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Vinyl is one of my favorite mediums to use. It can be very exciting as well as extremely confusing. 

What type of vinyl is what? 
Picking out the right vinyl will make a huge difference in the success of your project.

After trying several types of vinyl as well as reading other bloggers, here are my thoughts on vinyl. 

Silhouette Brand - Don't buy it for your projects.

Although it is ideal for practice, it can cause more frustrations than it is worth. 

Cricut Brand - Although it is better than the Silhouette brand, don't buy it. 

Although it is ideal for practice, it can cause more frustrations than it is worth.  

Avery - I have never tried Avery. 

3M – I have never tried 3M. 

Oracal - This is my favorite brand. It is the most commonly used vinyl among vinyl users. It is important to understand the different products of Oracal to select the best type for your project. 

The two most common ones utilized and referred to in groups, blog posts, and tutorials are Oracal 631 and Oracal 651. 

Oracal 631 - This is referred to as the indoor and removable vinyl. 631 is a matte finish color which a lower adhesive level that is water soluble. 631 is ideal for indoor signs, picture frames, home decor, and other indoor projects. 

Oracal 651 - This is referred to as the outdoor and permanent vinyl. 651 is a glossy finish color that is available in matte for white and black. 651 is used for make outdoors signs, items that are hand washed such as mugs, plates, etc., and car decals. 

Oracal 951 - This is referred to as the "cast" vinyl. The term cast refers to how the vinyl is created which is poured and cooled (cast). 951 is thinner. It is said to last longer outdoors due to the way it was made. The adhesive level is the same as 651. 

Oracal 8710 - This is referred to as the dusted glass vinyl. 8710 gives the appearance as though the design has been lightly etched into the glass. 

Oramask 810/810S/811/813 - These are all stencil vinyls for doing painted signs and canvases.

Soft PVC film (80 micron)
For short- and medium-term markings, letterings and decorations of exhibition stands and materials
Service life in exhibition buildings: 3 years
Polyacrylate, removable

Special PVC film (70 micron)
For short- and medium-term markings, letterings and decorations
Outdoor durability:

5 years (black/white)
4 years (transparent / colored / metallic)
3 years (brilliant blue)

Solvent polyacrylate, permanent

Printable Vinyl - This is refers to the method of printing on your vinyl. It is available in outdoor, indoor, and HTV. 

Heat Transfer Vinyl - This is commonly written as HTV. This vinyl is adhered to your medium using heat. HTV is commonly used with fabric. The most common manufacturers are Siser and Thermoflex. HTV typically comes with its own carrier sheet. When you cut HTV you will place the shiny side down. It is important to always mirror your images and/or text prior to cutting. Once the cutting is completed make sure you weed your design prior to transferring it. Although a heat press is preferred for using HTV, you can use an iron to apply your HTV. Siser HTV has a lower temp adherence level. 

A lot of vinyl users like Expressions Vinyl. You can find them through Amazon right

This is another this of suppliers. https://www.facebook.com/notes/silhouette-cameo-creations/suppliers/717403758358572

What settings should I use to cut vinyl? 
The proper cut settings can help reduce the amount of vinyl that is damaged. I highly recommend writing down your settings as you go so you can see what works best then add them to your software. Remember every machine is different so you may need to tweak these setting a bit. 



Weeding - What is it and how do you do it? 
Weeding is when you remove the pieces of vinyl that are not part of your design which is referred to as negative portion of the design. This includes removing the inside of letters and numbers. On designs with a lot of detail you will have to do a lot of weeding. 

Here is one of my favorite videos on weeding - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uX89R5mr9zY

Reverse weeding is another method on how to weed a design. Here is a video on how to do reverse weeding - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vwy0HF1KOaY

What can I use to transfer vinyl onto my project? 

Transferring vinyl to your object can be challenging and of course there are a few things you can use to help you transfer your vinyl. 

Transfer paper has a backing. When you use transfer paper you will peel the tape from the backing, apply to your vinyl, and peel and transfer your design. Transfer paper is available in rolls or sheets. 

Transfer tape is typically clean. It is available if a variety of widths from 2 inches on up. Transfer tape is typically sold in rolls. The tape is available in clear or paper. The rolls are usually sold in 100 yard rolls.  

What is the wet method of applying vinyl?
The wet method is using a combination of water and soap to apply outdoor vinyl. Check out this video on how to use the wet method to apply your vinyl. 

Why is my vinyl not loading straight? 

If the vinyl is not straight, unload the vinyl and re-load it so it is straight. I almost always use a mat with my vinyl to help ensure a straight cut unless I am making a long cut. You can press the vinyl against each of the rollers before it loads. 

How to use vinyl on a mug? 
Vinyl can be used on a variety of surfaces and products. The signwarehouse has a great post about how to use vinyl on a mug, check it out

If you have additional questions you would like for us to cover please email me at jamie@bonusmommie.com. 

Vinyl FAQs