At some point in all of our lives, we have all owned or at least played with some kind of vinyl + resin toy figures. Vietnam poster child Action Man, Master of The Universe Himself He-Man, women’s rights activist Barbie or Barbie impersonator Sindy, to name a few crude but obvious examples. We don’t know about you but the team at Studio Dais have not quite given up their obsession with toys just yet. And that’s why we have been offering custom made vinyl + resin toy figures to you guys for quite some time now. Let’s have a quick recap on the services we offer, and how we can help you create your own line of custom made vinyl + resin toy figures! Let’s go!
What Are Custom Made Vinyl and Resin Toy Figures?
Generally, we manufacture custom toys from two materials. Vinyl / PVC and Synthetic Resin. Both materials have their pros and cons and we will explain those in this article.
Organic Resins Vs Synthetic Resins Vs Vinyl PVC
Resin is defined as:
a sticky flammable organic substance, insoluble in water, exuded by some trees and other plants (notably fir and pine).
“clear resin had oozed to the surface, trickled down, and set”
a solid or liquid synthetic organic polymer used as the basis of plastics, adhesives, varnishes, or other products.
“epoxy resins frequently cause dermatitis”
PVC / Vinyl is defined as:
synthetic resin or plastic consisting of polyvinyl chloride or a related polymer, used for wallpapers and other covering materials and for records.
“the vinyl is cut to size with a craft knife”
of or denoting the unsaturated hydrocarbon radical —CH=CH2, derived from ethylene by removal of a hydrogen atom.
“a vinyl group”
So which one is best we hear you ask? Let’s find out!
Custom Made Resin Toy Figures
It is the synthetic resin we are concerned with here. Custom resin made toys are made by mixing two liquid polymers together to activate each other (like epoxy glue), the resin mixture is then poured into a flexible silicone mold, rotated at high speeds and left to cure and turn solid. After quite some time the resin toy figure is then able to be removed, painted, polished, boxed and shipped.
PROS for Custom Made Resin Toy Figure
Resin toy figures are great for producing fine details when a small figure size is required. Such as photo realistic facial details on human or non human type characters more than or equal to 1 inch. Branding and name information on the base or back of custom toys can also be achieved. Overall for smaller quantities (250pc to 500pc per design) resin is the way to go to enter the market (see costs breakdown below). Of course we are able to hit much higher quantities of custom resin figures, but when you start getting to the 3000-piece quantity, it might be wise to consider custom vinyl figures instead. More on that later.
CONS for Custom Made Resin Toy Figure
Although this is not really a ‘CON’ it is worth noting. Resin toy figures are dense, solid and hard (only as hard as your Action Man or Barbie toys you played with as a child). This means that whilst you won’t break a resin figure if you dropped it in any normal circumstances, with considerable force they can break. But don’t worry, Mt Everest will crumble before any of our custom resin toys will break under more than most normal circumstances. Plus as a positive, the added weight of the dense resin toys actually make them feel a little more ‘collectible’ and less like ‘kids toys’.
Custom Made Vinyl PVC Toy Figures
Although to the untrained eyes, there might not look like there is a big difference in the manufacturing processes between resin toys and vinyl toys, you need to be aware that there is! There are two types of vinyl we use to classify our processes, they are ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ styles.
Soft Vinyl Toys: The Rotocast PVC method is used to produce the common ‘soft vinyl toy’ figures we all know and love. Soft Vinyl aka ‘Sofubi’ (slang Japanese for ‘Sofuto Biniiru’ aka soft vinyl).
As the name suggest is a softer and more flexible vinyl toy material. We make soft vinyl toys by heating rigid pellets and pouring this ‘gloop’ into dedicated (and expensive) metal molds. The mold is turned at high speeds to spread the ‘gloop’ out evenly throughout the entire ‘negative space’ in the mold. This is why vinyl toys are hollow inside. The benefit of this Rotocast process is there are no seam lines to distort your much loved design. This process is usually preserved for body parts that are on display such as the head, arms, feet etc. It gives us a much more professional finish.
Hard Vinyl Toys: This process is possible by a fine PVC powder suspended in resin like matrix. The mixture is poured cold into a dedicated metal mold and heated up gently to allow the mixture to form and react and again rotated to spread the mixture evenly. During the cooling / curing stages the hard vinyl toy is then pulled from the metal mold and placed to cool and harden before cutting, polishing, boxing and shipping. The biggest draw back with vinyl toys is the complex molding processes and costs. More below.
PROS for Custom Made PVC / Vinyl Toy Figure
Vinyl Toy Figures are what most people associate with ‘custom toys’. This does not mean that resin toys are not worth considering, but vinyl / PVC custom toys do have a certain quality aesthetic to them. Their generally matte texture gives them a high-end look and feel and makes them distinctly different from anything that resembles ‘cheap plastic’ (our custom resin toys are also safely far away from this terrible classification).
CONS for Custom Made PVC / Vinyl Figure
As we have discussed above, the manufacturing process with custom vinyl toys is a much more complex process than that of resin toys. And with this complexity comes more time requirements. Entering the custom vinyl or resin toy market is not like our custom made enamel pins, vinyl and resin toys are a much more complex beast and we have to have patience. On average from your first email to you receiving your vinyl toy figures, we could be looking at between 6 weeks and 8 weeks. From initial sketching, 3D modelling in CAD, back and forth with design iterations, waxing, prototyping, sampling, molding, injection, curing, polishing, boxing, shipping… You get the idea! You have to plan ahead if you are needing your custom toys for events or launches, there is simply no way to skip or rush through each step.
COSTS Explained for Custom Made Vinyl PVC and Resin Toy Figures
Overall making custom resin toys is the better way to break into the custom toy market than if you went with custom vinyl PVC toy figures. Why?
Molding Costs for Custom Vinyl and Resin Toys
The silicone molds required to make resin toys are astronomically cheaper than the metal molds needed for vinyl PVC toys. Depending on size of toy, a silicone mold could range from £200 to £400. A metal mold for vinyl PVC toys could range from £1500 to £5000, depending on the complexity of your design and to add to that how many different moving parts you have. If any at all.
Minimum Order Quantity for Custom Vinyl and Resin Toys
The minimum order quantity for vinyl toys is much higher than that of resin toys. The MOQ for vinyl could be between 1500 pieces and 2500 pieces, depending on the design complexity and size. The minimum order for custom resin toys could be between 250 pieces to 500 pieces. So you can see right away the barrier to entry on resin toys is much more forgiving.
CPP or Cost Per Piece for Vinyl Toys and Resin Figures
The CPP or ‘cost-per-piece’ for custom resin toys is higher than vinyl by maybe 15%, however with the huge savings on the mold costs (£250 compared to £2000), opting for resin toys is the best option for someone who wants to enter the custom made toy market with relative financial ease.
Aesthetic Differences Between Custom Made Vinyl PVC Toys Compared to Custom Made Resin Toys
This is the important thing everyone wants to know! What is the big difference between vinyl toys and resin toys and which one is right for me? Let’s quickly explore that now!
Physical Differences BetweenVinyl Toys and Resin Toys
The biggest difference between vinyl and resin toys is their stiffness and tactile nature in the hand. As far as how they look, it can sometimes be hard to decide which one is a resin toy and which one is vinyl toy. Only when you pick them up is it possible to really decide.
So it all comes down to costs and what you are able to invest in your new custom toy ventures. A strategy we would advise is to go for custom resin toy figures first. This will allow you to work with a proof-of-concept / MVP (minimum viable product) mentality. Trial and error, keeping costs low and your positions open.
The nature of the beast is that there are still some serious investments to be made here! It’s the big league of custom merchandise products and the only way to enter is by being seriously committed to the cause!
To Conclude On Custom Vinyl Toys Vs Custom Resin Toys
If the £1500/£2000+ up front costs is too great for you and your company, maybe start off smaller with simpler merchandise like our soft enamel or hard enamel pin badges (with an approximate up front costs of £175 to £200 for 100 enamel pins – dependent on size). Instead of creating a vinyl or resin figure of your company mascot or character, put them on enamel lapel pins, woven patches or even double sided commemorative coins. They essentially all serve the same purpose, they are all branding vehicles. You don’t want to bankrupt yourself before you have even learned to walk. Studio Das has expertise in ALL of these areas and we are excited to show you them all and walk you through each one in the best sequential order.
If You Still Have Any Questions
We hope this in-depth article on custom made vinyl and resin toys has been helpful. If you still have some questions, or are excited to get started in this fun and crazy world of bright and colourful characters, do not hesitate to get in touch and ask as many questions as you see fit. We love to help and get as excited as you do about your own projects!
Please get in touch HERE!