Applying Vinyl Graphics

In a previous article, Punch Up Your Window Graphics, we offered some of the advantages of using self-adhesive vinyl, and some new ideas that you might find interesting.

The 6-step process below includes some easy-to-follow instructions and visuals to help explain how to apply vinyl graphics to any surface. 

For more detailed information on self-adhesive vinyl, please visit our design guide, or Contact an Account Manager for more information or to order. 

One - Before starting, clean the application surface thoroughly.

Be sure to have these tools and materials before you begin:

  • Masking Tape
  • Squeegee/Credit Card
  • Graphic w/backing Paper*

*Note: The graphic pictured here has a backing paper along with a film (known as carrier paper) on the front so you don't damage the front of your graphic when you install it.

Two - Position the graphic where you want to install it.

Apply a ‘masking tape hinge’ across the entire top edge of the graphic to hold it in place (as shown). 

The graphic will hang down loosely.

Note: Be sure to work slowly and carefully in the next two steps to avoid creating air bubbles and creases.  Moving too fast may crinkle the graphic!

Three - The next step is to remove the backing paper from the graphic.

Swing the graphic upward on the tape hinge, and prepare to remove the backing paper from the back of the graphic.

A) If installing a smaller graphic, slowly remove the entire backing paper.

B) If installing a larger graphic, (larger than 12" tall and/or wide) remove the backing paper starting at the tape hinge, pulling the backing paper down a few inches. 

Four - Now it's time to adhere the graphic to the surface. 

Using firm pressure with an application squeegee or a plastic credit card, begin at the center of the tape hinge and work outward.

Be sure to remove any air bubbles and assure you have good adhesion with the finished surface.

Note: For graphics larger than 12" tall and/or wide, slowly pull the backing paper away from the graphic as you squeegee down from the tape hinge.

Five - Once you are sure that the entire graphic has stuck to the surface, slowly remove the film (known as carrier paper) from the front of the graphic, making sure you don't pull any of the graphic up with it.

If the graphic does come up with the film, slowly replace the film to the desired application position and re-squeegee that area.

Six - A soft cloth can be rubbed over the finished graphic to assure good adhesion of the vinyl to the surface. If you cleaned the surface properly, you should end up with a clean, flat finish.

Small air bubbles may still be able to be worked out once the application is complete.

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