Instructions for Applying Custom Vinyl Graphics
Proper Cleaning: An Important First Step
Use a solution of plain dishwashing soap and water to remove all wax, silicone, oil, grease, dirt and grime from the surface where the vinyl graphics will be applied. Rinse the surface with water to make sure any and all soap residue has been removed. Dry the surface with a lint-free towel or cloth. It is important to make sure the vehicle is completely dry and free of any debris or residues before applying the graphics.
The surface must not be hot to the touch. It should be between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit before installation is attempted. The adhesive will become brittle if it gets too cold and gummy when it gets too hot. Graphics are best applied in a shaded, wind-free area.
- Acquire a squeegee and a spray bottle.
- Make a weak solution of soapy water (3-4 drops of dish washing liquid to a quart of water) in a spray bottle.
- Test fit the vinyl graphic to the location you intend to apply it. Using blue painters tape or masking tape to mark edges will make installation easier.
- Lightly spray the soapy water solution on the surface where the vinyl graphic will be applied. Peel off white backing to expose the sticky side of the vinyl and lightly spray the sticky side of the vinyl with the soapy water solution.
- Starting at one side of the vinyl graphic, line up the graphic with the tape placed in Step 3 to lay the vinyl graphic where you would like it.
- Slowly lay down the remaining vinyl graphic how you would prefer.
- Use the squeegee to smooth out any air bubbles. Work from the center of the graphic out, trying to make sure no water or air bubbles are trapped.
- Let sit for about 15-30 minutes depending on the temperature (Warmer = shorter time to set).
- Carefully peel the protective application tape off very slowly. Peeling it slowly will allow the vinyl to stay on the surface while removing the tape.
- If for some reason the application tape starts taking the vinyl graphic off with it carefully lay the tape and vinyl back down. Restart at Step 7 to remove all soapy water solution from under the vinyl graphic.
This article was first published on 2/18/2009.
It was most recently modified on 3/26/2015.