Instructions, Tips And Tricks
these instructions and keep them at your side when doing the installation.
Applying vinyl graphics is not a difficult process, but it may be challenging
to the novice who has never worked with the material. We recommend that
beginners consider getting help from a local sign shop. The cost of
having a professional do the application could be well worth it.
Vinyl graphics generally come in one piece and are sandwiched between a paper layer of transfer
tape and a wax layer of backing.
transfer tape is a low tack sheet that will lift your graphic in one piece. The transfer
tape is no match for the vinyl's pressure sensitive adhesive which will bond to the
surface of the vehicle or boat very tightly.
You will need only a few things to complete the installation.
- Mildly soapy water in a spray bottle or mister. Use three or four drops per quart.
- A piece of hard plastic, or squeegee.
- A roll of masking tape.
- An Exacto blade.
- A tape measure.
Vinyl should never
be applied in temperatures less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit or 4 degrees Celsius.
The vehicle or boat surface should be very clean for best results.
Temporarily tape name to boat.
To get the name to go up straight, start with a piece of tape on one corner. With the
backing still on the graphics. You can always move it if you don't
like the position.
Bring the other side into position and tack it down with another piece of tape. Use a
tape measure to be sure it is level. If you have a straight edge on the paper backing to
measure to, great! If not, measure from the edges of similar letters. Remember that some
letters (like O's and S's) normally sink below the line of text.
If you're lettering both sides of the vessel, pick a piece of hardware common to both
port and starboard as a reference point BEFORE you begin. You'll really want to double
check position of both sides before adhering either!
"Hinge" the graphic along one of the straight edges with a long piece of tape.
Half the tape should be on the transfer paper and half on the boat. Make sure you've got a
Now when you flip the graphic back to remove the wax paper, everything stays in place.
If you can't flip it back because you're
on a curved surface, cut between the letters. See the diagram in step six below.
Peel back the wax paper and expose the sticky side of the vinyl. Big long names
sometimes call for a helper at this point, but if you have a name that can be divided into
smaller sections, cut between the letters so that you're dealing with a more manageable
piece of vinyl.
Separating the letters after hinging is also very helpful when lettering on curves
surfaces...each letter needs to fall differently and cutting between them will assure that
you steer clear from leveling problems.
Many times it's easier to smooth out the name if you mist the adhesive backing with a
little soapy water. Wetting it also prevents it from sticking immediately. Usually a wet application is good, then again, if it's
too soapy and doesn't stick at all, you have to rinse some of that soap off with fresh
water. Generally, use the wet application as it's easier to squeegee out water bubbles
than it is to squeeze out air bubbles. When all the water evaporates out from under the
name in a few days, the vinyl will adhere as if it were going up dry to start. If you're
one of those daring pros, you'll start with a dry application because you know it's going
to stick better right away.
Lay the vinyl close to the hull. It won't stick if you've wet it down, especially if you
don't press it too hard. It's called "pressure sensitive" vinyl which means that
the harder it is pressed, the harder it sticks. Holding the free edge tautly, just off the
surface , pull the squeegee across the center of the graphic to get a good center line of
Now you can lift one of the sides up and squeegee from the center line toward the edges.
ALWAYS work from the center toward the edges!! Do this to avoid trapping air or water
Finish off the other half the same way (from the center to the edges, then from the
middle to the top and bottom). If you started with a good centerline, the rest of the
vinyl will fall into place.
Finish by spraying down the transfer tape with that spray bottle.
Squeegee a little more for good measure and let that water soak into the paper. The water
not only helps you apply the vinyl smoothly, it also loosens the paper and helps to remove
it without pulling the vinyl back off the boat. Pop any bubbles with a pin point and press
out the air or water. Any water bubbles will evaporate.
AI, Inc. agrees to correct by
replacement at our own expense at our option, any defects in the product which
is due to AI, Inc. fault or negligence. AI, Inc. shall have the right to
inspect the product prior to making any decision on such defects. When
inspection proves the claim, and provided that the product was properly cared
for, AI, Inc. will fulfill all obligations to the purchaser to correct such
AI, Inc. does not cover claims of damage caused during shipment, improper
installation, use in extreme conditions, and improper care of graphics.
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