I’ll be the first to admit that I may have a slight case of OCD. Okay, it might be a little more than a slight case. And I’ve already told you in an earlier post that I struggle with perfection. When I first ventured into making signs with my Silhouette, my results were less than perfect. I would take the time to cut out an awesome “stencil” on vinyl, place it on my board, paint it and patiently wait for the unveiling. As I would begin pulling off the vinyl to expose my design, I would see a signmaker’s worst nightmare—bleeding lines! Today, I’m going to show you how changing from vinyl to a product called Oramask 813 was a total game changer for me when making signs.
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Frustrations in Sign Making
When I first made signs, I would use any old vinyl I could get my hands on. I would often order the cheapest vinyl in whatever oddball color I could find on Amazon. It was usually Oracal 631. Out of complete desperation, I would sometimes use the over-priced low-quality vinyl from Hobby Lobby. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Hob Lob, but their vinyl leaves a little to be desired.
This would be my result when using vinyl:
Ugh! Do you see those goobered-up lines and how the paint bled under the stencil? That is enough to send me over the edge!! This particular sign was especially frustrating because it was a graduation gift and the party was the next day! Re-using the sign was no big deal. It’s easy enough to sand it down and paint it again. Mistakes like these, however, get to be expensive. The cost of the vinyl adds to the cost of the sign particularly since vinyl stencils are a one-time use product. And then there’s the time invested in the project and having to reinvest that time again when you have to redo it.
Bleeding lines weren’t always my only problem. Sometimes the vinyl would pull the base color off the board so there would be areas of paint missing AND bleeding lines. Double ugh!
I tried the usual tricks. I tried Mod Podge and I also tried using the paint of my base color to seal the edges. No luck. Some signs would be mostly great, while others were like this one were just too much for me and my obsessive compulsions.
What’s a crafter to do?
Discovering Oramask 813 Paint Mask
This is a great time to be alive for those of us who love to craft. Never before has so much information been available to us at the click of a mouse. I knew that others had to be experiencing the same frustration with bleeding lines and vinyl. So I did what any resourceful crafter would do. Yep, I Googled it.
It didn’t take long to find the blogs of a few crafters who had found the solution to bleeding lines and that solution was Oramask 813.
When it comes to research, I am like a dog without a bone. I read everything I could on why Oramask 813 is a better stencil product than Oracal vinyl.
Why Oramask 813 Is Better Than Vinyl
- Oramask 813 is made by the same people who make Oracal vinyl. But it’s not a vinyl. It’s actually a paint stencil film. Oramask is made especially for stenciling. I really only make signs and I don’t do a lot of vinyl applications. Since this is made for stencils, it’s perfect for my use!
- It’s low-tack, which means it’s not too sticky, not sticky enough. It has just the right amount of stick. It would make sense that vinyl wouldn’t be a great material to use for stencils since vinyl really is designed to stick and stay in place. Even non-permanent vinyl is hard to remove. But Oramask is a stencil film, which is designed for removal and repositioning. You can easily lift it up and move it around it on your board.
- It’s translucent, which means I can see exactly where I’m placing it on my board.
- Oramask 813 is made from PVC which makes it pretty sturdy. Do you know how vinyl feels kind of “rubbery” in your hands? Oramask feels more like a lightweight plastic. It is a film–for those of you old enough to remember what photo film or overhead transparencies felt like. (I know, I totally dated myself there.) . Because it’s sturdier than vinyl, it makes for beautiful crisp lines.
- It cuts and weeds beautifully–dare I say, almost effortlessly? I can literally pick the Oramask out of my design with my fingers, but since I don’t have much for fingernails, I use a weeding pick.
- Best of all, it’s just a little bit cheaper than vinyl! Just to compare…A 12 inch by 6 ft. piece of Oracal 631 will cost you $6.75 at Amazon ($1.13/ft), while a 12 inch by 10 ft roll will cost you $8.18 at Amazon ($.82/ft). That’s a savings of $.31 a foot! Costs are important when you’re crafting!
Crisp Lines – No Bleeding
Even if Oramask wasn’t cheaper than Oracal vinyl, I would still purchase it. Do you want to know why? Look back at the picture of my bleeding lines and feel my pain. Then take a look at what a sign made with Oramask looks like:
Since this is a new blog, you don’t know me all that well. But prepare yourself, on every paint tutorial I will post, I will probably profess my undying love for crisp, sharp, beautiful lines. I love them. Crisp lines make me happy. It’s probably an illness. But what can I say? I am an unapologetic freak about my crisp lines!
Nothing is 100% perfect and foolproof all of the time. Occasionally, I end up with a less-than-perfect sign with the Oramask and I’m going to show you this to prove it to you:
Wicked bleeds, right? (Yes, I am being sarcastic.) But just to prove to you I am making Progress Over Perfection, I went ahead and gave this sign away even with the little paint blobs. See? I am making progress!!
Oramask 813 changed the way I craft signs. I really enjoy making cutting files and I enjoy testing those cutting files by making signs with them. It makes me happy, it really does. But, I would dread peeling the vinyl off my design. There was just this fear of the unknown of how they were going to turn out. And with the vinyl, they rarely turned out perfectly.
Since I switched to the Oramask 813, I approach my sign making with more confidence. I have confidence in my abilities and I have the confidence that the money I am investing into my project is money well spent. I don’t fear that my sign is not going to turn out. It really has made crafting signs a real pleasure.
I truly believe that if you’re a signmaker, who has become frustrated with vinyl, you owe it to yourself to try the Oramask 813.
What will you do to craft your happy, today?