Sign Vinyl

If you’re a signage professional, then you already know the importance of stocking your supplies with high-quality vinyl for signs. Passionate crafters, as well, will know plenty about this versatile material, and will likely purchase it regularly to keep up with their crafting demands. If you’re a home crafter or DIY-artist who’s just beginning to explore the possibilities of working with banner vinyl, however, you might still be new to some of the finer details.

Sign and decal vinyl is an extremely versatile tool that’s essential to keep in your supply closet, whether you’re a professional or a crafter in your spare time. There’s also a lot more to learn about this handy material than what immediately meets the eye, however. Today, we want to walk you through the basics of what sign vinyl is, what you can do with it and why you should be using it.

What Is Sign Vinyl?

Adhesive sign vinyl is a thin, colorful and flexible material that’s designed to adhere to surfaces, covering them like a second skin. It comes in every color and shade on the color wheel, making it easy to find just the color you’re looking for, no matter how specific it may be. If you’re a bit unfamiliar with vinyl, you might compare it to a large sticker. While it’s certainly more high-tech than your average sheet of kid’s stickers, the same principles apply. One side of the material will be covered in the color or design, while the opposite side is designed to stick to a surface.

In its most basic bulk form, sign vinyl comes in large rolls, similar to a long tube of wrapping paper or plastic wrap like you’d find in the kitchen. If you’re a wholesale dealer or a professional signage worker, you’ll likely be familiar with these rolls, as this is the form you’ll order for your materials. Because you’ll use so much vinyl, it wouldn’t make sense to order in smaller quantities. If you’re a crafter who doesn’t need such large amounts at once, however, these large rolls are far from the only way to buy your sign vinyl. You can also order it by the foot for a much smaller quantity.

You can then use this vinyl to cut lettering out of it free-handed, although this isn’t common. Most of the time, however, you’ll find it much more efficient to use a vinyl cutting machine and computer software to program a design digitally, and then let the machine automatically cut it into the vinyl. If you haven’t yet worked with one of these cutting machines, they work a lot like a computer printer, except that you’ll load them with sheets of vinyl instead of paper, and instead of printing, they cut the pre-specified designs into the vinyl.

Once you have your vinyl cut into the design of your choice, you can then use the adhesive property of the vinyl to stick it to a surface for an exciting way to grab people’s attention. Whether you’re looking to post a sign on the window of your store or upgrade your home’s décor a bit, there’s no more efficient and effective way to do so than by using sign vinyl.

What Are the Different Types of Sign Vinyl?

Banner vinyl is not a type of vinyl by itself. Instead, think of it as an overarching category of vinyl that includes many smaller types of vinyl. All of these sub-types fit the bill of sign vinyl, and all of them bring a little something different to the table. Anytime you’re planning a signage project where you’re going to use vinyl, you should always take the time to choose just the right type of vinyl.

Your most common choices will be:

  • Opaque cast film: When a film is opaque, this means it’s colored solidly enough that it isn’t see-through. The term “cast” refers to vinyl that’s a bit more durable, flexible and adept at maintaining its color, as opposed to the alternative, which is calendered vinyl. This makes opaque cast film an excellent choice for long-term settings where durability, longevity and maintained appearance over time are important factors.
  • Opaque calendered film: This film is also opaque, meaning it’s not transparent. However, this vinyl is calendered, meaning that while it isn’t as long-lasting as cast film, it’s incredibly cost-effective. Vinyl such as this will be best for short-term applications where longevity won’t be a major concern.
  • Metallized film: These are metallic polyester films designed to mimic the look of Chrome, Engine Turn and Diamond Plate. Not only is this vinyl extremely durable, but it also offers fantastic ease-of-use with a cutting machine.
  • Translucent film: Translucent vinyl is typically intended for use with backlit signs. They’re designed to be more transparent than other vinyl, allowing light to show through them and give a glowing effect. This film is equipped with a matte finish to prevent the back-lighting from showing any imperfections or hot-spots.
  • Transparent film: Like translucent vinyl, these films are designed to be a bit more see-through than the average vinyl. This is because transparent films come in a variety of shades and are usually used to layer over metallized films to give them a colored tint. These films are commonly used on both vehicle and storefront windows for amazing graphics and decals.

What Are the Best Brands of Sign Vinyl?

In the world of sign-making, first-impressions are critical. Signs are your way to gain customers, draw attention to your brand, direct people to your location and let people know who you are. If your sign looks at all dingy or worse-for-the-wear, it’s hardly going to instill confidence in your brand. If anything, it could do more harm than good. That’s why it’s essential to use the very best sign vinyl out there — to ensure a finished product that looks amazing and does you credit.

What are the top brand names in sign vinyl today? If you’re looking for nothing but the best, you’ll find three renowned brands to choose from. These are:

  • 3M Films: Out of the top three brands, our surveys indicate that 3M vinyl is the most popular brand by a significant margin.
  • Avery Dennison: Avery Dennison is the next most popular brand, with a dedicated customer base and a consistently reliable product.
  • ORACAL: While ORACAL may be less popular, don’t let this dissuade you. This vinyl has a lot to offer in terms of durability, longevity and consistent, high-quality coloring.

What Can You Do With Sign Vinyl?

As the name suggests, sign vinyl is best used for creating show-stopping signs, decals and lettering. It’s extremely easy to do, and with just a bit of practice, you can soon be creating beautiful graphics and sticking them onto your surface of choice, such as a wall, a glass window or a vehicle. A few of the common locations where people might choose to install their vinyl lettering are:

  • Store- or business-front windows
  • Walls inside the home, such as in the kitchen, bedroom or bathroom
  • Vehicle exteriors, such as cars, trucks, motorcycles or boats
  • Vehicle windows
  • Vehicle bumpers
  • Laptop and smartphone surfaces

People might choose to advertise a company name and information on the storefront window or a vehicle, present an inspirational quote on the dining room wall or add a cool graphic and quote on the window of their car. For all these purposes and more, sign vinyl gets the job done.

The same principle applies even if you’re not looking to use lettering, but instead looking to create a vinyl graphic showing a company logo or just an eye-catching image. Stick these vinyl signs to glass, metal, plastic or wood and enjoy an instantly high-class appearance.

How to Make Signs With Vinyl

Ready to start making your very own vinyl signs? Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Start by selecting your vinyl from our list of different film types and brands we mentioned earlier. Then, either choose a pre-designed template or design your own graphic in the software that goes with your cutting machine. Load the vinyl into the cutting machine and set the design to cut out.
  2. Before you install your graphic, make sure the surface where you’ll be placing it is clean and free from any dirt or dust. Once the surface is clean, measure and mark it to determine exactly where you want your graphic to go. If you place it on without measuring, the odds of it being slightly off-center or a bit crooked are very high. Once you know where you want the vinyl to go, tape it in place along the top of the vinyl with a line of painter’s tape, placing half the tape on the surface and half on the vinyl so that you create a hinge-like shape.
  3. Grab the bottom edge of the hinge and remove the liner from the back. Be sure not to let any of the exposed adhesive touch the intended surface until you’re ready. Then, use a squeegee or applicator tool to apply pressure to the front side of the vinyl, smoothing the entire graphic down from the top to the bottom and the left to the right.
  4. Once the entire graphic seems to be in place without any bubbles, creases or mistakes, go over it again with your squeegee to make sure it’s firmly pressed down and in no danger of accidentally peeling up.
  5. Finally, peel up the transfer tape that you used to move the vinyl from the cutting machine to the application site. If it seems the vinyl is trying to peel up along with the tape, use your squeegee to press it firmly back down. Give the entire graphic one more final examination for stubborn air bubbles, and step back to enjoy your creation.

Why Choose Vinyl Signs?

So you know you need a sign. Maybe you’re advertising your business, you want to decorate your new office’s front window, or you’re just looking to add a little flair to the wall of your dining room. Why choose vinyl signs? Why not turn to printed banners and signs instead?

There are plenty of great reasons to opt for vinyl signage over printed alternatives. Not quite convinced? Consider the benefits you’ll experience when you choose vinyl:

  • Longevity: The largest advantage that vinyl lettering has over a printed sign is a long lifespan. Realistically, posters will only last a handful of years before they start to look dingy and worn. The colors will fade, the surface will become scratched and the corners might get torn by wind, rain or snow. If you’re looking for a long-term application, vinyl will stand the test of time far better. Vinyl can easily last for a decade, if not longer, and never look worse than the day you first installed it.
  • Durability: Posters are highly susceptible to scratching, tearing and staining. It doesn’t take a lot of damage for a poster to go from looking brand new to looking like it needs to be replaced immediately. Vinyl comes with a bit more durability. While it isn’t infallible, vinyl can take a lot more damage than a typically printed poster, and still come away looking presentable.
  • Cost: Both vinyl and printed options come in a wide range of price points. Both have very affordable options, and both also offer many more expensive choices. Whether you’re looking to save or spend, either type of material can meet your needs. Over time, however, printed signs will almost always end up costing more, simply because you’ll need to replace them more often. Even if you were to purchase an expensive vinyl, you would save money because of how long it would last, while printed posters would regularly need replacing.

Buy Sign Vinyl for Your Next Project Today

Have a new office space to deck out before the clients start arriving? Looking to upgrade your car with a fun bumper sticker or a cool new window decal? Maybe that bedroom wall is beginning to look a little bland, and you have an inspiring quote you’d like to pop up there? In any of these cases, adhesive sign vinyl is the answer you’re looking for.

Depending on your exact application, the vinyl you use will be different. Choose from cast sign vinyl including:

Whatever type of sign vinyl you’re looking for, make sure you get the highest quality out there by shopping at Rvinyl.

Here at Rvinyl, we make it our business to give you the best customer experience possible. That’s why all our shipping features the same flat rate, no matter how much you buy, and we don’t impose any minimum order requirements on your shipment. So get busy shopping today and get one step closer to that gorgeous vinyl sign you’ve been envisioning.


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Reviews | 45 Reviews

Avg Rating
Out of 5

by Reflective vinyl white, 4.50

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Amazing thickness love it just messed up what I was applying to so order more and going to give it another try

Product & Price are great, Shipping & Customer Service need improvement.
by Signman, Washington 4.00

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I had ordered some translucent vinyl for a project that needed installed before the store opening. It was a small amount that totaled 3 lbs. that they had in stock. I had 14 days to finish and the vinyl showed up after 13 days? That is a long time for 3 lbs. I live in the continental U.S.....

The time before this I needed a small piece for a repair job, 1' x 2' . Well for some reason Rvinyl didn't use my whole address so when It arrived the post office had it returned to sender. I didn't receive a notification or anything. A week later I called to see what happened? Checked the address they had on file for me, It was correct. So I pointed this out to customer service and they responded saying they would straighten this out. Well, it was not. and the attitude I received made me want to shop somewhere else.

Ranting ,
Marshall Signs

Great vinyl - fast shipping too!
by Shannon, PA 5.00

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Great vinyl and fast shipping - at my door in 2 days. Thank you!


4.84 | 45 Reviews