Printable Vinyl Vs. Sticker Paper – Get the Main Difference?

Kyle Adam
Kyle Adam
Founder at - Printers Guider

Kyle Adam is a printer technician and the founder of this site. After completing his graduation in Computer Science and Engineering, he started work for...Read more

While planning to print stickers, there’s always the challenge of selecting the medium for the printing. Then, you will consider the printable vinyl vs. sticker paper; which do you choose? Whatever your choice will be, it depends on your preferences and the purposes of the stickers.

However, it could be quite difficult to make such a decision without a clear understanding of each sticker medium. This article presents the features of printable vinyl and sticker paper and takes a deep tour of their differences. Also, you learn how to use each of the sticker media, the best between the two, and more. Keep reading.

Key Takeaways:

  • Printable vinyl is stronger and more durable as its resistance to moisture and other harsh weather conditions.
  • Sticker paper is quite thin and a cheaper option as a printing medium for your stickers.
  • Printable vinyl vs. sticker paper: your choice depends on the purposes of your projects.

Is Printable Vinyl the Same Thing as Sticker Paper?

Printable vinyl and sticker papers are not the same. Printable vinyl can withstand moist and wet conditions without significant changes. But the ink on a sticker paper will smear in wet conditions. However both are used for making stickers, but the purposes of use are not the same.

Printable vinyl is an excellent option for printing stickers that could encounter wet conditions. The vinyl material is more durable and stronger than paper. This makes it impossible for the ink of the printing to smear or fade over time easily. You can use printable vinyl stickers for objects like laptops, mugs, car decals, etc.

Conversely, sticker papers are not durable once they are wet. The smearing of the ink makes the printed images and text blur and would become meaningless over time. Hence, it’s a great disadvantage to using sticker paper for occasions where there could be moisture or damp conditions. They could serve better for notebooks, binders, and other such purposes.

Printable Vinyl Vs. Sticker Paper: What’s The Difference?

Printable vinyl and sticker papers have some notable distinctions, and we have outlined them in the section below. Read on to know the notable difference.

Printable Vinyl Vs. Sticker Paper What's The Difference


When it comes to durability, printable vinyl is built for this. It’s waterproof, weatherproof, and resistant to tear, UV, scratch, oil, and water. Also, its color doesn’t fade, and the material doesn’t degrade or bubble over time. This makes it ideal for sports equipment, bumper stickers, coffee mugs, and other heavy-duty applications.

On the other hand, sticker papers are also very effective and can last for some time. However, sticker papers are only ideal for places with low humidity and exposure to climate and the elements.


Printable vinyl materials are ideal for both indoor and outdoor purposes. So it’s only natural for them to be the more expensive of the two. Thus, if you’re considering a larger project, then a printable vinyl will be costlier than sticker paper.

On the other end, if you’ve already designed what you want to print, printing on vinyl will be more cost-effective. You can even print it by yourself if you have an inkjet printer and the ink used to print your work. But, when it comes to sticker papers, they’re more expensive in printing, as you’d need to print on a commercially created and treated sticker paper. Thus, it’s not very cost-effective as you might expect.

So, the vinyl material is more expensive to afford but easier to print on; then sticker papers are easier to afford but more expensive to print on. Therefore, vinyl will be more effective for small-sized projects if you consider your pocket, whereas sticker papers will be ideal for indoor dry places.


Vinyl papers are broad in their applications. They are ideal for both exterior and interior purposes. You can place them on coffee mugs, your car, sports equipment, and other heavy-duty applications. On the other hand, sticker papers are perfect for indoor applications, especially in areas with little or no external contact with heat, cold, and extreme conditions. Therefore, printable vinyl is more recommended for wider applications.


A vinyl sticker has a glossier surface than sticker paper. Although sticker papers can be glossy or not, they are not as high-quality as their counterparts.

Printable Vinyl

Printable vinyl is a type of printing material that you can print on using a home printer. It’s usually a permanent craft vinyl composed of ethylene and chlorine. Printable vinyl is most cut as a thin sheet that will allow easy printing with toner or ink.

What is Printable Vinyl

Furthermore, there could be larger forms of vinyl sheets. With printable vinyl, the printing process could be on a small scale using a simple computer printer like laser or inkjet printers. Also, there could be commercial printing machines for larger scales printing with sheets of vinyl.

Features of Printable Vinyl

Here are some of the features of printable vinyl.

  • The material is highly durable and strong, being made from vinyl (a combination of ethylene and chlorine).
  • It’s ideal for harsh outdoor weather conditions.
  • The material protects the printed ink from fading or smearing easily.
  • It serves perfectly for long-term purposes.
  • Simplified cleaning and maintenance.

Printable Vinyl Cost

Printable vinyl is more prominent and has gained a wider usage due to its durability. Several brands have a great preference for printable vinyl stickers since they are customizable and serve perfectly for outdoor purposes. However, the cost of vinyl is quite on the high side.

But if your choice in budget tilts towards durability, then your budget for using vinyl will be worth the cost. The outstanding features of printable vinyl outweigh its higher cost.

How to Use Printable Vinyl?

In getting to use printable vinyl, you’ll need to make the necessary preparations and provisions for that. Then, you can follow some simple steps in using the material.

First, let’s look at the preparations.

Preparations for Using Printable Vinyl

  • Ensure to use a good quality printable vinyl type. With this, you’d be able to create high-end images and texts from your print. A lesser quality can compromise the durability and strength of the stickers after printing.
  • Get a good working regular computer printer such as an inkjet printer. Avoid using a sublimation printer. Most crafters will prefer an inkjet for printing on vinyl. They attribute great vibrant colors to inkjet though other printers could still provide good printing results. Also, getting a printer for printable vinyl will be the best idea.
  • Make provisions that will allow you to freely and easily cut the vinyl after printing. This is because the printable vinyl operates with print and cut and not the other way. The use of a Cricut (with pronunciation as ‘cricket’) is a good cutting machine. It provides precisions and leaves the work with smooth edges that depict high professionalism.
  • Beware of the use of laser printers on printable vinyl. These printers can heat up to 400 degrees which could damage your printable vinyl. When a laser printer is the only option, use special printable vinyl that withstands the high temperature.
  • Ensure you get a waterproof printable vinyl type when your stickers are solely for outdoor purposes. This will guarantee that it lasts longer and remains unfazed by harsh weather conditions.

Steps on Using Printable Vinyl

  • Once the design of your project is ready to print, make the necessary connections on your machines.
  • Install the printable vinyl in the inkjet printer. You will match the top of the vinyl sheet to the top of the printer’s left side for easy loading.
  • Using the directions on your printer, send the design to your printer and initial the printing process.
  • Ensure that the printing of the design is on the matt blank part of the printable vinyl.
  • While setting the Cricut, make a consecutive selection of ‘Browse all Material’ and ‘Printable Vinyl’ if you have the Maker type.
  • But when you’re using the Cricut Explore machine, you will first select the Custom setting for the ‘Smart Set Dial.’ Then, make a consecutive selection of ‘Browse all Material’ and ‘Printable Vinyl’ in the setting.
  • Commence the cutting process. Tap the ‘Go’ key on the cutting machine to do this. The Cricut smoothly cuts the printable vinyl according to the printed design.
  • You can now apply your vinyl stickers by hand as you peel them.

Sticker Papers

Sticker papers are another yet effective materials, although it’s of lesser quality. It provides an ideal finish quality for flat surfaces like products and boxes. It’s, however, important to note that sticker papers are perfect for indoor activities or anyplace away from UV, water, weather conditions, etc.

What Is Sticker Paper

Also, they are more fragile than printable vinyl but do last for a long time.

Features of Sticker Paper

Some features of sticker paper include:

  • They consist of low-quality materials.
  • They don’t require lamination.
  • They can either be matte or gloss finish.
  • Perfect finish quality for products and boxes.
  • Great for indoor use.
  • Cheaper in cost to get the material.

Sticker Paper Cost

Sticker papers are still widely used, given their high affordability. However, they are less durable than printable vinyl.

Also, since they don’t require any laminate to cover their surfaces, sticker papers get scratched and torn, and their colors fade easily. However, they’re cheaper than vinyl papers, so you don’t need to spend much on purchasing the materials.

How to Use Sticker Paper?

Preparations for Using Sticker Paper

  • Prepare the paper you’re using. You should get clear glossy sticker paper if you want a transparent sticker on your product labels. Also, if you’d rather cut the papers yourself, you should get a scissor.
  • Then, get the printer ready. There are different kinds of printers you can and should use to facilitate your print job. You can go for an effective printer that is most favorable to your budget. However, it must be an inkjet printer. Also, it’s worthy to note that the ideal printer for your sticker depends on the sticker’s design. If you have a 4-color inkjet printer with a resolution of 1200dpi or more, you are good to go.

Steps on Using Sticker Paper

  • Get a color match for the stickers. This depends majorly on the print process you use. The most common print process used for small-scale printing is CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, & black), as it gives you the ideal color results.
  • Getting the right colors. If you’re using CMYK, then you should know that brighter colors are not a good choice. So, you need to know the ideal colors for your printing job. Colors on the brightest 10% of the color spectrum don’t reflect at all on CMYK. Also, colors that require so many black shades in them will end up creating tinted black hues.
  • Die-cutting. Shaping your stickers helps create a notable visual effect that spells out your design elements. The easiest way to cut stickers to your required sizes is done through die-cutting. In addition, professional printing presses usually use die cutting as an alternative to effectively and simply cut their stickers. You, too, can try it using a laser cutter.
  • Choose the best print quality. Almost all printer drivers come with several levels of print quality, created to personalize the amount of ink used and your printing speed. When you wish to print high-quality stickers, we recommend you choose the highest quality print mode. Though this will take much longer, it will produce a higher-quality image resolution.
  • Before printing, ensure that the ink supply within your printer cartridges is enough, or make arrangements to get back up. This is because you wouldn’t want your printing process to terminate mid-process. Also, ensure to get a printer ink from a trusted source. Then, head over to your printer.
  • Load the full sheet of sticker paper in your printer with the shiny side facing down. If you have a different printing orientation, load it properly.
  • Then, when you’re printing, ensure to follow the printing measures and procures in


Now that you are at the end of this article, we believe you have a complete idea about Printable Vinyl Vs. Sticker Paper. Overall, printable vinyl is more effective when considering quality, durability, appearance, etc. However, sticker paper is also worthy when considering cost and interior designs. But before using any of them, make the necessary preparations to get the best results.

Kyle Adam is a printer technician and the founder of this site. After completing his graduation in Computer Science and Engineering, he started work for a renowned printer manufacturing company as a printer technician. Besides his job, he also loves to do research and write about what he is dealing with in his everyday life; Printersguider is the result of that. Kyle created this site to educate those who need a specialized printer but don’t have proper knowledge about it.

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