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Vinyl is best-known for being a substitute for leather. It may be called "faux leather" or "fake leather." A kind of plastic resin, its made from chlorine and ethylene. The name is actually derived from the full name of the material, polyvinylchloride (PVC).
Crafters such as doll makers use vinyl to make leather look-alike doll clothing. Toy manufactures have used this material to produce all types of children's toys for decades due to its toughness. Also, it is considered safe for children and is fairly inexpensive.
Some upholsterers also use vinyl rather than leather on some projects. Chair seats in cafes or in recreational vehicles may be more practical when made in this material rather than leather for both cost and ease of cleaning. It is also available in many colors, textures and patterns.
Scrapbooking is a popular craft that uses this material. You can buy vinyl lettering in many different types and sizes. The lettering can also be attached to walls for unique messaging as part of your decor.
As vinyl is a synthetic material, it is not breathable like leather and therefore is not usually used regularly to make jackets and other pieces of clothing. It is also not as durable as leather and often splits or cracks much more easily. However, vinyl is used to make inexpensive belts and bags as well as place mats since it can be easily wiped clean.
PVC was invented in 1920 and has remained in use mainly due to its toughness. It was used for vinyl records for record players and is still used in many types of medical accessories such as gloves, valves and catheters. Vinyl siding and flooring are two of the most common uses of the material.
This material is good for do-it-yourself projects that require a low-cost, tough and moisture-resistant fabric. When leather is just too expensive or impractical, it offers a more affordable and practical option. Also, unlike most other plastics, vinyl usually recycles well, which makes it a big plus for the environment over other synthetic materials.