Here is some information in regards to proper installation/application of our products. As well as care instructions for our garments (located at the bottom of this page) DO NOT be intimidated by the extent of the grounds we cover. The process is nearly as simple as peel and stick, but there is some good things to know to avoid errors and get a nice clean well positioned decal or stripe set.
These are written instructions, but we highly recommend seeing the process first hand. Search online things such as
"HOW TO APPLY A VINYL DECAL"
"HOW TO APPLY A VINYL RACING STRIPE"
Watching a few youtube or ehow videos will give you a firm understanding of the process and give you some professional options, such as wet install, center hinge, top/side hinge etc. Here is a walkthrough of the most basic method most of you will use for our smaller decals.
Vinyl decals, Racing stripes etc.:
Basic instructions for installing a vinyl decal:
Here is a quick guide to cover the primary goals of installing a common vinyl decal. This is not advised for decals over 12" or any kind of automotive Racing stripe. This is the most common approach for smaller vinyl decals and for those who want it plain and simple. There are more professional options we will cover below though. Here are the most basic instructions we can offer for those of you looking for the simplistic approach.
Here are the 3 main components of any vinyl decal.
The top layer - Transfer tape
The middle layer - The decal itself
The bottom layer - White or blue backing sheet or paper liner
Here are basic step by step instructions;
Best suitable weather conditions are about 50-90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Clean the desired application surface very well with a lint-free cloth and a little soapy water. Isopropyl alcohol works well for prep as well if you have it. This cleans well and dries fast. The cleaner the surface the better tack and life your decal will have!
Grab your decal and lay it face first on a hard smooth surface. Grab your vinyl squeegee (A credit card is a common home remedy for this). Then FIRMLY rub the back of the decal down back and forth with that credit card edge. This it to ensure your getting a good tack to transfer your decal.
Now we want to peel off the backing sheet or paper liner. Be careful in this process to ensure all of your decal is sticking to the transfer tape. You want all of the decal to stay on the tape and the paper liner is to be completely blank when removed and then discarded. Transfer tape is designed with a temporary tack and its purpose is to transfer the decal from the paper liner to the desired surface and then release it to the application surface. Because this tack is lower and temporary in nature this is just a mindful step to be careful. If any of your decal want to stick to the paper liner repeat step 3 if necessary. We do all this in house so it will usually come up the first try, but due to that temporary nature of the transfer tape it is always a good idea to be careful here. If that tack was too strong it will easily lift your decal from the liner, but it may not release your decal to the application surface it will want to rip it back off or leave a bunch of gummy adhesive on your decal after removed. Just the nature of the beast!
Once removed from the liner you want to be careful as you do not want the decal to stick to itself. Anything it touches it will want to stick to! Keeping tension on the transfer tape you can then stick your decal to the desired surface. Try to get it straight as possible as this is a one time deal! Once it touches the surface it typically will not come back up without damaging the decal. This is good sign the adhesive is good, but you do not want to find out the hard way! Keep firm tension on the tape! This is where people tend to crinkle their decals. Per say you have a 12" long decal and you stick both sides on in one shot and rub it down. If you have any slack in the middle you may get some wrinkles there. I prefer to start on one side stick it and work to the other side with the squeegee (Left to right, top to bottom etc.) almost kind of like rolling the decal on the surface to get it flat as possible. It just depends on what you are comfortable with as well as the shape of the decal. Just don't let it touch any of the surface until it is ready to!
Once the decal is in place on your vehicle with the transfer tape still intact. Take your squeegee (credit card) and give it another FIRM rub down all over that transfer tape. What you are trying to accomplish here is getting your decal to get a nice firm tack to the surface you applied it to. Do not be shy here! Using a little elbow grease is a good thing to ensure that decal is not going anywhere anytime soon!
Now the fun part! You want to remove that transfer tape to reveal your final product. After your firm squeegeeing it is going to be on there fairly good. Just start at the top and then pull it downwards. Do not pull it towards yourself, just pull it downwards until it is completely removed. Then Ka-Chow!! Admire your work and enjoy your decal!
*Air bubbles are a part of vinyl install. This is the case for sticking anything solid to any surface. The air has nowhere to go sometimes and just gets trapped forming an air bubble. They are not always present, but if you do get one or two do not worry! In the case you find any air bubbles in your decal that bother you, there is a PROPER way to fix them. DO NOT just try and force them out without a release point. You will just stretch out the vinyl and make the ugly bubble uglier! You will want to use a fine point needle to poke a little hole in the bubble, then push the air out with your finger and the vinyl will typically flatten. Just ensure you penetrate the vinyl fully or the air will not release. If you get a stubborn air bubble it may be a piece of dirt stuck between the vinyl and surface. In this case you might just have to live with it unfortunately, in most cases you will forget about it in a few days anyways! This is one of the benefits of using a lint-free towel to clean the surface as well. Hope all that helps!
* These are basic instructions for vinyl install. Just getting that out of the way for the common user. I am going to address some different methods and common tools used below. I will also be recommending methods for specific products so please pay attention. These methods are very universal and can be used for nearly any vinyl install. Lets start with some of your basic tools needed and home remedies!
Common vinyl application tools:
A vinyl squeegee - (a credit card is a commonly used home remedy for a squeegee).
Application fluid - (OPTIONAL) This is used to apply decals with the wet method explained below. To create an at home application fluid you can use a quart squirt bottle nearly full of water. Add 4-5 drops of your common dish soap and another tiny pour of isoprophyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol). The alcohol helps it dry faster and is an optional additive.
Scissors/Razor blade - (OPTIONAL)Typically only needed when applying a larger decal or racing stripes for trimming and rolling edges as well as cutting off the backing paper for a center hinge of a larger decal, will explain the center hinge later
Masking tape - (OPTIONAL) Needed to create the hinges explained below and keep your decal in proper placement for install). Used a lot for larger applications and racing stripes.
Ruler/Scale - (OPTIONAL) Used to equally space multiple racing stripes and achieve proper placement.
A fine point needle - (OPTIONAL) Used to pop those stubborn air bubbles that are left!
Extended Methods for installation:
DRY INSTALL - (Typically used for smaller decals) To install a vinyl decal without any application fluid. This is most commonly used for smaller decals that are easy to handle and have less surface area. Once applied you can remove the tape right away. This method is very common, but you only get one shot. Once the decal touches any surface you probably will not be able to get it off without damaging the decal.
WET INSTALL - (Always used for stripe work! Used a lot for windshield banners and larger applications, but can be used in any vinyl install) To install a vinyl decal with an application fluid. Wet install allows you to reposition the decal temporarily. It is usually best served for larger applications. It always helps avoid as many air bubbles as possible install as well. The fluid is sprayed both on the surface and the sticky side of the decal in installation. This creates a barrier between the decal and surface. When squeegeed the air will come out with the water in most cases. This method requires some dry time as well after squeegeeing and removing the tape. You want that tack to set in or the decal may come back up with the tape if it is not dry enough. I have had to wait up to an hour. Be patient! This method can be used for any vinyl decal. A tip to remove paper transfer tape after it dries is to spray it down a bit to make it a little soggy and it will remove easier.
CENTER HINGE METHOD - (Main method chosen for stripe work. Used a lot for windshield banners and larger decals) To install a vinyl decal using masking tape to hold it in place centrally. This method best serves long decals. You want to find your placement and put some tape dead center of your decal sticking it to the surface desired and getting it straight as possible. You will need tape on both ends as well to get it right where you want it. Don't be scared to use more tape. You may have 8ft of vinyl in your hands! What you are doing here is applying from the center out. This helps compensate for any surface curvatures such as some windshields as well as prevents your decal from walking a strange way in install. You will remove the tape holding it in place from one end and kind of fold it over to that center hinge so you are looking at the paper liner of the decal now. Try not to pivot that center hinge tape, This is holding your alignment! Best to use thick tape if you use thin tape use multiple stripes in the center to help avoid it moving anywhere. Now back to the decal. You will need your scissors at this point. Peel back that liner carefully until you reach that center hinge. You do not want to drop or get your decal dirty here. An extra hand is always a plus! Now cut that paper off as close as you can to that center hinge with out pivoting or moving its position. Disregard that liner on the floor or whatever and spray down that adhesive side of the decal as well as the surface you are applying it to if applying wet recommended. Keeping tension apply with your squeegee from that center hinge back out to the edge you removed the tape from. Squeegee firmly hoping you got this in the right place to begin with. Now shift to the other side remove the tape, the rest of the liner and do the same you just did on the opposing side. Squeegee FIRMLY and remove the transfer tape. Remember if you applied it wet to try and squeegee all that fluid and air out and let it dry before removing the tape This can take up to an hour in some cases, weather does affect dry time! You just want to be sure that tack has set in before you remove the tape. If the tack has not set you will remove the decal as well.
SIDE OR TOP HINGE - (Best serves smaller decals) To install a vinyl decal with masking tape holding it on any side of the decal. This best serves vinyl installers who want to ensure there decal is right where they want it. You want to put a large piece of tape on whichever side you choose to work from and then you use that tape to stick it to the surface. Find right where you want it to be! Your decal will be kind of like a door hence the whole point of a "hinge". Choose if you want to apply it wet or dry and then proceed by folding the decal back (open the door) and peel off the paper liner. You do not want that tape to move or you will lose placement, so be careful! Once the paper liner is discarded be care the decal does not touch the surface or stick to itself here. Then work with your squeegee from the hinge side to the opposing side keeping tension so the decal lays flat to avoid crinkles. Squeegee FIRMLY and remove the transfer tape. Remember if you applied it wet to try and squeegee all that fluid and air out and let it dry before removing the tape This can take up to an hour in some cases, weather does affect dry time! You just want to be sure that tack has set in before you remove the tape. If the tack has not set you will remove the decal as well.
These methods can be looked up online as well. Per example; "How to apply a vinyl decal using the WET CENTER HINGE METHOD". Videos are always a plus!
Our recommended methods per our products are as follows, but it really is up to your expertise and comfort. These are our recommendations and we are not accountable for your choice or mistakes made in the process.
Small vinyl decals (under 12"): Wet or dry, Side/top hinge
Medium vinyl decals (12-24"): Wet or dry, Center/side/top hinge
Large vinyl decals (24"-36"): Wet, Center hinge
Windshield decals: Wet, Center hinge.
Racing stripes and related : Wet, Center hinge
Wall Art / Interior Decals:
Your vinyl arrives as a pre-spaced sheet of letters made of three layers...
(1) The top layer - or transfer tape (though which you can see the letters)
(2) The middle layer - the vinyl letters or decals themselves
(3) The bottom layer - white/blue shiny backing paper/liner
When you receive your order, gently press the vinyl sheet flat before proceeding with the instructions. Do not be alramed on any small creases or small bubbles in your transfer tape. These will not affect your decal.
Find the center of the area you wish to apply your wall art and using a pencil lightly mark the wall and top layer of the decal with a vertical line to have a reference for center position. Position your vinyl sheet on the wall, Use a level to ensure the letters are straight (line the level up with the LETTERS, NOT the backing paper). Make several small pencil marks on the wall, along the top of the decal.
Take down your lettering and lay it FACE DOWN on a flat surface. With your application tool (or credit card), gently but firmly rub over the paper backing one more time to ensure the letters are adhering to the tape on the front.
Carefully remove the paper backing making sure the transfer tape is lifting the decal off the liner. If not careful in removal you might rip the the decal. If the decal is not coming up in certain areas rub it firmly again with your application tool or credit card. Once your decal is removed completely from the paper liner take the design back to your wall. Align the center mark (vertical line you created) and the top of the tape with the other pencil marks you previously made along the top of the decal. Keep tension on your decal so your letters apply flat, if you have too much slack your letters might bunch up and crease. Once aligned gently press down the top with the palm of your hand and work your way down the decal from the middle outward ensuring all the letters are adhering to the wall (WAX ON!, WAX OFF!). Once you have done this with the entire decal, take your application tool and once more go over your decal (application tape still on).
Starting at a corner, slowly peel back the application tape, pulling it BACK INTO ITSELF. (DO NOT pull it straight up off the wall at a 90 degree angle) TAKE YOUR TIME, as this is the most important step. If your letters are still sticking to the tape, lay the tape back down and run the letters again. NOTE: Heavily textured walls will take more time. Have patience, and go slowly!
This is the recommended application process. You can also level the decal and use masking tape to hold it and do half at a time. There are different ways of applying these and we advise you to search the web for tips and tricks and proceed with the process that best suites you.
T-Shirts / Hoodies
As any printed garment it is always best to turn the product inside out and wash in cold (to avoid fading) or warm water. When the wash cycle is finished leave the garment inside out and give it a few gentle whips to get the wrinkles out and proceed to tumble dry inside out on medium heat. Remove as soon as drying is finished. Do not over dry either. People often think hot water, high heat, but this is the demise of most garments! These instructions should help with a whole lot of your garments! We all know how that goes though!