From Signs of Seattle: Seattle’s Favorite Sign Company
Squeegee (a credit card will work for this or a piece of plastic the same firmness as a credit card.). Tape measure and or level. Spray bottle, filled with water, and two or three small drops of dish soap (alcohol free). Masking tape.
Step One: Preparing your surface
This step is often overlooked or performed inadequately, resulting in vinyl troubles ranging from bubbles to failure to adhere. We recommend cleaning your surface thoroughly with a mild dish detergent solution, rinsing the surface very thoroughly, and then wiping with alcohol to ensure a perfectly clean surface. Shop rags are not recommended, as they may harbor small bits of lint or chemical remnants. Super-absorbent paper towels are also not recommended, as they may contain chemicals to increase absorbency that will interfere with your vinyl adhesion. Basic paper towels will work best for wiping your surface.
Step Two: Positioning Graphic
Position the vinyl graphic using masking tape on the top corners to hold the vinyl in place. Use level or tape measure to ensure the correct placement. When the graphic is positioned correctly, use masking tape on the left or right end of the graphic to create a hinge.
Step Three: Removing Backer
Pull the graphic back so that the backer is facing you. Remove the backer slowly. While removing the backer spray the adhesive side of the vinyl lightly with application spray until the backer is fully removed. Be sure not to let the vinyl fold on to itself. An extra set of hands is helpful, but not required.
Step Four: Applying the vinyl
Spray the adhesive side of the vinyl thoroughly. Now simply apply the vinyl to the surface. Do not apply any pressure yet! Do not over-stretch your vinyl during the application process. This can result in end lift. Pull the vinyl just taut enough so that there is no slack in vinyl.
Step Five: Squeegee work
Vinyl is a pressure-sensitive product, so using a squeegee creates the bond. The purpose of the squeegee is to remove the excess fluid and air bubbles from behind the vinyl. Always start the squeegee from the center of your vinyl, and use a straight up or down motion to push out the bubbles. Use a smooth motion. Do not squeegee in an arc or diagonally, as you may torque the vinyl. Allow the vinyl to set for 5 to 15 minutes. (In colder temperatures, you may have to wait one to three hours, or apply heat) Do not yet remove the application tape.
Step Six: Removing the application tape
When removing your application tape, always pull it slowly, back onto itself, at a 180-degree angle. Bubbles should be punctured using a pin. Do not slit the vinyl to release the air. If the vinyl is slit it will spread or gap. The cutting or trimming of any graphic should be done using a very sharp knife and very little pressure.