Sometimes vinyl graphics should be installed “wet” using an application fluid to allow the graphic to be easily repositionable during installation. In warmer weather, wet applications will help prevent the graphic’s adhesive from “grabbing” onto the application surface too quickly. A wet application is also useful in preventing air from getting trapped underneath the graphic during the installation process. The application fluid helps float the graphic onto the surface to prevent pre-adhesion (the vinyl sticking before you want it to).

Pre-cautions before you start.

  • Do not install your vinyl decal in direct sunlight. It is recommended you install your vinyl decal in a garage or building.
  • Room and installation surface temperature is recommended to be between 65°F and 80°F to reduce stretching or other un-desired effects.
  • Do not install graphics outdoors if winds exceed 5 mph. Blown dirt, dust or other contaminates can interfere with the bonding of the graphic adhesive to the vehicle during installation.
  • This-method is not-recommended for interior install (on walls for example). Please use your judgement when considering the wet installation method.
  • Do not store your vinyl decal in direct sunlight.
  • Do not use alcohol to apply – it will destroy the adhesive.
  • Do not touch the adhesive backing – oils from your skin will prevent sticking.
  • Do not point high pressure car wash nozzle at the edges of the sticker/decal for a long time – may lift or break pieces. Car washes are safe.

Materials Needed

  • Spray Bottle.
  • Plastic Squeegee (obtainable in most hardware stores, purchase plastic spreaders used for applying “Bondo” Body Filler)
  • Application Fluid (Mixture 1/2 quart of water and 4 drops of liquid soap) Dishwashing Soap, Dawn or similar.
  • Utility Knife
  • Scissors,
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Blue Painter’s Tape %” (Need to Dry Application)
  • Tack Rag other Lint Free Towel
  • Roll of Paper Towels

Surface Preparation

The surface must be properly prepared prior to installation of the graphics. All surfaces MUST be cleaned prior to any application of vinyl graphic/striping products.

Wash the surface with detergent and water, then thoroughly rinse the surface with water and dry completely.

WARNING: Do not use any aromatic solvents such as acetone, M.E.K., toluene, paint thinner; lacquer thinner, gasoline or ammonia-based Cleaners to Clean the vehicle surface.

Saturate a clean cloth with isopropyl alcohol and wipe the surface of the vehicle where the vinyl is to be applied to remove any contaminates such as silicone, wax, or adhesives.

Dry the surface with a lint free paper towel.

Wet Installation

*** If the decal has no transfer tape, skip step 5 ***

  1. Run a squeegee over the front of the transfer tape in order to ensure that the transfer tape is stuck to the decal.
  2. Spray surface generously with the application fluid.
  3. Peel the backing from the decal exposing the adhesive. Spray the back of the vinyl as you peel it back.
  4. Place the decal on the surface ensuring no part of the decal touches a try spot! Maneuver the decal into position (decal should float on the surface because both decal and the surfaces should be wet). Once in position, use a squeegee or an old credit card, start from the center and work the water bubbles out towards the edge. (Don’t allow direct contact between a plastic squeegee or a credit card with the vinyl as this will scratch it! at least you have the felt lined Squeegee)
  5. Let sit for 10- 20 minutes before removing transfer tape from the top of the decal. Remove the transfer tape by pulling the tape slowly at a sharp angle back away from the decal. It may help to put a squeegee behind-the tape to apply pressure to the decal holding it tight against the tape; this will help the decal from lifting up with the tape. If the transfer tape starts lifting up the decal, let it dry longer, before attempting to remove the transfer tape again.
  6. Once the transfer tape is off, there still might be bubbles of air and water under the decal. At this point take the felt edge squeegee or a plastic squeegee/credit card, wrap it in fabric so it does not scratch the decal. and work the bubbles out gently, starting from the middle working towards the edge.

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