Is there a Vinyl Made for Outdoor Use?

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A Brief History

In 1872, German chemist Eugen Baumann accidentally synthesized polyvinyl chloride (PVC).  Today, you can use different types of vinyl for a variety of purposes. There is a type of vinyl which is heat transferable and suitable for t-shirt printing. Some have adhesive properties, which allows you to stick it on various materials, including walls or glass windows. There is also a type of vinyl used outdoors in the form of 651 Vinyl.

Digging Deeper

What is 651 Vinyl?

651 Vinyl from Oracal is known as a permanent vinyl; however, this is not precisely permanent because it can lose its adhesive properties over time. What is true is it can last a long time, even when used outdoors and exposed to natural elements such as rain and snow.

Also, once it adheres to a surface, it will be tough to pull out. But if you do take it out, the adhesive will no longer work as much as it did before.

651 is durable enough to last six years or more, depending on its placement and exposure to extreme weather conditions. Still, six years is a long time. The adhesive can last a decade or even more when used indoors and protected against extreme weather conditions.

Other 651 Specs and Uses

Here are the other features of the 651 Oracal vinyl:

  • Waterproof
  • Glossy finish
  • Solvent-based adhesive
  • 5mil thickness

Oracal 651 is available in 63 colors, which provides professionals and the most avid hobbyists a multi-color palette for their designs and projects.

Compared to the 631 vinyl, the 651 has a glossy surface while the former has a matte look.

The 651 is versatile for various designs and purposes, most notably on car decaling, window design, outdoor and indoor signage, stencils, and general decorative purposes.

You can even use these on mugs and plates, so long as you wash these by hand to further prolong the vinyl’s durability. However, if you want to use the dishwasher, it is best to put them on the top rack.

How to Cut Vinyl 

If you will be using vinyl, use a vinyl-cutting machine for the best results. The use of such a tool will be handy, especially if you will be working with detailed or intricate designs such as calligraphy, drawings, logos, and patterns.

Most cutting machines can now be hooked up to a desktop or laptop computer. You will need to install a graphic design software specially made for vinyl designing.

Once your design is complete, you can feed it to the connected cutting machine, and it will do the job of cutting your design out of a piece of vinyl. The whole process is faster, more precise, and ideal for making bulk outputs.

You can also manually cut the vinyl. That is only feasible if you are working on a few pieces of designs or patterns, and if the design itself is simple, and you have a steady hand.

The Oracal 651 is the best choice if you are looking for a vinyl that works great for outdoor projects. It is waterproof and has a long-lasting adhesive that will ensure your design will stay for a long time.

Question for students (and subscribers): Have you ever cut vinyl?  Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Osborne, Richard.  Vinyl: A History of the Analogue Record (Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series).  Routledge, 2012.

The featured image in this article, a photograph by User:Dave souza at Wikipedia of “a modern Tudorbethan” house with uPVC gutters and downspoutsfascia, decorative imitation “half-timbering“, windows, and doors, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.


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Abdul Alhazred

“But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked. "Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad." "How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn’t have come here.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland