Beginners Guide To Applying Vinyl Lettering

Beginners Guide To Applying Vinyl Lettering

Signworld partners have been delivering perfect vinyl lettering installations since 1988. Today we share a simple and effective process you can use to get professional results at home!

What You Need To Apply Vinyl Lettering

Aside from the obvious–quality custom vinyl lettering, preferably from a Signworld partner–you’ll need the following items to get the job done:

  • Cleaning supplies–gather up your favorite cleaner, a bucket of clean water, and a clean cloth
  • Masking tape
  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • Squeegee–make sure the blade is in good condition, as worn-out squeegees will only make the job more difficult and potentially damage your vinyl lettering.

Take a cue from the culinary world and practice mise en place, which means putting everything in place before you begin.

Choosing The Right Surface To Apply Vinyl Lettering

Vinyl lettering uses a self-adhesive backing that adheres to most surfaces. But for best results, you want to find a spot that’s relatively flat and smooth. Glass, plastic, painted interior walls, vehicles, and metals are ideal, but slightly textured surfaces like orange-peel textured walls work find, too. Just make sure to avoid highly textured surfaces like brick or stucco, as these create subpar adhesion that makes your vinyl lettering more prone to lifting and peeling.

Depending on your needs, you might also want to consider temperature and sunlight exposure when choosing the right spot. Some vinyl lettering products may begin to fade after prolonged exposure to UV rays, while others can lose their adhesive strength in high temperatures. Don’t worry about any of that if you’re using vinyl lettering for a temporary display.

Step 1: Clean The Surface

An ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure, right?

Take the time to prepare your installation surface by giving it a thorough cleaning. This will help you achieve a perfectly smooth installation that lasts for years.

For plastic or glass, use a surface cleaner. Solvent cleaners are best for metal and other exterior surfaces, while mild generic household cleaners work best for painted surfaces like indoor walls.

Step 2: Place Your Vinyl Lettering

Once you decide where you want the lettering togo, use your tape measure to be sure everything is lined up correctly. For example, if you want it at eye level, measure it out at the average eye level; if you want it in the middle of the wall, measure the entire wall both ways to locate dead-center. Eyeballing is a great starting point, but it’s not enough for a perfect installation!

Once you’ve dialed in on the spot, mark it with masking tape.

Step 3: Make A Hinge

Your vinyl lettering will come sandwiched between two sheets, known as the mask layer and backing.

Apply tape horizontally to the top of your graphic, with the mask side facing you. You should be able to read the letters normally from here.

Remove the masking tape marking the installation spot. There should be nothing behind the backing layer, including any masking tape residue. Using the masking tape hinge, you should be able to lift the graphic up.

Step 4: Remove The Backing

Pull off the backing layer to expose the powerful adhesive. Start in one corner and work carefully, keeping your hinge in place at all times. If any lettering lifts, press firmly into the masking layer. Completely remove the backing.

Step 5: Apply The Vinyl Lettering To The Surface

Lower the mask layer and press firmly at a 45 degree angle using your squeegee. Start from the middle and work your way out with smooth, firm strokes. Once everything is in place, go over again with another series of firm strokes to really settle it and remove any small air bubbles.

Step 6: Remove The Masking Layer

Slowly peel away the masking layer and remove the hinge tape. You’re basically done–all that’s left to do is let the adhesive cure and maintain your vinyl lettering with the occasional cleaning!

Free Vinyl Lettering Consultations Near You

Signworld partners are operating successful businesses across America.

Call 888-765-7446 or visit our website to book a free consultation with a Signworld partner near you.


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