If you're like most of us, you've probably never given a thought to the difference between two types of craft vinyl film — especially when you're talking about something as seemingly insignificant as series' numbers. Still, when it comes to the difference between ORACAL® 631 and 651 vinyl, the differences are striking and have real consequences for your intended applications. Let's take a quick look at what this means in real life.
One of the first things you notice if you compare ORACAL® 651craft vinyl to 631 film is their finish. The former has a high-gloss finish which means it shines in the light whereas the latter has a flat, low-gloss finish. Why the difference? Well, as we'll see, 631 Exhibition Cal is intended for application on rougher surfaces like walls, unfinished wood and drywall. Since a matte finish hides imperfections better than glossy finishes it only makes sense that 631 would have a lower shine surface.
ORACAL® 651 is a calendered vinyl that's meant for outdoor use so it is made with permanent adhesives. While this is an excellent thing if you're using it to make a sign for your shop window or a decal for your car, truck or SUV, it's not so great if you're applying it to a painted interior wall. ORACAL® 631, on the other hand, is ideal for short and medium-term interior use like wall art and window décor, as well as for glass, photo frames, signage, scrapbooks, and home décor that won’t get wet. Another difference is the thickness of the film: most likely because the 631 is intended for use on more irregular surfaces, it is 3 mil thick which is a full 500/1000ths of an inch thicker than 651.
In addition to these differences, one of the most important is the different in life span. 651 Exhibition Cal film is rated for 3 years of indoor use. After that time you can begin to notice a slight degradation in color, adhesion and performance. 651 Intermediate Cal vinyl, however, has double the life span and is made for both indoor and exterior use. In short, here are some ideal applications for each of the series:
As you can see, making the right choice between ORACAL® 651 and 631 is more a question if how you intend to use it than anything else. Naturally, there are dozens of other films offered by ORACAL®, Avery™, 3M™ and Rwraps™ that you can use for a variety of projects and applications and if you want to learn all about them be sure to check our (really long) article on all of the different types of adhesive vinyl .