will be looking at the bottom side of the vinyl. This will have an outdoor lifespan of 1-2 years.
  • Oracal 8300-This UV-stabilized, transparently dyed, gloss special-purpose film boasts a performance of up to 5 years. It is perfect for high-quality illuminated signs and to decorate back-lit glass surfaces or even a stained-glass effect
  • Oracal 8510-This Etched vinyl comes in Silver and Gold in color as well as both a fine (smooth) and coarse (more textured). This product is a permanent adhesive and gives the look of etching or sandblasting glass. This is great to use on windows, mugs, cups, and other items that can be gently hand washed.
  • Oracal 8710-This dusted vinyl comes in Translucent Grey. Developed for decorative glass or mirror design elements, to achieve a translucent etched glass appearance. Great for shop windows, room dividers, and glass doors. A wet application is recommended.
  • Oracal 8810- Frosted vinyl is great for Long-term indoor and outdoor decorative design; developed for long-term decorative sparkling effects on glass and glass-like shop windows and doors. It gives a similar look like the etched vinyl but with glitter specs. Rated up to 7 years.
  • Oracal 9300- Glow in the dark permanent adhesive vinyl. White when not glowing. Only available in white/green combinations.
  • Oramask- is available in 811 and 813 are used with latex paints. 811 is a solid white color (most preferred for etching) while 813 is a translucent blue most preferred for doing painted signs. Make sure surfaces are very smooth before applying the stencil. Stencils are NOT reusable.
  • Oraguard is a clear laminate protective film that has a solvent-based permanent adhesive and is intended for use over printed graphics. It comes in 2 finishes, Matte and Gloss. If you use matte OraGuard over gloss vinyl, the finish will become matte finish, and vice versa, gloss OraGuard over Matte becomes glossy. Using this product over the top of another adhesive vinyl can help add up to 2 additional years of UV protection

Cricut Vinyl

Cricut has stepped up to the plate when it comes to adhesive vinyl. They have lots of options and their vinyl is a good consistent quality to work with.

Siser Vinyl

They offer permanent, removable, glitter, etch, glow and chalkboard


Use Adhesive Vinyl For Seasonal Decor

adhesive-craft-vinyl-tips-and-ideas

Reasons To Avoid Buying Vinyl In Big Box Stores

We all love to shop at the big box craft stores. Who does not love wandering down the aisles of Hobby Lobby, Joann's, or Michaels? But in fact, they might not be the best places to get your adhesive vinyl. Her is why:

  • They are probably more expensive than the prices found on the internet. Average roll price (outside of sales and coupons is $8-$15 a roll. With a little time and exploration, you can do much better at most online vinyl stores
  • The rolls are generally smaller than the online stores. You really need to look at the size of the roll, even at a sale price. Average length-1.5-2 feet. Added to the cost, that is no bargain by any stretch of the imagination.
  • You generally have to buy a roll rather than a sheet. Many times you might just need a little bit of something rather than a whole roll. Cost savings are found when you can buy a sheet rather than a roll of something you may never use again.
  • Online stores tend to have more variety and color options than big box stores. They tend to have more stock available and a wider color option.
  • Brands are generally limited to Cricut and Sizzix in the box stores. Online stores have wider brand choices
  • Your 40% off coupon will never work on Cricut or Sizzix brands. There are more sales on vinyl online than in your local craft store.

Another way to save is through newsletters and rewards programs. Lots of online vinyl stores have newsletters that will alert you to special sales and promotions. You can also sign up for rewards programs at some sites. So take some time to find the ones that fit your needs and have the prices you feel comfortable with. Stretching your craft budget is a must these days.

Where To Use Permanent Adhesive Vinyl

There are a few places where permanent adhesive vinyl is the right choice

  • Glass-glass jars, glass bottles, ornaments, candle holders, glass on picture frames, old windows
  • Stainless steel -water bottles, tumblers, trays
  • Plastic- buckets, lights, cups, wine tumblers, playhouses, baby wipes, and more
  • Permanent Labels-Lunch boxes, backpacks, craft areas
  • Wood signs, boxes, and decorative items like personalized memory boxes

Cutting Craft Vinyl With An Electronic Cutting Machine

There are just a few tools that you will need for applying and using adhesive vinyl. More than likely you have many of these tools already in your craft space.

Electronic Cutting Machine

There are many different choices when it comes to electronic cutting machines. You have to choose the one that meets your specific needs. Most come, with a computer software program that already has some cut files. Silhouette Cameo and Cricut cutting machines are probably the most popular. The blades of the cutting machines are an important part of the procedure, so you will want to keep them sharp and clean.

Some of the machines require a cutting mat. Others have matless cutting off a role of vinyl attached to the machine.

While you can always cut vinyl by hand, an electronic cutting machine gives better cuts.

Other Tools For Use With Craft Vinyl

Weeding Tools

Most companies that deal with adhesive vinyls have kits for your weeding needs. Kits are a convenient and practical way to get the tools you need.

  • Hook Tweezers-Removes larger pieces of vinyl
  • Straight Tweezers-Hold and lift smaller pieces of vinyl
  • Hook Weeder-Angeled to help you remove trickier vinyl pieces
  • Classic Weeder (weeding hook)-Angled to pull away pieces of vinyl
  • Piercing Tool-Pierce and lift pieces of unwanted vinyl

The most popular weeding tool is a weeding hook. This is a metallic hook the will help you pick up the pieces of vinyl that are not part of the design.

Straight Pins are a great tool to have on hand for weeding extra small pieces

Light Pad

A light pad enables you to see the cut lines of your design when you are weeding the excess vinyl from your design. It illuminates under the design to make it easier. It is not an expensive purchase. You can also use it for tracing and dot painting too.

Transfer Tape

Allows you to take your design from the mat or roll to the project and apply it to the project. The perfect transfer tape is strong enough to adhere to your vinyl and pull it up off of the vinyl backing, but at the same time isn’t so sticky that it is hard to get it to release once you have it on your surface.