Vinyl Stencils vs Mylar Stencils

Vinyl Stencils vs Mylar StencilsWhen making signs, which one is better? Vinyl stencils vs mylar stencils?

I have tons of experience making vinyl stencils with my Silhouette Cameo, but have always wondered how the mylar stencils stack up. So when Stencil Revolution sent me some stencils to try out, I was excited to see how they compared.

Vinyl Stencils and Mylar Stencils Comparison


Vinyl Stencil

Vinyl Stencils

I did the above sign using a vinyl stencil made with contact paper. I like the rustic look, so I sanded over it after painting on the lettering. I then applied a stain over the whole thing.

PROS

  • Cheap: I make my vinyl stencils using contact paper, so they are cheap and peel off easily.
  • Custom Made: With my Silhouette Cameo, I can make anything I want for any kind of sign that I want.
  • No Stencil Lines: Because the stencil sticks on you don’t have to worry about stencil lines to hold things in place. So your letters can be bridgeless.

CONS

  • Only One Use: Reusing vinyl stencils is a messy business. You might be able to get more than one use, but usually you just have to toss them.
  • Weeding: I hate weeding my yard and I hate weeding my vinyl. Prepping the stencil can take a long time. This is especially frustrating if you are making more than one sign.
  • Hard to Position: I hate trying to get a vinyl stencil on a board. They are always sticking together and if you don’t get it centered, you have to peel it off and start all over.
  • Bleeding: It can be tricky getting your vinyl stencil not to bleed.

Mylar Stencils

I made this sign using a mylar stencil from Stencil Revolution and spray paint. Like the vinyl one, I also sanded over it and applied a stain. This one is on just natural wood though, where the other was over a worn, painted surface.

PROS

  • Multiple Uses: You can use a mylar stencil over and over and over again. When I am making presents or doing a Super Saturday project or a girl’s craft day, it is so nice having a stencil that is easy to reuse. I don’t have to make and weed a separate vinyl stencil for every application. I used one to make some Christmas presents and it went so quickly. I made four in about 30 minutes. A couple of years ago I did a similar project with vinyl stencils and it took me days.
  • Easy to position: Getting my vinyl on right was so easy. I used the edges to help line things up and then used painter’s tape stick it in place. I didn’t have to peel the whole thing back up just to budge it a centimeter. And instead of being super thin, it was 10 mil thick, so it was easier to keep it in place and straight. Sometimes with vinyl stencils, the contact paper is so thin that the shapes distort a little if you don’t get it totally laying flat.
  • Less Bleeding: I had much better luck with bleeding, but I also used a different technique that probably helped. Instead of painting it on with a brush, I used spray paint. The trick is to spray directly on instead of at an angle. You also want to do thin layers instead of heavy spraying. You can also use repositionable adhesive spray to help temporarily seal the stencil to the surface.
  • You Don’t Need a Vinyl Cutter: A Silhouette or Cricut can be expensive. If you want to just make a few signs, you might not be willing to spend that much money to make a stencil. Spending a few dollars on a mylar stencil can save you a lot of money if you don’t want to fork over the big bucks for your own vinyl cutter.

CONS

  • Fewer Custom Options: With a mylar stencil, you have to either settle for what is in stock or pay extra for something custom. This isn’t always practical for all projects.
  • Stencil Lines: This can be a pro or a con depending on the look you want. Mylar stencils have to have those little connectors to keep everything in place. When you are doing lettering, it will look like a stencil font. For wood signs, I actually prefer this look. It makes it look like the sides of those old shipping crates. But if you are doing something more elegant, you might want to use something without the stencil lines.

Vinyl Stencils vs Mylar Stencils Verdict

If I am doing a quick project, the vinyl stencils are definitely cheaper for me to make and I like designing it myself. But I have to say that I loved how quickly I was able to move through signs with the mylar stencils. I usually end up getting really ticked off when working with vinyl stencils and I loved how easy the mylar stencils were to use. The savings in time and tears was definitely a bonus for me. I may have a hard time going back after this.

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