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How to tell the difference in vinyl

How to tell the difference in vinyl

A member of our Facebook Group recently asked, "If I've mixed up my vinyl, how can I tell which type it is?" The only way to tell for certain is that if you've somehow labeled it or if it's marked on the product. For example, ORACAL 651 vinyl will say "ORACAL 651" on the paper backing. This does not always apply but for the most part you can follow this general rule of thumb for vinyl used for crafting and probably be ok.

Permanent Adhesive vs. Temporary Adhesive
The majority of permanent adhesive vinyl you'll find in crafting is going to be glossy. This does not necessarily hold true all the time, but most of the time you can be safe by following this rule. ORACAL does make 651 in matte finishes but again, ORACAL is labeled on the backing. Temporary adhesive vinyl is usually, if not always matte finish. I could be wrong and I'm sure someone will correct me if I am, but I have yet to see Temporary Adhesive vinyl in a glossy finish.

Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV)
HTV is distinctly different from adhesive vinyl. Since you cut HTV from the opposite side from adhesive vinyl, it will be on a clear or opaque plastic carrier sheet which serves the same purpose as transfer tape. Custom printed HTV may not have a carrier sheet on it and usually this has to be applied separately to have allowed the printing process to take place. It is important to note that if you purchase manufactured printed pattern HTV such as Chemica, it may come with the carrier sheet attached just like regular HTV and glitter HTV.

Hopefully this will help anyone sort out their mix of vinyl products should such an accident befall you. One tip might be to write the type on the back of each sheet and on HTV write on the carrier sheet with a sharpie or affix a small label. If you do, be careful not to let it transfer onto your teflon sheet or heat press platen and carry to other items!

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