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Sign Vinyl

Sign vinyl is the primary material used to make vinyl wall decals.  It is the same vinyl used to make vehicle graphics, business signs, and even floor graphics.   It comes in a range of quality levels which determine its expected life outdoors.  6yr rated vinyl and 12yr rated vinyl would have the same expected life indoors, but a different expected life outdoors.

The vinyl is a very thin layer of material with an adhesive backing.  It comes in rolls or sheets.  Most commercial applications use high volume rolls.  The vinyl adheres to a backing paper, sometimes called a transport paper.  This combination of the vinyl and backing paper allows the vinyl cutting to not damage the adhesive layer necessary for the application.

Sign vinyl rolls come in many sizes, often large rolls 100 yards longs.  It feeds through a commercial cutting plotter to produce the artwork you would see on a business sign or on a vinyl wall decal.  The cutter can only cut the design into the vinyl.  It does not remove the waste pieces.  Weeding is the process of removing those unneeded pieces.

Cut vinyl

Cut vinyl refers to sign vinyl fed through the cutter and had a design cut into it.  This is only step one of a multi-step process that takes vinyl from a raw material to a finished product.


The process of weeding is removing unneeded pieces of vinyl from a design. Weeding removes the bad pieces with a pick or Xacto. With wall arts, it can take anywhere from a few minutes to over an hour depending on the complexity of the design and the size of the finished product.

Transfer Tape

Transfer tape is the material that facilitates removing the vinyl from the backing paper it starts on and placing the vinyl on the surface it will adhers to.  It “transfers” the vinyl between the two surfaces.

Most wall art companies ship their wall arts with the transfer tape applied.  However, many of them do not.  In fact, many of them do not even included the transfer tape.  The only easy to find replacement for a home installer would be contact paper, but that has many drawbacks.

You shouldn’t use a company If they don’t apply the transfer tape before shipping.

Cutter / Plotter

A cutter/plotter is the machine used to cut vinyl.  They are precise, computer-controlled machines that feed the vinyl through the machine and cut it with near perfect accuracy.  They can range in price from $300 to over $10,000.

A company like Scripture Wall Art uses 5 different cutters to keep up with demand.

On most of these machines, a pen replaces the cutting blade holder.  The machine is then a plotter and can draw detailed drawings.  Architects often use these types of drawing.


A small tool that aids in the vinyl weeding process and is also very helpful in removing existing wall decals.


A small tool that aids in installing wall arts.  A small item such as a credit card makes a good substitute.  Basically, it is a semi-flexible flat edge used to smooth the vinyl onto its application surface. This tool is not always the best tool for application.

Backing paper

The paper that the vinyl adheres to before the cutting process.  It will remain adhered to it until removed for the application process.

Printed wall decals

Printed wall decals are a special vinyl printed on by very expensive printers.  That allows for photographic quality prints that can adhere to walls.

Other names for Vinyl Wall Decals

Vinyl wall art, Vinyl wall stickers, wall words, wall quotes, vinyl decals

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