Vinyl, either permanent or removable is an amazingly versatile material. You can use it to decorate, label, make subway art, make cards, etc. The advantages of using it are almost infinite. Whichever type you use, it will expand your crafting possibilities exponentially.
Removable Vinyl (Oracle 431 for example)
Just as the name implies, this vinyl comes off if you want it to. It is used for walls, mirrors, picture frames, paper etc. Anything that you may want to take the vinyl off of without leaving a mark or damaging the surface.
Removable Vinyl is essentially a sticker. It can be applied to paper , wood, plastic, etc, everything that won’t be exposed to water or weather. I have used it on lamps, compacts, my cricut, and mirrors. You can do a messy canvas or a subway sign with it. Removable vinyl comes off sorta easily (but not too easily) with a pick or sharp tool. And removable vinyl won’t leave a residue behind.
Here are some of the pictures of things I have made.
You can find endless pattern online or create one yourself. The greatest thing is it keeps little parts together, like the graduation card above. That would have taken a while to glue and get everything lined up in the right place. Vinyl makes that easy! I put lettering on a lot with vinyl because it keeps the letters lined up and you don’t have to worry if the letters will cut out while removing the centers of non stencil letters.
The big wall sayings are made with removable vinyl usually because it doesn’t leave a residue or pull off paint.
You can get printable or patterned vinyl too. That makes it easy to have multiple colored projects, but that type is spendy and I never know where to cut patterned vinyl to get the best effect from the pattern. For these reasons I don’t work with these a lot.
Permanant Vinyl (Oracle 451)
Permanent Vinyl, on the other hand, stays where you put it and is waterproof. This makes it perfect for dishes, outdoor signs and anything that will be exposed to weather or the dishwasher. Jennifer Maker did a wonderful video where she used small polka dots of every type of permanent vinyl on a cup and left it in her dishwasher for a few weeks. Watch her video here.
Here are some of the things I did with permanent vinyl. The designs are all available in my downloads. I have washed them in the dishwasher a few dozen times and they are fine.
NOTE: Do not put permanent vinyl projects in the dishwasher for about a week.
Designing your Project
Like HTV both types of vinyl need to be weeded once cut. Weeding is the process of removing all the parts you don’t want. Some people love weeding, some people hate it. For more complex projects I always print or cut a paper copy of your design to help see where to weed. Then that paper copy can be used as an embellishment or a coloring page later.
You will also need a light source. I have a Brightpad by Cricut. (I got mine as a Christmas present.) They are expensive, I know, but you need some type of light source to put under the project. Before I got the Brightpad, I used a LED lamp , a bowl and a piece of glass. It wasn’t high tech but it worked. Any light pad will work. You can find them on Amazon for about $20.
Additionally, you will need a sharp pick. I have a set from Harbor Freight that cost 2 or 3 dollars. I also have just found a pinpen from 651 vinyl that works great too. While you are there look at the weeding ring. It is wonderful! I used to stick the weeded vinyl to my hand but my skin had a reaction to the sticky. The weeding ring solved that.
There really is no “trick” to weeding. You get better at it the more you do. And some projects go better than others. Some manufacturers make what they call easy weed. I haven’t noticed a difference.
I saw a neat idea on Facebook the other day. Rub some baby powder on the vinyl before weeding. It makes the lines stand out so you can see them better. I tried it and didn’t even need the Brightpad. Just be sure to wipe the baby powder off before you stick your vinyl to the transfer tape.
Transferring Your Design
I have used contact paper and this works very well. It is inexpensive too. I have also used Press and Seal by Glad. This works for small projects but because it is so flexible, large projects seem to move a lot and are hard to place. Painter’s tape or masking tape can be used to transfer projects. This method works well on smaller projects.
Once your project is weeded place the transfer tape over the design sticky side down. Rub it very well to attach the vinyl from the backing to the transfer medium. Squeegee the transfer tape to the vinyl with a good deal of pressure. Then pull up the transfer tape slowly. If pieces don’t stick as you go, replace the transfer tape and squeegee again or rub with your fingernail. You definitely don’t want to go fast.
Transferring off the transfer tape
I have found it helps to turn everything over so that the transfer tape is on the bottom then pull off the backing parallel to the transfer tape. This is how I transfer it to my project too. It just seems to help.
Once the vinyl is on the transfer tape, notice that the vinyl is sticky. Place it over your project. When you have it lined up correctly, squeegee the vinyl to your project. Pull off the transfer tape (parallel to your project). Re-squeegee anything that doesn’t come off the transfer tape. If your project has multiple layers start with the furthest back layer and move forward, lining up each layer as you go.
If the thing you are sticking the vinyl to is curved, slit the transfer tape between the sections or letters so that it is more flexible. Be careful not to cut the vinyl. You may even need to cut the pieces apart to transfer them better. It is a try and see type thing.