You guys I had no idea there was so much that goes into manufacturing adhesive craft vinyl...and there's so much more of where that came from! There's so much that the craft world hasn't even seen yet and I'm so excited for you guys to see some of the possibilities and things that will soon be hitting the market....and don't worry - I went armed with your vinyl wish lists!
Since I couldn't bring all of you along with me - I figured the next best thing was to take you on a behind the scenes tour through some pictures I took at Orafol's plant just outside Savannah, Georgia.
By the time the vinyl gets to you - it's on a nice 12x12 sheet or maybe a 12" 5 yard roll. But the Oracal 651 and 631 vinyl you craft with starts off nothing like that...
There's a lot that happens before it even gets to this point. The colored film is brought in from Orafol's factory in Germany - where the company originally started in the early 1800's.
Huge rolls of paper gets a special waxy finish on them first. This is what allows the vinyl from sticky to the paper backing when it's removed with transfer tape.
Then the back of the paper is printed and marked with Oracal, grid lines, and the vinyl type such as 651.
Then the 48" rolls of now-adhesive-backed vinyl and the printed-paper backing meet on another huge belt. The two are rolled onto huge rolls called the mother roll.
Robots move around hundreds of rolls of vinyl, tape, and film through the factory helping box it, cut it, and load it for shipping with the help of more than 100 factory workers.
So what does the Oracal vinyl look like when it leaves the factory? It's cut down to a minimum of
12" x 100 yard rolls and then is then shipped out to distributors like Swing Design who then sell to other re-sellers or directly to the customer. When the vinyl arrives at their warehouse it's then cut down even further into sheet and roll sizes more manageable for the home crafter: 12x12 sheet, 12x24" sheets, or smaller length rolls.
Oh and you wanna know what I gotta think is the prettiest job at the Orafol factory? Making sample and swatch books!!! They take what's basically scraps and put it on this cool machine that threads it onto thin clear backing....
It comes out looking like this...
And then it's placed into swatch books - one strip and one book at a time. You can actually get your hands on a 651 Vinyl swatch/sample book here.
How cool is that! Did you have ANY idea all that went into making craft vinyl?! I had no clue...and now I have a whole new appreciation for my Oracal 651 and 631.
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