Frequently Asked Questions
Looking at some of the larger vinyl stripe kits you might ask yourself if you have the skills to save money with a DIY vinyl installation for your graphics. We are hear to tell you that we have had customers from all walks of life do beautiful stripe application jobs of their own. Some of them young some old some with absolutely no hand skills and some craftsman perform great install jobs. Take a peak at the common and most frequently asked questions with a little inside trade secret tips.
Vinyl Graphics Info
Elite Limit has created automotive restyling concepts that have received awards and more 1st Place trophy winners then we can count. Our custom graphics have been used in the silver screen, film, car show events including SEMA. With well over 20 years hands on gained skills working with vinyl from brands long gone to today’s industry leaders. We have been creating eye catching and trend setting designs that get noticed.
Our high level production ability using our precision machines together with our graphics design attention to detail, is why our concepts are purchased by most of the competition in this industry. That’s what happens when you create cool stuff.
The majority of the custom vinyl decals and graphics stripe kits found available today are cut vinyl. These decals have a negative background which is weeded away. This type of product has no clear outline, no background color and is manufactured using plotter machines. The plotter machine has a blade which when run across the vinyl material in combination with pressure applied cut the vinyl. The cut lines create the letters and shapes and after the weeding process, both the positive and negative space collectively create the final product.
Our very own You Tube Video Tutorials Channel has all the sale methods we use and great tricks of the trade techniques used to assist in your DIY vinyl install.
Visit a local art supplies store to grab yourself the right tool for your installation. They really aren’t expensive and help you perform a good resulting finish. Any resulting small bubbles can be ignored and will flatten themselves in time. Vinyl is porous material and night time it contracts with cold and day time expands. This process releases trapped air below the vinyl decal. A squeegee tool accompanied with a wet install method usually results in a better finish.
We have some of the best video instructions on our You Tube Channel. Don’t forget to Subscribe and click the Bell Notification icon so you’re notified when we launch new tutorials and install videos.
Vinyl Decal material is a self adhesive rubber like sticky sheeting. Decal makers cut various designs shapes into the material with a computer and plotter cutter machine system. The vinyl decal or stripe is a one layer adhesive design typically sandwiched between a paper protective backing layer and a top masking tape layer.
Well, I suppose it all really depends on how confident you are in your own abilities. If you are a skilled person who works with your hands you might do better then someone else who works at a computer for a living. When in doubt always simply call your local sign shop on an estimate to install your stripes. We do not recommend a body shop. They simply don’t work with decals and signs consistently enough. Decal and sign shops are highly recommended.
Depending on your areas competition would play a factor. Call a local Sign Shop, Detail Shop, Window Tinting Shop, Lettering Shop, but try to stear clear of Dealerships. Dealerships typically charge alot for labor, you might want to avoid that unless you have a friend in the business. Average professional decal and stripe installations at these various shops can range from $10 to $75 one time single price. Some shops like to charge by the hour. Hourly rates can range from $5 per hour up to $75 per hour. So, if you are going to have your order installed professionally, keep this in mind. Some individuals are not big shops and do this stuff on the side and work for much much less money then an estabilished business. Shop around! In my experience and local installs I do myself, typically I can install a complete kit for the ram truck within 60 minutes from start to stop. Call around and do your homework before you spend the bucks for professional work.
Typically is you use the wet application method to install your vinyl graphics and the environment is around 70 degrees inside a garage. The dry time can be relatively short around 15 to 20 minutes. Add more time when it is colder and if it rained and there is high humidity in the air.
Yes you can, use a hair-dryer or if you have a professional heat gun. Keep the heat moving and don’t stay in one spot or you risk burning and melting your stripes.
This is no means an exact science or exact mixture. The basic principle here is to have enough dish-washing soap so that when you spray it onto the vehicle or glass, you want to see small soap bubbles. Too little soap and the vinyl doesn’t slide around easily and too much soap makes the drying process longer. In a nutshell you can do a one Mississippi count as you squeeze the soap into the empty full size spray bottle then fill it with typical tap water. If you have very harsh water or very rusty water use filtered water, because you don’t want some kind of foreign mineral messing with your mixture or the adhesive on the back side of the vinyl material. We’ve used Dawn Dish Soap for the most part. If it’s safe enough to clean wildlife it’s good for vinyl applications.
There are simply way too many factors involved when you really dig deep into this topic honestly. To mention a few are geographical location on the planet can determine how hot it is year round and how much sun you have on average over 365 days. The season or time of the year you order and install. Old dirt vs new dirt, meaning how dirty is your vehicle and how often do you clean it. This will determine the level of grit, oils and residues present. Additionally older vehicle have more wear and tear on the paint which cause imperfections.
Really there are a huge amount of factors that come to play for determining this answer. A short answer is 3m is excellent vinyl and should last years under normal conditions. Some locations will be shorter and some will be longer.
The absolute best thing you can do is to do your best to protect your investment by taking care of your stuff. With vehicle graphics try and keep your ride garaged or covered and protected from the elements as much as possible. Anything you can do to help is helpful.
Sure you can we have the same tools we use available for you in our shop under tools category.
If you are a verified buyer of a product that is made available in two or more piece sets, yes you can order parts of the kit if you only need one or some of the parts in the set. For most kits this is true however there are some which are not due the plotting space available on the material roll. These kits are arranged and cut as it is in the most efficient use of material and can’t be taken apart for parts. Any kits like this are mentioned in the products description.
We use a variety of vinyl materials for the job required. For the good majority of our auto graphics decals and stripes made available online, we like to use 3m ScotchCal.
For signage and non vehicle related projects Oracal is a good material. The thing with Oracal is the focus of this brand to be the easiest vinyl to weed and work with at the production end. It was coined by an Oracal Rep. like this, “The marriage between the paper liner and the adhesive is merged in such a way to make the weeding process way easier with less over-pulls with faster speed”. So, Oracal has the decal maker in mind and why shouldn’t they, we are their clients after-all.
For wraps we like to go between Vvivid and Avery. Wraps can be part of a vehicle or the entire vehicle. We have wrapped 60 ft trailers, refrigerated roll up door delivery trucks, camouflage wraps, motorcycles, helmets and so much more.