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A beginners guide to the application of computercut vinyl lettering

A Beginners Guide to the Application of Computer-Cut Vinyl Lettering

Detailed here are a couple of common methods you can use when applying computer-cut vinyl lettering to most substrates

Using a standard ballpoint pen mark a line on the substrate corresponding to the baseline of the text to be applied. Keep the line light so as not to cause an impression on the substrate. If applying to a vehicle or acrylic use a chinagraph pencil of a similar colour to the vehicle paintwork; some types of paintwork can be stained by chinagraph or ink so it would make sense to test it first in a discreet area.

Remove the text or logo from the release paper liner and hold firmly at each end. Line up the baseline of the text with the line marked on the substrate while keeping the text just away from the surface – you should be able to see the line through the application tape.

Lightly press the extremities to the surface to secure the text or logo in place. Using a specialist applicator (available from your vinyl supplier) press firmly from the centre out towards the edges whilst moving from the fold line out towards the end of the lettering or logo. Repeat the process working towards the other end.

Lift a corner of the application tape and peel back while keeping it as flat to the surface as possible; doing this helps to prevent the vinyl being pulled off of the substrate and also stops any paint being removed when the application is onto a painted surface.

Depending on what you have used to create the line it can be removed using meths, lighter fuel or alcohol spirit – make sure to test that it will not damage the substrate.

Hinge Method

Fold graphic in half and press a small fold into the bottom of the graphic. Place a piece of masking tape at each end of the graphic and secure to the substrate. Adjust the positioning until the fold mark in the application tape corresponds with the measured centre point of the substrate.

Working with one end at a time move the graphic until it’s baseline is the correct distance from the edge of the panel – you can use a tape measure or ruler to check this. Do the same to the other end and then re-check the first end as it will probly have moved.

When you are sure the graphic is in the correct position put a strip across the whole graphic somewhere near the middle and preferably with at least one edge lying in a gap between letters. This is known as the hinge.

Take a small piece of tape and apply to the substrate so that it butts up against the bottom of the application tape at the opposite end from the hinge. Remove the piece of tape, at that end, securing the graphic to the substrate and fold back the grahpic 180 degrees and press a sharp fold into it.

Peel back the release paper and tear it off at the fold line. Bring down the application tape towards the surface of the substrate while keeping it taught and line up the edge of the masking tape with the edge of the application tape. Using a specialist applicator (available from your vinyl supplier) press firmly from the centre out towards the edges whilst moving from the fold line out towards the end of the lettering or logo. Repeat the process working towards the other end.

Lift a corner of the application tape and peel back while keeping it as flat to the surface as possible; doing this helps to prevent the vinyl being pulled off of the substrate and also stops any paint being removed when the application is onto a painted surface. This method has the advantage of not needing any lines to mark the position and is therefore useful for applications to sensitive surfaces.

Where the graphic does not allow for a centre hinge, because of the lack of a suitable gap in which to create the fold, the hinge can be created at one end of the graphic or along the top or bottom.

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