Vinyl Lettering

How To Update Text On A Sign

Do you ever wonder how to update the text on your sign? Vinyl lettering is a great alternative to digitally printed signs. Vinyl lettering can be easily applied to glass and many other smooth surfaces including aluminium signs. Vinyl lettering can last up to eight years depending on the quality of the print and where the sign is positioned (in direct sunlight or in a damp area). Occasionally you’ll need to change the information on your sign without the need to throw the old one away and start again. For example if you have a new phone number, a change of staff, new email address or website address.

This article explains how you can easily remove the old vinyl print and install your new vinyl lettering.

Choose a good day without snow, wind or rain. Make sure you have plenty of time and a second pair of hands always comes in handy. Check the new print is correct and free of spelling mistakes. Here’s a checklist of what you’ll probably need:

  • A ladder if the sign is high
  • A heat gun or a good hair dryer
  • A bucket of hot soapy water and sponge
  • Masking tape
  • A scraper
  • Window cleaner or solvent cleaner
  • Window squeegee (or an old bank card)
  • Lots of patience

Step 1

Heat the existing letters you want to replace with a heat gun or a good hair dryer. Then use a razor blade scraper such as the Laicky Scraper (less than £10 for 2 from Amazon) & gently peel off the vinyl from the surface. If the vinyl is old & brittle, you will probably find it comes off in small pieces. If the vinyl is less than 4 years old, you may be lucky and find it comes off in bigger chunks.

It’s important not to rush the removal and do not use a metal scraper or you might damage the aluminium.

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Step 2

Clean the sign taking precaution to avoid lint being left on the surface. Try using a glass cleaner to remove all the residue. If this doesn’t work you should be ok to use a solvent cleaner on most aluminium signs. Test the solvent clear on a small discrete area before applying it to the main area. Next, clean the sign with soap and hot water then check to make sure there are no remaining pieces of vinyl or adhesive stuck to it.

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Step 3

Fold the new vinyl and make a hinge then apply masking tape to the top of the sign.
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Step 4

Remove the backing by pulling it slowly upwards.
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Step 5

With the backing now removed, carefully place the new vinyl on the surface (a spirit level might be useful) and then gently use a window squeegee (or an old bank card) to transfer the vinyl to the surface. Make sure there are no bubbles or creases in the new vinyl letters.
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Step 6

Carefully pull the front of the paper upwards to remove it. Do not rush this step or letters might not transfer to the sign, it’s incredibly difficult to line them up and reapply them later.
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Please remember there’s every chance the aluminium sign panel has changed colour in the sun light, the letters you are removing might have preserved the colour underneath. For this reason you might see some ‘ghosting’ from where the removed letters where. It might be possible to restore the sign to it’s original colour using a product designed to restore car paintwork.

Thanks to WikiHow for some content.

To finish things off here is an infographic we have designed which explains the process:

How To Update Text On A Sign (Infographic)