I often hear the question, “can my vinyl get wet?”. The simple answer is yes it can. There are very few types of vinyl that cannot get wet. This question most commonly comes from Cricut vinyl users. The Cricut vinyl that Provo Craft packages is largely marketed as an indoor product. This is correct only in the sense that it will perform best indoors.

You see Cricut vinyl is Oracal 631 and yes this is an ideal indoor product. Maybe the question comes from it having a water based adhesive. I can certainly see where this may lead you to believe that it cannot get wet. However this same logic would say that many things cannot get wet. So without getting into a boring explanation of why it can get wet just know that the adhesive is not made of sugar an water is not going to hurt it unless it is constantly submerged like on a boat or submarine for example.

As far as your regular types of Cricut vinyl are concerned water is not an issue, but there is a new kid in town. This is the inkjet printable vinyl. Provo Craft does have a new printable product for the Cricut imagine. I must say I am baffled as to why this was the product they chose. It cannot get wet. The colors will run if it does get wet. The reason this baffles me is that there are inkjet printable vinyls available that are waterproof without any special steps, just print and use.

These types of inkjet printable vinyl are great for many uses. Granted they do have a much longer life span in indoor applications, but most any vinyl will hold up fine outdoors for a year or two. Plus it really doesn’t matter what the vinyl is, Cricut vinyl or otherwise, it will be compatible with your machine. This is just the nature of vinyl and vinyl cutters, they pretty much all work together.

Categories Vinyl FAQs
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What Kind Of Vinyl?

by admin

I could really go on for many pages about what the best vinyl is for each application but I don’t want to bore you so I will try and keep this as short as possible.

There are basically only two types of vinyl. Sign making vinyl and heat transfer vinyl. Within these two types I suppose you have some subcategories as well. Basically you have your heat transfer vinyl that is for fabric, often used for making aparal. Then you have sign vinyl for everything else.

I am going to focus more on sign vinyl for this post. First off all vinyl can be used indoors and outdoors. If you ever hear of something being called “indoor” or “outdoor” vinyl this is only a classification of the environment that it is best suited for.

Oracal 631 is often referred to as “Indoor” vinyl. This is the best environment for Oracal 631, but you can have great success with it outdoors as well. The characteristics of 631 make it a short term outdoor performer. It is a common misconception that this vinyl will be destroyed if it gets wet. This just is not true. It does have a water-based adhesive and potentially could be damaged by water, but it is typically only a harsh type of water like high pressure or hot that will damage it. I have seen Oracal 631 hold up just fine outdoors for several years.

So on the flip side of course “outdoor” vinyl like Oracal 651 is well suited for outdoor use it can be used inside as well. It does have a solvent based permanent adhesive which is part of what makes it so great for outdoor use. But it can still be used indoors. It’s kind of like saying an automobile is for outdoor use so you can’t park it in the garage. Any vinyl will last almost indefinitely in a typical indoor application. The downside is that the more aggressive adhesive potentially could cause a bit of damage when removed. Just warm things up with a hairdryer and this is likely not a problem.

Now one last thing I want to touch on is decorating dishes. This is a very popular trend. It can be done but a few words of caution. This is not a purpose that vinyl was intended for. Of course the vinyls like Oracal 651, 751, and 951 are the best choices to use for such a project. They work best because of the more aggressive adhesive. However vinyl was not designed to go in the dishwasher. This is quite a harsh environment. The best way to remove unwanted vinyl is with heat. The dishwasher is hot. So if you really want to decorate some dishes it is probably best to stay away from the “indoor” vinyl. And you want to generally consider it just that a decoration. If you need to wash it, hand wash it. This way it will last a long time. My experience is that the best case scenario you will get about 5 trips through a dishwasher.

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Silhouette Vs. Cricut

by admin

Coming Soon!

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Transfer tape really is a crucial element in making and applying vinyl designs.  Sure if you are making small one piece items or large simple items you may be able to get away without it.  But 99% of the time you really do need it. 

When the vinyl is still attached to the original backing all of the elements of your design are exactly where they are supposed to be.  The point of the transfer tape is to lift everything off of the backing and expose the adhesive.  It will accomplish this all at the same time while retaining everything in perfect alignment. 

Now the vinyl has a more aggressive adhesive than the transfer tape does. So when you stick your vinyl down to something the vinyl will stay behind, again still in perfect alignment, and the transfer tape comes off leaving your finished project.

Now this works best when you do what is commonly referred to as a “kiss cut”.  This means that you only cut through the vinyl and not the backing too.  Then you remove or “weed” out the unwanted vinyl leaving behind a square of backing material with your cut vinyl design sitting on it. 

This video below from our friends at ExpressionsVinyl.com helps to clarify how this all works.  If you are confused about the cutting you can check out our post on cutting vinyl.

Categories Vinyl FAQs
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Laundry Jars

Have I mentioned how cool Sure Cuts a Lot is?

Kat was looking for a way to clean up the laundry room and maybe spice it up a little. She decided to buy some jars to put the different products in. They looked really nice!!! But then we decided to take it a step further with SCAL 2.

Laundrey Jars using SCAL

Sure Cuts a Lot makes it so easy to take any image and create a cuttable SVG.

To do this, you must first find an image to recreate. Generally the simpler the better – meaning if you can find an image that has a distinct outline it will be easier for SCAL to trace.

Once you have your image saved to your computer, click the “Trace Image” button in Sure Cuts a Lot. You can also do this under the File menu.

Inside the trace image feature you must browse to locate your image. Then select preview. There are some settings that can be adjusted for more difficult images.

Then hit “okay” and you’re done. Sometimes the image will need some cleaning up at this point. But when tracing a simple outine, you are ready to cut at this point.

And in a matter of minutes you have an awesome project that looks great!!!

You must first ask yourself, what am I doing with this vinyl?  The simple answer really is that any adhesive vinyl is good for just about anywhere.  However there are some different characteristics that make certain types better for certain applications. 

The most popular type of vinyl sold for machines such as the Cricut is Oracal 631.  This is a calendared film with a water based temporary adhesive.  This is a fantastic vinyl for many different reasons.   First of all it is affordable.  There are some vinyls out there that have some superior performance characteristics, but they cost an arm and a leg.  This film is among the least expensive out their and you really get the most bang for your buck out of it. 

This film also has the removable adhesive.  Often people think that this means it can be peeled up and stuck down again and again.  That may be true for a time or two depending on all the circumstances, but most likely it is really only good for one application.  The best part about this adhesive is that it is just aggressive enough for most applications, not to strong not to weak.  Another common misconception is that this vinyl can’t get wet.  That just simply is not true. Water will not hurt this or most any vinyl. 

So this is one of the best general purpose products.  Now with that being said we will move on to the “outdoor” type of vinyl.  Oracal 651 is often considered an outdoor vinyl.  This doesn’t mean that it cannot be used indoors.  Oracal 631 is often considered indoor vinyl but it can be used outdoors as well.  The “outdoor” vinyls typically have a more aggressive solvent based adhesive.  The films themselves are also more resistant to UV rays.   These types of vinyl are often designed for use on vehicles which experience some very harsh outdoor weather conditions.  The only real downside is that the highly aggressive adhesive can be difficult to remove sometimes and can cause damage to more delicate surfaces. 

Oracal 651 is much like Oracal 631 in that it is designed to perform well at a good price.  It may well be the best all around vinyl for all it’s characteristics.  There are other types of outdoor vinyls that have their place such as Oracal 751 and 951.  These are sometimes referred to as permanent vinyl.  Oracal 651 is pretty much just as permanent as these are, but the 751 and 951 have a slightly longer lifespan for outdoor applications. 

Finally there is heat transfer or T-shirt vinyl.  This of course is for adhering to fabrics.  All the other types of vinyl have a pressure sensitive adhesive just like an ordinary sticker.  You know what happens to a sticker on fabric.  It’s good for awhile and then it falls off.  T-shirt vinyl uses heat to activate and attach to fabric.  It will also attach to many other substrates but is specifically designed for fabric.

Categories Vinyl FAQs

Sure Cuts a Lot 2 

I love SCAL 2!!!  It wasn’t very long ago that a Cricut was just a bug to me. My wife had one as did my mother and the only thing I knew about them was how much it cost to support a cartridge addiction.

ENTER – Sure Cuts a Lot

I was hooked!  I took off with the Cricut the minute I realized how much fun there was to be had with this awesome newfound software.

SCAL 2 is a user friendly computer program that allows you to create images to cut out on the Cricut. It connects through a standard printer cable from your computer to the machine.

SCAL 2

Your view is the mat and the sky is your limit. If you can draw it, you can cut it. If you can copy it, you can cut it. Basically, if you can create it, you can cut it and if you can’t we can show you how!!!

In this tutorial, we will demonstrate the use of the Selection tool and how it moves and sizes the objects. We’ll also go over Grouping and Breaking Apart and why grouping so important.

SCAL 2

So if you have Sure Cuts a Lot and already use it, this may be a little too introductory for you. But if not, check out how cool it is. Either way, check back often and we’ll have new tips and ideas for all sorts of projects.

Happy Cutting,

Edward Cricuthands

Heat transfer, or T-shirt vinyl, is quickly becoming one of the most popular types of vinyl.  This particular type of vinyl is designed specifically for attachment to fabric, hence the term T-shirt vinyl. 

There are a few different manufacturers of this vinyl.  One of the best all around vinyls is Siser Easyweed.  T-shirt vinyl is a little bit different beast to work with compared to your average sign vinyl like Oracal 631.  Weeding of T-shirt vinyl is really far more difficult but Easy weed is the easiest of all the heat transfer products to work with. 

The other thing that make is that you have to do everything backwards.  Working with sign vinyl is a WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get).  Heat transfer vinyl is a WYSITMIWYG (What you see in the mirror is what you get).  Sign vinyl peals off and sticks on just like any sticker.  T-shirt vinyl gets flipped over and ironed on. 

This whole concept can be a little intimidating at first.  Working with a Cricut and a Cricut cartridge you have to use the flip feature and spell everything backwards.  This is where a Silhouette machine or a Cricut with SCAL will really shine.  You can set up your entire design how you want it to look and then flip the entire thing at once.  This is much easier.  If you have ever tried to spell several words backwards with out errors you know exactly what I mean. 

The transferring process is quite easy.  Easyweed has a clear film over the front that acts like backing when you are cutting and like transfer tape when you are transferring.  This part of the puzzle also has a pressure sensitive carrier which helps the cutting to stay positioned before and during the transfer process.  You simply just follow the manufactures recommendations and iron it on. 

There is a bit of trial and error involved.  The recommendations are really just guidelines to get you close.  Sometimes you may need to adjust your heat or overall ironing time.  With a little experience though this can get easier.

Categories Vinyl Types

Pretty much all vinyl can be used outdoors, but there are types that are better suited for outdoor applications.  Vinyl is typically used for sign making and most signs are outside, so most vinyl is designed for outdoor durability.  The best vinyl for your application will be determined by a few different factors.

Generally speaking a calendared film, such as Oracal 651 will work fine for most applications.  Cast films do hold up a bit longer but usually the additional cost is much higher and makes it not worth it.  The difference between calendared and cast films is not really visually apparent so most of the time either one will work. 

Most vinyl that is well suited for outdoor use also has a solvent based permanent adhesive.  This gives the adhesive a good bite and will stay stuck down for many years.  This doesn’t mean the vinyl is not removable, it just means it is a little more difficult to remove.  Any vinyl can be pretty easily removed by warming it up with a hairdryer.  Any adhesive that gets left behind can be cleaned up with a product like goof off. 

Products like Oracal 651 are specifically designed for fleet vehicle graphics use.  This gives the 651 product two very good features. The first is great durability to extreme elements.  The second is it has a very affordable price tag.  As I mentioned before there are other films that are slightly more durable, but the cost is two to three times more expensive.

Categories Vinyl Types
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Oracal 631 is what is known as an exhibition grade of vinyl film.  What this means is that it is specifically designed for shorter term applications.  It also has design characteristics that make it more easily removable.  It is also among the least expensive vinyl films in production.  This makes it a great product for a temporary sign where you want to be able to reuse the substrate. 

This Oracal 631 vinyl is packaged by Provo Craft for use with its line of Cricut personal electronic cutters.  It is a well suited product for your typical home décor and scrapbooking projects.  It is now becoming commonly referred to as “Cricut vinyl”, and frequently gets a connotation as “Indoor vinyl”.  Now it certainly is well suited for indoor applications, but it can withstand outdoor conditions. 

The official specifications from Oracal say that it is good for 3 years on indoor vertical applications.  Now for the real world, this particular vinyl will really last almost indefinitely on an indoor application.  It utilizes a water-based, removable adhesive.  This is to make a relatively easy to remove product that leaves behind little or no residue and won’t damage most surfaces.  This is all true within the manufacturer specs.  Now the reality is that indoors after many years if you try to remove the vinyl it will just be more likely to leave behind adhesive residue or possibly cause a little bit of damage to the substrate. 

For outdoor situations this vinyl can certainly be used.  It seams that some believe that water will destroy this vinyl.  This simply is not true.  Because of the nature of the film and the adhesive it is not the best choice for outdoor applications but it can be used.  It will only last for a couple of years depending on exposure conditions.  Two years is for something that is outside all the time.  Something that only goes outside occasionally will still have very good long term durability. 

The two things you will begin to see happen when the vinyl is done for is the edges of the vinyl will start to have a dirty looking adhesive ring around them.  The second condition is that the vinyl film itself will begin to develop cracks from expansion and contraction.  Likely the vinyl will leave behind some residue at this point.  This can easily be cleaned of with a product like goof off available at just about any home improvement or one stop shop type of store.  

So you see Oracal 631 or “Cricut Vinyl” is a great product with many uses.  It is highly versatile and can withstand more than many give it credit for.

Categories Vinyl Types
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