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How to Apply Large Stickers
Store unapplied graphics in a clean dry room temperature area. Never subject the graphics material to moisture, excessive humidity, direct sunlight or temperatures above 100 degrees. Graphics should be allowed to lay flat at least 24 hours before application.
- Plastic Squeegee, credit card or driver’s license.
- Tape Measurer or Ruler
- Masking tape (1″ or wider)
- Marking pen or pencil
- Lint free paper towels
- Plastic spray bottle
- Dish soap (if applying wet)
- Surface Cleaner (409, Windex, Soap & Water)
Do you apply it Wet or Dry.
Dry applications are recommended for small lettering. Although if you do use the wet method, you will have to wait for this to dry before removing the transfer tape. When you apply the graphic dry, the first swipe with your squeeggee is the most important, it has to be firm.
If this is a large vinyl graphic or lettering, or If this is your first experience applying vinyl, than I would recommend Wet application as puts a barrier between the substrate and the acrylic adhesive on the back of the vinyl. Since the acrylics are solvent-based, the water/dish soap fluid prevents quick adherence to the substrate and gives you more time and flexibility to remove all the water and air from behind the graphic. You will have to wait until the fluid dries to peel the transfer tape off the vinyl.
VERY IMPORTANT. You do NOT want to get the backing (paper part) wet. This will make the paper soggy and almost impossible to remove from the vinyl. This will probably destroy the vinyl.
PREPARING THE SPRAY BOTTLE FOR WET APPLICATION
If you are not using rapid tack, or any solution made for vinyl wet applications, Dish soap and Water is an alternative. A New empty all purpose spray bottle is recommended, if you do not have one, and you have to use an old windex or other spray bottle, MAKE SURE that your spray bottle is CLEAN from any solutions, Wash and rinse numerous times to make sure it is cleaned. You do not want any other solutions that could effect the adhesive.
NEVER use Windex for wet application, Only use dish soap as a substitute.
Simply fill the bottle with warm water, then drop in a couple of drops of dish soap. You want to make sure that any surface is “slippery” when you spray it. if it not slippery, you do not have enough soap in it, and this will not allow the liquid to slide easily.
Before installing any graphics, you must clean the surface on which the decal will be applied to. Using a soft cloth, wash the surface thoroughly. Residual grease, soot or tar should be further cleaned with a solvent. Be sure to clean the surface several times if it was extremely dirty when started. To avoid adhesion problems, be sure that all liquid has completely dried from under vehicle panel seams and around rivet heads.
The surface you are applying the decals to MUST be in the 60 to 85 degree Fahrenheit environment. If it is too cold the adhesive will not work and the vinyl will easily tear. If it is too hot the vinyl becomes extremely flexible which makes it very difficult and at times, impossible to apply.
1. Carefully study your installation diagram. Measure the location of each graphic element and tape it into position. Taking this step will ensure that all of the elements fit properly within the design space.
In planning the installation sequence of the graphic elements, you will usually work from top to bottom.
2. Tape the graphic into position with small pieces of masking tape positioned at the top of the graphic. After rechecking your measurements, simply apply the masking tape along the top edge of the graphic. (See FIG. A.) With this method you will completely remove the backing before spraying the graphic.
In a variation of the top hinge technique, you can cut between large individual letters or between sections of your graphic so that each letter or section is independently hinged. (See FIG. B) Remove the sections of backing and install letter by letter, or section by section.
To make a center hinge, apply masking tape through the middle of the graphics. (See FIG C.)
Using this technique, remove the backing from one half of the graphic, cutting the backing at the tape hinge. After you squeegee this section of the graphic, working from the hinge to the outer edge, remove the hinge and the remaining backing. Complete the application, starting where the hinges used to be and working toward the outer edge.
3. Typically your first squeegee stroke begins at the center of the graphic. The first movement is straight to the left and right or up and down, depending on which procedure you decided to use. (See FIG D.)
All of your subsequent strokes work off the initial center stroke. Each stroke must overlap the previous one. You can angle your squeegee slightly away from the center line. Imagine that you are pushing air out from under the vinyl. Never angle the squeegee toward the center line..you will only produce bubbles and wrinkles. Always work from the center outward.
4. If you need to reposition the vinyl graphic on the surface give the material a sharp jerk with a snap of your wrist. The movement should be perpendicular to the surface.
Never use a slow pulling movement to reposition the graphic. This will only stretch the material causing more problems.
5.To remove the application tape from the graphic, pull the tape against itself at a 180-degree angle.
(See FIG E.) Do this slowly.
If the graphic does not stick to the surface (it stays stuck to the application tape) carefully place the graphic back onto the surface and squeegee again. After removing the application tape, be sure to re-squeegee all of your edges and overlaps. Using your finger or thumb works best for this.
You should allow a vehicle to set 24 hours before drying, this will allow time for the adhesive to adhere to the surface.