All About Vinyl Films

by MyVinylDesigner 27. October 2010 09:00

Perhaps you have heard of vinyl siding, vinyl gloves, vinyl flooring, and vinyl records, but never really questioned what vinyl is. Well, vinyl is a synthetic, man-made plastic material made from ethylene (found in crude oil) and chlorine (found in regular salt).  When processed, both substances are combined to form Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) resin, or .... Vinyl.

Vinyl was first invented in 1920 by scientists who wanted to develop a material that would help manufacture everyday products that were easier to make, more durable, and cheaper. Today, vinyl has become the second largest manufactured and sold plastic resin in the entire world. The most common use of vinyl is found in construction, particularly as vinyl flooring and vinyl siding. However, vinyl can be used in many other ways (such as in vinyl lettering for home decor) because of its ability to combine with various additives and modifiers.

Vinyl that is used for home decor wall decals, is a PVC film that is backed with an adhesive that creates a strong bond to a surface when pressure is applied.  This kind of film comes in a wide range of colors and thicknesses and are generally weather and chemical resistant.

CLICK HERE to see how vinyl stencils are used with chemical etching cremes in home decor

VINYL FILMS FOR HOME DECOR

There are several manufacturing brands of vinyl, particularly as they relate to home decor:  Oracal, Avery, 3M, Nikkalite, Oralite, Mimaki, GM ... to name a few.  There are also many types of self-adhesive vinyl films.  Some of the most common used in home decor are:

Exhibition Vinyl Film - Personally, we prefer the Oracal 631 Exhibition Cal Vinyl (Matte Surface) for interior decor. It comes in many beautiful colors and it's matte surface lends a warmer look in home and its mild adhesiveness is perfect for walls.  The higher grade, high gloss, tackier films can create a mess on walls at the time of removal.  If your vinyl is meant to be outdoors more than six months, such as on car windows, boats, mailboxes, and signs, we highly recommend using the Oracal 651 or 751 Premium Cast Vinyl.  Ask your supplier for an Oracal color chart.

Dry Erase Vinyl Film - An interior vinyl film designed for use with dry erase markers and products.

Glow In the Dark Vinyl FilmA specialty vinyl film that glows in the dark for up to six hours at a time.  It only takes about three minutes of exposure to light for the film to recharge.

Flourescent Vinyl Film - A bright, highly visible vinyl film created for interior and exterior usage.

Reflective Vinyl Film - A specialty high performance vinyl film with very small glass or glass-like materials encapsulated below its surface, creating the ability to bounce or reflect light beams back to its source. It is the kind of vinyl film that is used for pin striping on tractor trailers and for graphics on emergency vehicles because of its high visibility after dark.  It is slightly more difficult to apply, more expensive, and you should not use water or application spray when applying.  But it's perfect for signage and graphics that need to be seen well at all hours and it will retain 90% of its retro-reflectivity when totally wet. 

Frosted Vinyl Film - (Oracal 8510) - This frosted vinyl film allows you to create frosted looking mirrors, windows, and glass projects with the mess of etching creams or sprays.  It is quite expensive, but perfect for some projects.  A more affordable alternative to using frosted vinyl film is etching. For a slight metallic colored etched (or frosted) looking vinyl ... #90-fine silver, #91-fine gold, #94-coarse silver, #95-coarse gold ... offer some beautiful options. CLICK HERE for more about etching with vinyl stencils

Heat Transfer Vinyl Film - (Psisereasyweed) - This fun vinyl is meant to use on a heat press and comes in a multitude of colors.  Simply preheat your substrate for 5 seconds at 302 degrees, lay vinyl and heat for 10-14 seconds, then peel off hot or cold.  The product name is PSISEREASYWEED and runs about $8-$10/yard (24" width) through most vinyl suppliers.  Imagine the possibilities.  FUN!!

Preprinted Decorative Vinyl Film - We are not aware of any pre-printed, decorative rolls of vinyl on the market at this time.  However, Regional Supply does offer these SHEETS of preprinted decorative vinyl films that might interest you.  Patterns are generally printed on vinyl by larger scale sign shops who use higher-end printing processes. 

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Vinyl Films

Using Vinyl Outdoors

by MyVinylDesigner 27. January 2010 05:37

If your vinyl is meant to be outdoors for more than six months at a time, such as on car windows, boats, mailboxes, and signs, we highly recommend that you use the Oracal 751 Premium Cast Vinyl.  Regular Oracal 631 Vinyl states there is a 3 year outdoor usage, but it will quickly crack and fade in extreme temperatures.  White exterior vinyl looks best on car windows because it is the best seen from far distances.  Silver, gold and light gray follow right behind ... just with a little more subtle color.  Be sure that you charge your customers more for exterior vinyl because it will cost you more and take longer to weed. It is not as forgiving as regular interior vinyl.

CLICK HERE for more info related to exterior vinyl

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Vinyl Films

Where To Buy Vinyl

by MyVinylDesigner 27. January 2010 04:51

Vinyl can be purchased from a variety of places from craft stores to the wholesale outlets that sign makers order from.  You'll certainly save more money when you purchase directly from the wholesale vinyl supplier.  Personally, we like to purchase our vinyl supplies from REGIONAL SUPPLY in Salt Lake City, Utah, at 1-800-365-8920.  Their prices are very competitive, and their customer service is exceptional.  Be sure to ask about their free shipping minimums.

For the vinyl film, we recommend the Oracal 631 vinyl for interior usage and the Oracal 651 or Oracal 751 Premium Cast Vinyl for exterior usage.  This kind of exterior vinyl is meant for projects that are meant to be outdoors more than six months, such as on car windows, boats, mailboxes, and signs.  The regular Oracal 631 vinyl states there is a three-year outdoor usage, but it will quickly crack and fade in extreme temperatures.  In southeastern Idaho, we've seen the Oracal 631 vinyl change as early as eight months.

For the transfer tape, we recommend using the opaque R-TAPE Conform 4075-RLA Transfer Tape ..... or ..... the Transfer Rite Ultra Transfer Tape (high tack) for all your vinyl projects.  Some other specialty vinyl films include:


For etched-looking vinyl ... use Oracal 8510 etched glass vinyl

For a slight metallic colored etched-looking vinyl ... use #90-fine silver, #91-fine gold, #94-coarse silver, #95-coarse gold

For glow-in-the-dark vinyl ... use


Frosted (etched-looking) vinyl costs quite a bit more than other films, so be sure to price your projects accordingly.

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Vinyl Suppliers

Ordering Vinyl from Distributors

by MyVinylDesigner 26. January 2010 12:51

Vinyl films are available as pre-cut sheets (12"x12" and 12"x24") and on rolls of different widths (12", 15", 24", 30", 48").  You can generally purchase vinyl rolls in 5 yard increments, maxing at 50 yard lengths.  For instance, you       For home decor vinyl, the 15" and 24" wide rolls are the most popular. 

Another option for creating pre-cut vinyl sheets is to buy a 24" roll of vinyl and have your vinyl supplier cut it in half for two 12" rolls.

Also, purchasing vinyl films directly from the distributor, instead of through a craft store  is a big money saver for those wishing to cut a lot of vinyl. 

 

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Vinyl Films

All About Vinyl Cutters

by MyVinylDesigner 25. January 2010 23:43

Coming soon ...


No worries about the questions!  It sounds like you are set up perfectly to add vinyl to your business.  I would suggest that if you haven't bought a cutter already you don't buy a cricut machine.  They are slow and the size you can cut is very limited.  For only a little bit more money you can buy an entry level vinyl cutter that will be light years ahead of the cricut machine.  You can pick up a 24" cutter for about $500.  A cricut runs about $300 plus the Sure Cuts A Lot program that is $75.  If you already have the cricut, it will work fine.  But is you are looking to make the investment, a vinyl cutter would be better use of your money.  Oddly enough, ebay is usually the best place to buy a cutter.  Two companies that sell entry level vinyl cutters are MASTER WAREHOUSE at http://www.masterwarehouse.com or US CUTTER at http://www.uscutter.com  Be sure to check to see if they have an ebay special.  

You will love adding vinyl to your list of options for monograms.  Vinyl is inexpensive and has a nice profit margin that people are happy to pay.

We order our vinyl from Regional Supply in Salt Lake City, Utah at 800 365-8920.  They are very helpful.  Be sure to specify Oracal 631 for indoor projects and Oracal 751 for vehicles.  Also, ask about their free shipping.  Their quantities aren't very high to get free shipping.

 

Congratulations on entering the vinyl world!  You will love cutting vinyl and creating projects.  Vinyl cutters are all over the board as far as cost goes.  However,  I found that a cutter from Masterwarehouse.com or USCutter.com will work just fine for those starting in vinyl lettering.  They run around $400 though I do recommend spending the extra hundred dollars for the Flexi software upgrade.  Flexi is a very user friendly program that you can upgrade to more advanced features as your business grows and money is coming in.

I think a 30" cutter would be sufficient for you...especially if you are just doing lettering.  I have never had a project that could not be done on a 30" machine.  When I first bought a machine, I bought a 48" cutter...only to find I always cut on 24" vinyl.  I should have saved my money and put it toward the second flexi upgrade.  A 54" cutter is way overkill esp for letters.  You can't even buy matte vinyl that wide. 

Often these two companies have specials on ebay, so check there first.   Good luck with your purchase!

 
I love your site! I am so happy to have found you - I have purchased many items and will be back for more! I am in the market right now for a large professional vinyl cutting machine (48-54") and am wondering if there is anything you can recommend. Something that will work to cut large decals consisting of mostly letters (so pretty fine detail). Thanks for any help you can offer!

Congratulations on your decision to start a vinyl business.  You are in for a fun way to make some extra money. I am happy to give you some suggestions. If you do not have a cricut, I would certainly not recommend buying one.  You will be MUCH happier putting your money into a vinyl cutter.  You can pick one up on ebay for around $400 for a 24-27" cutter.  Masterwarehouse.com or uscutter.com both sell entry level vinyl cutters,  and we have lots of customers with machines from either place.  I do think it is worth the extra $100 to do the software upgrade to FlexiStarter.  It is very user friendly and great for those starting in the vinyl business.

There are certainly different types of vinyl.  For indoor use, we like Oracal 631.  It has a matte finish and looks great on walls.  Outdoor applications have lots of other choices.  They come in grades...Check out our blog for lots of details on vinyl and application tips...

http://www.myvinyldesigner.com/blog/

Good luck!  You will love working with vinyl! It has a great mark up and is relatively cheap to get started.

Also, contact Regional Supply in SLC, UT at 800 365-8920 to order your vinyl.  They are fantastic to work with.  Just specify what kind of vinyl you want. And be sure to ask them for a color chart.



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Most Popular Vinyl Colors

by MyVinylDesigner 11. October 2009 05:31
When it comes to color, we go nuts!  There are SO many beautiful variations that one can create with the Oracal 631 vinyl color palette.

We have found that customers primarily ask for BLACK, BEIGE (creme), MAIZE, BROWN (chocolate brown), LIGHT BROWN (tan), DARK RED or DAHLIA RED or
LIPSTICK, and OLIVE for general home decor. 

PINK, BUBBLE GUM, LIME TREE GREEN, WHITE, SIGNAL YELLOW, and TRAFFIC BLUE tend to be the top color choices for children's rooms.

We also personally enjoy designing with DARK GREY, LIGHT GREY, STORM GREY, NUT BROWN (terra cotta), CELADON, SILVER, COPPER, and GOLD.  All the new designer colors are gorgeous colors. 



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Color Schemes & Combos

Why won't my vinyl stick to the cold car window?

by MyVinylDesigner 23. March 2009 10:03

In cold weather conditions, the only way to apply vinyl decals is by using a vinyl application fluid like RapidTac.  Otherwise, the vinyl will simply not stick.  Here are two tutorials we thought covered the entire process best:

CLICK HERE for more info related to vinyl application sprays

CLICK HERE for info related to bidding a commercial installation job

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Stick Figure Families

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