Many people new to vinyl sign production assume that the machine does it all. We simply pick our design, feed in the vinyl roll, and wait for the magic to happen, right?
In truth, if you’re using the vinyl machine, you’re only at step 1 of a 3-step process. Once the vinyl sign or stick pops out, you need to “weed” it and transfer the design onto its “canvas,” whether that be a window or otherwise.
“Weeding” is the signage industry’s term for removing excess vinyl between sign lettering. Unfortunately, weeding letters is no easy task – if it were, they wouldn’t have called it weeding and evoked such a strong connection to dirty, tiring, and thankless yard work!
However, with the following walkthrough, even the greenest business owner can ensure their signage looks its best. Read on to learn how to make the most out of your signage with Signworld’s weeding workshop.
Weeding Vinyl 101
Before you can weed your vinyl sign like a pro, you need to fully understand the process. Weeding refers to the removal of all excess vinyl from the paper backing sheet it’s printed on.
We’ve assembled a few tips to make your weeding worry-free.
- Get a feel for the peel. Weeding can be made simple or as difficult as you want depending on how you start the process. The first part is relatively easy. We simply take hold of the edge of the vinyl sheet and peel away the excess material as though we were removing a sticker. We highly recommend that you start your weeding from the upper right-hand side and pull towards the lower left. Take your time as you go, especially if your design has intricate fonts or small details. Once you’ve completed this step, there’s a good chance you’ll have some leftover vinyl caught up in the inner elements of your design; the holes between e’s, o’s, a’s, and q’s are particularly likely suspects.
- Secure your vinyl alignment for small fonts. If your lettering falls under ½” you may benefit from taping out the entire area that you intend to cut. It is more than likely than your lettering will need to come up with the vinyl in one giant piece. Lay the vinyl down on the weeding area so that the sticky side faces up, then use spring clamps to lock the vinyl in place. This will help you weed away any excess without losing the sign’s alignment.
- Try a “weeding border” for finicky fonts and delicate details. If you’re struggling with intricate design or font detail, try to cut only a “weeding border” rather than stressing over individual lines. Once you’ve cut out the entire image, you can go back over your work to weed out the middle of A, E, and O lettering. Finally, cover the lettering with transfer tape as normal, then remove the backing paper prior to your application. This should help you remove the transfer tape and excessive vinyl without damaging the lettering.
- Discover the ease of a deep freeze! One insider tip for vinyl weeding involves popping the vinyl in the freezing after its been cut. Leave it for about an hour. The vinyl will shrink slightly, which will make weeding small lettering that much easier.
Signworld is a national organization with more than 300 independently owned sign companies, which provide commercial custom signage and graphics. It’s personable, creative, rewarding and ideal for people-oriented individuals who have the desire to learn how to manage a sales and production business. Signworld has been a part of the industry’s profit and fun since 1988. With over 28 years in the business, Signworld has established itself as the leader in the no-royalties and no-rules sign business concept. The ongoing support and training along with state-of-the-art equipment helps leave the competition behind. For more details visit – https://signworld.org