How to Use Printable Vinyl

Printable vinyl is among the secret treasure in the crafting field. Recently, it has earned much attention, with different brand options becoming available on the market. The good thing about printable vinyl gems is that they are tear and waterproof resistant. You can also customize it completely, and it is compatible with Silhouette Cameo, Cricut, and other device cutters on the market.

Another Amazing thing about vinyl is that they are available in different materials, thicknesses, and finishes. With that in mind, you might be wondering how to use printable vinyl. This piece, therefore, seeks to explain different kinds of printable vinyl and how to use them.

Types of Printable Vinyl

3 types of printable vinyl

There are three chief types of printable vinyl available in the market. These include;

  • Clear printable vinyl
  • Glossy printable vinyl
  • Matte printable vinyl

Each type possesses its unique strength and characteristics, but all have Achilles heels. That said, you must be careful when choosing your vinyl brand since some offer distinct and great materials than others. On the contrary, their thickness can also vary significantly from brand to brand.

On the right note, when the vinyl is thick, it can initiate problems like low-quality images, jamming and destroy your printer heads.

Clear Printable Vinyl

Another beautiful printable vinyl is the clear vinyl. It possesses a unique look because once you remove the decal from the backing sheet, you will see all the sections that look white on the page clear. This type is usually essential, particularly if you need a low-profile outline during the printing of the sticker.

Clear vinyl is still resistant to debris and rain much better than the glossy vinyl option. This is crucial if you are looking to expose your kitchen coffee mug to rinsing, hand washing, or using other types of debris.

The concern to note here is that this option isn’t dishwasher safe. Usually, the ink will probably wash away when you heat and use soap. You can still remedy this by utilizing a clear laminating sheet. Despite that, it can destroy the visual appearance of the printed decal. Another primary thing to note in this option is that it is not ideal for dark color objects. The reason is that clear background will be washed or fades away. Often, it would be best if you solely utilized the clear printable vinyl on white surfaces like white water bottles and/or porcelain mugs.

You should avoid using clear printable vinyl on surfaces like glass and candles. You require bright white material to place the vinyl on it to earn maximum contrast and enable ink to shine on the surface. 

Glossy Printable Vinyl

This is one of the best vinyl possessing alluring shine and prints in high resolution. This type of vinyl sticker paper is ideal for indoor tasks that basically don’t consume a heavy base. Good examples for employing glossy vinyl are tumblers, activity planners, candle labels, and laptop stickers.

The only issue with this type is that it appears to be less water-resistant. In most cases, black ink smears and/or run when it gets into contact with water. This is because of ink type composition that appears not to lock the vinyl surface as it should.

If you are looking forward to developing a custom bumper, this type of vinyl may not be the right one. The reason is that some users encounter some issues. 

Matte Printable Vinyl

Matte vinyl is a great option popularly known for high utility and durability. It creates awesome heavy-duty options for items like water bottles, bumper stickers, sports equipment, and tumblers.

However, you will have this vinyl at a lower cost due to its lower visual appeal and printing resolution. Once printed, the matte option is much ready for action.

People employ matte printable vinyl on car bumpers, mailboxes, mugs, and other kitchen dishwares. The good news about this option is that it is dishwasher safe and highly durable.

Because the PVC material possesses a waterproof coating, the vinyl is locked once it meets the ink for up to 5 minutes.

For Silhouette and Cricut users, this option is ideal since it is compatible with machine cutting. This is because glossy printable vinyl and glossy surface of clear alter the machine scanner when identifying the cut lines and the print.

However, because of the non-reflective surface of the matte vinyl option, the die-cutting appliance can easily identify the cut lines and respond fast to cut the decal using laser precision.

One challenge of using matte printable vinyl is attracting dust, dirt, and debris to its surface. When this happens, it leads to its bright white surface becoming dull for a while, particularly when introduced into a dishwasher. The best method to handle this downside is to employ an adhesive laminating sheet.

How to Use Printable Vinyl

vinyl printing by printer

Utilizing printable vinyl and printing is fairly easy. The process compares to the regular printing of a sheet of paper; however, the finish and the thickness of the material make them different. Therefore, you will be expected to adjust the settings for great results.

When you are done printing, all you are required is to cut the new stickers using scissors and place them where you want. Here is a quick guide on how to use printable vinyl.

1. Choose the Right Printable Vinyl

Picking the right vinyl will depend on the type of surface you seek to place stickers on. As discussed earlier, the options available are three, which include clear vinyl, glossy vinyl, and matte vinyl.

You can consider glossy vinyl if you are looking forward to a high-quality photo. Regrettably, this option is not ideal for long-term outdoor usage.

If it is a clear vinyl option, it is undoubtedly the best vinyl for white-colored items.

Lastly, matte vinyl is highly dishwasher safe and waterproof. However, this option does not have glossy traits, which leads to decreased image quality.

2. Use Software to Design Images and Prepare to Print

The next step is designing an attractive image using software like Microsoft word. You can still utilize the print and cut option. Still, it is critical to remember that the only printable vinyl compatible with this feature is matte vinyl.

If you employ a die-cutting machine with glossy and clear printable vinyl, a non-reflective laminate or clear tape should be placed over the top. This helps your machine to recognize, scan and cut lines easily without interference from reflective light.

3. Printing It Out

You should possess the right kind of vinyl for your equitable printer. For instance, if you are using an inkjet printer, you should possess an inkjet printable vinyl. You can light print a standard paper by placing your preferred printable vinyl into your printer rather than plain paper.

You can adjust your printer’s settings, but this relies on vinyl or allows the printer to auto chooses the ideal settings. To help you reduce jamming and give you better results, you can place your printable vinyl by hand into the printer. Give up to 5 minutes to enable the printed ink to dry and test to ascertain it is dry. The main issue with printing using vinyl is the challenge when it comes to dry.

It not drying easily because the kind of ink employed should be pigmented ink or dye-based. You can solve this by using another printer or printing with another color.

4. Cutting Out, Peeling Off, and Sticking

This is the right time to cut the vinyl out. You can do this by using a die-cutting machine like the ones created by Silhouette, Cricut, and Brother. If you are considering using scissors, ensure that you do it close to the edge before getting rid of the backing sheet. The stickers with round corners are strong and hard to peel up, which provides a better look.

After cutting and peeling off the sticker, the last thing is placing it on the hard, smooth, and nonporous surface.

5. Waterproof Your Stickers (Optional)

This is an optional step that aims at testing the waterproof ability. You can employ UV-resistant ink, laminate, or spraying the adhesive products over the sticker.


How to use printable vinyl is easy. You only need to identify the appropriate type of printable vinyl and understand the right process. Any type of printable vinyl is fine, but the simplest option to consider is the clear laminating sheet for stickers, which is available everywhere.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top