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Installing Printed Wall Vinyl / Graphics for beginners

Are you looking for more information on installing printed wall vinyl? Look no further! This article will give you tips and tricks to make your installation look like you paid a professional.

First, I want to share some general thoughts on the differences between Printed Vinyl and static wall clings. Everything takes practice, so use your best judgment before jumping in and attempting a big project. Printed Vinyl is similar to a Static Wall Cling in that it is printed in full color and can look great when installed. Vinyl Wall Prints can be more challenging to install since they have a stronger adhesive and are less forgiving when installed improperly. Wall Clings are great for temporary signage and allow you to reposition them multiple times before the adhesive tackiness runs out. If you are doing a large project that covers an entire wall with a graphic and keeping it long-term, Printed Vinyl is the way to go. Static Wall Clings are cheaper and don’t last as long as Printed Vinyl. But they can offer a good substitute for advertising a product, service, event details, and much more. ( Don’t get me wrong; if you install a static cling to a smooth and clean wall and nobody touches it or tries to pick at it, it can stay on there for a long time. ) The colors in Printed Vinyl can also be a bit more vibrant, and you can choose different types of laminate like a glossy or matte finish. Static Wall Clings colors aren’t as rich and mostly have a matte/satin finish. Static Wall Clings and Printed Vinyl are both great options. Make sure to know your goal and what you will be applying your Printed Vinyl or Wall Cling to before buying. To see how to install Static Wall Clings, Click here. Now that we got that covered let's get into installing it!

Tools and prepping the wall for install

I will try and keep these installation tips short and easy to follow, so you can spend less time reading and more time installing.

Note *
Although we are installing to a wall, this process is great for all applications indoors and out. If you are installing outdoor, you might need a different type of applicator listed below.

Tools that are recommended:

Here are some things you might need or should have to help with the installation process.

  • Your Custom Printed Wall Vinyl Purchase here
  • Low tack painters tape
  • A T-square, Straight edge or, leveling device of some kind
  • A Pen or marker with a fine tip
  • A Xacto knife or sharp adjustable knife
  • A Plastic squeegee that has one side with a good edge and the other with a fabric/foam edge.
  • A foam or rubber roller if the wall has a texture. You can find those here. (Good for Outdoor applications)
  • A heat gun if in a cool room or trying to apply to concrete/cement walls
  • A sturdy ladder, if needed
  • If the print is large, grab another person to help hold and place the vinyl graphics
  • Clean towels and a spray bottle of cleaner to remove any dust or grime on the wall before application
  • Last but not least, confidence and patients if you are tackling a big wall

Preparing the wall

Once you have all your tools, clean the wall where the vinyl will go and ensure it is dry to the touch. Next, take a couple of small pieces of painter’s tape and tape up your vinyl to the wall (with the graphic facing out) in the general position. Finally, measure and adjust the vinyl until it is where you want it.

Steps for installing Printed Wall Vinyl

  • When you have the position established and are ready for installation, start by putting a good, long solid piece of painter’s tape on the top edge of the vinyl to hold it in place. If the vinyl covers the entire wall, you might want to take off the paper backing about 10 inches from the top of the print and place the vinyl up to the top edge of the wall. Keep it taught and level. Try not to stretch the vinyl since that will cause complications if you install more than one vinyl panel.
  • If the print is tapped up and is large, start peeling the paper backing off at the top and bring it down about a quarter of the way. Let the backing rest on the wall to ack as a buffer and not let the vinyl stick to the wall immediately.

    Note *
    When you take the backing off, the print will want to cling to the wall right away. You can take all the backing off if the Printed Vinyl is small and you feel confident enough.

    Then, while keeping the vinyl taught, place it on the wall without stretching it.
  • Now, grab your squeegee/applicator and start at the top of the print. I usually start in the center and work my way out to the edge of the print with medium pressure (the goal is not to leave any bubbles) using straight passes going left and right or vice versa. Be sure to use the Foam/Fabric side of the applicator to prevent any scuffs or scratches. Try and overlap your previous pass about a ¼”. When you see yourself getting closer to the backing, start peeling off more and continue to squeegee down.
  • Continue this until all the vinyl is entirely on the wall. When you have completed it, check over your work and eliminate any bubbles that may be present. You can take your knife with a fine point and poke a tiny hole into it without slicing it. Just enough to let air escape when you squeegee it flat. If there is a larger bubble, make sure not to stretch the vinyl when taking the air out since it can cause a wrinkle. If you have more of the wall to cover, check the overlap of the graphic, so it looks seamless, and repeat the process until it is all finished. If you have finished, and it all looks good, pat yourself on the back. You just installed Printed Wall Vinyl!

If this is your first time, there might be mistakes, but don’t let that discourage you from continuing. Instead, work hard to keep the vinyl nice and taught, wrinkle, and bubble-free!

Thank you so much for reading! If you liked these tips or have any other personal knowledge on this subject, feel free to leave a comment below and help people that might be having trouble!

- Tom

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