WHAT TO DO WITH PROBLEMS
Occasionally there are problems when trying to remove vinyl from a surface, add vinyl to a surface, or remove the clear plastic from the vinyl.
Not all vinyl is alike. Some colors are thicker than others. Your weather may affect the composition of the vinyl causing it to be soft or stiff depending on heat and cold. We try to keep the vinyl in even temperatures prior to shipping but some locations must go through severe weather (too hot, humid, cold) and change the way your vinyl will work.
Here are some simple steps to try if you are faced with vinyl that is being difficult.
NOTE: Be careful not to pull vinyl as it will stretch and will not go back to it's original size and do not cut your vinyl as you use your craft knife.
Tools to use:
* Firm surface to rub vinyl or clear plastic (like a table)
* A credit card, your thumb nail, a rubber scraper (to rub the backing (or top) to help vinyl adhere to a surface (clear plastic, tile, board, wall, etc.)
* A craft knife (helps to get to tight spots and can transfer small pieces of vinyl - be careful not to cut vinyl)
* A ruler (mark the clear plastic to get a straight line. Also mark the surface to make a straight line).
* Sissors, tweezers, needles, etc. to help in difficult situations.
VINYL WILL NOT COME OFF OF PAPER BACKING
Your vinyl comes with a backing (either white or blue) that is the original paper under the vinyl. Sometimes the vinyl wants to stick tight to this paper. There are a few ways to kind of force it to leave the backing paper (and attach to the clear plastic on top).
Rub firmly on both the back side of the paper (where there are grids) and on the clear plastic on top. You may need to continually rub the problem areas as you are removing the paper/clear plastic.
Carefully (and slowly) pull from one corner at a time to transfer the vinyl from the backing paper to the clear plastic. Sometimes it may work better to hold the backing and pull the clear plastic and other times it may be better to hold the clear plastic and pull the backing. Try both directions and switch back and forth for difficult vinyl.
For the stubborn vinyl, you may need to really bend one of the papers back to pop the vinyl off the backing paper onto the clear plastic (this is easier to do if you are holding the vinyl in the air so you can bend both front and back easily). You may also need to easily pry it with your thumbnail or craft knife to lift it off of the backing paper. (So pull the paper back onto itself away from the vinyl forcing the clear plastic to catch the vinyl.)
On larger items, you may need to cut away some of the excess paper as you pull it away but most times this is not necessary.
NOTE: If the paper comes off with the vinyl (cut into the shape that the vinyl was cut), carefully try to pull the paper off of the vinyl without harming the vinyl. If you cannot get the white paper off of the vinyl (not the vinyl off of the paper), please let us know. There may have been an issue with the vinyl or the cutting process.
If little pieces do not want to come off with the main part of the graphic, finish separating the main part of the graphic then carefully take the craft knife and lift off the small piece that stayed then manually place it on the clear plastic with the sticky side of the vinyl up (or leave it for now and put it on your final item when you have finished applying the main vinyl to the final location with the sticky side down to adhere to the new destination).
VINYL WILL NOT STICK TO SURFACE
If you are having problems getting your item to stick to the new (final) surface, make sure your new surface is completely clean and completely dry.
- Tiles and glass - may have a dust that comes from stacking on top of each other. Either wash with soap and water or at least clean the surface. Make sure the surface is completely dry when you go to apply the vinyl. Smooth surfaces work the very best. Bumpy tiles may prove to be somewhat difficult and you may have to work your vinyl onto the new bumpy surface one piece at a time.
- Boards - You will most likely paint, sand, or modify the boards in some way. You have to make sure the paint is dry and all residue has been cleaned off. If you are painting boards, it may work best to paint them the day before so that the paint is very dry.
- Walls - Walls can be difficult as most walls have texture. You may need to cut your vinyl into workable sizes. Measure and prepare your walls as you would for boards or tiles. Slowly press the vinyl onto the new surface as you remove the clear plastic.
NOTE: If vinyl is still not sticking, you may need to spray a clear sealing spray onto the new surface. This gives your vinyl something to stick to. Follow directions for removing stubborn clear plastic if necessary.
CLEAR PLASTIC WILL NOT COME OFF OF VINYL
Sometimes the problem comes when trying to remove the clear plastic after your item is on the new surface. This can be a big problem if you are trying to attach your vinyl to a bumpy or irregular surface.
If you are applying your item to a tile, you may use your craft knife and cut the clear plastic (in between the design areas being careful not to cut the vinyl) into smaller sections (this is good if you have lots of letters such as in the ABC Values graphic). Do not do this with wood as you will draw lines in the wood for a not so pretty look of your final product.
Slowly start peeling the clear plastic. Rub really hard on the top of the clear plastic - you may have to do one small section at a time.
Pull the clear plastic back onto itself (top side against top side) to help the vinyl pop off of the clear plastic. As you do, press the vinyl down onto the new surface making sure you press it in the way it should look and not in a crooked or bunched up way.
BE CAREFUL NOT TO PULL THE VINYL OUT OF SHAPE. If you pull the vinyl out of shape, your vinyl will be ruined. Take your time and all will be well.
Use the craft knife to carefully separate the vinyl from the clear plastic then push it onto the new surface with your finger. You can cut away the clear plastic as it is removed if that helps (you do not want the clear plastic to attach to your vinyl after the vinyl is on the new surface as it may pull it off of the new surface and ruin the design.
There are very few surfaces that vinyl will not stick to but occasionally that does happen. If you still have problems, try heating your vinyl with a lamp or hair dryer. This may make it attach to the clear plastic or final surface more easily.
For some helpful pictures and suggestions for general application, see our website under "How to Use Vinyl".
Be sure to email us if you have further questions or concerns.