How to apply vinyl: Part 1

How to apply vinyl: Part 1

How to Apply Vinyl Graphics

At Dan Butler Signs we offer a professional fitting service, however if you’d prefer to fit vinyl graphics yourself we can provide you with a kit ready for application.

Vinyl application can be done with a couple of methods, here is the first of two main methods we use.

Cut-down Method

 

Step 1: Prepare the surface using a degreasing cleaner

When fitting vinyl, the best result is generally achieved by proper cleaning of the surface. A speck of dust or dirt under the vinyl can show as a lump in the finished product.

Also, any residue on the surface could prevent the adhesive on the vinyl from attaching. With vinyl applied to vehicles, it is not uncommon for a vehicle that is waxed frequently to need extra cleaning to remove the wax residue, as this will lead to the vinyl failing.

We use specialist sign cleaning fluids, these can often be purchased through specialist sellers, or any Isopropanol based cleaner can be used, but may not yield as good results.

Step 2: Position the graphic with masking tape

Using a small piece of masking tape at either end of the graphic will allow you to move the graphic easily to get the positioning correct.

We always recommend measuring to a set line on the graphic (e.g the bottom line of part of the text) as apposed to the box left by the application tape, as this can be a slightly different line to that of the graphic.

When applying vinyl to a magnetic surface (e.g on a van panel) you can use magnets instead of masking tape.

Step 3: Tape along longest edge

Running a long strip of masking tape across the longest edge (normally the top) will create the basis for making the fitting as easy as possible.

Step 4: Cut into smaller sections

A single large piece of vinyl is more difficult to apply than several smaller pieces. By identifying areas that you can cut through the backing paper and application tape, while avoiding any of the graphic will give you a smaller more manageable pieces to apply.

In the example image the cuts could easily be done with straight lines, however there is no reason not to cut slight shapes to avoid cutting the vinyl.

NEVER CUT THE VINYL! If you cut through part of the vinyl graphic at this point there is a good chance that when you apply it either a small gap, or a small overlap, will be left as a result. As most vinyls will slowly shrink back a little over time, this cut can create a very obvious flaw.

Step 5: Peel away the first piece of backing

When peeling the backing, it is best to start from the taped edge outwards, this allows you to peel the backing part of the way and start laying the graphic down while using the remaining backing paper as a shield to stop the vinyl hitting the surface before it is meant to.

Step 6: Apply pressure to the face of the graphic

Start from the taped edge, while holding the graphic from the alternate edge to keep the vinyl from hitting the surface before you intend.

Best results are achieved by using a sign maker’s squeegee, however any straight, firm plastic can be used.

Step 7: Repeat

Use step 6 as above to apply each cut section of the graphic.

Step 8: Remove Application Tape

Slowly peel up the application tape, take care to check for areas of vinyl lifting, you may need to reapply some pressure to any areas that look like they might be lifting with the application tape.

Step 9: Check for Bubbles

If you have any small bubble under the vinyl these can generally be removed fairly easily. If the bubbles are near the edge of the graphic they might simply push out, however, any that are too far from the edge might need to be popped with a sharp knife, then pressed down.

 


The Finished Product:

 

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