I hear these questions all of the time. Can I submerge this vinyl? Will this vinyl work in saltwater? Is it dishwasher safe? Is this vinyl waterproof? There are yes and no’s to all of these questions, but we have to get to the root of the situation to really know the answers.
Can I Submerge Vinyl?
The vinyl itself is made up of a PVC (polyvinyl chloride), plasticizers, pigment, and other additives. On the rear side of the vinyl, adhesive is applied to allow the vinyl to adhere itself to many surfaces. The adhesive can be sensitive to certain fluids when applied on or near the vinyl causing the adhesive to release itself from the surface.
Adhesive can be permanent, removable, solvent or water-based. Identify your adhesive and be sure to use the correct fluids for wet application or cleaning. You would want to avoid using water with water-based adhesive. This would destroy the adhesive breaking it down and causing adhesion failure.
Sticking to solvent based permanent adhesive vinyl will help you get a longer hold and wear for items being washed by hand or for items sitting outside in the elements.
Is it dishwasher safe?
Permanent adhesive vinyl is going to have a better grip than a removable adhesive. A big question in the craft industry: Is it dishwasher safe? Yes and No. A lot of factors go into that question. One question to ask would be: How often will you wash it?
If you are putting adhesive vinyl, which is adhered to cups, bottles or any other form of dishes, in the dishwasher, the permanent adhesive vinyl will hold for a while, possibly up to 50+ washes. Eventually, it’s going to lose it’s grip and deterioration will set in. Yes you can put it in the dishwasher and possibly get away with several washes, no, it won’t hold forever.
It’s not made for the heat, water or steam. Heat and steam are actual forms of removal for vinyl. Every time your dishwasher is on, it’s working to remove your vinyl.
Is it safe for saltwater?
Sign industry folks are always looking for ways to use vinyl around the water because most of the industry is based on dealing with outside elements. I live in Houston and since we have a lot of oil industry based businesses down here, companies are constantly working on projects in or around the ocean.
Many times I have been asked if there is a way to submerge vinyl for underwater pipes. I have literally called every vinyl manufacturer that I distribute for and every one of them have told me “No, we don’t have a product at this time for underwater projects”. Not only “no” to water, but saltwater also becomes another issue in that equation.
Can I do a full body boat wrap?
Full body boat wraps are not recommended either. Not in lakes nor in ocean water. Marine vinyl is available for boats, but if you look at the fine print, it states to keep the vinyl above the water line. This means they won’t warranty vinyl below water.
Boat wraps require a little extra time and effort. You must seal the edges very well. I had a client who wrapped a boat and his client brought it back after one visit on the lake.
The front seams were not sealed correctly and had lifted because water forced it’s way under the wrap through tiny open crevices, filling parts of it with water along the sides of the boat. It was mess.
Full body wraps are at your own discretion. Make sure you get every seam down firmly.
You can seal vinyl with epoxy or other sealants, but make sure those sealants are rated water submersible, otherwise, you could have wrap failure.
Vinyl submerged underwater is only a temporary option as of now. Choose your vinyl options carefully and educate yourself and your clients. Submerge at your own risk.
For more tips on vinyl for signs or crafts subscribe to my newsletter. Don’t miss great ideas to help your business grow!
I’ve always seen everyone wearing those super cute rain boots during the wet seasons. I love the different styles and patterns that you can buy, but the problem is my calves are too big to fit in them!
My husband and I decided to travel to Alaska last September, touring Vancouver first, then off on an amazing cruise. While planning for the trip, I noticed most every excursion recommended weatherproof clothes and footwear. I decided I needed a pair of rain boots.
This post includes affiliate links.
Monogram Your Wellies
I searched the internet looking for wide-calf boots and finally located a pair that were my size. The boots however were not that cute. I bought them anyway just so I would have a pair for the trip! I never wore them. As I was cleaning my office the other day, I ran across a 12 x12 piece of decorative printed vinyl. A little inspiration came to mind and I decided to dress up my ever so boring boots.
In honor of the “April Showers” season fast approaching, here are the steps to making my monogrammed boots.
My boots are black, or maybe navy blue, I really can’t tell. Regardless, I’m using the vinyl I found on them because I like it. I’ve been saving this piece for the perfect project.
Next ,I measured the area I wanted to place the monogram. I could make this as big or as small as I want and decided to make this one about 3” around.
I loaded my patterned vinyl into my cutting machine and chose a font to use. You can find decorative printed craft vinyl from numerous stores around the country. You may even have a vinyl store in your home town. Just do an internet search to find one near you. I’m using a calendered printed vinyl here with a gray adhesive. If you don’t know what that is, refer to my first blog for more information. Gray adhesive helps block the dark color of my boots from showing through the print.
I decided to cut an extra more simple design along side this one for later use. I chose Monogramos font, which I found on www.dafont.com for free. The circle ring and outside circle shapes I actually bought pre-made from www.svgsalon.com. I didn’t want to spend the time designing them. After the designs were cut, I removed the vinyl and sliced off the cut area making it smaller and easier to weed.
Weeding is the term used when pulling the pieces of vinyl from the design that do not belong. I applied a high tack transfer tape using a squeegee to rub it down securely to help adhere it to the vinyl in order to lift the design from the liner (backing).
I measured down from the top of the boot approximately 1-1/2”. I taped it in place to keep it secure, then installed it with a hinge method. Flipping the bottom of the design up, I peeled the liner off and used my fingers to rub the vinyl into place starting from the top, working my way down. The boot is flimsy, so I laid the boot down on its side to finish the process. Once I ran my squeegee over it a few times, I removed the transfer tape to view my finished project.
Applying the monogram gives the boots a little flair and I love the design! Now my boots are made for walkin’…or at least playin’ in the rain! Don’t forget your umbrella!
Vinyl adhesive is probably the last thing on your mind when you are picking out vinyl colors for your project, but believe it or not, it’s a very important factor when deciding what vinyl is best for your job.
Are You Stuck on Vinyl Adhesives?
Manufacturers have designed a variety of adhesive types to fit the market demands. Spec sheets are available on each series of adhesive vinyl to help you decide which will best fit your needs. You may find specs sheets on the manufacture’s and most distributors’s websites.
So how do you decide between solvent or water based adhesive? What about permanent or removable adhesive?
Here are some highlighted points to reference when choosing the correct vinyl adhesive for the job:
Solvent-based adhesive allows a vinyl to have a longer term application. The chemical makeup of this adhesive uses solvents that help the adhesive become strong and more durable during weather changes. Wet applications can be used to install these types of adhesives.
Water-based adhesive is just what it states…water based. Avoid using any type of wet application method with these adhesives. Avoiding wet applications will help reduce risk of the adhesive not bonding properly. We mostly see these adhesives on vinyl that is lower in cost, used indoors and also for short-term applications.
This adhesive is designed for an easier removal than permanent adhesive and has a lower tack which helps with a clean removal. Typically we see this vinyl adhesive used on interior walls or anything temporary such as car wraps. Car wrap vinyl has air channels in the adhesive allowing it to “breathe” so the installer can push the air bubbles out, making the wrap nice and smooth. Sign and craft vinyl is usually dishwasher safe, but use your own discretion. Manufacturers will not warranty defects caused by dishwasher.
Permanent adhesive has a higher tack than removable. This adhesive is used for permanent type signs and projects for outdoor or indoor, such as vehicles, store hours, outdoor and indoor crafts and will usually leave some residue when removed from any surface. Heating the vinyl with a heat gun, hair dryer or torch before removal will warm the vinyl and adhesive while helping it release from the attached surface. Additional adhesive removal cleaner or a degreaser may be needed to finish the removal process. You can always remove the remnants of the cleaner and degreaser with Isopropyl Alcohol to get a squeaky clean surface. Usually sign and craft vinyl adhesives are dishwasher safe, but use your own discretion. Manufacturers will not warranty defects caused by dishwasher.
*Currently there are no adhesive films/vinyl guaranteed to be submerged underwater for long periods of time. Marine/ Boat films are to be used above the water line and securely sealed around all edges, or sealed entirely to prevent water damage.
The right adhesive will make your job easier and prevent future failures. Always read the spec sheet if you are unsure and educate yourself. You’ll be happy you took the time.
If you are planning to use vinyl, you really need to understand not all vinyl types are created equal. Starting with the basics you must know the difference between cast and calendered vinyl.
Know The Basics About Vinyl
Each has its own characteristics and are to be used in accordance to those characteristics. I will briefly discuss what vinyl is and highlight some points of each type so moving forward you will have a guideline to pick the correct vinyl type. You can always find more information about each series of vinyl from manufacturer’s and some distributor’s websites. If you are unfamiliar with a vinyl, do your research and find the type of vinyl needed for your application.
Vinyl is actually polyvinyl chloride (PVC) polymer, which is rigid plastic. Ingredients such as plasticizers, to make film flexible, pigment for color desired, additives to achieve UV protection and other fillers are used to complete the product. Adhesive is applied to the backing along with a backing to protect the adhesive called a liner. Note* Be careful when using this product in heated areas such as ovens or with lasers, the vinyl will put off deadly chemicals and could be fatal.
Usually 1-2 mil thick
Usually lasts 7-12 years
Glossy (or matte in printable vinyl)
Typically will not fade as fast as calendered
Holds it shape better than calendered
Can be used for curved surfaces
Great for vehicle lettering, boat lettering, car wraps, long term outdoor/indoor signage, sealed walls with crevices, glass, round canisters or surfaces.
Thicker, not as flexible as cast
Lower cost than cast
Usually 3 mil and up
Usually lasts 3-4 years
Typically Semi Gloss or Matte finish
Tends to fade faster than cast vinyl
Will shrink over time
Usually easier to handle for beginners
Can be used for flat surfaces only
Great for POP, short term vehicle flat surface areas, crafts, indoor projects, short term signs/projects, flat walls (test wall first, paints now have low VOCs)
Vinyl comes in all colors, including, gloss, matte, metallic and textured finishes. To find out more about vinyl finishes and adhesives, check back with me for future posts!
I have a true passion for helping others and seeing them succeed. Even as a small business owner I always encouraged my employees to better themselves in life and family and find their passion. I encourage you to do the same. Go out and find your happiness!