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 FAQ - Sticker application methods and techniques
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Smoka
Journeyman Modder


Pennsylvania
USA

135 Posts

Posted - 10/02/2007 :  09:00:48  Show Profile  Visit Smoka's Homepage
Cleaning the application surface

Even if they appear clean, all surfaces should be cleaned using the procedure below:

. Clean with soapy water, then rinse with clean water (do not leave any traces of soap on the surface).
. Clean away any grease using isopropyl alcohol or denatured petrol.
. Dry the surface using a dry cloth or a clean paper towel which will not leave any small pieces behind, before the isopropyl alcohol or denatured petrol has had a chance to evaporate.

Vinyl Application Methods

A wet method or dry method application technique may be used. The method chosen should suit the size of the decorative feature to be applied and the complexity of the surface to be decorated. Dry application is the most reliable method.

Wet Method:

This method of application produces very little initial adhesion. This allows the applicator to position the vinyl where required, avoiding air bubbles and folds.

The adhesion will gradually increase after several hours as the water evaporates. The final adhesion will be reached after 24 - 48 hours.

Advantages of the wet method:

. Allows the vinyl to be applied to surfaces in high ambient temperatures (25-30C).
. It makes it easier to apply large sections of vinyl on flat or slightly curved surfaces.

(Decription of wet method)

Prepare a solution of soapy water (5 to 10 drops of detergent to 1 gallon of water) and pour it into a spray bottle.

Use the spray bottle to wet the entire substrate surface (do not use a sponge or cloth as these can leave dust, fluff etc.).

Make sure the adhesive film is flat on the table. Pull the backing off it (and not the reverse) at an angle of 30.

Wet the adhesive all over using a spray bottle.

Place the marking film on the wet substrate surface. If the vinyl does not have any application tape on it, wet the entire surface of the film. This will make it easier to slide the plastic squeegee without scratching the vinyl.

Squeegee horizontally, working from the center outwards to the left and then the right, stopping 2" from the top edge of the vinyl.

Apply enough pressure to squeeze out any water trapped between the adhesive and the substrate surface.

Squeegee the last 10cm of the top edge working from the center outwards, to the left and then the right.

Continue to squeegee horizontally, moving from the center outwards with overlapping movements.

Check that no pockets of water have been trapped. If this is the case, squeegee from the centre to the edge in order to squeeze it out. Wipe the vinyl and the edges.

If the marking film is covered with application tape, pull it off at a steady speed, at an angle of 0 to 30. It is advisable to wait between 30 and 90 minutes (depending on the ambient temperature) before removing the application tape.

After these 30-90 minutes, squeegee the film again, paying particular attention to the edges.

Dry Method

Dry application is a safer application method because the marking film reaches its final adhesion quicker than using the wet application method.

The lowest application temperature for marking films on flat or slightly curved surfaces is 50F.

Place the application tape on top of the lettering or logo.

Postion the lettering or the logo WITHOUT REMOVING THE BACKING, using positioning tape at each end.

Cut one edge of the positioning tape. Peel the backing off.

Position the lettering or the logo once again on the spot marked by the piece of positioning tape.

Squeegee quickly and firmly from the centre outwards in overlapping movements.

Pull the application tape off at a steady speed, at a cleaving angle of 0 to 30. Prick any air bubbles(*) trapped between the vinyl and the substrate.

(*) In the event that "tiny bubbles" of air get trapped between the marking film and the substrate surface (bubbles have a diameter <2mm), there is no need to do anything as they will disappear after a few days due to the porosity of the vinyl.

Edited by - swhenrik on 10/03/2007 15:01:55
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