How to install your custom vinyl decal
Getting to know your Decal
If you look at the edge of your decal prior to installation you will see that there are at least three layers (multiple colors of vinyl may be layered to produce even more layers) – a backing layer, the decal itself and then a layer of application tape placed over the top. The backing layer provides a safe covering for the adhesive on the back of your decal, and the application layer holds all the pieces of vinyl in their proper place until it has been permanently installed. The application layer is sticky, but not nearly as sticky as the vinyl decal. Once pressed onto the final surface, the application layer can be slowly peeled off leaving the decal in place.
Note: Lay your decals flat; they have been rolled up during shipping. You just want to let them rest for a while so they are flat. The longer the better sometimes overnight. Lay some books on them to make sure they are flat.
Things you will need:
- Measuring device such as a ruler or measuring tape
- Masking tape or similar temporary adhesive material
- A custom vinyl decal from us.
- A squeegee, or a plastic card such as a credit card (not a rubber edged window cleaning squeegee)
The surface to which you intend to apply the decal needs to be as clean as you can get it. This means no oil, wax, grease, fingerprints, solvents, etc. as anything that comes between the vinyl and its intended destination will lead to eventual adhesive failure. The surface temperature should range from 50 to 90 degrees to achieve the best results. If the surface is hot to the touch it's probably over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Adhesive becomes brittle when it gets too cold and gummy when it gets too hot. Applications outside the suggested range of 50 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit decrease the ability of the adhesive to perform.
Note: Outdoor application is discouraged but can be done when winds are less than 10 mph. Blown dirt, dust or other contaminants can interfere with the bonding of the graphic adhesive to the vehicle during installation.
Wet or Dry Installation?
Applying vinyl with a light mist of application fluid(solution) on the surface allows for re-positioning and reduces the chance of bubbles and wrinkles. The dry install does not allow for any mistakes. Once the vinyl touches the surface, there is no removal without damage. The Wet Install is Strongly suggested for first-time users.
You may want to do a wet install. The solution for a wet install is 2 cups water and 1 tsp. of Dawn dish soap (Dawn is best but you can use others also). You need to wet the surface you are applying and the back of the decal after the backing layer is removed. Lay the decal on the wet surface that you are applying to if possible, with the application layer side down. Then peel off the application layer to expose the decal, wet along the way as you are peeling to prevent decal sticking to itself. Then flip over and place and squeegee. Remember always squeegee from the center out. If you continue to move the decal around make sure you wet it again, both pieces. If you’re doing a wet install and your application layer overlaps. Please tape the ends and middle of each overlap.
Note: Do NOT do a wet install for wall stickers.
Measure the width and height of the decal (be sure to only measure the decal itself and not the extra backing paper and application layer that surrounds it!) and mark the center. Repeat the process for where you intend to install the decal and then use masking tape to temporarily hold the corners of the decal in place. Check for level and take a few steps back to view it from a distance and make sure it looks good. Make any changes to the placement or level now.
Once you’re 100% certain of the placement, it’s time to get sticky…
Small decal Application
- Apply a strip of masking tape “hinge” across the top or side of the decal to secure it in place and then remove any other masking tape. You want to be able to flip the decal up using the “hinge”.
- Use your squeegee at this time to give the decal a good rub down – you want to make sure that all pieces of vinyl are securely adhered to the upper surface.
- Flip-up the decal and begin to slowly remove the backing layer – being careful to not let the decal fold over onto itself and avoid touching the decal itself – it’s OK to touch the application layer. You may want to use a piece of masking tape to hold the corner where you started peeling from to keep it from falling.
- Continue peeling the backing layer off while making sure the vinyl fully releases from the backing layer and stays adhered to the application layer.
- Once full removed, slowly flip the decal down without allowing it to touch the final surface – yet. Hold it just above the surface until it’s fully un-flipped.
- Starting at the hinge edge, use your squeegee to slowly press the decal down onto the final surface. Hold the squeegee at a 45° angle to the surface and starting from the center, work your way to the outer edges.
- Go over the entire decal multiple times from multiple directions to make sure the vinyl is able to make full contact with the surface.
- Starting from one corner, peel back the application layer onto itself and slowly peel off the application layer while making sure the underlying vinyl isn’t pulled up at the same time – if the vinyl starts to pull up, stop and roll the application layer back over that spot and hit it with your squeegee before trying again.
- Once the application layer has been removed, you’re all done!