Painting Techniques

by MyVinylDesigner 20. April 2011 10:39

"This is my favorite paint finish, but I'm not sure how to do it.  Can you explain how it's done?"

This is a FABULOUS finish!  APT VINYL did a great job creating a rustic washed out look for this sign.  To achieve this look, you need to use acrylic paint.  We prefer the Deco Art Patio Paint as it has just a little sheen to it.  The only drawback is that it doesn't come in many colors. 

1)  With a foam brush, paint the board black and let it dry.

2)  The next step can be done two ways: a) Either take the cream paint, and with a 3-4" foam brush, paint over the black color and quickly wipe the paint off, lightly showing the black through the cream. Or,  b)  Slightly water down the cream paint (our preference) and use a 3-4" foam brush to paint over the black.  The black color will naturally show through.  If you don't mix your paint and water well, it will cause a variegation in the opacity of the paint (like below) which is also nice. 

3)  After the paint has dried, sand the edges.  We like to use a belt sander as hand sanding takes TOO long and is too uniform. 

For a finished look, stain the sanded edges with a foam brush using a water based stain (be sure to shake it well) and quickly wipe off any excess with a wet rag.  Experiment on practice boards first.  It may take a few tries to get the hang of it. Make sure the surface is completely dry before applying vinyl.

CLICK HERE to view photos of other finished wood projects

"How about the following photo?  How did they do it?"

This is another fabulous inspire-me project by WENDY STEENECK!  To create this look, use the same painting technique as described above, to create the background.  Then create a reverse-weed vinyl stencil and apply paint in the negative spaces.  Depending on the type of paint you use and how dry it is, determine how quickly the stencil should be removed afterward.

CLICK HERE to visit our website

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How-To's

Applying Vinyl to Glass

by MyVinylDesigner 11. April 2011 02:09

Using vinyl letters on the glass of your favorite picture frame, a shower door, a glass block, or a beautiful mirror is quite fun. The interior metallic colors like silver, copper, and gold, have a soft satin-look finish that makes glass and mirrors quite elegant. Etched vinyl is another fun finish to glass and mirror projects.

1- Always wipe your glass or mirror down well so that dust particles do not create bumps under your vinyl lettering. Cleaning the glass with a diluted vinegar/water mixture is better than using household products like Windex; the vinyl tends to stick better.

2- Products such as Rapid Tac and Action Tac (available at local sign shops and larger vinyl suppliers) can be sprayed on the glass beforehand. They give you the ability to adjust vinyl on the glass or mirror before it sets, and the ability to press out tiny bubbles, which naturally form between vinyl and glass. The products then dry clear.

It isn't necessary to use these products because they are kinda expensive, but they do save time and heartache if the vinyl isn't placed just right.

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Vinyl Tips & How-To's

Adding a Vinyl Design to Stock Photos

by MyVinylDesigner 27. October 2010 08:55

I see a lot of pictures that are photographs of a room, with the vinyl design added or superimposed on the picture.  Are there room templates or stock photos available somewhere? 

Absolutely!  Most people buy affordable stock photos from websites like www.istockphoto.com.  Just google or dogpile words such as "stock photos" and you should get several options. There are generally several sizes of the photo available, but if you're using the picture for just internet usage, the smallest size will do well.  Once a purchased photo is saved on your computer, just import the photo into your cutter software.  (Cricut users need to use the INKSCAPE software for this -- and other softwares may require you to open not import the jpg.) 

Then import your premade vinyl design into your cutter software, and overlay the text on the photo, working in layers.  Then highlight everything and EXPORT as a jpg.  It's quite easy to do.   

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Business Tools

Etching Creme Instructional Handout

by MyVinylDesigner 27. October 2010 07:31

coming soon

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Business Tools

Weeding Vinyl / Applying Transfer Tape

by MyVinylDesigner 25. October 2010 07:15

When working with vinyl film where your graphics are cut instead of printed on, you have several postive and negative spaces on the sheet of cut vinyl.  The term "weeding" means that you remove the negative spaces of vinyl off of its backing, leaving just the cut design (or postive spaces) attached.  Once the negative spaces are removed (or "weeded"), the transfer tape can be applied.

There are several types of tools that one can use for "weeding" vinyl, but we prefer the long, straight pointed tweezers that can be purchased from most vinyl suppliers.  They are generally held at a 45 degree angle, between the thumb and forefinger.

CLICK HERE for more info related to transfer tape

CLICK HERE for info related to clear transfer tape

CLICK HERE for info related to vinyl not sticking to all surfaces

CLICK HERE for info related to contact paper, masking tape, and other alternative "transfer tape" options

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Vinyl Tips & How-To's

Helping Customers to Hang Vinyl Straight

by MyVinylDesigner 25. October 2010 05:25
So your customer enthusiastically takes her vinyl home and hangs it crooked on the wall.  Do you offer to replace it free, replace at a partial expense, or what?

If you have retailed your vinyl in the appropriate price range, you will have a cushion to work with.  Our thoughts:

1- Remember that little acts of kindness always help your business in the long run.  Most customers feel bad about asking for replacements.  Offer to replace the order at no charge ... or if the order is being shipped, ask the customer to pay just for shipping.

2- If your customers are local, offer an installation service.  If people know your services are free over a certain amount (like $85-$100), they'll generally buy more vinyl to get that service.

3- Determine to do installations on a particular day of the week.  Let the customer know that you'd be happy to help them install it "next Wednesday" or "next Thursday".  Don't be willing to drop everything to help at that moment.  Hanging vinyl isn't a quick-to-do job and it isn't a life emergency.  Safeguard your schedule so that you can help without resentment.  Most customers will understand.

4- Customers generally only make this mistake once ... so look at this opportunity as a one-time chance to show them what exceptional customer service you offer.

5- Send scrap vinyl with first-time orders so that customers can practice hanging.  Cut out chunks of messed-up vinyl orders, overlaid with transfer tape, and set the chunks aside to give out as needed.

6- Consider using the following tools when the order is finished:




7- Add some extra linear measurements or brackets to the design before cutting, so that customers will have more concrete guides for alignment.  An example:

8- If the order is larger than usual, suggest cutting the order in strips, as shown in this video ... http://www.youtube.com/myvinyldesigner#p/u/8/BaXUKzso8cs

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Business Tips

Preparing Surfaces for Vinyl

by MyVinylDesigner 25. October 2010 02:56

Walls - Vinyl can be used on a multitude of surfaces, provided the surface is clean, dry, and basically flat.  There are some paints, glazes, wallpapers, and finishes that won't hold vinyl well, so make sure you try a sample before you begin a project.  High humidity, particles of cooking oil, dirt, grime, wall finishes, and texture will affect the "stickability" of vinyl.  If you need to wipe your wall down, just use a little dish soap and warm water.  Then make sure the surface is well dried before applying vinyl.

Tile - Tile can be used in a variety of settings .... in a bathtub or shower, on a backsplash in the kitchen or bathroom, or simply as a single tile shown on an easel.  As with all surfaces, the tile should be wiped clean with a damp rag and allowed to dry well.  Choose low to moderate textures on the tile if you wanting to apply vinyl.  Raw, unfinished sides can be left as is or have a black, sharpie marker line drawn all around them.  Backs can also be left as is, or have some kind of backing like felt applied. 

Glass - Glass and mirrors are not as forgiving as other surfaces so be extra careful when you're laying vinyl.  Also, cleaning glass with a diluted vinegar/water mixture is better than using a household product like Windex because the vinyl sticks better.  Just make sure you wipe the glass down well or dust particles will create bumps under your vinyl.  Products such as Rapid Tac and Action Tac can be sprayed on the glass beforehand to give you the ability to adjust vinyl on glass before it sets, and the ability to press tiny little bubbles which naturally form between vinyl and glass.  They are somewhat spendy and not a requirement for smaller, around-the-home glass projects, but they are definitely required for high performance exterior vinyl and large glass/mirror projects.  The products then dry clear without a residue.

Picture frames - To convert a favorite glass-enclosed picture frame into a see-through wall hanging, simply remove the backing and pull out any little metal brackets.  Place the frame face down on a flat surface.  Then run a thin bead of clear silicone along the inner edge where the glass rests, place the glass on the adhesive, and run another thin bead of clear silicone along the top edge of glass, adhering the glass to the frame.  With a wet finger, smooth the thin bead of caulk so that it presses into all the crevices, and let harden, or cure, for 12-24 hours.  Leave the frame laying face down during the curing process.  Then with a straight-edge razor, scrape off the excess silicone and clean the glass.  The surface is now ready to apply vinyl. 

Glazes & Topcoats - Using a glaze or a finishing product on top of vinyl gives a different look to your project, but it is not necessary.  We suggest that you avoid all aerosol (spray) finishing topcoats, as they cause your vinyl letters to curl upward.

CLICK HERE to view photos of finished glass vinyl projects

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Vinyl Tips & How-To's

Removing Vinyl

by MyVinylDesigner 24. October 2010 06:14
Vinyl lettering is easy to remove with your fingers or a pair of tweezers.  Just gently lift up the corners and slowly remove the lettering from your surface.  If you have had the lettering on your surface for a long time, use a hair dryer on a low setting to soften the letters before removing.  Just go slowly ... for safety!  You'll know how fast you can remove the letters after the first few are done.
 
HINTS:  Razor blades work well for removing vinyl off glass.  Products like Goo-B-Gone and OOPS! help remove stubborn, sticky vinyl residue. (Be sure to test a small area first --- these products also remove paint.)

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Vinyl Tips & How-To's

Helping Customers with Transfer Tape Problems

by MyVinylDesigner 24. October 2010 05:42

We highly recommend using the Transfer Rite Ultra Transfer Tape (high tack) or R-TAPE Conform 4075-RLA Transfer Tape for all your Oracal vinyl projects.  If you or a customer has difficulty hanging a project using this transfer tape, there are really only two reasons why it might be difficult:

1- The vinyl is being cut too deep The cutter blade should only lightly score the glossy side of the vinyl backing.   If it cuts too deep, it will be very easy to weed, but very-very difficult to hang.  Check often by lifting up letters and hanging sample letters on walls where vinyl is already hung.   Then adjust the depth of your cutter blade to see if this resolves the problem.

2- The surface of the wall has poor tactile properties.  Vinyl lettering does not adhere well to all flat and satin finishes and wallpapers.  It also doesn't hang well if the wall is soiled with grime or damp from humidity and cooking oils.  It is best to encourage customers to hang a couple sample letters on their wall first, before hanging a finished design, just to see if the vinyl lettering hangs well.  It's also a great way to use those letters from the designs messed up during the cutting or weeding process. 

If you use the true combination of Oracal 631 vinyl and the Transfer Rite Ultra Transfer Tape (high tack) or R-Tape, you will always have the perfect combination for home decor vinyl projects.

CLICK HERE for info related to clear transfer tape

CLICK HERE for info related to vinyl not sticking to all surfaces

CLICK HERE for info related to contact paper, masking tape, and other alternative "transfer tape" options

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Vinyl Tips & How-To's

Welding Vinyl Letters

by MyVinylDesigner 23. May 2010 23:22

What is "welding" in the vinyl world?  Perhaps the most important feature of your vinyl cutter software in home decor vinyl!   Your finished vinyl designs should hang like one great big sticker, all connected in the overlapping sections.

"Welding" is a feature that allows you to take overlapping text and/or elements and combine them into a single, cuttable object.  If the overlapping text (like loopy l's or y's) are not joined or "welded" together, the cutter will disect the crossed lines creating little removable intersections.  Welding is a professional feature that makes vinyl letters easier to hang and to remove.

Not all cutter softwares use the term "welding" for this "combining" or "joining" feature, so make sure you understand how your software welds letters.  It is almost a requirement for doing custom interior design work (unless you prefer to purchase premade, ready-to-cut vinyl designs.)

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Vinyl Tips & How-To's

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