Types of Vinyl

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In the world of crafting there is a large variety of types of vinyl that you can use with your various cutting machine projects.  Adhesive, Heat Transfer, Glitter, Flocked…… Today I want to give you a brief run down of the different types available, and when you might use them.  So let’s go over the best types of vinyl to use with each of your cutting machine projects.

vinyl guide

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Before we dive in though, I want to make sure we are all on the same page about some of the terminology that goes along with working with vinyl.  There are things like weeding it, transferring it, and even carrier sheets that go with the types of vinyl.  If any of those things make you say HUH? then head over here first to get a little background on the most commonly used terms when crafting with a Cricut or Silhouette.  Then I’ll meet you back here where we discuss when to use what.

Adhesive Vinyl

perfect for cups, decals, cars, and signs

When it comes to adhesive vinyl (the sticky kind used on mugs, tumblers, decals etc.) there are two main types.  Oracal is the brand name of the most widely used adhesive vinyl and the the numbers (631 and 651) help you to decide what type you need for your specific project.  Don’t forget though…. there are other brands of vinyl so you might also hear 651 and 631 referred to as permanent, crafting vinyl, glossy, indoor/outdoor, removable, etc.  Here is a little guide to help you decide which one is best for your project


This type of vinyl can be removed pretty easily without creating damage to the surface it is being removed from.  Think walls, and in home decor.

  • Removable
  • Matte
  • Indoor use


This type of vinyl can be used on basically everything but the walls of your house.  It is good for car decals, cups, and things you want to stay in place for quite a while.

  • Permanent
  • Glossy   (black and white also come in a matte finish)
  • Outdoor

There are a couple other vinyl options (like 751 and 641) for adhesive but today we are going to keep it super simple with the two main options you will probably be using.

vinyl guide

Heat Transfer Vinyl

Vinyl for fabric

Heat transfer vinyl sticks to fabric once it has been heated up.   This type of vinyl in my opinion is a breeze to weed because it isn’t sticky at all.  It has a little bit of static at times but it won’t ruin your entire project if it folds over (like adhesive vinyl will).

My favorite brand to use is Siser Easy Weed but there are tons of options on the market for you to try.  This is the type of vinyl you will want to use when making shirts, hats, bags, etc.  We even did a live over on Facebook where we put a bunny SVG design on a pair of canvas shoes.  You can check out the tutorials for that one here. 

Most heat transfer comes on a clear carrier sheet.  You will want to reverse the image when cutting HTV otherwise once it is applied it will be backwards.  Trust me…. I have forgotten to mirror more than once and man it isn’t fun! 

There are several different variations of types of heat transfer vinyl.  


  • Glitter
  • Stretch
  • Metallic
  • Foil
  • Flocked (it’s fuzzy like a blanket)
  • Printed
  • Printable
  • Holographic


Stencil Material

Officially this last one isn’t a vinyl but a stencil mask and it is used quite frequently with cutting machine projects.  Honestly it’s my absolutely FAVORITE way to make signs!

It looks (and feels) a lot like vinyl so I wanted to throw it in here.  This stencil vinyl is called Oracal Oramask and comes in 813 and 811.  Use this material when you are painting or even etching.  It is designed specifically to use as a stencil so it has low tack and tears easily when you are peeling it up after the design has been painted.  It usually comes in a large roll because it is only good for a one time use.

  • Oramask 811– white stencil film and a little stiffer
  • Oramask 813– blue stencil film and is the most commonly used in cutting projects


Cameo 3 Bundles by Expressions Vinyl


Whew!!  That was a bunch of info on types of vinyl material.  Like we mentioned above it you are curious about more of the terminology used with cutting machines check out our post here where we decode and explain crafting terms used with your cutting machine.  We also have put together an quick reference guide for you, so make sure to pin it for the easy access in the future.


In case you forget which type of vinyl is which pin the image above as an easy resource.  Once you have done a few projects the terms 651, HTV, and Oramask will become second nature.  I think that my favorite type is Oramask stencil vinyl the most because I just LOVE the look of a finished sign.  But I’m curious…. what about you?  Which is your favorite vinyl to work with?


I can’t wait to see what your projects look like with all the various types of vinyl!  Mix and match and most importantly have fun!  Remember my motto…. there is no wrong way to craft!

Then make sure to head over and show them off in our FB group.  You never know who you will be inspiring by showing off your creation!  Also if you are looking for some free svg files to experiment with the different types of vinyl on, head over to this post where I give you my ULTIMATE LIST of where to find them!  (hint: we are on the list so browse our blog and you are sure to find hundreds!)  


  1. Free Spring SVG Files - My Designs In the Chaos on January 31, 2019 at 11:24 pm

    […] HTV even works great… so really the options are endless.  We outline exactly all the differences between those types of vinyl over here. […]

  2. […] This post gives tons of great pointers on which vinyl to use when and check out all of our best weeding tips here. […]

  3. […] you plan on making the most and get the vinyl that matches.  Check out when to use what type of vinyl here so you can make sure you are […]

  4. […] want to mirror your design or it will be backwards when applying it to your shirt.  Check out this post where we share about all the different types of vinyl and when to use […]

  5. […] I can see the arrow on this design being so cute in patterned vinyl with the words just staying with a simple solid vinyl.   It would be such a cute gift for a group of friends on a shirt or even on a mug.  Check out all of our favorite crafting blanks from Amazon here.  We also discuss when to use what type of vinyl here. […]

  6. […] I think this one would look really great with some brick vinyl (it is raised to give it a 3-D effect) as the basketball.  It would make the design pop and give it that extra special touch.  Learn about all the different types of vinyl and when to use what here. […]

  7. […] If you aren’t sure what type of vinyl you need to use for your project check out this post here.  We give you a very simple guide of what to use […]

  8. […] Make sure to use adhesive vinyl for this project.  I recommend this kind here. Learn more about all the different types of vinyl here.  […]

  9. DIY Busy Board - My Designs In the Chaos on May 25, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    […] This step really is optional for the DIY busy board but I love how it gives the project a personalized feel.  I was able to use my cutting machine to cut out the stencil.  Stencil Vinyl is a little bit different than other types of vinyl.  If you are making a sign it is a MUST HAVE!  Check out the different types of vinyl here. […]

  10. […] you are curious about the different types of vinyl and when to use what head over to this post where we fully outline everything you need to know about […]

  11. Pam Larew on December 24, 2019 at 6:29 am

    awesome tutriol – I am very new to cruicuting and now what vinyl to use on which project will help greatly. thanks

  12. Maryann on November 24, 2020 at 10:22 pm

    Interesting Material

  13. Angie E. on January 15, 2021 at 6:41 pm

    Oh my goodness! Your information is so CLEAR and HELPFUL! A friend gifted me with her Silhouette and a tub full of vinyl … I am so eager to make EVERYTHING but I feel lost and overwhelmed! Just reading this has explained so much to me! I will definitely follow you! 🙂 THANK YOU for teaching me!

    • jespsantiago on January 17, 2021 at 11:19 am

      That is SO exciting! Stick around, we have TONS to teach you. 🙂

    • Verne on January 3, 2022 at 10:51 am

      I agree. the info is “spot on” Thanks

      • MyDesigns on January 4, 2022 at 4:25 pm

        Thank You!

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