How Do I Wet Apply Vinyl Prints?

Working with permanent vinyl can be tricky. Especially, on surfaces that are very smooth such as glass and mirrors. Thankfully, a little soapy water will save the day. Soapy water allows you to apply vinyl to these surfaces that have high-energy easily. Below you will find a guide to help you install like a pro!

Wet Method Installation

Working with permanent vinyl can be tricky. Especially, on surfaces that are very smooth such as glass and mirrors. Thankfully, a little soapy water will save the day. Soapy water allows you to apply vinyl to these surfaces that have high-energy easily. Below you will find a guide to help you install like a pro!

This method is used for window graphics, vehicle body, vehicle window, or any non-porous surface. Do not wet-apply wall installations. This method is only recommended for use with permanent adhesives, and static or vacuum clings. This method is not always necessary, and most of the time a dry install is recommended. Contact us if you are unsure.

Table of Contents

Supplies & Tools

Please read our surface preparation article if you are not familiar with installing vinyl.

How to Apply Vinyl With Soap & Water

Spray the backside of the adhesive or surface, with a light mist of water and dish soap (typically 1 drop per 16oz of lukewarm water). It is better to spray with a bottle rather than to damp it with a cloth, because of fibers in the cloth that may stay on the surface. Creating small noticeable pimples in the final installation.

The wet surface helps you to slide your material around to determine its final position. Position it initially so you are not sliding long distances, just minor sliding for exact positioning. Once you are satisfied with its position, begin to squeegee from the center out to the edges (left to right or top to bottom). You will want to squeegee firmly so the liquid is pushed out to the edges.

The wet apply will allow you to lift and reposition as you go if you have air bubbles. If the surface gets dirty or loses its liquid you may need to retreat the surface as you go.

Once the installation has been completed, wipe excess liquid away from the edges. Monitor for the next 24 hours, you may have to squeegee out any remaining bubbles in the vinyl that may occur from the trapped liquid.

If you are applying a transfer sticker that uses transfer tape, you will need to let the installation sit for a couple of hours. This will allow the vinyl to fully adhere and not want to lift when you are removing the transfer tape. 

Products Referenced

 If this method is used, it is most commonly used with vinyl sticker products on storefront windows, vehicle graphics, and adhesive-free clings.

Want Tips?

• Recommended dish soap by most professional installers is Dawn dish soap.
• There are many squeegee types. A firm squeegee works best for wet applications.
• If you have a very large print and have to use the hinge method. You may want to position dry, and when the print is secured, wet the surface and adhesive side as you go.

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