What Is vinyl and what can you make with it?

Angie Renner
Published by 
Angie Renner
Last updated: 
January 24, 2024

What is vinyl? It’s one of the most flexible materials in the world.

But aside from its use in heat transfer stickers, most people don’t know much about it.

In this guide, we’re going to explain the other types of vinyl and their use in art and crafts.

The Main Types Of Vinyl

Aside from heat transfer vinyl, there are three significant types of vinyl you can use for projects.

Removable Vinyl

It is sometimes referred to as ‘Circuit Vinyl’ after one of the more popular manufacturers.

Temporary indoor projects like wall decor, decorations, or even phone cases, use removable vinyl.

The key thing to remember is that removable vinyl is for products that don’t get a lot of handling – it’s there to be seen, not touched.

Despite the name, it doesn’t have to be something you plan to remove. If you do expect to get rid of it, though, you can take off most removable vinyl without leaving residue behind. This makes it ideal for use on food containers, bottles, and anything else you may want to recycle.

Permanent Vinyl

As the name suggests, permanent vinyl will stay once it’s attached, and trying to remove it could damage the base material.

Most versions of this are strong enough to hold up to outdoor use. But whether they’re weather resistant or fully weatherproof depends on the type you get.

Permanent vinyl is also better for items that will be handled on a frequent basis, such as touchable signs, mugs, or vehicle decals.

This material comes in several grades. The primary material is appropriate for most art projects. Better grades are often used for military or public transportation needs. If you plan to make public art, get the best quality you can.

Unless you have a specific reason to make something temporary, permanent vinyl is usually a better choice than removable vinyl for art and crafts.

Printable Vinyl

The last of the three major types of vinyl, printable vinyl is ideal when you want to make intricate, intricate designs before applying them to your base material.

The designs can be as sharp and accurate as your printer allows. That said, you need a unique cutting tool (like the Cricut Explore) to cut this vinyl once it’s printed accurately – don’t expect a pair of scissors to do the job.

Printable vinyl is the hardest material to use, but it’s also the material with the most potential. Once it’s cut, the result may be removable, permanent, or even heat transfer. Be sure to carefully check each type of printable vinyl before you buy it to ensure it’s suitable for your project.

What Is Vinyl Best For With Projects?

Now that you know about the other types of vinyl let’s take a look at some projects you can do.

Sign On Driftwood


Attaching a name and a few basic shapes to a piece of driftwood can create a unique, colorful sign for almost any occasion.

My favorite version of this is a party sign (for sporting events, birthday parties, or even tailgate parties), but you can also make signs like this for bedrooms, as donations for childcare centers, or even as a gift for your child’s favorite teacher.

I recommend permanent vinyl for this because you don’t know where the sign will end up or how many people will end up touching it. Making it sturdy enough to withstand frequent handling is the key to making a good sign.

Lettering On Stools


If you’re trying to get that perfect vintage look, dark wood stain and dim white vinyl make for a great combination on wooden stools. Since these are something to sit on, permanent vinyl is the right choice.

The most popular look is a number inside a big circle, but you can also put down names, logos, or any other design you like.

If you want an aged look, use your vinyl cutter to make ragged edges or remove entire sections. Be sure to use a pencil to mark where the edges of the cut vinyl should be. Otherwise, you may end up having pieces be just a little off, and that will annoy you forever.

Toothbrush Holders

Toothbrush Holders

Most people don’t want their toothbrush mixing with someone else’s – and there’s a good reason for that.

Personalized toothbrush holders make it possible to keep everything separate while still providing an attractive look in the bathroom.

For added cleanliness, make sure each toothbrush holder has a lid you can clamp down when it’s not in use – this will stop bacteria from landing on it from the outside.

I recommend using an opaque base for this project.

While being able to look in and see the toothbrush (and anything else you store there, like toothpaste) is nice, it’s easy for toothpaste residue to build up on the inside of the container.

Regardless of everything else, make sure the container is easy to clean, inside and out. (That’s why you want to use permanent vinyl for this project.)

Kitchen Canister Sets

Kitchen Canister

Kitchen canisters – for flour, sugar, and so on – are the heart of any well-run kitchen.

They’re also a fabulous gift, especially for new couples or people who are moving into their first house. For this project, I recommend clear, non-toxic bases and black lettering so people can easily read the name. Be sure to put the name of each canister on at least two sides (or, better, four) to provide maximum utility.

Most kitchen canisters aren’t handled as often as mugs, but permanent vinyl is still a good choice because they tend to see a lot of use over time. Also, make sure the font you choose is easy to read at a distance.

More than once, I’ve gotten distracted with elaborate lettering that ultimately turned out to be more trouble than it was worth.

(If you don’t want to give these as a surprise, let the people using them pick a font.)

Door Numbers

Door Numbers

I’m going to step away from the permanent vinyl trend here.

Bright door numbers are a great way to highlight your residence. It also makes it easy for people to find, especially if you’re planning to have a lot of guests over.

That said, the next owner of your house may not want to keep the numbers, and removing them (then repainting the entire door) is more work than you’ll want when you’re moving.

Temporary vinyl is the better choice here as long as it’s weather resistant (or weatherproof, but that’s harder to do). Since the numbers won’t be touched very often, you don’t need a sturdier material, and the temporary nature makes them easy to remove when you want to get rid of them.

Make sure you don’t try to paint over them – chances are the different textures will make the numbers stand out way too much.

Dry Erase Glass Calendar


Now here is a big project. “What is vinyl truly capable of?”, You ask? This.

A good glass calendar is large enough for the whole family. It can include spaces to mark special events, detail meals, and help people keep track of each other.

This is most helpful when you have a big family. If there are only two or three people in the house, you don’t need the extra help.

Permanent vinyl is apparently the best material for the parts you’ll be writing near since you’ll also be rubbing over the vinyl to erase the marker on a regular basis.

If you’d like a little more decoration, you can print some vinyl for the title and outside borders. They won’t be touched nearly as often.

Magnetic Chore Chart

Magnetic Board

Kids tend to enjoy hands-on things, and few situations work better for that than magnetic chore charts.

It provides an easy way to mark down what they’ve done. Permanent chore lists also help kids understand that they’re treated fairly and consistently.

Permanent vinyl offers a way to get the attractive lettering on the chart that won’t be rubbed away like chalk could.

Of course, there is a small drawback to these. Since the lists are permanent, you can’t quickly change them to account for temporary, one-time jobs.

There are a few ways to solve this. First, you can have a section marked ‘Special Chores,’ possibly involving a magnetic attachment to the main board. Second, you can create several different lists and set out the one you want them to follow.

We don’t recommend switching the lists too often – regularity is an essential part of turning chores into habits.

You may want to have a few different lists as they grow and need to take on more responsibilities.