Working with Vinyl

Once you have become tired with working with carpet or cloth, the next step to a great install is to work with vinyl. On this page, I am going to cover the basics wrapping a custom piece of work in vinyl.

You need a two or three important tools. The first is an air compressor with a paint gun filled with the proper contact adhesive. The only I have found that works is Helmaprene. It tacks up very quickly and holds permanently. Non-commercial contact cements seem to let go when the temperature gets hot, or you have to stretch the vinyl around an concave corner. Secondly you will need a good quality heat gun to warm the adhesive and the vinyl. You will need a sharp utility knife as well, for trimming and cutting. Finally, you will need a good quality multi-directional stretch vinyl. Not every vinyl will stretch and hold it's pattern.

Start by cleaning the surface with compressed air and a tack cloth to remove dust, etc..

Lay the vinyl out on a table and place the project piece on top.

Cut out the vinyl to cover the piece leaving between 6 to 8 inches around the edge for stretching and wrapping.

Discard the access vinyl.

Put the project piece face up on the bench, and place the vinyl over it.

Test stretch the vinyl to ensure you can cover all portions of the project, and that it will be smooth. Sometimes rotating the vinyl by 90 degree's will allow it to fit better.

Once completed, lay the vinyl back down, and set the project face up on it. Spray the contact adhesive evenly over the piece, making sure you have about 60-80% coverage, without making it appear wet.

Remove the piece, and coat the vinyl evenly with adhesive.

Allow the adhesive to tack up for a while, until it doesn't stick to your fingers when you touch it. You can use the heat gun on medium at about 12-18 inches to accelerate this process.

Place the project piece in the center of the bench

Lay the vinyl glue side up beside it.

Slip your hand under the vinyl, and bring an edge to the project, remembering the required overlap space.

Roll the vinyl onto the project inch by inch, pressing it very firmly as you go, working it into any curves or valleys.

Having the vinyl roll onto the project in this fashion will ensure it doesn't get stuck somewhere before you are ready.

Completely cover the entire project, making sure it has adhered to everything.

Turn the piece over, and spray the outer edges of the project with adhesive and let it tack up.

Now, heat the vinyl evenly from below until it is fairly warm, then pull it tightly around the edge of the project. Let the glue on the back hold it in place.

Use your knife to cut the edge of the vinyl back, or cut out an folds in the vinyl.

These are the basics, You will have to practice on some scrap pieces, but essentially, this is all you need to know to start off as a vinyl-master.