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 Film - A 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.