What are all these types of vinyl? What do I need?
There are 2 main types of vinyl. Adhesive vinyl and heat transfer vinyl. First we will talk about adhesive vinyl.
Adhesive vinyl comes in several brands, thicknesses, tons of colors and even a few different sizes. Adhesive vinyl is run through your die cutter with the vinyl facing up and the paper carrier sheet down. You cut your design out and pull away the extra vinyl which is a process called "weeding". After you are left with just your design you apply transfer tape to the design. Then when you are ready to apply the decal, you remove the paper backing, apply the decal and then lastly pull off the transfer tape. We will elaborate more on this process for new users of the products in a future revision of this page.
Here at The Vinyl Spectrum we carry 2 brands of adhesive vinyl, Oracal and Tape Technologies. Currently all of our regular solid colored adhesive vinyl is made by Oracal and our specialty vinyls come from Tape Technologies.
The different types:
Oracal 651 - This is the main type of adhesive vinyl that most people end up starting with. It is a 5-8 year rated outdoor safe permanent solvent-based-adhesive vinyl. It can also be used on items inside that you would like to be able to hand wash such as mugs, cups, cutting boards, etc. It comes in 60 different gloss colors plus there is a matte finish available in white and black and a clear as well (for use as a top laminate over some intricate designs or printed vinyl) for a total of 63 colors.
Oracal 631 - This is a matte finish indoor wall-safe (removable for up to 2 years) vinyl. It is for use on walls and other indoor items that will not be washed such as shadow boxes, picture frames, ornaments, etc... We currently carry it in 94 colors (counting white, black and clear) (as we have 24 colors that are not carried by most distributors).
Oracal 6510 - This series is the fluorescent (neon) colors of Oracal 651. There are 6 colors in this series. They can be used exactly the same as 651 with one exception... they are not solid colored throughout, meaning that the backside of the vinyl is not the same color as the front. For this reason you would not want to use 6510 where you will be looking at the bottom side of the vinyl.
Oracal 751 - This is a higher grade cast series of vinyl. Cast means that it is poured in layers and cooled instead of stretched through rollers. This allows them to make a product that is easier to apply to multi-dimensionally curved surfaces and is thinner and also will hold up a couple years longer in the harsh sunlight. It is important to note that this product is more expensive and sometimes trickier to get the hang of cutting, weeding and applying without stretching/breaking it. We carry this product in 28 colors specifically to offer the 28 colors that do not exist in the 651 lineup.
Oracal 951 - This is an even higher grade cast vinyl. It is designed to last about 2 years longer in the sunlight than even 751. It is also more expensive. We carry this product in limited colors (currently 6 popular shades) that are not made in the 651 or 751 line.
Tape Technologies StyleTech Ultra 2000 - This is adhesive glitter vinyl. It is almost identical in usage and durability to 651 and comes in 21 amazing metallic glitter colors. It can be layered and is applied with the same regular transfer tape. One thing to keep in mind with this product is that it is not solid colored throughout, so like the 6510 you would not want to use it in situations where you will be looking at the back side of the vinyl.
Heat Transfer Vinyl:
Heat transfer vinyl (commonly called HTV) is not sticky and instead is fused with heat to fabrics, such as shirts, tote backs, coats, scarves, blankets, stuffed animals, etc. It is designed to be applied with a heat press but can also be done with an iron. HTV is cut with the clear shiny side facing DOWN and the duller back of the vinyl facing up. Your design is then mirrored (flipped horizontally) so that you cut through the vinyl only and weed away the extra. Then you flip your design over and apply it to your garment and then remove the carrier sheet. No additional transfer tape is required.
We currently carry 1 brand of HTV - Siser.
Siser EasyWeed - This is the main type of HTV, it is a iron friendly easy to use product that we currently have in 58 colors (12 of which are hard to find colors including some that are exclusive to just our company) We have this product in a wide range of colors that includes 7 fluorescent (neon), and glow in the dark as well.
Siser EasyWeed Stretch - This type of HTV is designed to be thinner and stretchy to be able to be applied to tight fitting adult clothing and performance wear. It is slightly more difficult to work with and not recommended prior to becoming comfortable with regular EasyWeed HTV. It comes in 20 standard colors.
Siser Glitter - This type of HTV is a thicker real glitter feel vinyl for fabric that can still be applied with a press or an iron. We currently carry it in 39 colors and it is sold in 12" by 20" sheets. It does not stretch like easyweed and is not recommended in situations where it will be under stress often as that could cause cracking and peeling.
This document is still under construction and more types will be added soon.