Oracal 651 VS 631
Some of the questions that I most often get approached with as a Cricut crafter are frequently about vinyl types, specifically Oracal 651 versus 631. So today, we are going to look at some of the main differences between the two, and I’ll give you a few examples of their best applications. Understanding these differences can help you with your project planning – so that you don’t end up making a regrettable mistake with your craft!
Oracal 651 has long been considered by crafters to be a permanent type of vinyl – meaning that the adhesive is meant to stay put and not be removed. However, according to the Orafol company (the makers of Oracal), it is actually a medium-term vinyl; the durability is rated for up to 6 years. But honestly, in my experience, if sealed properly it can last much, much longer than this so I do consider it to be permanent.
The term permanent, however, can be a little misleading. You can actually remove it, depending on the surface. I wouldn’t advise this though because it is likely to leave a fair amount of the solvent-based adhesive residue behind; even more so after it has cured.
Oracal 651, as well as some other types of vinyl that are considered to be in the permanent category, need to be cured. What this means is that after you apply it to the surface of your blank you must allow from 24 to up to 72 hours to allow the adhesive to reach its maximum bonding. This curing period is an absolute must if you plan to use your project outdoors, or anywhere that it could come into contact with water. In those cases, I always recommend 72 hours to err on the side of caution.
651 vinyl is also considered to be water-resistant so it can be used for your outdoor projects, in fact, it’s the only vinyl that I use for every one of my outdoor-friendly wood signs. It’s important to note that it is not considered to be fully waterproof, which is vastly different than its resistant counterpart. Many people do, however, classify 651 to be fully waterproof, but if you submerge it in water for an extended period of time it will most likely peel off of your blank. It can, however, withstand the elements of the outdoors, including rain, cold, and heat. Of course, if your blank cannot withstand the outdoor weather then neither will the vinyl!
According to Orafol’s company website, 651 is available in a large variety of colors; 60 with a gloss finish, plus a matte black and white. They also offer transparent vinyl which is great for sealing your print then cut stickers and decals. I recommend checking their website often as they do update the color choices.
651 has a thickness of 2.5 mil and is available to purchase in both rolls and sheets, depending on your supplier.
While you can use 651 vinyl on just about anything, some ideas for its best uses are:
- Wood signs
- Mugs and/or cups
- Acrylic plaques
- Plant pots
- Glass art
- Shadowbox art
- Automotive decals
- Boot/shoe decals
- Homemade cards
Oracal 631 is a removable vinyl, with a durability rating of up to 3 years. Again, I feel that with the proper application process it can last a fair bit longer than this.
What makes it removable? Instead of the solvent-based adhesive that 651 has, 631 vinyl uses a water-based adhesive – making removability much easier.
While most people don’t cure 631, it is actually recommended to allow your decal to remain on the blank for 6-24 hours – WITH the transfer tape still on it. I will be honest…I just discovered this recommendation myself, so I will try this with my next wall decal to determine if burnishing is easier on the textured surface of an indoor wall when using this method.
Similar to 651, this removable vinyl is also considered to be water-resistant, but much less so due to the water-based adhesive. You definitely cannot use it on mugs, cups, or anything that needs to be washed frequently. It can withstand, however, the occasional wipe down using a very lightly dampened cloth.
The Orafol site boasts a whopping 84 color selection for Oracal 631 – all in a matte finish; and one transparent. Even with a matte finish, the colors are vibrant which really helps to create some fantastic decals, crafts, and artworks!
Again, just keep checking their site for updates to their color choices.
Oracal 631 has a thickness of 3 mil and is again, available to purchase in both rolls and sheets, supplier depending.
Just because 631 is limited to indoor use, there are tons of projects that you can create with it:
- Wall decals
- Smartphone/tablet decals
- Electronic decals (laptops, computers, etc)
- Mugs/cups for decorative purposes
- Photo frames
- School supplies
- Acrylic Plaques
- Kitchen spice jars
- Birthday banners/decorations
Understanding the variances of all kinds of different vinyl types is key to creating a project that will stand the test of time. Whichever one you decide to use for your next project, there is no denying that the quality of Oracal 651 and 631 are both fantastic! They cut amazingly well, though I can only speak for the Cricut Maker and the Explore Air 2. Their color selection is vast, offering an endless list of crafting ideas, and the affordability of purchasing them in larger roll sizes saves you time and money. I do use Oracal 651 more often due to my business needs, but I especially love how well that 631 weeds for my decals. Just remember that no vinyl is food safe, so be sure to only use it on your blanks with this in mind.
What type do you use most often? I would love to see some of your projects!
Keep on Crafting!