How to Choose the Right Sticker Material: A Helpful Guide
By: Naomi J. Golbeck, Decals.com Staff Writer
Are you having trouble picking your sticker material? It’s okay, there are a lot of types of vinyl, and it can be confusing. But don't worry, we can help you find the perfect material for you!
I’ve put together this helpful guide so that you can make the best decision for your custom sticker needs.
In this guide you will learn:
- The differences between high-tack and low-tack vinyl.
- Which vinyl is the best for vehicles and boats.
- The benefits of reflective vinyl for visibility and safety.
Let’s jump right in!
Chapter #1: Knowledge is power: Material overview
High Performance Cast Vinyl
This vinyl is one of the most durable, premium vinyl sticker materials on the market! It is both strong and beautiful. It is available in a gloss and matte finish, and has a lifespan of up to 8 years when properly installed and maintained. Cast vinyl also offers air release channels that allow for a lower occurrence of air bubbles, making the installation of these stickers easier than other vinyl material options.
Calendered Vinyl Material
This is probably the most popular vinyl material choice. It is inexpensive, yet durable with excellent print quality. It can be cut into almost any shape, is printed in full color, and available in a gloss or matte finish with a protective lamination.
High-Tack Calendered Vinyl
This hardy vinyl is designed to be used on low-energy surfaces or materials that are normally difficult to adhere to like cleaning product bottles. It has an outdoor lifespan of 3-5 years. It is coated with a special formulated clear solvent removable adhesive laminate. This laminate protects against scratches as well as harmful UV.
Low-Tack vinyl is also known as removable vinyl material. This material can be removed without leaving any residue for up to one year after placement. This vinyl is printed in full color and can be cut into almost any shaped sticker. This durable vinyl is available in a gloss or matte finish.
Clear vinyl is a 4 millimeter transparent vinyl material designed for indoor and outdoor use. It comes with either a front adhesive and sits on the inside of a window or has a back adhesive and sits on the outside of a window. The clear sticker is visible from both sides with either tack option.
Reflective vinyl material is a 5 millimeter engineering grade material. This material is available in two types of UV and scratch resistant lamination.
The short term lamination has an outdoor durability lifespan of up to three years or more. While the long term lamination has an outdoor durability lifetime of up to five years or more.
Chapter #2: How low tack vinyl can get you great household stickers
Look around almost any home and you’ll probably spot a custom sticker or two. These stickers are usually made from low-tack (or removable) vinyl. This is because most home décor sticker use is meant to be temporary.
Many people use low-tack window stickers for holiday decorations or other special events. These stickers are also commonly used for jazzing up your refrigerator, laptops and even cell-phones.
When removability and versatility are key, then low-tack vinyl is the solution for your project.
Chapter #3: How you can get long-lasting stickers from high-tack vinyl
This material is phenomenal for low-energy surfaces like household cleaning bottles, coolers or garbage cans.
If you need stickers to last a long time, or have low-energy materials that need labeling, then this is the best option for you. This material is perfect for objects that encounter moisture and medium-amounts of wear and tear.
If there is a smooth, non-porous, surface that stickers don’t seem to cling to very well, then you probably need a high-tack vinyl solution for your project.
Chapter #4: How you can get weather-resistant stickers with cast vinyl
High performance cast vinyl is just plain tough. In fact, it is often used for vehicle wrapping. This high quality vinyl is intended for outdoor use in the elements.
It is the premiere heavy duty option for marine use like boat registration, USDOT stickers and even horse trailer stickers!
When wear & tear are a given, high performance cast vinyl material is a godsend.
Chapter #5: How reflective stickers can keep you safe
Like bike helmets, road flares and neon vests, reflective vinyl is all about keeping you and your equipment highly visible in poor-light conditions.
This material has a long life, too. When properly installed and maintained, it is rated for 3-5 years of use outdoors. So, you won’t have to replace your reflective stickers very often.
Whether working on a road crew, conducting a search and rescue or just checking the breaker box after a power outage, reflective vinyl can help keep you safe.
From dusk to dawn, this vinyl material will help keep you and your crew out of danger and get you all home safely.
Chapter #6: Material benefits breakdown
To sum up, here is a helpful graphic that shows the benefit breakdown of each vinyl sticker material.
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