Vinyl

Oracal 651 vs 631 Vinyl: The Complete Review

We compared two of our favorite vinyl products from Oracal.

Vinyl

Written by Ali Fields | Updated: October 17, 2020

Our Pick: Oracal 651

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What We Like

  • Permanent, adhesive vinyl
  • Works for basically any project
  • Waterproof

What We Don't Like

  • Difficult to remove
  • Only comes in a glossy finish
Quick Summary

Oracal 651 remains our favorite vinyl to recommend for just about every project. It's inexpensive, comes in a load of colors, and always cuts & weeds easily. It can be difficult to remove, so for removable decals I'd recommend Oracal 631 instead.

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Oracal’s two most popular vinyl are often confused but they’re used for completely different applications.

If you confuse them, it’s likely that a well-planned project could soon turn into a disaster.

That’s why I wrote this article, so that you could have a complete comparison of Oracal’s best: 651 vs 631.

I’ll go over both Oracal 631 and 651 vinyl and cover in detail the projects each is best suited for. I’ll also cover when you absolutely shouldn’t use them.

More on this later.

I’ll also tell you the very best place to buy 651 and 631 vinyl and how to make sure you aren’t getting an imitation.

Let’s get to it.

Oracal 631 vs 651

Let’s start with a brief run-down:

  • Oracal 631: is removable, matte, and the best choice for temporary applications.
  • Oracal 651: is permanent, glossy, and the best vinyl for outdoor usage.

If you’re just looking for information at a glance, I’ve put together an easy table showing the differences between the two.

Best indoor vinyl
Oracal 631 Matte Vinyl - 24 Pack of Top Colors - 12" x 12" Sheets
Best outdoor vinyl
Oracal 651 Glossy Vinyl - 24 Pack of Top Colors - 12" x 12" Sheets
Adhesive
removable
permanent
Finish
matte
glossy
Waterproof
only resistant
fully waterproof
Durability
3 years (indoors)
6 years (outdoors)
Usage
indoor, temporary
outdoor
Colors
90
63
Thickness
3 mil
2.5 mil
Best indoor vinyl
Oracal 631 Matte Vinyl - 24 Pack of Top Colors - 12" x 12" Sheets
Type
Adhesive
removable
Finish
matte
Waterproof
only resistant
Durability
3 years (indoors)
Usage
indoor, temporary
Colors
90
Thickness
3 mil
Best outdoor vinyl
Oracal 651 Glossy Vinyl - 24 Pack of Top Colors - 12" x 12" Sheets
Type
Adhesive
permanent
Finish
glossy
Waterproof
fully waterproof
Durability
6 years (outdoors)
Usage
outdoor
Colors
63
Thickness
2.5 mil

For other uses and vinyl, I have a complete guide to the best vinyl for Cricut and Silhouette, including my pick for the best heat transfer vinyl.

Alright, let’s break down each in detail.

Oracal 631 vinyl

Array of all of the colors Oracal 631 is available in

Oracal 631 is the most popular vinyl to use with Cricut and Silhouette cutting machines. It is perfect for making temporary designs, like indoor wall decals.

631 is just like the regular Cricut and Silhouette brand vinyl, but it is more affordable, easier to cut/weed, and lasts longer on your finished product.

(Can you tell I prefer the Oracal?)

I’ll break it down by feature:

Adhesive-type: Removable

Oracal 631 uses a clear, water-based, removable adhesive.

This is perfect for wall decals or temporary signage because you can remove it without damaging your paint or leaving behind a residue. A lot of the cheaper knock-offs do exactly this, which is why we always want to buy it from an authentic source.

Since it is water-based, it is not suited for projects that are cleaned frequently, like dishware or anything exposed to a lot of water.

Finish: Matte

631 comes in a matte finish. Like the paint on your walls, a matte finish stops unwanted glare and reflections.

Waterproof rating: Resistant

Oracal 631 is water resistant, but not fully waterproof.

It is not recommended for anything that needs to be fully immersed in water to be cleaned, or for surfaces that will be constantly exposed to water.

If you need to clean something with an Oracal 631 design, it’s best to wipe it with a damp cloth.

Durability: 3 years (indoors)

Oracal 631 vinyl is rated to last at least 3 years when applied correctly to a vertical surface indoors. But from experience, I can tell you that it will often last much longer than that.

Make sure the surface you are using is completely clean of any dust, grease, or crud that could interfere with the adhesive binding.

631 typically lasts for a year or more outdoors, depending on how severe the weather conditions are.

Usage: Indoor

Oracal 631 is best suited to indoor usage because its adhesive is not strong enough to survive outdoor conditions for more than a year.

It is not fully waterproof nor does it have great UV-resistance. However, it still works fine for short-term outdoor usage, especially in mild weather.

Colors: 90

This vinyl is available in 89 matte colors as well as transparent.

Thickness: 3 mil

The thickness of Oracal 631 is 3 mil, or 3 thousandths of an inch. That actually sounds pretty thin to me but it’s 20% thicker than the 651.

Okay, now let’s run through the features of Oracal 651 in the same format. After that, I’ll go into the best place to purchase it.

Oracal 651 vinyl

Array of all of the colors Oracal 651 is available in

Oracal 651 is the other very popular vinyl to use in your Cricut and Silhouette machines.

Known as outdoor vinyl, 651 is more durable than 631, and is often used to make outdoor signs.

I’ll go through all the properties of Oracal 651 here.

Adhesive: Permanent

Oracal 651 vinyl uses a clear, solvent-based, permanent adhesive.

This doesn’t mean it is actually permanent, but to remove it you’ll have to either scrape it off or use an adhesive remover like Goo Gone.

It’s best for purposes where you won’t need to easily remove the vinyl decal.

Finish: Glossy

This vinyl comes in a glossy finish, which is very shiny and reflective.

Waterproof: Yes

651 is fully waterproof, making it the ideal choice for anything that needs to be washed or exposed to rain, like coffee mugs and your car. It even works on boats!

Usage: Outdoor

Oracal 651 has a strong enough adhesive to survive outdoor weather conditions. It is often called “outdoor vinyl” or “sign vinyl,” as it is the popular choice for outdoor signs. However, 651 still works great for anything you need decorated indoors.

Durability: 6 years

Almost all Oracal 651 vinyl colors are rated to last at least 6 years outdoors when properly applied.

The metallic finishes have a life expectancy of 4 years, while the brilliant blue color lasts for at least 3 years.

If you use it indoors, it will last a bit longer.

Colors: 63

This vinyl comes in 60 gloss colors, plus transparent, matte white, and matte black.

Thickness: 2.5 mil

The thickness of Oracal 651 is 2.5 mil, or 2 and a half thousandths of an inch. This is around 83% as thick as the Oracal 631.

Applications and Uses

What is Oracal 631 vinyl used for?

Oracal 631 vinyl is used for:

  • wall decals
  • stencils
  • interior decorations
  • temporary signs (<1 year outdoors).

You’ll want to use 631 for anything that needs to be removed easily, without damaging the surface.

It also works great for any general purpose decorating, and long-term signs that will be staying inside and out of the rain.

What is Oracal 651 vinyl used for?

Oracal 651 vinyl is great for:

  • car decals
  • dishwares (mugs, glasses, cutting boards, plates)
  • indoor or outdoor signs

If you’re decorating tumblers, like yeti cups, you want to use Oracal 651.

If you ever have trouble getting the 631 to stick try switching to the 651. The glue in the 651 vinyl is stronger, so it works better for surfaces that aren’t perfectly smooth and flat, like unfinished wood.

Best deals for Oracal 631 and 651 vinyl

Like I mentioned above, low-quality knock-off vinyl is, unfortunately, a common problem. That’s why I placed orders with all of these sources and compared them with samples received from Oracal to absolutely make sure they were the real thing.

You’ll hear a lot of horror stories of people having trouble weeding their vinyl or it not lasting as long as it should, sometimes instead of cutting cleanly it will rip through it.

Most of these are due to lower quality vinyl that’s being passed off as the real thing.

Okay, on to the best deals and authentic sources!

Haven’t used either before and both sound enticing?

I absolutely recommend picking up this variety pack of both 631 and 651 (fortunately it includes all of the best colors) and experimenting. It’s a really good deal, and comes in 12″ x 12″ sheets.

Best place to buy just Oracal 631 (indoor) vinyl

Oracal 631 Matte Vinyl - 24 Pack of Top Colors - 12" x 12" Sheets
  • Top 24 most popular colors of oracal 631 matte vinyl
  • Each sheet is 12 inch by 12 inch
  • Vinyl is designed to last 3+ years
  • 3-mil thick

Best place to buy just Oracal 651 (outdoor) vinyl

Oracal Vinyl Sheets (63 Pack)
  • All 63 Oracal 651 colors
  • Competitive pricing - ordered/processed/distributed efficiently to keep you crafting affordably
  • Oracal 651 - high quality vinyl made in Georgia use
  • 12X 12 Sheets, professionally cut and packaged

F.A.Q.

Is Oracal 651 microwave safe? Can I use it on a coffee mug?

Yep! I’ve used 651 on tons of mugs, and they microwave without issue. Just make sure you let it cure (sit) for a few days before you put it in the microwave. But don’t put anything with a metallic finish in the microwave! Metallic vinyl in the microwave will create sparks, cause the vinyl to peel off, and is a fire hazard.

Is Oracal 651 dishwasher safe?

Not necessarily. Washing anything with vinyl in the dishwasher is risky business. It really depends on the specifics of your dishwasher and how well the vinyl was applied. I have a few mugs with 651 decals that I always toss in the top-shelf of the dishwasher, and they’re still going strong after years.

Intricate or delicate designs, like a narrow glass container, are more likely to fall apart. I definitely recommend gentle hand washing to increase the longevity of your finished work. And remember to let it cure (sit) for a few days before you wash it.

How can I tell Oracal 631 apart from Oracal 651?

Easiest way is to look at the finish! Oracal 631 has a matte finish, while Oracal 651 has a glossy finish.

What is Oracal outdoor vinyl?

That’s the Oracal 651! Rated to last 6 years outdoors.

Are there any other resources you’d recommend?

You can check out USCutter (a popular vinyl shop), they have a brief comparison. Parsbee is another Cricut/Silhouette accessory store that has a pretty useful write-up as well. If you’re looking to buy vinyl, I usually go with one of Amazon’s starter packs. That way you get a good sample of everything without a huge commitment. The Oracal website also has useful information.

21 thoughts on “Oracal 651 vs 631 Vinyl: The Complete Review”

    • Glad you guys liked it! I’m a huge fan of your material and it’s my #1 recommendation for most applications.

      Reply
    • Hi Ali! Which is better for using as a stencil for glass etching? Everything I’ve read on it suggests 651. But, I’m making 90 wedding favors (votive candle holders), just wondering if I set the 651 on while I do all 90, then etch them all, how difficult will it be to remove it in let’s say a week or 2?

      Reply
      • If you’re going to be leaving it on for a few weeks, I’d definitely go with 631 because the 651 will be a pain to remove. If it was for a few minutes just while you etched, the 651 should be fine. Love the wedding favor idea!

        Reply
        • Thanks for such a quick reply, greatly appreciated. The favors are for my sons wedding and I was trying to find a way for my future dil and her bridesmaids to be involved. Figuring etching would be easy for them to do. I’m a perfectionist so I want to be the one to weed and apply the stencils. But maybe we can just do it over several days. Thank you again! And thank you for this comparison, it’s helped me, a newb, a lot.

          Reply
    • Thanks for the note Aimee!

      I just updated the table with the correct fields – I switched to a new format for my tables and a few of the fields became transposed, so I really appreciate the correction!

      Reply
  1. Hi, thanks for the detailed information. Can 651 vinyl be used as stencils when making DIY wood painted signs? Or can you only use the 631 for this?
    Thanks 🙂

    Reply
  2. Hi, Ali! I have been rather confused about vinyls for a year. This is the best and most helpful article and I thank you SO much. I’m also confused about Transfer Tape (so many types and brands, some not strong enough, some won’t release the vinyl…). I’m mainly looking for one to use the with Oracle 651. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    You’re the best!

    Reply
  3. I was wondering if the 631 would stick to fabric for just one night? Want to us it for a Halloween costume and don’t want it to be permanent on the dress. I’ve never used vinyl at all so this is all very helpful. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Jennie!

      I’ve never tried to use 631 on clothing, but if you’re worried about it sticking you could try a few things:

      1 – Cut a small test square and apply it to similar material and see how it comes off after a day.

      2 – Remove some of its stickiness by pressing it against a towel or something similar af ew times. The vinyl will pick up a bit of the cotton and lint and be a lot less adhesive.

      I hope the costume comes out great!

      Reply
      • Thanks for your response. I was more concerned that it wouldn’t stick than that it wouldn’t come off! But your suggestion to try a test square is an excellent one. Thank you!

        Reply

Leave a Comment

Our Pick: Oracal 651

What We Like

  • Permanent, adhesive vinyl
  • Works for basically any project
  • Waterproof

What We Don't Like

  • Difficult to remove
  • Only comes in a glossy finish

Quick Summary

Oracal 651 remains our favorite vinyl to recommend for just about every project. It's inexpensive, comes in a load of colors, and always cuts & weeds easily. It can be difficult to remove, so for removable decals I'd recommend Oracal 631 instead.

Oracal Vinyl Sheets (63 Pack)
  • All 63 Oracal 651 colors
  • Competitive pricing - ordered/processed/distributed efficiently to keep you crafting affordably
  • Oracal 651 - high quality vinyl made in Georgia use
  • 12X 12 Sheets, professionally cut and packaged