Many crafters are making use of self-adhesive vinyl, both for business and personal decorations. One perennial favorite is the Oracal line made by a German company called Orafol. While they are now one of the biggest manufacturers of self-adhesive vinyl in the world, Orafol wasn’t always in the crafting game. It had to work its way to the top, and the quality and popularity of the products show. It also points to a promising future for DIYers!
From Ink To Oracal: A Brief History Of Orafol
Orafol is a much older company than you’d think! They go back to the early 19th Century, starting as a family business called Wieblitz-Farbenwerkstatt. They made their name as the exclusive producer of postmark inks for the Kingdom of Prussia (now part of Germany), meaning they made all the inks that would mark official mail throughout the region. They did this for a full century until they thought diversification would be necessary; their first non-ink products were lacquers and paints.
It didn’t take them long to become even more innovative. In 1960, Orafol (though under a different name) made the first self-adhesive reflective vinyl for traffic signs. In 1976, they manufactured the first self-adhesive graphic products, selling them under the brand name we still know today: Oracal.
Oracal self-adhesive vinyl didn’t make its way to North America until 2006, but when this product came to Canada and the United States, it proved Orafol was one of the most dominant companies in the crafting world. Going from postal ink to paint to vinyl takes a lot of innovation – what can we expect from them in the future?
The Future Of Self-Adhesive Vinyl
Innovation is important in the crafting world, and Orafol knows this well. Many of their latest products are as groundbreaking as their line of self-adhesive vinyl has been. The company recently released new reflective tapes for personal protective equipment. Much like how Oracal 751 and 951 adhere to fabric, their new reflective garment tape enhances the visibility and safety of the wearer while improving how it feels. Though it works in an industrial setting, the garment tape is great for all kinds of applications; runners who want to customize their clothing while staying safe will benefit.
The company has also been able to help with larger solutions, too. They installed the Oracal NT Window Film Series, an energy-saving solar window film, on buses in the city of Istanbul. The city, being in a hotter climate, needed a way to save fuel as they ran air conditioning for the comfort of their passengers. After installing the film, the municipality reported that they saved five liters of fuel per 100 kilometers traveled.
Like most crafting companies, Orafol keeps a tight lid on its developments. But given how handy the Oracal line of self-adhesive vinyl has been for crafters the world over, we can expect awesome things!