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Fitting vinyl stickers without bubbles

How do I fit vinyl stickers without bubbles or creases?

By David Willis © 2019

Home > Sticker Blog

Fitting large vinyl stickers to windows and other surfaces, without leaving bubbles or creases, can sometimes cause problems for many people. Follow the below guidelines to ensure your stickers are applied bubble and crease free.

Prepare your Surface

The most important step in ensuring a bubble free application is preparation.

First clean the surface you will be applying the sticker to with Isopropyl or similar surface cleaner, removing any dirt and grease.

Wet the surface

The moment you peel your sticker off its backing sheet it draws nearby hairs, dust, grit, and other particles towards it due to the static that is produced in the peel motion. These are all the things that you don't want on the adhesive side of the side and will ultimately lead to the sticker failing at some point.

The answer, however, is simple. Add a little soapy water to the adhesive side of the sticker. This might sound counter-productive, but trust us, it works and is a common practice employed by professional sign fitters.

To do this, fill a bowl with some tepid water, add a few drops of washing up liquid, and whisk the water to create a few bubbles. Using the lightly soaped water, wet a sponge or lint free cloth and use this to wet the surface to which you want to apply the sticker to.

Apply the Sticker

With dry fingers, peel the vinyl off its backing sheet, and lay the vinyl, adhesive-side down, onto the wet surface.

fitting an adhesive vinyl sticker, without bubbles or creases

You will find that the soapy water actually prevents the adhesive on the sticker from actually sticking to the surface. This is normal, and helps you position the sticker in the desired location.

Slide or reposition the sticker into exactly the correct place that you want it to be. Hold down the sticker in it’s centre, and with a squeegee or similar tool, gradually apply the sticker by lightly brushing it down onto the surface, working outwards from the middle towards the edges, in smooth firm strokes. The light pressure of the squeegee forces the water outwards from underneath the sticker to its outside edges, removing any trapped air and bubbles.

Once the sticker is correctly positioned, give everything a wipe with a dry cloth, and leave the sticker to dry, allowing time for the adhesive to make a bond.

A Bubble-Free Sticker

After only a few hours any remaining water underneath the sticker would have evaporated. You will be left with a sticker that has ‘set’ perfectly, with no creases, bubbles or trapped air.

David Willis
David Willis
This article was written by David Willis, a print entrepreneur and respected industry expert.

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