(STICK IT TO IT)
Well the time has come to lay the finishing touches to your RV. After hundreds of hours of drilling, dimpling, deburing, priming and smashing rivets you don’t want to have a blank airplane, you want it to stand out! So instead of all the headaches associated with painting graphics we are going to show you how to lay on some cool vinyl graphics. Quick, easy and affordable.
Step One THE CONCEPT
When you call Freedom Sign and Graphics, we’ll begin by discussing a theme using a design that you have created, a standard striping package, or we will help you design what ever you may have in mind.
Adaptations of preexisting schemes like this Christian Eagle design can be a starting point. By the way, this RV-8 design is up for grabs if anyone out there is interested. Next we refine the design to fit the builder’s tastes (color, stripe width, etc.). After the design is finalized it will be cut and shipped out to you within 7 days.
Step Two PREPPING THE PLANE
When you are ready to install your stripes you’ll need to clean the painted surface of your plane. Do this with an ammonia-based cleanser such as Windex so that it won’t leave residue behind.
Step Three LAYOUT
After cleaning, you will lay up your striping. This process will differ slightly from design to design depending upon complexity and the number of colors. A step-by-step instruction sheet will be included in you package.
The stripes are taped in place to align them to your background paint or plane contours.
Step Four INSTALL
When you are happy with the alignment of your stripes on the plane, you are ready to apply! A second set of hands will be helpful at this point if possible. Place a strip of wide masking tape perpendicular to the striping across the center of the stripe. This will act as a ‘hinge.’
Bend one side of the striping back across the hinge exposing the surface it will mate to.
Have your helper hold the striping and transfer tape while you peel back the carrier. You can secure it with tape as I have done here if you do not have a helper available.
Cut the carrier near the hinge (do not tear it).
With a squirt bottle filled with water and a couple drops of dish soap, wet down the sticky side of the stripe and the area of the plane that it will mate to.
Position your stripe.
Use your squeegee to gently squeeze the water out. Initially, use a back handed motion to push the water away with light pressure. You will feel and see the water exiting.
After you finish the first half, gently remove the hinge. Be careful not to tear the transfer tape.
Repeat the hinge fold without the tape. Remove the backing and repeat the water, positioning, and squeegee steps.
Your stripe is securely in place and it is time to go over it again with your squeegee using higher pressure. You can press any stubborn air or water bubbles out with a forward squeegee motion.
NOTE! Take extra care when doing this technique so that you do not press IN a wrinkle. If you have an area of bubbles that is giving you troubles, don’t worry about it at this point. You will be able to correct it later.
Peel back the transfer tape at a 30-45 degree angle from the surface of the plane to help the tape release from the stripe.
You can fix any bubbles by ‘pin-holing’ them with an exacto knife or a straight pin. Gently poke the bubble and squeegee out the water or air. If you are still having trouble, stop. You will be able to solve this problem later with the heat gun while shrinking the vinyl to the rivets.
Line up the next color or stripe and repeat these steps.
Step Five HEAT
It is time to pull out your heat gun or blow dryer. You can tell by my hairline that I don’t own a hair dryer, so I use a heat gun on the low setting. Your hair dryer will probably need to be set on hot. Heat any pin-holed bubbles that would not squeegee out. This should shrink them nicely. If needed, you can gently squeegee them with the squeegee sleeve included with your stripes. If a bubble remains, DO NOT OVERWORK IT. You will notice it disappear after a few days in the warm sun, unlike paint runs, fisheyes, or orange peel.
Heat the vinyl that lays over each rivet and watch it shrink up into the recesses.
You may need to help it gently with a fingertip.
Step Six CLEAN UP
After all rivets are smooth, you can clean any water spots off with your ammonia-based cleanser or soap and water. If you have stubborn bubbles remaining, wait to wax or clear coat for a few days until you notice that they have dissipated.
You are finished! You can now sit back and admire your art instead of hassling with clean up of paint guns, waiting for paint to dry, or any of that other paint associated mess. Use this time the way it should be used – in the air! Your new bird is ready to go. No drying time needed.
Step Seven FLY!