Or cooler looking.

Tips for working with vinyl letters

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Vinyl letters are the worst kind of sticker for a perfectionist. They stretch, bend, and collect air bubbles. They also come on card stock in the least favorable arrangement for spelling words and the most favorable arrangement for making the perfectionist’s life a short one. My opinion of them after two hours is this:

  1. Leave perfection to the professionals
  2. Expect frustration
  3. Expect failure
  4. Just don’t do it

The only positive thing I can say about this experience is that my skill has improved with practice. So, if you plan to ignore tips one through four, you may consider this tip number five: buy enough letter stock to accommodate a few trashy practice attempts.

Walmart sells these particular letters for a few bucks a pack. The package includes just enough Vs for me to display my website address on the top of each pannier. I didn’t buy two sets because I think very highly of my ability to perform even at things I’ve never done before. This means I regularly endure frustration, fight for perfection, and deny failure just to save $3.

As for professional tips for working with vinyl letters, I have none. These tips are born out of trial, error, and a liberal dose of persistence. If they save you a few bucks, consider sharing the love.

The first attempt took several hours. The second: 45 minutes.

Cut each letter to size and measure for spacing. Plan the project on the surface with gaffer's tape, marking the letters' positions mirrored.

Cut each letter to size and measure for spacing. Plan the project on the surface with gaffer’s tape, marking the letters’ positions mirrored.

Place the cut letters into position onto strips of upside-down gaffer's tape.

Place the cut letters into position onto strips of upside-down gaffer’s tape.

Peel away the letter backings and remove the upside-down tape strips. Clean the project surface.

Peel away the letter backings and remove the upside-down tape strips. Clean the project surface.

Carefully align the collection of letters into position and adhere them to the surface from bottom to top. Push air bubbles to the edges as the letters lay flat.

Carefully align the collection of letters into position and adhere them to the surface from bottom to top. Push air bubbles to the edges as the letters lay flat.

Carefully peel away the gaffer's tape.

Carefully peel away the gaffer’s tape.

Finish by squeezing any remaining bubbles to the edges and adding punctuation!

Finish by squeezing any remaining bubbles to the edges and adding punctuation!

The elongated letters look normal when viewed from an angle.

The elongated letters look normal when viewed from an angle.

Self promotion has never been cheaper.

Self promotion has never been cheaper.

 

Brian

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