What Is Self Adhesive Vinyl?

how to apply vinyl film

Self-adhesive vinyl is a thin flexible material that is commonly used to make colourful and eye-catching signs and graphics. Self-adhesive vinyl is waterproof and suitable for indoor and outdoor application, it can also withstand temperatures up to 75 °C.

Self-adhesive vinyl is a versatile material that can be cut into various different shapes and sizes. You can apply the vinyl to most flat and curved surfaces such as plastic, metal or aluminium. Self-adhesive vinyl can be used in a digital printing press or it can be used on flooring tiles. You can use self-adhesive to create stunning advertisements for your business or unique and colourful stickers and decals for your home. The versatile vinyl is available in a range of different colours and finishes such as matt and gloss.


How To Apply Self Adhesive Vinyl?

Applying self-adhesive vinyl can be a quick and simple process, but it can also go very wrong very quickly. It can be extremely frustrating and disheartening when you end up with bubbles and wrinkles in the vinyl. Below are some simple and useful tips to follow when applying self-adhesive vinyl.


Store Your Vinyl Correctly

For your vinyl to perform to the best of its ability you need to ensure you store it correctly. Most types of vinyl should be kept in a cool and dry place away from direct sunlight. We recommend storing vinyl in a safe place such as a garage or loft. Vinyl rolls should be suspended or stood on-end on the roll blocks provided. Vinyl shouldn’t be stored for more than two years and also ensure that the substrate is clean. Having dust on the substrate can lead to bubbles in the vinyl.


Application Tips 

Squeegee at a 45-degree angle with overlapping, firm strokes. Ensure to glide the squeegee smoothly across the vinyl and keep the pressure consistent.

When using a pre-mark, ensure you wait a small amount of time before pulling it off. If you pull off the substrate too quickly you can also end up pulling the graphic back up as well.

If you’re using the wet application, remember to remove all the liquid from the substrate. The liquid left underneath the vinyl can cause bubbles. Remove all liquid by using a squeegee to force the liquid out from underneath the vinyl.


Invest In High-Quality Products

The best way to avoid bubbles and wrinkles is to purchase vinyl which has air egress technology. Air egress technology uses a micro embossed texture to create an even finish. This texture in the adhesive creates a grid and allows any trapped air to escape when the vinyl is being applied.


How To Fight Bubbles and Wrinkles

The best way to remove bubbles and wrinkles is to use an air release tool to pop air pockets. An air release tool is much better than using a knife, which can damage the vinyl.

Now you know the do’s and don’ts, here are some easy to follow instructions for applying self-adhesive vinyl.


Tools You Need For Applying Self Adhesive Vinyl:

  • Cloth.
  • Denatured alcohol (for glass surfaces)
  • Spray bottle which includes a small amount of washing up liquid and warm water.
  • Rubber Squeegee
  • Safety knife



Step 1: Clean the surface that you’re applying the self-adhesive vinyl to by using a damp cloth. If you’re applying self-adhesive vinyl to class then use denatured alcohol to clean the surface.

Step 2: Grab your self-adhesive vinyl and peel back a small section of the backing paper and fold it back on itself.

Step 3: Apply the area with the adhesive uncovered to the surface and rub down slowly and gently with a squeegee.

Step 4: Pull away the backing paper downwards from behind, while rubbing down the vinyl using a squeegee.

Step 5: Once you’re happy with the placement of the vinyl, use a squeegee and firmly rub-down the vinyl and remove any water from in-between the self-adhesive vinyl and the surface.


Is Self-Adhesive Vinyl Permanent?

Self-adhesive vinyl which is designed for outdoor application is permanent and self-adhesive vinyl which is meant for indoor use is removable. Permanent self-adhesive vinyl usually comes in a glossy finish whereas removable vinyl normally has a matte finish.

Removable indoor self-adhesive vinyl is perfect for creating eye-catching and colourful wall decals or indoor signs. A popular removable self-adhesive vinyl is the Oracal 631. The Oracal 631 has a polyacrylate removable adhesive and can last up to five years.

Permanent outdoor self-adhesive vinyl is frequently used for creating outdoor signs and vehicle decals. Permanent self-adhesive vinyl can be removed by using a strong adhesive remover. However, permanent self-adhesive can damage paint and walls. A popular permanent outdoor self-adhesive vinyl is the Oracal 651. The Oracal 651 has a solvent-based polyacrylic adhesive and can last up to a minimum of five years.


Can Self Adhesive Vinyl Be Used On T-Shirts?

Self-adhesive vinyl is not suitable for T-Shirts or any type of clothing. The best type of vinyl to use for T-Shirts and most garments is heat transfer vinyl. Heat transfer vinyl (HTV) is a special type of vinyl that is used to decorate or personalise garments and fabric. Heat transfer vinyl can be cut, weeded and applied to garments with a heat press or iron.


If you would like to find out more information about self-adhesive vinyl then please get in touch with us today. The Vinyl Corporation is the leading UK wholesale supper of self-adhesive vinyl rolls and sign making supplies to the sign-making industry, discover our range of sign vinyl today. You can get in touch with us by using our contact form, by emailing us at: dmtvc.march@btconnect.com, or alternatively if you would prefer to discuss your requirements over the telephone then please do so on: 0115 930 1133 and a member of our helpful and friendly team will be happy to assist you.