Content copyright 2010-2016  ThunderStorm Graphics. All rights reserved.
What is the difference between Printed Vinyl Decals
and Cut Vinyl Decals?
Vinyl decals have been around a long time, most commonly used in advertising, but with the increased popularity of vinyl being used for decorating purposes now there is much confusion on the difference between printed vinyl decals and cut vinyl decals. Both mediums will produce stunning decals for decorating purposes however there are some differences and those differences may determine which kind of decal you want for your decorating project. Let's explore those differences below.
As you can see on the picture below, before installation, the differences between the two are very subtle. The differences will become more noticeable during and after installation.





















PRINTED VINYL is much easier to install and will closely resemble what you think of as a "peel and stick" sticker.
Printed vinyl is basically what it sounds like, inks are used to print a design onto clear or white vinyl and because of that, printed vinyl can produce a decal that has many multiple colors. Printed vinyl can also produce a photo realistic decal.

CUT VINYL takes a little more time and patience to install, but once installed it can appear to be hand painted. Cut vinyl decals have no background, the background that you see behind the cut vinyl design is what you install it onto. Cut vinyl decals are die-cut from pre-colored rolls of vinyl and because of that you are limited by color selection.
Cut vinyl CAN produce a decal using multiple colors, however, each color in the design must be a different layer, and because more materials are used for each layer, it can quickly become very expensive to do this. Here is a good analogy to use when comparing cut vinyl to printed vinyl. Say you have a flower design, red flower, green leaves and yellow centers and when you print that design it comes out all at once on one sheet of paper, just like a printed decal would. Now if you want to create that same design using colored construction paper you have to cut out the shapes from the correct colors of construction paper and then assemble them to get the same flower design, just as a multi-color cut vinyl decal would have to be.
INSTALLING A PRINTED VINYL DECAL
Peel off paper backing                      








Stick to application surface        
INSTALLING A CUT VINYL DECAL
Rub paper backing   Peel off paper backing   








 
Stick to surface      Rub firmily over area
Peel off transfer tape         Rub firmly
CLOSE UP OF BOTH INSTALLED
Content copyright 2010-2015  ThunderStorm Graphics. All rights reserved.
Tips and Troubleshooting for Installing Vinyl Wall Lettering and Graphics
If you're having trouble applying vinyl on walls, it may have nothing to do with the tape or vinyl. The qualities of the wall surface are just as important as those of the tape and vinyl.
WHAT KIND OF PAINT TO USE
Most interior walls are painted. There isnít a standard vinyl-friendly paint to use on interior walls, so there are variables that can affect success. The two most common interior paints used are enamel and latex. Enamel is best because, like glass and aluminum, it provides a smooth, non-porous surface. Latex is more porous and is not as suitable for vinyl graphic application. The ideal paint finish is a quality semi-gloss.

If you are unsure if your paint will work you can ask for a test sample word to try on your paint before purchase. Most vendors that produce vinyl for wall applications will provide those free of charge.
WHAT KIND OF PAINT NOT TO USE
Vinyl will not adhere to surfaces painted with Teflon, Stain Guard or VOC free paints. VOC free paints are a green friendly paint with low odor or no odor. Avoid matte or semi-matte (satin) paints. These have matting agents that float to the surface and can cause interference with adhesion. Scrub able and or washable paints have migratory agents, usually silicone or teflon additives, that may cause adhesion failure.
WHEN SHOULD I APPLY MY VINYL WALL DECALS
One of the most common reasons for failure in applied wall words is application on freshly painted surfaces. Just because itís dry to the touch doesnít mean itís ready for your vinyl graphics. If you apply vinyl over uncured paint it usually results in a rapid degradation of the adhesive leading to failure. It literally falls off the wall! For best results please allow any newly painted surfaces to cure 1 to 2 months before applying vinyl.

Vinyl wall graphics need to be applied in a timely manner, preferably within 2 weeks of receiving your new vinyl decals. The longer the vinyl sits after being cut, the harder it becomes to release from the backing paper. So if you have new paint you may have to time your purchase according to paint cure times.
TEMPERATURE AND HUMIDIY CAN AFFECT VINYL ADHESION
Apply your vinyl decal when it and the wall are both at room temperature. If the wall is too cold or too hot, the adhesive may not hold well. High humidity sometimes interferes with the application process. Try to wait until a day when the humidity is lower. Apply the graphics above the recommended minimum application temperature, ideal application temperature is 70įF.
WHAT IS BEHIND THE DRY WALL
Vinyl lettering may not stick to a wet wall. Watch for walls that back up to cooling systems, water pipes, overhead windows or windows that have been boarded up. These areas are prone to condensation that may not be obvious at the time of installation. In other words, make sure the drywall isnít really a wet wall in disguise.
Most interior walls are painted. There isnít a standard vinyl-friendly paint to use on interior walls, so there are variables that can affect success. The two most common interior paints used are enamel and latex. Enamel is best because, like glass and aluminum, it provides a smooth, non-porous surface. Latex is more porous and is not as suitable for vinyl graphic application. The ideal paint finish is a quality semi-gloss.

If you are unsure if your paint will work you can ask for a test sample word to try on your paint before purchase. Most vendors that produce vinyl for wall applications will provide those free of charge.
Vinyl will not adhere to surfaces painted with Teflon, Stain Guard or VOC free paints. VOC free paints are a green friendly paint with low odor or no odor. Avoid matte or semi-matte (satin) paints. These have matting agents that float to the surface and can cause interference with adhesion. Scrub able and or washable paints have migratory agents, usually silicone or teflon additives, that may cause adhesion failure.
One of the most common reasons for failure in applied wall words is application on freshly painted surfaces. Just because itís dry to the touch doesnít mean itís ready for your vinyl graphics. If you apply vinyl over uncured paint it usually results in a rapid degradation of the adhesive leading to failure. It literally falls off the wall! For best results please allow any newly painted surfaces to cure 1 to 2 months before applying vinyl.

Vinyl wall graphics need to be applied in a timely manner, preferably within 2 weeks of receiving your new vinyl decals. The longer the vinyl sits after being cut, the harder it becomes to release from the backing paper. So if you have new paint you may have to time your purchase according to paint cure times.
Apply your vinyl decal when it and the wall are both at room temperature. If the wall is too cold or too hot, the adhesive may not hold well. High humidity sometimes interferes with the application process. Try to wait until a day when the humidity is lower. Apply the graphics above the recommended minimum application temperature, ideal application temperature is 70įF.
Vinyl lettering may not stick to a wet wall. Watch for walls that back up to cooling systems, water pipes, overhead windows or windows that have been boarded up. These areas are prone to condensation that may not be obvious at the time of installation. In other words, make sure the drywall isnít really a wet wall in disguise.
Content copyright 2010-2016  ThunderStorm Graphics.
All rights reserved.
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