Archive for Vinyl Types

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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