Although the details below for installing vinyl letters on your car or automobile window may seem complicated, the process is actually quite easy and as long as your surface area is clean and you take your time, you will find your vinyl letters will look as if a professional painted the lettering for you.
Cleaning The Surface
Depending on the surface you will be installing your vinyl letters, there are a few methods of cleaning we will address. This is one of the more important aspects to putting up your vinyl lettering, so make sure the area is as clean as possible.
Installing Vinyl on Glass and Plastic
For glass and plastics one should thoroughly clean the surface using a residue free rag or cloth with a glass cleaner such a sWindex or comparable brand. If areas contain glues or adhesive on the surface, use a razor blade to ensure the area is as clean as possible. Once the glass or plastic surface is cleaned, remove the protective liner from the vinyl and let it sit for a few hours prior to applying your vinyl lettering or graphic. This will ensure air bubbles are less of a factor when applying your vinyl sign to the surface.
Painted & Base Metal Surfaces
Surfaces such as metals should be cleaned with a solvent prior to applying your vinyl letters or graphics. Dry the surface with a lint free cloth before the solvent evaporates. Freshly painted metals should be dry for at least 72 hours prior to applying your vinyl graphics or lettering.
Surfaces such as walls may be cleaned with any household cleaner prior to applying lettering. Wipe area clean and dry with a lint free cloth before applying graphics. Freshly painted walls should be dry for at least 72 hours prior to application of the vinyl graphics.
The temperature of the surface should be between 45 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit for best results. High humidity (above 90 percent) may effect the application process.
Tools You Will Need
(a) Cutting knife or razor blade (b) A Spray bottle filled with a mixture of 3 drops of soap to 1 pint of water (c) Plastic Squeegee (d) Dry Towel (e) 2" Roll of Masking Tape.
Vinyl Lettering Installation Instructions
Using small strips of masking tape, temporarily apply lettering to the surface . This is to confirm proper placement before your lettering is permanently applied.
Apply one strip of 2" masking tape to the top of the graphic and the surface to create a hinge. 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 process.
Do not let the vinyl adhesive touch the surface during this step. Ensure the placement is correct and looks like you want it to before you remove the backing .
Once your vinyl lettering is temporarily placed where you want it, lift the vinyl from the surface and spray the surface with the soap and water mixture. This will assist you while applying the vinyl to the surface ensuring you will be able to lift and reapply to remove air bubbles and re-position your letters..
While still holding the hinged graphic away from the surface, begin to squeegee the letters onto the surface starting from the top and working your way to the bottom, applying the graphic to the surface.
Once the letters are perfectly flat on the intended surface, 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 and or graphics.
After all letters 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 look. 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 while carefully ensuring you do not pull the graphic up with the pre-mask paper.
Squeegee out any water bubbles with a damp cloth by applying pressure to squeegee out any remaining water or air bubbles.
Installing vinyl graphics is a simple process. With a little concentration and patience you can easily install quality vinyl lettering and graphics.