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Self adhesive window vinyl - how to - vinyl application removal and storage

Vinyl application

Image of a table with vinyl applied.

Vinyl Application, Removal and Storage

Self-adhesive vinyl is an excellent way to display your company’s branding or freshen up tired surfaces. The use of vinyl wrap has become increasingly popular over the last few years as a sustainable method to reinvigorate your workplace, home or car. Wrapping internal doors is a fantastic sustainable way to update aesthetics without removing the old doors and increasing landfill waste. Read this article for a step-by-step guide to vinyl wrap application or make it simpler by employing the services of the experts at Inspired Print Solutions for guaranteed results.

1. Tools needed for vinyl application

  • Scissors
  • Blade
  • Ruler
  • Cotton gloves or a piece of cotton fabric
  • Felt squeegee
  • Plastic squeegee
  • Masking tape
  • Variable-power hot air gun
  • Soap and water
  • Spray bottle (for wet method)
  • Cleaning solution (isopropanol or branded cleaner)

2. Prepping surfaces

First, you will need to clean down your surfaces with soapy water and thoroughly rinse to ensure all dust and dirt have been removed. Then, using isopropyl alcohol, denatured petrol or branded adhesive prep cleaner, repeat the action to remove any remaining grease, debris or contaminants. Finally, dry the surface using a microfibre cloth to prevent fibre residue, ready for the vinyl wrap.

3. Application – wet vs dry


The wet method of application is most used in hotter environments, such as a server room, boiler room or summer redecoration in the Tropics. The wet method takes longer for the adhesive to dry which allows you more opportunity to reposition for precision and can take up to 48 hours to fully adhere.


The dry method is the most reliable as it provides greatest adhesion in the quickest time.

Wet method

  1. Prepare a solution of soapy water (approx. 1:10 dilution) in a spray bottle, you can use a branded vinyl application solution if you prefer.
  2. Wet the intended surface with the solution.
  3. Lay the vinyl wrap flat and remove the backing (using an ideal angle of 30°) then thoroughly wet the adhesive with the solution.
  4. Lay the vinyl onto the surface being covered, then wet the vinyl too.
  5. Squeegee horizontally, working from the centre to each side, moving upwards. Make sure you apply enough pressure to squeeze out any water trapped between the layers.
  6. Check there are no trapped pockets of water. If there is, squeegee from the centre to the edge to squeeze them out.
  7. After 30-90 minutes squeegee the vinyl again, paying particular attention to the edges, to remove any remaining air bubbles or trapped water.

Dry method for small surfaces

  1. Place application tape on top of the vinyl.
  2. Without removing the backing, position the vinyl and tape around the edges to hold it in place.
  3. Cut one edge of the positioning tape and remove the backing.
  4. Reposition the vinyl using the remaining positioning tape to hold it in place.
  5. Squeegee from the centre outwards with overlapping movements.
  6. Remove the application tape (using an ideal angle of 30°).
  7. Prick any air bubbles trapped between the vinyl wrap and the surface, then do one last squeegee.

Dry hinge method for large (flat) surfaces

  1. Place application tape on top of the vinyl.
  2. Without removing the backing, position the vinyl and then tape at each end to hold.
  3. Make a hinge perpendicular to the largest dimension of the letters or logo, no more than 1000mm away from any of the edges.
  4. Remove the positioning tape at one end.
  5. Fold the free half on top of the other.
  6. Remove and cut the backing as far as the hinge.
  7. Place the hinged side back in position, ensuring you leave a small gap between the vinyl and the surface.
  8. Starting at the hinge, squeegee from the centre outwards with overlapping movements.
  9. Once one section is in place, repeat the above process for the remaining section.
  10. Remove the application tape (using an ideal angle of 30°).
  11. Prick any air bubbles trapped between the vinyl and surface and complete a final squeegee to finish.

Tip for stubborn bubbles

Bubbles less than about 2mm will disappear after a couple of days. If you have larger bubbles, try the following trick.

  1. Try to collect the bubbles together.
  2. Prick the bubble at one end.
  3. Using a squeegee, try to squeeze the air out of the hole you have just made.

4. Cutting

  • Always use a sharp knife as blunt blades won’t give clean lines and may cause tears.
  • Cut to the correct depth. The knife should cut all the way through the vinyl and the adhesive – but not the backing sheet (If the cut is not deep enough, the letters and logos could be pulled away during stripping).
  • If cuts are too deep, then the backing could split when the letters or logos are being transferred onto the application tape.

5. Weeding

Not that kind of weeding! This is the process of removing unwanted vinyl. We recommend that you weed the excess vinyl ASAP after cutting, to avoid the unwanted vinyl sections resealing and making the whole process more difficult. For best results, steadily pull the vinyl away at around 30°.

6. Vinyl Removal

To best remove Vinyl, use heat!

  • Using a heat gun, heat the vinyl to a temperature of 70-80°C then peel it off in small pieces.
  • Keep the removal angle between 45° and 80° to reduce the risk of adhesive transfer.
  • You can also use vinyl removal solutions for easier removal.
  • Adhesive residue can be removed with a towel soaked in isopropyl alcohol, denatured petrol or adhesive removal spray.

7. Vinyl Storage

Vinyl doesn’t handle heat well, so to keep your decals looking their best, never store them near radiators or in direct sunlight and any part-used rolls should be kept upright or hung on racks.

Below are more pictures of our completed projects using Vinyl.

For a professional job, use the experts

With over 40 years of experience in the printing industry, Inspired Print Solutions is known as one of the best installers of vinyl wrap in the UK. With our expert skills and experience, you can be sure your vinyl wrap will be perfectly level, bubble free and eye catching. Give us a call and discover the best price for the best job.

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