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3M™ Scotchcal 50 Intermediate Vinyl
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Avery™ HP750 Calendered Sign Vinyl
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ORACAL® 651 Intermediate Calendered Vinyl
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Calendered Vinyl

No matter what your hobby of choice is, getting started is always a bit intimidating. It seems like everyone knows more than you and there’s tons of language and terminology that you don’t yet understand. Vinyl crafting is no different from any other hobby in that there’s a lot to learn at first. You’ll want to try different cutting machines and decide which one you like the feel of the most. You’ll probably attempt a few simple projects before moving on to advanced crafts, and the reality is that your first few projects will probably be a bit wobbly before you gain some confidence, skill and ability and begin to craft some amazing projects.

One of the many things you’ll learn as you begin your vinyl-crafting journey? You’ll learn about the different types of vinyl out there. From indoor to outdoor varieties and heat-activated to self-adhesive vinyl, there’s a whole world for you to explore and discover.

Today, we want to introduce you to one of the most basic and dependable types of vinyl you’re likely to encounter — calendered vinyl film. By learning about this film, you’ll already be making huge strides towards becoming a skilled and knowledgeable vinyl crafter.

What Is Calendered Vinyl?

Calendered vinyl is just one of the many different varieties of vinyl you’ll encounter any time you go vinyl shopping to stock up for a project. This vinyl is known for its thickness and high durability when compared to many of the other styles out there, making it an ideal material for signs and graphics.

Calendered vinyl draws its name from the process by which it is created. In this process, the raw ingredients are mixed together, kneaded and extruded through rollers in a way that looks a lot like the way pasta is rolled out through a pasta maker. Huge, heated steel rollers press the vinyl into thin sheets that are then packaged and sold. It’s this process of rolling out the sheets that is known as — you guessed it — calendering and that helps to name the finished product.

What Are the Features of Calendered Vinyl?

The primary feature for which calendered vinyl is known is its thickness and durability. Because of the way this vinyl is made, it’s naturally thicker than another comparable product — cast vinyl. This thickness, in turn, creates the durability that calendered vinyl is so well known for. Because the vinyl is thicker, tougher and more substantial, it’s more difficult to tear it or wear it away over time.

Calendered vinyl is also known for how affordable it is. Under most ordinary circumstances, this is the most budget-friendly craft and sign vinyl around, making it an excellent choice for someone looking to keep costs to a minimum. While it is available in a range of different strengths that each have their own price, it stays largely consistent as the most affordable option for a vinyl of this type.

On top of these features, calendered vinyl is also available in many different colors. Whatever your project is and whatever color you might be looking for, there’s a high chance that you’ll be able to find it in a calendered vinyl film.

What Grades Does Calendered Vinyl Come In?

Calendered film is far from a one-size-fits-all solution. Rather than settling for one standard grade of calendered film, you can choose from a range of options all designed to suit different levels of wear and tear. Each of these films grades will last for a different number of years, which is an important factor you will want to consider as you shop for your film.

The different grades you can choose from include:

  • Promo Film: While still a high-quality calendered vinyl, promo film represents the most economical end of the scale and will last about a year. If you’re looking for promo film, we recommend trying out either Avery PC500 or ORACAL 341.
  • Economy Film: Economy film represents the next step up the scale and should last anywhere from one to two years. If an economy film is what you have in mind, try out ORACAL 631 vinyl.
  • Intermediate Film: Intermediate film is highly durable, promising anywhere from three to four years of reliable performance. For an intermediate film that’s worth checking out, try ORACAL 651.
  • High-Performance Film: At the very top of both performance and durability scale, these high-quality films can be counted on to last anywhere from six to seven years. If you’re hunting for a great high-performance film, look no further than Avery HP750 or 3M Scotchcal Graphic 50.

Avery HP 750 VS ORACAL® 651

What Can Calendered Film Be Used For?

You can use calendered film in a wide range of applications, limited only by the stretch of your imagination. It performs at its very best, however, when you use it on flat or gently curved surfaces. This means windows, signs, plaques, bumpers and even floors are all fair game.

Calendered vinyl can be placed on glass, plastic, wood, concrete and almost anywhere else. Because it is so durable, it also has outdoor capabilities in addition to its indoor uses. If you’re looking for a dependable, reliable all-around vinyl film, calendered vinyl will be there with you every step of the way.

While you can use calendered film for almost anything you can imagine, however, this vinyl truly shines when it comes to signs, graphics and advertisements. Some of the most popular and common applications you’ll see for this type of film include:

  • Short-term ads
  • Removable installations
  • Promotional signage
  • Electro-cut vinyl lettering for banners
  • Vehicle lettering
  • Bumper stickers

What Is Calendered Film Best Used For?

Calendered sign vinyl offers extremely reliable performances in almost every setting. However, where it easily outperforms its competitors are in situations where the vinyl will need to hold up against heavy wear-and-tear.

One excellent example of an ideal setting for calendered vinyl is floor applications. If you’re looking to apply graphics to a floor space, you’ll need vinyl that can hold up against the stress of hundreds of feet walking over these graphics all day. A delicate vinyl will become shredded in mere moments, leaving your graphics ruined and unreadable. Calendered film, on the other hand, is up to the challenge. This vinyl’s thicker construction means it can hold up against this heavy traffic without falling to pieces.

Another place calendered vinyl truly stands out against the competition is in outdoor settings. Any vinyl that you plan to place outdoors must be ready to hold up against rain, wind, ice, snow and heavy sunshine, all of which can easily shred or fade an ordinary vinyl beyond recognition. With its heavy and durable construction, however, calendered vinyl is up for the challenge. This toughness is what makes calendered vinyl such a fantastic choice for applications like bumper stickers and outdoor signage.

Cast vs. Calendered Vinyl: The Production Process

For those uninitiated into the world of vinyl crafting, it may seem that there is no difference at all between cast vinyl and calendered vinyl. To someone looking to learn more about all the different applications of these different types of vinyl, however, it will quickly become clear that there are significant differences in terms of the way these two vinyl are produced, as well as their potential applications.

Both cast and calendered vinyl begin their lives in the same way. They start as raw materials which must be mixed together. The primary ingredient in both is polyvinylchloride (PVC) polymer, a rigid plastic that forms the base of the completed vinyl. This PVC polymer is mixed with plasticizers which help soften up the rigid base, as well as additional dyes and additives which work together to achieve the desired color as well as features like heat resistance and reflectivity. Depending on the specific film being created, different additives will join the mixture to create that unique final product.

While calendered film is mixed together and then rolled out into long sheets, cast vinyl undergoes a different process. Once the ingredients are thoroughly mixed together, the liquid mass is the cast out onto a matrix called the casting sheet, from which the entire process draws its name. These sheets are then processed in ovens that heat up the vinyl to such an extent that all the liquid solvents evaporate, leaving behind only the solid film. This film is then rolled into wide cores and coated with additional adhesives. This leads to the final product — a vinyl that is both delicate and long-lasting at the same time.

Cast vs. Calendered Vinyl: The Performances

Aside from the different processes that produce the two types of vinyl, the primary element that sets these materials apart is the various additives that go into each one during the production process. It’s these additives that are largely responsible for determining how thick and durable the vinyl will be, how well it will perform and how long it will last. Because cast and calendered vinyl are produced with different additives, then, it isn’t hard to see how their performance quality will be different.

Some of the best qualities of calendered vinyl are as follows:

  • Calendered vinyl is thicker and stiffer, making it easier to handle and use, especially for someone without much experience.
  • It offers excellent performance on flat or mildly curved surfaces.
  • Calendered vinyl is more budget-friendly than cast vinyl.
  • This vinyl provides a high level of protection against scratches, scuffs and abrasions due to its thickness.

Cast vinyl is thinner and more delicate, but if you think this also means it’s more flimsy, then don’t be fooled. Cast vinyl has a lot to offer, including amazing features like:

  • This film experiences minimal shrinkage during production because it is the entire sheet rather than just the film which is pulled through.
  • Because cast films are produced in thinner gauges, they’re better equipped to adhere to complicated curves.
  • Cast films are superior at maintaining their colors than other comparable films.
  • Cast vinyl typically lasts longer, with an average lifespan of anywhere from five to 12 years.

Cast vs. Calendered Vinyl: The Applications

Rather than looking at cast and calendered vinyl side by side and trying to evaluate which is better, instead try to ask yourself, “Which one is right for my purposes?” Neither type of vinyl is objectively better than the other. Both have many excellent qualities that make them well-suited to a variety of applications. And while cast vinyl might be the better choice under certain circumstances, calendered vinyl might be a far more appropriate choice for a different situation.

Calendered vinyl will be the right choice for flat indoor/outdoor applications such as window decals, bumper stickers, advertisements and promotional signage. These are all applications that are intended to be temporary, meaning that longevity isn’t a major concern. Furthermore, these are applications where the vinyl will experience plenty of strain, meaning that it needs to be thicker and more durable. Under all of these criteria, calendered vinyl gets the job done.

Cast vinyl, on the other hand, is better at covering complicated and curved surfaces. Because this vinyl is thinner and more flexible, it’s better at bending and curving to cover these more complex surfaces such as cars. Additionally, because this vinyl features an air release, it’s ideal for wraps, but work less well when it comes to vinyl lettering. Common places you might use cast vinyl include:

  • Architectural wraps
  • Car wraps
  • Smartphone wraps

Putting It All Together

If there’s a complicated or corrugated surface you need to cover, cast vinyl will be the way to go. In almost every other situation, calendered vinyl will be your best bet. This vinyl is tough and durable, making it easy to apply no matter your experience level and heavy enough to withstand whatever rough treatment it ends up facing. Calendered film usually isn’t intended to last a lifetime, but this is why you’ll use it in applications that are only designed to be temporary. If you need to do a little advertising or decorate a surface with a few graphics, calendered vinyl is there for you.

One of the very best features of calendered vinyl is that offers you all these benefits at an extremely budget-friendly price, meaning you can create your vinyl graphics without breaking the bank. Place calendered vinyl lettering on signs, on windows and even on the floor, and we think you’ll be more than satisfied with the results.

Shop Vinyl Today

Are you getting ready to start your first crafting project? Maybe you’re going to put together a flashy graphic, or you’re looking to customize your own bumper sticker or window decal. Whatever your project might be, if it involves working with a flat and basic surface, then we think calendered vinyl is an excellent place to start.

Here at Rvinyl, we sell vinyl in every color and style you can imagine, so that no matter what your project is, how much money you’re looking to spend and what your experience level is, we’ve got calendered vinyl that will work for you. Check out any of the fantastic calendered vinyl listed above, and don’t forget to explore the rest of our craft vinyl catalog, available in every color for your convenience.


Reviews | 4 Reviews

Avg Rating
4.94
Out of 5

Good place to order
by jose, PA 5.00

6/23/2020
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I live in another state and like to order here great conversations with me on the phone and had and issued with not enough product and was felt very quickly

never fails
by Donna, fl 5.00

9/17/2020
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this oracal 651 always cuts easily weeds like a dream and applies without issues

More than one use
by Granny B, Roanoke Virginia 4.75

8/1/2021
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I bought to cover and protect my new craft desk. It’s perfect. Probably not what most but it for.
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Reviews

4.94 | 4 Reviews