What is Cast Vinyl and how can I use it?

What is cast vinyl, and how is it used with vinyl cutters and crafting projects? Manufacturers pour chemical components into a large pan and set into a sheet of stabilized vinyl. The casting process results in thinner gauge vinyl film that stays in a relaxed state.

Manufacturers refer to this type of vinyl as having “no memory”; it will easily take the form of complex shapes – like vehicle surfaces­ – and give a dimensionally stable result that retains color well.

Examples of cast vinyl products are vehicle wraps, high durability signs and lettering, and emergency vehicle and marine decals. Oracal 951, considered the gold standard  products on the market, has a 10 year lifespan and comes in over 150 colors.

Calandered vinyl is cast vinyl’s counterpart.

How do you make calandered vinyl?

By extruding the heated, mixed vinyl chemicals into a series of rollers that flatten it into sheets. This rolling and stretching process creates “memory” in the vinyl – that is to say, the vinyl has a tendency to return to its original flattened form.

Calandered vinyl tends to be thicker than its cast counterpart, and therefore more durable and scratch resistant. One common example of calandered vinyl is Oracal 651. Projects with flat surfaces and simple curves best suit this type of vinyl.

Can you use this highly durable vinyl for other projects besides vehicle wraps? Oracal 951 is available in various widths and lengths, including 12 x 12 inch sheets. If you want to make durable, long lasting graphics for tumblers, coffee mugs or small vehicle decals, you can definitely use high quality cast vinyl. You can also make long-lasting outdoor signs with Oracal 951 that will withstand even the most unforgiving heat and cold.

Click here for more information on the best vinyl for Cricut and Silhouette machines.

image source: Jengtingchen/Wikimedia Commons

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