You are currently viewing What Is Printable Vinyl? (Beginner’s Guide)

What Is Printable Vinyl? (Beginner’s Guide)

Printable vinyl is an adhesive-backed printable sticker sheet often sized in 8.5” x 11”  that is able to be used by home inkjet and laser printers.

They come in a variety of colors and finishes (glossy, clear, matte, holographic) and are often used to personalize everyday items such as water bottles, laptops, car bumpers, phone cases etc.

Many brands of printable vinyl sticker sheets are water-resistant but often require an aerosol acrylic fixative spray or laminating sheet such as those offered here at Royal Elements.

What is the difference between printable vinyl and regular vinyl?

Printable vinyl is mainly used to print stickers or decals whereas adhesive vinyl is a solid color that can only be cut by a die-cut machine into special patterns and shapes without the ability to be printed on.

Oftentimes crafters and small businesses choose printable vinyl when they want to print a specific multi-colored sticker.

Adhesive vinyl is generally sold in a variety pack of different solid colors and is sized in 12” x 12” for die-cut machines such as those offered by Cricut and Silhouette.

Not all vinyl is printable so we recommend taking a close look at the product packaging before choosing from a specific brand or product line.

Can you use printable vinyl in a regular printer?

Yes, printable vinyl sticker sheets are safe to use in a regular home printer.

The most popular choice is an inkjet printer but laser printers are often compatible with the printable vinyl stickers as well.

We wrote a detailed article on how to pick the correct type of printer and additional details you should be aware of in this article.

FeaturePrintable VinylSticker Paper
Water-ResistanceMedium to HighLow
CostMedium to HighLow
UV-ResistanceMedium to HighLow to Medium
Adhesive StrengthVariesVaries
MaterialVinyl or SyntheticPaper

Is printable vinyl the same as sticker paper?

No, printable vinyl is different from printable sticker paper.

Although often referred to as “printable vinyl sticker paper” this material is made from a PVC or similar vinyl material and is much more water and tear resistant than regular printable sticker paper.

Printable sticker paper is cheaper with the tradeoff being that it is just that – paper.

Printable vinyl is better suited for heavier wear-and-tear applications whereas printable sticker paper is best suited for indoor use.

We wrote an in-depth article weighing the pros and cons of printable vinyl vs printable sticker paper in this blog post.

printable iron-on heat transfer vinyl
Iron on heat transfer vinyl versus printable vinyl sticker sheets

How durable is printable vinyl?

Printable vinyl is significantly more durable than regular sticker paper and can even be water-proof and dishwasher safe depending on the brand.

For example our Royal Elements matte printable vinyl sticker sheets are both waterproof and dishwasher safe.

They have been rated for 3+ years of outdoor use however over time they will fade or deteriorate if left outside without any additional protection.

This can be combated by applying a clear acrylic fixative spray or waterproof laminate sheet.

clear printable vinyl sticker sheet peeling up to reveal translucence
clear printable vinyl being peeled back

Can Cricut print on vinyl?

Unfortunately Cricut die-cut machines do not offer printing capabilities.

Cricut and Silhouette die-cut machines only cut out patterns and shapes – you must run your printable vinyl or sticker paper through a printer beforehand.

Downloading Cricut Design Space and following their instructions for the Print Then Cut process will allow you to print out your stickers on your printer then cut them out with a Cricut die-cut machine.

Silhouette Studio also offers similar print-then-cut software.

Is printable vinyl waterproof?

Although vinyl is by itself waterproof, the coating on top of printable vinyl is not always.

Inkjet ink is water-based and can rub off or fade over time on some brands of printable vinyl sticker sheets.

That is why many DIY crafters and small business owners choose to laminate over top of their printable vinyl by using laminating sheets for stickers like those offered on our store pager.

The most waterproof printable vinyl sticker paper tends to be matte printable vinyl. 


Printable vinyl sticker sheets are an amazing and versatile method of creating DIY home printed stickers at a fraction of the cost compared to commercially available stickers.

To learn more about how to use printable vinyl check this ultimate guide we published to get started.

If you are looking for a shop to browse or purchase printable vinyl sticker paper – check out our shop page here at Royal Elements.

Happy crafting!


Owner, Royal Elements

Leave a Reply