So the day has finally arrived! After spending a few hours practising your graphic installation on various surfaces from the fridge to the walls, today is your first actual graphic installation. Nothing like a bit of pressure is there :)
Applying vinyl for the first time can be pretty nerve racking to say the least, bubbles and dust have more than likely freaked you out more than enough in your practice runs and they are the last thing you're going to want to see. So we thought we'd put together a handy post of the things you should definitely not do when installing graphics for the first time.
Let's do this...
1) Don't apply in very hot or very cold temperatures
Applying graphics in the cold isn't attractive anyway, but other things happen which can cause you a headache. When applying to a cold surface or environment the adhesive weakens and although you may get the vinyl to stick initially, the chances are it won't do for very long. In addition the film itself becomes very brittle, which makes it hard to apply particularly when trying to conform to a curved surface. As a rule of thumb + 10°C is the norm for a minimum application temperature, but to be sure check with your vinyl supplier.
But we're actually in June, so perhaps not something we need to worry about?
Unfortunately, as much as sunny weather is all very nice, do avoid applying in direct sunlight. Reason being that when vinyl gets very warm, the adhesive becomes very aggressive making it stick very quickly. Something you really won't want to happen!
2) Don't presume the surface is clean
The condition of the surface you're applying to can either make or break your installation. Just because it looks and feels clean, doesn't mean it is, so do clean it down immediately before application. IPA works really well and will remove grime, grease and dust.
3) Don't let the vinyl contact the surface first
One of the tips we learnt from Paul Hughes for a dry application was to ensure that you squeegee the vinyl onto the substrate. Don't lay down vinyl and then squeegee, the vinyl should only contact the surfaces through the squeegee. Applying the vinyl first (even just a couple of inches) will open your graphic up to bubbles.
4) Don't rush
This may seem pretty simple, but make sure you allow plenty time for the installation. Double the amount of time you think you need and it will ensure stress levels are kept to a minimum and that no steps are missed out of the process.
5) Don't go unprepared
Having a firm idea of what you're going to do will help massively and you could even create your own check list, this will help ensure you don't skip any steps. Make sure you have the right tools, that your squeegees are in good condition and you take a pin for the bubbles that may appear!
We hope our guide proves to be useful and remember every installation you do will become easier, practise makes perfect. With your first few graphic applications it's essential to take your time and try and enjoy it.
Have any further tips? Share them with us in the comments below.