What are vinyl letters?
Vinyl letters are made from a thin plastic material, about the thickness of a sheet of paper. The back side of the letters have adhesive on them. They are very durable and look like painted letters. The letters are cut from large rolls using a plotter/cutter. The designs are created with specialized computer software and cut with a plotter. Once the letters are cut into the vinyl, the excess vinyl on the sheet is removed in a process called weeding. Finally, a paper pre-mask is applied to the top of the vinyl design to allow easy application of multiple letters and shapes at one time.
What surfaces can I put vinyl letters on?
Vinyl letters are typically used on vehicles, boats, windows, walls and signs. Vinyl letters will adhere to most painted wood, painted metal, glass, fiberglass and some plastic surfaces. The surface must be smooth. Painted surfaces must be completely cured before applying vinyl. Vinyl letters do not work well on surfaces painted with flat latex paints.
The surface temperature must be at least 55 °F. for vinyl to adhere properly.
What surfaces won’t work for vinyl letters?
Vinyl letters will not adhere to vehicles or boats that have been freshly waxed. We recommend you remove all wax in the area to be lettered. Vinyl letters will not adhere to rough surfaces such as raw wood, chipped/peeling paint, cloth, rubber or unpainted metal. They will not stick to some tinted windows. Wiper blades in back windows of vehicles will damage vinyl letters.
Are there different grades of vinyl letters?
Yes. We only use premium high performance cast vinyl (2 mil) We recommend the use of this vinyl on vehicles and boats. It has a shiny “paint-like” finish, is very durable, and will last a long time.
Calendared vinyl is a thicker (4 mil) economy vinyl. It has a tendency to shrink. We do not use this type of vinyl. It is only recommended for temporary signs. Never use this vinyl on vehicles or boats.
We also offer a matte finish calendared vinyl specially designed for decorative wall lettering. It has an easily removable adhesive and is 3 mils thick. Please let us know if you would like to use this type of vinyl instead of our regular high performance vinyl. Never use this vinyl outdoors.
What supplies will I need to install these letters?
Scissors, masking tape, squeegee (included with every order) and application fluid – (instructions on how to make your own is on our vinyl application sheet.) For large installations we recommend purchasing the rapid tac brand of application fluid. Do not use application fluid when installing decorative wall lettering.
I’ve never applied vinyl letters? How difficult is it to do?
Every order comes with an instruction sheet and squeegee. Also, we are happy to send you sample letters to practice with. It is not difficult to apply vinyl letters. Just take your time, don’t hurry the process and read the instruction sheet first. A second pair of hands is helpful with long sections of lettering.
How do you apply vinyl?
Please refer to our Vinyl Lettering Section. There you will find step by step application instructions.
How do you remove vinyl?
Please refer to our Vinyl Lettering Section. There you will find removal instructions.
Will vinyl letters hurt my vehicle or boat?
No. However, the surface underneath the vinyl remains protected. On a vehicle, the area without vinyl letters may fade. Upon removal, the surface under the vinyl is as good as the day the vinyl was applied and thus an outline may be visible.
How long will vinyl last?
Our premium 2 mil vinyl will last a long time, usually seven years.
I just received my vinyl lettering order and decided not to install them right away. They’ll last forever like this won’t they?
No. Once you receive your order we recommend installing them within nine months. The adhesive on the letters will eventually dry out if not applied to a surface. If you are not ready to apply your letters right away, store them in a relatively cool, dry place in a plastic bag. Avoid extreme temperature changes. Do not fold or crease your lettering. Do not get them wet.
Do I need to put anything over the vinyl letters to protect them?
No. You do not need to apply “clear coat” over the letters. It will actually shorten the life vinyl letters if you do this.
Can I reuse vinyl letters?
No. They are removable, but not repositionable. The vinyl becomes stretched and torn when removing them.
How large can you make vinyl letters?
The largest letter we can cut in one piece is 13” tall. We are not limited by the length. Please contact us if you would like taller letters. We can cut them in two or more pieces.
Can I wash my vehicle / boat after installing vinyl letters?
After a few days vinyl lettering can withstand a regular car wash. Do not put a power washer within inches of the vinyl. It will chip off the edges of the letters. Do not use strong detergents for cleaning.
Can you send me actual samples of your vinyl colors?
Yes. If you would like to receive a color chart in the mail, just email us a request along with your mailing address.
I don’t know what size letters to order?
Please contact us and we will help you choose the correct size. If you provide us with the size of the surface the letters will be installed on, we can advise you what size to order.
I don’t see the font I want on your design tool.
Not all of our fonts are on our design tool. If you have a certain font in mind, just let us know, we may have it. We can also use any True Type Font you can send us.
I have a design in mind that is more complicated than your design tool will allow.
We have graphic artists on staff that can take your initial idea and create a design for you. Please contact us and we can discuss the details.
What types of digital files can you work with?
The quality of your decal/logo will be determined by the type of file or artwork that we receive from you. Sometimes there can be a one time set-up charge for custom logos/decals. The cost depends upon the degree of difficulty (how much time it takes to make it ready to produce in vinyl) and the method used to make it.
There are two types of graphic files, vector and raster. We prefer to use vector files. Vector files are made up entirely of points with lines connecting them. They are like “outlines” of the graphic. These files are completely scalable at any size without a loss in clarity. Adobe Illustrator files are vector files. EPS files converted to outlines are also vector files.
The second type of graphic files are raster files. They are also known as bitmap files. They are made up of tiny bits or pixels. Every bit or pixel is assigned a color. Photographic images will always be in raster form. Although raster files are the most common graphic format used, there is a disadvantage in these types of files. They do not enlarge well. Usually there is a larger set-up charge when you submit a file in raster form. This is because we often need to rebuild the file into a vector format. BMP, GIF, JPG, and TIF files are raster images. GIF and JPG files are usually too small in size to use. The type of raster files we prefer to use are large TIF files.
Can I call you with my order?
Yes, we’d be happy to take your order over the phone.
Can I make my own signs?
Yes, please refer to our Vinyl Lettering Section. There you will find instructions on how to make a plywood sign.
Is my purchase from this site safe?
Yes. Letters Online is a secure site. We accept VISA MasterCard and Discover.
Do I install vinyl letters on the inside or the outside of the window?
Typically, we install letters on the outside of the window because they show up better. If you would like them installed on the inside of the window, please contact us and we can run the letters in reverse.
How soon will I receive my order?
Most orders placed from our design tool will be shipped within one to two working days.
Will vinyl letters hurt my walls?
We recommend putting wall letters on painted walls – not over wallpaper. As long as the walls are painted with a quality primer and paint that is completely cured (dry) there should be no damage to your walls. We recommend waiting at least 30 days for fresh paint to completely dry.
We offer a matte finish calendared vinyl specially designed for decorative wall lettering. It has an easily removable adhesive and is 3 mils thick. Please let us know if you would like to use this type of vinyl instead of our regular high performance vinyl which has a stronger adhesive.
Are wall letters permanent?
No. That’s the great thing about wall letters. You can change your mind and re-design often.
What should I know about magnetic signs?
Magnetic Signs are sold in sets. One set is two pieces. They have round corners which help them lay flat on a vehicle. Magnetics cannot be placed over trim, etc. Make sure that the size you order will fit on your vehicle. Although we use the best material available, magnetics are not a permanent item. There are too many variables outside our control, so we cannot guarantee them. They will not adhere to vehicles with bondo in the doors and they require periodic maintenance.
How do I care for magnetic signs?
Moisture can collect between the magnetic and the vehicle surface. Remove your magnetic weekly and dry both the magnetic and the vehicle. You also need to periodically clean both sides of your magnetic signs. Failure to do so can result in damage to both the magnetic and your vehicle’s surface.