Supplies needed: vinyl decal that has been weeded and transfer taped, vinyl squeegee.
Here is how you apply your vinyl decal to make sure it looks PERFECT once it is stuck on.
- Check your alignment. Is the vinyl decal lined up with the lines on the transfer tape?
- Make sure the surface you are applying your vinyl decal to is very clean. It should be completely free of dust and oil (including from hands.) I usually wash it with a degreasing dish soap like Dawn, dry with a paper towel, and set it aside right before I am going to use it.
- Double check your vinyl works with your surface. There are two main types of adhesive vinyl used in vinyl cutting machines for home use; they are Permanent (also called glossy, outdoor, 651, or Series 51) or Semi-permanent (also called matte, indoor, or 631.) For most projects like plastic or glass drinking glasses, water bottles, or signs, you will want to choose the permanent (51) vinyl. The only time to use the Indoor/Semi-permanent is if you want to apply it to something and peel it off – stencils, indoor walls, etc.
If you are applying vinyl to something round, brace it so you can lay it flat and it won’t move while you are working. It is better to do this before you peel the back off in the next step…
To apply the vinyl decal, remove the backing from the transfer tape (your design will be stuck to the transfer tape) and grab both sides of the transfer tape to give you control of your placement.
Now, start by sticking down the center of your vinyl decal and smooth from the center towards the edges with your fingers. Avoid any wrinkles or bubbles in your design. Press the design onto the surface, taking care to rub all of the parts of the design (especially small parts) to make sure they adhere well to the surface.
Before you remove the tape, use your vinyl squeegee to further press the design down. Pull the squeegee from the center outward until you are sure all of the edges are stuck down as well as they can be.
Now you are ready to remove the tape! Let the vinyl set for at least 24 hours before trying to wash your finished piece. The solvent-based vinyl needs that time to develop a permanent bond.
For more information on applying your vinyl designs perfectly STRAIGHT every time, check out this awesome step-by-step guide on applying vinyl from my friend Melissa on the Silhouette School Blog.