Smart Vinyl vs Regular Vinyl: A Beginner's Guide

Table of Contents

You want to get creative and use different types of vinyl, but the choices are so vast that you start getting confused about what to use. Here is a beginner’s guide, so you’ll know the difference between smart vinyl vs regular vinyl.

 

WHAT IS VINYL?

smart vinyl vs regular vinyl

Vinyl is a synthetic material that scientists invented when they wished to have easy-to-use materials in 1920.  It is a type of plastic made from ethylene found in crude oil and chlorine from regular salt.

You combine crude oil and chlorine, then you get Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) resin or popularly called Vinyl.

TWO TYPES OF VINYL

1. Regular or Adhesive Vinyl

  • Regular types of vinyl are similar to stickers or decals but may be used on smooth surfaces.
  • This has a white backing.
  • It has a variety of types, patterns, and colors.
pearl opalescent vinyl

 

  • There are REMOVABLE and PERMANENT vinyl materials.
permanent and removable vinyls

 

Removable

  • Removable vinyl is mostly matte.
  • It is a temporary adhesive vinyl.
  • Removable material is easy to take off from any surface.
permanent vinyl
Permanent
  • Permanent vinyl is shiny except metallic and shimmer.
  • Permanent adhesive vinyl is hard to take out of any surface and usually lasts for 1-3 years.
  • Good for crafts that may get wet or be blown by wind and pressure.
permanent vinyl



Both Removable and Permanent materials may be cut using a cutting machine usually referred to as a vinyl cutter or vinyl plotter.

 

permanent adhesive vinyl

 

  • Permanent Adhesive vinyl is suitable for making removable vinyl labels, decals, and other DIY projects.

2. Smart Iron-on Vinyl (Heat Transfer Vinyl)

  • Iron-on vinyl is applied on soft surfaces and still needs heating.  
  • This is typically used on fabric shirts, tote bags, home decor, etc.
  • Iron-on Vinyl has no white backings.
  • With Iron-on vinyl, you don’t need to use transfer tape because once the heat activates the back of the iron-on, it becomes sticky and adhesive.
  • You will need a Heat Press for the Iron-on to act like transfer tape.  You will then  use a transfer tape to help in aligning the design onto the large mat surface.
          glow in the dark vinyl

          Glow in the Dark HTV Vinyl

          Get creative with TeckWrap Craft’s Glow in the Dark Heat Transfer Vinyl! A special treat for DIY crafters.   This vinyl captures the eyes as it glows brilliantly in the dark but is as beautiful any time of the day too.

          When you want eye-catching designs, this Glow in the Dark Heat Transfer Vinyl is elite!

          Features

          • Size:10“x5FT (0.25*1.55m)
          • Extremely durable HTV that survives multiple washes 
          • Stunning glow-in-the-dark effect in 4 neon colors 
          • Cotton-friendly vinyl; ideal for t-shirts, hoodies, bags, hats, clubwear, pillowcases, bedsheets. 
          • Super-thin and stretchable allowing easy transfer and coverage 
          • Quick and easy transfer 
          • Waterproof
          • Smooth, glossy finish
          • Easy cutting and clutter-free weeding

          VINYL PATTERNS

          With lots of patterns and designs, you cannot stop thinking of putting all those creative sparks into reality.  And knowing what the available designs for you to choose from will make shopping for vinyl materials not like finding a needle under a haystack.

          TWO CATEGORIES OF REGULAR PATTERN TYPES OF VINYL 

          1. BASIC PATTERNS

          regular pattern vinyl

           

          Use patterned vinyl to add patterns to home decor and other craft projects.

          • Florals
          • Plaids
          • Stripes

          2. SPECIALTY PATTERN

          specialty pattern vinyl

           

          Use specialty vinyl for fun textures and uses.

          • Glitter vinyl
          • Stencil vinyl
          • Outdoor glossy

           

          There are many available patterns for you to choose from in our catalog.

           

          USES OF VINYL

          uses of vinyl

           

          From medical supplies, construction supplies, toys, cars, t-shirts, walls, and many more, vinyl has been topping the charts.

          • Medical supplies
          • Construction industry supplies
          • Auto supplies and materials
          • Waterproofing anything- walls, beds, posters
          • Vinyl records
          • Designing crafts 

          WHERE TO USE VINYL

          The general rule is: Use vinyl only on hard surfaces like walls, glasses, bottles, wood, etc.  Vinyl will bind easily on these surfaces.

          And another good thing is you may use vinyl on anything that can withstand heat transfer, like fabric shirts and tote bags.

          SMART MATERIALS

          Pieces of vinyl that are cut even without the cutting mat are called smart vinyl or smart material.  All you have to do is load the material into your machine, and voila!

          smart vinyl

          TECKWRAPCRAFT Adhesive Vinyl 13"X5ft Roll

          • DIY YOUR DECORATIVE CRAFT GIFTS WITH TECKWRAPCRAFT ADHESIVE CRAFT VINYL.
          • 13"x 5ft /33cm x 155cm each roll 
          • For Cricut Explore 3 and Cricut Maker 3
          • Compatible without a cutting mat – just load & go!
          • Available in 8 colors
          • Permanent Vinyl
          smart adhesive vinyl


          Using Smart Materials, you can make crafting quick and easy by creating the cuts you wish and you won’t need a cutting mat.  Trim the material straight across rather than at an angle if you plan to load it without a mat.

          Smart Materials are a combination of glossy and reflective properties.

           

          THREE TYPES OF SMART MATERIALS

          SMART PAPER

          • Smart Paper is sticker paper.  
          • You may work on it without a cutting mat.
          • If you want a quick labeling project.

           

          SMART PAPER STICKER CARDSTOCK

          A Smart Paper Sticker Cardstock is a medium-weight card stock paper with an adhesive back.  This is perfect for making stickers, cards, labels, and other creative crafts.  With this smart material, you won’t need glue.

          Smart Paper  Sticker Cardstock uses the Explore 3 and Maker 3.   This sticker paper is light with an adhesive back.

          All you have to do is cut, peel, and stick to create beautiful cards, bold banners, posters that are effortlessly beautiful, and whatever your creative imagination can think of creating.

           

           SMART LABEL WRITABLE PAPER

          Smart Label Vinyl is compatible with all Cricut Joy Pens and Markers.

           SMART IRON-ON VINYL TYPES

          Smart Iron-On Vinyl is another kind of Smart Material you can use with your cutting machine. Smart Iron-On is another term for Heat Transfer Vinyl.  

          heat transfer vinyl

           

          Heat transfer Vinyl is used on soft surfaces like fabric surfaces.  But it may also be used on wood.  HTV is a similar material that has a heat-activated adhesive, designed to work with fabric surfaces or any surface that can withstand heat.

          vinyl on fabric

           

          Photo by Julia Kuzenkov from Pexels

           With Smart Iron-On material, you’ll be wearing creativity on your sleeve and even on your shirt, pocket, pants, or any fabric surfaces if you want to!

          You can use Smart Iron On without a cutting mat, so you just go after you load it.  You’ll be addicted to creating your designs any way you want, any time of the day.

          Your Iron-On Vinyl or Heat Transfer Vinyl will stick on where you want it as long as it is activated by heat and pressure, unlike  Regular pieces of vinyl that have a sticker-like adhesive.

          SMART VINYL (Removable and Permanent)

          When you have a Cricut Explore 3, Maker 3, or Cricut Joy, you will have two kinds of Smart Vinyl to choose from: Permanent and Removable.

           No doubt, both of these options can unleash the creativity in you depending on your projects.  Smart Vinyl comes in a wide variety of colors, effects, and lengths, and knowing what type of Cricut Explore or Maker machines will be compatible with your materials is something you must consider.

          REMOVABLE SMART VINYL

          Removable Smart Vinyl can be removed without leaving behind any mark.  Thus, using Smart Materials is highly recommended by Cricut for indoor projects like wall decals and labels.

          adhesive vinyl

          Photo by Maksim Goncharenok from Pexels

          PERMANENT OR SMART IRON-ON

          Permanent or Smart Iron-On is another kind of Smart Material, and using smart materials with Cricut Joy, or any Cricut Explore models will be good, but you may use any cutting machine that you prefer and will match your material.

           Iron-On is another name for Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV), and you can find tons of different colors, lengths, and effects of Smart Iron-On. Permanent iron-on is adhesive that won’t come off quickly and is excellent for outside projects.

           

          Smart vs Regular Vinyl

          SMART VINYL IS WIDER THAN REGULAR VINYL

          Smart vinyl is 13 inches, and regular types of vinyl are 12 inches.  So, there will be an issue with how to fit the new vinyl model to the older models of cutting machines.

          How do you cut a smart vinyl?

          Since you are just starting with crafting and you don’t have your own cutting machine yet, you may, of course use your hand!

          If you don’t have an electronic cutting machine to do your craft projects, you may cut a smart vinyl using any machine cutter like how you usually cut vinyl as if it is still on the mat.

          SMART VINYL IS LIGHTER

          Smart types of vinyl are lighter than regular types of vinyl.  Some materials like card stock paper are of medium-weight that won’t give you a hard time gluing because it has an adhesive back.

          SMART VINYL MINIMUM SIZE

          Smart Materials must be at least 4 inches in length to feed through the machine even without a mat.   

          So, if you have scraps shorter than that, use a cutting mat.  Remember that Cricut machines like Joy allow 1 inch of allowance of material directly at the top and 0.5 inches of fabric at the bottom.

          You may make repeated cuts to fill a more extended space of material, but the maximum design length you can cut using a 4-inch piece of Smart Materials is 2.5 inches. 

           You just have to adjust the Project copies in Design Space or select  Make Again as many times as needed in the machine.

          YOU HAVE LOTS OF COLORS TO CHOOSE FROM

          Your innermost creative side will be ignited just by looking at the vast choices of colored types of vinyl available in the market.  Then, you will have to trust your creativity using Smart Materials.

          You may choose from basic colors, holographic vinyl, and other fun-patterned vinyl. One more thing to note, Smart Vinyl has a matte finish.

          smart vinyl

           

          BASIC PATTERNS

          Use patterned vinyl to add patterns to home decor and other craft projects.

          • Florals
          • Plaids
          • Stripes

          SPECIALTY PATTERN

          Use specialty vinyl for fun textures and uses.

          • Glitters in vinyl
          • Stencil vinyl
          • Outdoor glossy

          SMART MATERIALS DON’T NEED A CUTTING MAT

          Smart materials are ready to be loaded onto a Cricut Joy without the need for a cutting mat.  

          Wait for the machine to tell you when it’s time to load your smart materials

          The software will prompt you when it’s time to load your Smart Materials and tell you how much of it you’ll need.    

          When you use a Cricut machine and your vinyl is larger than what you’re going to need, you won’t need a mat anymore, for you may cut Smart Materials from the roll.  You’ll just need the roll holder to use it and not worry about cutting smart materials. 

          SMART MATERIALS WILL HELP UNLEASH YOUR CREATIVITY

          Since Smart Materials are larger than Regular types of vinyl, your designs are not confined to the size of the material.  You can then think big! Literally!

           

          LET’S ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS

          WHAT IS SMART PRINTABLE VINYL GREAT FOR?

          Smart Printable vinyl is great for larger decals. Both Printable Sticker Paper and Printable Vinyl are removable.

          smart printable vinyl

          Photo taken from https://www.teckwrapcraft.com.au/

          WHAT IS SMART VINYL USED FOR?

          Smart vinyl inspires your creativity in creating easily removable wall and car decals, vinyl decals, labels, and more for personalized kitchen containers, gifts, well-designed shirts, and everything your imagination inspires you to create. 

          The machine that you use for your Smart Vinyl, whether Cricut brand or other brands like Silhouette Camel, can perform the functions that you need.  

          If you use smart material that has a smaller size and there will be scraps, this may be used on the mat, but of course, you’d have to buy that mat separately as it doesn’t come with the machine.

          ARE SMART MATERIALS WORTH IT?

          TeckWrap Craft has smart materials that may be used on Cricut machines and the Silhouette Cameo machine that is also good for cutting vinyl.

          What’s good with our non-Cricut Vinyl materials is that they can be programmed to match the settings that you want.   

          We have another blog about Cricut Explore & Silhouette Cameo Setting for TeckWrap Craft Vinyl that may guide you through this process.

           

          cricut explorer 3




          DO I HAVE TO USE SMART VINYL WITH CRICUT MAKER 3?

          The Cricut maker 3 is an ultimate smart cutting machine that can cut 300+ materials.  Nothing is left out, everything from the most delicate fabric and paper to heavy chipboard, leather, or wood, you name it! 

          You may use any material with a Cricut Maker because this machine does not cater to Cricut Smart Materials alone.  TeckWrap Craft has a vast catalog of these vinyl materials that you will find flaring your creativity.

          DO I NEED A TRANSFER TAPE FOR MY VINYL?

          You may use any regular Transfer Tape which works for most vinyl types.  Use a Strong grip Transfer Tape for textured-finish pieces of vinyl like Shimmer and Glitter.  

          Shimmer and Glitter vinyl

           

          This is TeckWrap Craft’s  Transfer Tape and is a craftmaker’s good choice for adhesive craft vinyl application. Besides being cheaper compared with the other brands it spells quality and durability.

          • CRAFTMAKERS' GOOD CHOICE FOR ADHESIVE CRAFT VINYL APPLICATION
          • SIZE - 12"x10ft 
          • Matte Transfer Tape: best for layering and works with most of our vinyl 
          • Purple and Grey Grid Tape: medium tack 
          • Yellow Grid Tape: high tack and works with glitter vinyl

           

          HOW DO SMART MATERIALS WORK?

          Now,  you are thinking of using those special cutting machines you have heard about and started thinking if it is alright to use any material in your machine and cut it without a mat.  

          The answer is a resounding “YES, it’s alright and you must not worry.”; you can cut smart materials even without a cutting mat.  The thing about it being compatible with a particular machine is what makes it special because smart materials have a special backer that can feed into the machine without the need for a cutting mat.

          Smart materials may be cut using older machines but it’s not wise to buy older machines if the new ones offer more benefits.

           

          WHAT IS AN INFUSIBLE INK PEN?

          Infusible ink pens are pens that can be used on paper and then can be ironed onto an item compatible with infusible ink.  Infusible ink also makes the material more permanent as it does not wear off easily.

          HOW DO YOU CHOOSE A VINYL FOR A  PROJECT?

          The types of vinyl you choose for a craft project depend on the goal or the output you have in mind as there are types of vinyl that match your craft goals.  Cricut machines or any vinyl cutting machine will help you do this.

           

          So, as Stephen Covey said, “Begin with the end in mind.”   Think of what kind of craft you want to have at the end and you’ll know the vinyl type to use.

          WHAT ARE SMART IRON-ON LINERS?

          This material is a little bit thicker than other Iron-on materials, which is important to note when setting up your vinyl cutting machine.  The time and temperature settings of iron-on liners will differ from the other materials.

          The liner adhesive will hold your design in place on the base material during transfer.

          A patterned iron-on liner is less sticky than the other kinds of iron on-liners.  

          A heat-resistant tape will come in handy to secure the design.

          ARE TECKWRAP CRAFT’S VINYL STICKERS SAFE FOR CARS AND WINDOWS?

          TeckWrap Craft’s Vinyl stickers are safe for almost all car surfaces and windows.  It is temporary, so it will not damage your car windows or paint, but it also won’t last very long with all the exposure to natural elements. 

          There are also permanent vinyl safe for cars and windows and will surely last long.  It will give you the best result and won’t damage your car if you take extreme care in removing it.

          Just a reminder, you must never forget to clean the surface before putting the material.  Use rubbing alcohol on a paper towel to remove oil, dust, and other dirt.

          permanent and removable vinyl stickers for windows

          Photo by Aelis Harris from Burst

          CAN I STILL USE SCRAPS FROM CUT VINYL MATERIALS?  AND DOES TECKWRAP HAVE A PRODUCT TO HELP ME WITH THIS?

          Yes of course!

          After printing and then cutting your designs, there will surely be leftover scraps of cut pieces of excess vinyl lying around your work table.  Our Scrap Collector is just what you need!

          It has a reasonably-sized hole in the middle that can collect all the sticky scraps and bits in one clean place.  Its powerful suction allows you to fix it in a flat place while crafting your favorite vinyl art.  And for sure, this will spark your creativity; you may still reuse them!

          And what more?  When you’re done cleaning, transform this Scrap Collector into a fancy holder for your precious weeding tools at no extra cost to you!

           

          weeding scrap collector

           

          Features

          • Large collector hole that can take in large piles of vinyl pieces 
          • Versatile and Efficient 
          • Strong suction allows you to fix it in a convenient place
          • Made from long-lasting silicone material  
          • It can also be used as a holder for weeding and sewing tools 
          • smartly shaped  
          vinyl scrap collector

           

          TECKWRAP Craft Smart Adhesive Vinyl - 5.5" x 10ft, Adhesive Decal Vinyl Bundle

          smart vinyl craft bundle rolls
          • DIY YOUR DECORATIVE CRAFT GIFTS WITH TECKWRAP SMART CRAFT VINYL BUNDLE
          • EASY WEED, EASY APPLY Works without a cutting mat – just load & go!
          • TEST CUT is always recommended. Water and UV resistant for indoor and outdoor projects.
          • WORKS WITH - Most cutting machines such as craft kiss-cut cutters, sign plotters.
          • APPLICATION - Home Decor, Scrapbooking, Lettering, Graphics, Stickers, Removable Decals, Windows, Walls, Banners Sign Smooth Flat Surface.

           

          IS VINYL GOOD FOR CAR DECORATION AND PROTECTION?

          car vinyl

           

          The high-grade car decoration and paint protection products at TeckWrap are used by wrap specialists and do-it-yourself consumers worldwide! 

          You may choose from a wide range of colors with an array of finishes.  Do you want Realistic high-gloss carbon fiber? Or maybe matte metallic with a “pearl” finish?  We have them when you want them, and more!

           

          car vinyl
          color shift metallic

           

          car vinyl



          matte metallic vinyl



          smart vinyl in different colors

           

          GET STARTED ON VINYL WITH TECKWRAPCRAFT 

          Check our product catalog and check our blog posts regularly for more helpful resources when you feel like crafting for yourself, as a hobby, or as a business!

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