At some point in time you are going to run into a situation where you are going to have to lay out a large graphic by hand onto a flat substrate. When using the proper tools and air egress vinyl, it is going to make your life so much easier.

The flat substrate used in this demonstration is a big aluminum panel – one of the most aggressive surfaces on which to lay a graphic. Before beginning the application, make sure your graphic is the proper size for your substrate, including a little extra on all edges for trimming.

Prepare the Flat Substrate and Graphic

To begin, wipe down the flat substrate with a clean rag and a little isopropyl alcohol. It is important to make sure that your substrate, graphic and work area remain clean. Place a few small pieces of double sided tape on the back side of the panel to keep it from moving while laying out the graphic.

A Smooth Application

The key to a smooth application is exposing the minimum amount of adhesive necessary, so that you are in control of the application at all times.

Use a back-slitting tool, such as the bodyguard knife, to make two slits along the centre of the liner, about one inch apart. This tool slits only the liner, leaving the graphic intact.

Flat Substrate Application Tool - The back-slitting knife
Use this back-slitting knife to slit the liner.

Secure the graphic on one end. Then loosely fold it in the center, and expose the one inch wide strip of adhesive.

For best results with air egress vinyl, we recommend using a squeegee with a felt edge. Holding the vinyl up from the flat substrate, carefully apply the one inch center strip.

Fold back one half of the graphic, and release a portion of the liner. Make a sharp crease in the liner to create a handle. That allows you to control the exposure of adhesive.

Work your squeegee from the middle of the graphic to the end you are holding. Continue to release more liner as your application progresses. Then, apply the other part of the graphic using the same technique. Air egress vinyl makes it easy to work out any remaining wrinkles and air pockets.

Once this is done, trim the edges and the flat substrate application is complete. With air egress vinyl and the back-slitter, your days of struggling with vinyl are over!

 

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Chuck Bules

Chuck began working at Arlon in 1981. He has helped with the development of film laminates for everything from pin striping to digital printing and full vehicle wraps.

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Chuck Bules

Chuck began working at Arlon in 1981. He has helped with the development of film laminates for everything from pin striping to digital printing and full vehicle wraps.

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