What's the Difference Between a Vinyl (one time use) and a Mylar (multi-use) Stencil Design?


Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a design for a vinyl (one time use) stencil vs. a mylar (multi-use) stencil?  

Whether you are using a Cricut or another type of cutting machine, those two materials are different and they require different types of designs in order for them to be cut and used successfully for your gorgeous DIY signs like this one below.  This is on of the "perfect starter projects" inside the DIY Decor Makers membership and it's a great project to learn how to make both vinyl and mylar stencils for.  The size is smaller than a 12" x 12" Cricut mat so that allows for easy sizing and mylar often comes in 12" x 12" sheets whereas vinyl comes in a 12" wide roll of varying lengths.  

I'll keep it super simple and so you know how to spot a vinyl stencil design versus a mylar material stencil design from a mile away and won't ever feel unsure again.  

Mylar- plastic type material that is a reusable material that does not stick to the surface and requires no transfer tape. I like the five mil thickness because it's easier to cut especially for beginners. 

In the Mylar Design, you can see inside the h, v, e, and the bumblebee there are these connector bridges on the design and there's a reason for that. They hold those pieces onto the main body of the mylar. So when you go to pull your mylar off the mat, you're not leaving behind all those little pieces because they have something to hold on to.

Vinyl- is a one time use material, requires some prep and transfer tape but creates a terrific seal and better results than mylar.


If you have a design for vinyl, it doesn't have any little connectors or bridges anywhere because the transfer tape moves all the little inside pieces from the vinyl backing to the wood surface you'll be stenciling on.  After the Cricut cuts the vinyl, the areas of vinyl that I want to actually use as my stencil to paint in get pulled up and that's called "weeding". Next, I use a transfer tape which transfers the weeded vinyl stencil from the backing to the wood surface.  

The big difference between a mylar design and a vinyl design is the mylar needs to have these connectors with all the little inside pieces that are just sort of floating on their own. You can watch me in action with a vinyl and mylar stencil in this video HERE

I hope this was super helpful and I hope to see you again here soon!


Reta Frekot

p.s. check out this inspiring student work BEE-low 🐝 and if you'd like to learn how to kick your Cricut fears to the curb, you'll definitely want to get started with my FREE workshop HERE

If you are ready to kick your Cricut fears to the curb and start stencil and sign making, be sure to check out my free workshop here www.retafrekot.com



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