A Beginner’s Guide To All Things Vinyl


Adhesive and Heat Transfer Vinyl

When I first got my Cricut, I was so overwhelmed and slightly intimidated that I just let it sit for MONTHS before attempting to use it.

As the story so often goes, once I took the time to learn, I was upset with myself for not doing so earlier!

Did you receive a new Cricut recently or maybe you are like I was and have one just sitting, waiting to be used? You’ve come to the right place! Break that beauty out and let’s get crafting! This beginner’s guide to all things vinyl should help you open the world of vinyl crafting! 🙂 

(And if you are a newbie to the Cricut world, my Beginners Guide to the Cricut might be helpful!)

For your convenience, this post may contain affiliate links and pictures. Read my full disclosure here. 

Different Types of Vinyl

Hands down, my favorite projects to create are vinyl projects. I just love vinyl. The possibilities for vinyl creations is literally endless.

Vinyl can definitely be intimidating when first getting started. Fear not. Stick with me and you’ll be creating beautiful vinyl projects in no time!

Before we get started crafting with vinyl, it’s important to understand the different types of vinyl and when to use each type.

There are two main categories of vinyl- adhesive vinyl and heat transfer vinyl.

Adhesive vinyl is used for things like coffee mugs, car decals, wall decor and more.

Heat transfer vinyl (HTV) can be used for a plethora of projects, but the primary use is with clothing or fabric.

Adhesive Vinyl

Adhesive vinyl is sticky on one side and smooth on the other. Using transfer tape, the adhesive vinyl is applied sticky side down (just like a sticker 🙂 ).

This vinyl is what you want to use for most projects. Everything from coffee mugs, wall decals, wall signs, water bottles etc all can be created using adhesive vinyl. Pretty much any project other than clothing can be created using adhesive.

 Adhesive vinyl includes 3 main types: permanent, removable and specialty.

Permanent Adhesive Vinyl

Permanent adhesive vinyl, also known as outdoor vinyl, is water-resistant and can withstand outdoor weather quite well.

Thanks to its’ durability, permanent vinyl is perfect for creating car decals, glassware (mugs, wine glasses etc), water bottles, keychains and various other specialty craft projects.

My favorite permanent vinyl is Oracle 651. It cuts nicely, weeds easily and is incredibly durable! After trying several other brands, I now stick to Oracle exclusively. In my experience, no other brand weeds as easily and is as durable as Oracle! If you’re just getting started, I highly recommend you save your sanity and give Oracle 651 a try.

Removable Adhesive Vinyl

Much like permanent vinyl, removable vinyl is just as the name implies: vinyl that can be removed without causing damage or leaving residue. Removable vinyl has a water-based adhesive that won’t damage painted surfaces.

I love using removable vinyl for creating my own wall decals. Any phrase, quote, verse etc can be created and safely applied to walls without fear of causing damage. Most recently, I started creating our seasonal family bucket lists with removable vinyl. Its a fun way to display our checklist of family fun. Plus, it adds a nice little bit of decor to an otherwise blank wall. Awesome!

Removable vinyl is also great for tons of other fun projects, including creating your own Praises & Prayers chalkboards.

I have tried several brands of removable adhesive vinyl, all with varying degrees of success and ease of use. I love Oracle 631. It cuts smoothly, weeds easily and removes nicely without leaving any residue. Here’s a great sampler pack– it includes a nice selection of colors to get you started on any project!

Specialty Adhesive Vinyl

In addition to permanent and removable, there is also another group of specialty vinyl. Specialty adhesive includes: chalkboard vinyl, glow in the dark vinyl, static cling vinyl, fluorescent vinyl and more.

There are so many crafting possibilities for specialty vinyl. One of my favorites is creating our own window clings with the static cling vinyl.

If you’re ready to get started creating beautiful projects with adhesive vinyl, Expressions Vinyl is my favorite place to shop for all things vinyl. Not only are the prices great, the shipping is super fast and they have a nice rewards program! Win, win, win, ?

Heat Transfer Vinyl

Now that we’ve discussed adhesive vinyl, it’s time to delve into heat transfer vinyl (HTV)! Heat transfer vinyl is smooth on both sides and comes attached to a sticky carrier sheet.

I use HTV on a daily basis to create all kinds of shirts and baby bodysuits. (If you haven’t already, check out some of the adorable items in my Etsy shop, Ellie’s Darling Designs. ?)

I have experimented with countless brands of heat transfer vinyl. Hands down, my absolute favorite is Siser. Siser products are always high quality, easy to work with and quite durable!

Let’s keep things simple and discuss 2 main types of Siser HTV: easyweed and glitter.

Easyweed HTV

Siser offers an entire line of Easyweed HTV. Each with the incredible quality easyweed vinyl is known for and each with its’ own unique flair. For the sake of being thorough, let’s take a look at standard easyweed HTV and easyweed stretch HTV.

Standard Easyweed HTV

Standard Easyweed HTV is my hands-down-absolute-favorite-go-to-vinyl for nearly all projects. I just love easyweed! It is so easy to work with, it weeds like a dream, it can be applied with lower temperatures, it can be layered and it is available in tons of colors! What’s not to love?

Standard easyweed HTV is perfect for cotton, polyester, 50/50 blends and thanks to its’ CPSIA Certification, it can even be used on children’s clothing!

Ready to get started crafting with standard Easyweed HTV? First jump over to Expressions Vinyl to grab your HTV and then here’s a step-by-step for an adorable infant bodysuit.

Easyweed Stretch HTV

Easyweed Stretch HTV is exactly as it sounds: vinyl that works best on materials that have stretch to them. Think spandex, lycra, jerseys, workout apparel and so on. This type of HTV is a bit thinner and more pliable than other traditional heat transfer vinyl.

The thinner design of this vinyl gives it more stretchability (is that a word? 🙂 ) and helps eliminate cracking, peeling and lifting when applied.

Glitter HTV

Finally, arguably the most beautiful HTV to craft with: glitter HTV. 

Every project is better with a touch of glitter added! Am-I-right? 🙂 

Siser Glitter is fantastic. It is easy to work with, it weeds easily, it is durable, and best of all- it doesn’t flake or peel. Plus, the Siser Glitter colors are B-E-A-utiful! Seriously beautiful! 

Do yourself a favor, runnnnnn over to Expressions Vinyl to grab yourself some gorgeous glitter vinyl. My personal favorites are the rose gold and the confetti. 

Get Started With Vinyl

I hope you found this beginner’s guide to all things vinyl helpful!

Now that you know what kind of vinyl to use for each project, nothing left to do but get started! Dust off that Cricut machine and start crafting! 

What’s your favorite kind of vinyl to craft with? Let me see those beautiful craft creations you’re working on!

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