It’s all about quality

It’s back to school time, so my social feeds are packed with folks looking for and offering vinyl monogramming for lunchboxes, cars, tumblers, etc.. I’ve done a couple of monogramming projects, but I don’t really advertise for anything other than fandom-related things, so I just don’t jump into that realm that often. With the easy availability of the Cricut and Silhouette cutting machines, a lot more people are able to enter the creative space than ever have.

There is one major thing that separates most casual vinyl crafters from the others: vinyl quality.

The vinyl that I use for 99% of my projects is Oracal 651 calendered vinyl. I’ve played with a couple of different brands over the years, but I’ve found that the Oracal has a great thickness (2.5mil), and has incredible lasting power in the Texas sun. While it is rated to last about six years, I have a couple of decals that are in direct weather very often that are well over eight years old.

The majority of the vinyl that I have seen sold for use with the typical craft cutting machines is not rated for outdoor use and, from my experience, super flimsy. On a project I did a couple of years ago with a request for an atypical color, I capitulated and bought a couple of sheets of the Cricut-branded vinyl. My machine ate it up and I ended up have to do a lot more work to get the project done. Up until that point, I really thought that the biggest difference in vinyl was calendered versus cast: I was so incredibly wrong.

All that being said, if you are in the market to customize the stuff in your life with your monogram, ask questions of the person or company you approach to do it. Ask them how long the vinyl is expected to last. Ask them if they guarantee that. Ask them if the vinyl used is appropriate for outdoor use. That lovely printed vinyl with the pink and green paisleys looks pretty awesome, but you’d better not put it on your minivan unless you are prepared to scrape it off in a couple of months (if that).

Better yet, get in touch with me. I’m positive that I can deliver a better quality design at a lower price than a lot of the folks saturating the social markets right now.

Justin Bowers

Justin is a purveyor of fine code, a collector of many many things, and a sympathetic reader. Aside from here, you can find his inane rantings on Twitter at @aquaphase or on Goodreads.

Justin can be reached here.