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How to Install Vinyl Lettering, Graphic, and Decals


How do you install vinyl lettering, decals, and large exterior graphic stickers? Take your time, follow the directions below and within 10 minutes you'll have your installation complete. But first, some preparatory information:

Decal Installation Surface Preparation

All surfaces must be thoroughly cleaned before applying your vinyl graphics. Follow the instructions below for specific material cleaning procedures.

Decals on Plastics and Glass

Thoroughly wipe surface clean with a window cleaner. Remove any dried matter such as tape or glue with a single edge razor blade. If you are planning to use acrylic, remove the protective liner from the acrylic 24 hours prior to application vinyl graphic. This will allow any air bubbles (outgassing) to dissipate from the acrylic. If this is not observed you may find air bubbles form under your graphic within a couple of days..

Decals on Painted Metals and Base Metals

These surfaces may be cleaned with a solvent such as Naphtha, Xylol or Lacquer Thinner. Dry the surface with a lint free cloth before the solvent evaporates. Freshly painted surfaces should be dry for at least 72 hours prior to application of the vinyl graphics.

Decals on Interior Painted Surfaces

Surfaces may be cleaned with any household cleaner such as Fantastic or 409. Wipe area clean and dry with a lint free cloth before applying the vinyl graphics. Freshly painted surfaces should be dry for at least 72 hours prior to application of the vinyl graphics.


Decal Installation Temperature Requirements

The temperature of the room and the temperature of the intended surface should be between 45 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit for best results. Very high humidity (above 90 percent) may effect the application process.


Materials Needed for Decal Installation

  • Small cutting knife or razor blade. (an Exacto Knife is ideal for the job)
  • A Spray bottle filled with a mixture of dish soap and water. The mixture ratio is; 3 drops of soap to 1 pint of water
  • Plastic Squeegee (supplied)
  • Dry Towel
  • 2" Roll of Masking Tape 

Installation Instructions

The graphic consists of three separate pieces.Three pieces of a Decal Lettering Graphic
  • Pre-mask
  • Vinyl Graphic
  • Liner

  1. Using small tabs of masking tape, tack the graphic to the intended surface . This is to insure proper placement before the liner is removed.
    Use small tabs of masking tape, tack the graphic

  2. Apply a single horizontal strip of 2" masking tape to the top of the graphic. The strip of should be split between the graphic and the intended surface with 1" on each side (as shown). This strip will be used as a hinge that will insure the graphic does not move during the application process.
    Use a strip of tape to create a hinge

  3. Hold the bottom edge of the hinged graphic away from the intended surface and remove the liner to reveal the sticky backing of the vinyl. Save this piece of liner for use later in the application process.
    Hold the bottom edge of the hinged graphic away from the surface
    CAUTION:
    Do not let the exposed graphic touch the intended surface. The back of the graphic is very tacky and will tightly adhere to the surface.

    If the placement is not correct, removing the graphic for re-placement will be very difficult or impossible without causing damage to the vinyl.

  4. To assist in proper placement, spray the intended surface with the mixture of soap and water. (This coating of water reduces the tackiness of the vinyl, letting you lift and re-place the graphic if necessary.
    Spray the surface with the
        
        mixture of soap and water

  5. While still holding the hinged graphic away from the intended surface. Using the squeegee and starting from the top, begin to marry the graphic to the intended surface.
    Squeegee and starting from the top
    Notes:
    • Work from top to bottom.
    • Do not let the entire graphic fall onto the intended surface.
    • If lines or creases develop, lift and re-place the graphic.

  6. Once the graphic is in proper position and lying perfectly flat on the intended surface, you can now start forcing the water out from beneath the graphic. Starting from the center working outward, use firm strokes with the squeegee to force the water out from beneath the individual letters or elements contained in your graphic.
    Use firm strokes
        
        with the squeegee to force the water out from beneath the individual letters

  7. After all letters and elements have had most of the water squeegeed out from beneath them, it is now time to remove the pre-mask from the graphic and reveal the final product. To remove the pre-mask without difficulty, spray with water and soap mixture and wait a minute or two for the pre-mask paper to become soggy. Gently remove the pre-mask. Be careful not to pull the graphic up with the pre-mask paper.
    Remove the pre-mask from the vinyl lettering

  8. Squeegee out any remaining water bubbles using the piece of left over liner. Lay the piece of left over liner over the graphic, with shiny side of liner facing you. Proceed to apply hard pressure to squeegee out any remaining water or air bubbles.
    Squeegee out any remaining water bubbles

Installation Kit Photo Still need help? Order our Lettering / Decal / Stripe Application Kit - $12.50
Custom Kit includes:1 -  Deluxe Squeegee, 1 - Snap knife 1- Instruction Video, and 1 - Bottle of application fluid. Our Application Fluid contains an exclusive adhesive activator, which sets the vinyl adhesive and speeds drying time. The special fluid also helps eliminate unwanted bubbles. Highly Recommended!



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