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Home :: Adhesive Vinyl Products

Adhesive Vinyl Products

Adhesive vinyl is great for applying decals to cars or walls, signs, glassware, and other hard surfaces.  Adhesive vinyl has sticky adhesive on the back and should not be used on clothing or other textiles.  One of the biggest mistakes new customers often make is purchasing adhesive vinyl for use on clothing when they should actually be purchasing Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV).  Adhesive vinyl comes in many different types, styles, colors, and brands. You may also want to watch the recording of this free online class called "ADHESIVE VINYL 101".  The video is fairly long but contains a lot of useful information that will demystify a lot for newcomers to the craft, as well.

Permanent Adhesive
Permanent adhesive vinyl such as ORACAL 651 is often simply referred to as "651", implying the customer is simply wanting permanent adhesive vinyl.  One common question is where one can purchase "glitter 651 vinyl" and they really mean "glitter permanent adhesive vinyl" because ORACAL does not make 651 vinyl in glitter--651 is merely the model number of an ORACAL product.  Permanent adhesive vinyl is most often used for car decals, personalizing glassware or tumblers, sign making, and other applicatons where you do not typically want to remove the vinyl.  This doesn't mean it can't be removed, it simply has a much longer life cycle when exposed to harsh environments outdoors, as opposed to a wall decal inside your home.  If you use a permanent adhesive vinyl for a decal, don't be surprised if it removes paint when you take it down or leaves behind a residue from the cured adhesive that must be dealt with.

Temporary Adhesive
Temporary adhesive vinyl, like ORACAL 631, is also often referred to as removeable or repositionable vinyl.  This vinyl is an excellent choice for applications where you want to easily remove the vinyl later such as indoor wall decals.  Like 651, temporary adhesive vinyl is sometimes generically referred to as "631" when the person actually means "temporary adhesive vinyl."  This does not mean you cannot use it on things such as signs or decals, it means that (a) it's easier to remove with less or no residue left behind and (b) it has a much shorter life span when exposed to the elements than a permanent adhesive vinyl.  

Surface and Application
Typically for vinyl to adhere well you want to apply it to a clean, dry, and smooth surface.  For surfaces like glass or similar, we recommend cleaning it with rubbing alcohol and allowing to dry before applying.  Do not use cleaners with amonia such as window cleaner as this may degrade the adhesive and shorten the life of the product.  Using a squeegee and good transfer tape will often reduce air bubbles in your application, but much of this depends on technique and practice.  Do not be afraid to spend a small amount on some vinyl and cheap products from your local dollar store to practice with!  How well vinyl sticks is very dependent on the surface.  The cleaner, harder, and shinier the surface, the more likely it is to stick well.  Vinyl will often not stick well to softer plastics, especially those with matte or textured surfaces.  Walls that are painted with gloss or semi-gloss paint are more likely to stick well than those painted with flat paint or that have textured surfaces. 

Different types of vinyl have different life expectencies and this usually has to do mostly with the type of adhesive as well as the type of vinyl.  The first thing you usually decide is the type of adhesive you want/need for your application.  The second thing you usually decide is whether you need cast or calendared vinyl.  In most cases crafters work with calendared vinyl.  Cast vinyl is usually thinner and has a different manufacturing process that allows it to be shaped and contoured easier without shrinking back into it's orgininal shape.  Many metallic types of vinyl also have a considerably shorter life span due to the type of material than standard solid colored vinyl.

In the LEARN section of our website we have some excellent articles that explain more detail about the different types of vinyl.  One thing you also want to consider when looking at other brands or searching for cost effective solutions for vinyl is whether the film is polymeric or monomeric.  Monomeric vinyl is less expensive and is more susceptible to shrinking and cracking than polymeric vinyl.  The terms polymeric and monomeric are rarely seen or known when it comes to selecting vinyl, but if you notice the designations, pay attention and choose wisely.