This 4 mil adhesive vinyl is very pliable and can adhere to high energy plastics, glass and metal while remaining removable for the first year. This makes it the product of choice for football helmets, hard hats and other sports equipment, as it cuts down the labor involved in refurbishing them with new decals. This product will remove cleanly from most smooth surfaces or painted surfaces without leaving adhesive behind, and conforms well to curved surfaces because it has less "memory" than other vinyl. When it is applied to a helmet, the air tunnels can be rubbed out from the center, which is squeezing or condensing the vinyl. However, there are limits, and a strategic cut into the design may help with the application. Available in widths up to 30" in white or 15" in clear.
Outdoor longevity of 2-5 years, depending on laminate.
When combined with the 8mil Convex laminate, it's a thick decal that is still conformable enough to work on compound curves like helmets and hard hats.
Won't stick well to low energy plastics. It's still difficult to remove cleanly if it's left on more than year. It's vinyl so it's not eco-friendly.
Helmet and hard hat decals that get changed every year. Decals on bikes or ATVs that need to be replaced frequently.
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There are a few different installation methods that can be used for decals depending on which type of decal you have. If you ordered decals that are cut in a simple, solid shape such as a circle or rectangle, they will usually be sent without any transfer tape over the face of the decal. If your decals are very small, you may be able to simply peel them off the release liner and stick them to your cleaned and prepared surface. But, for larger decals, installation needs to be done in steps to prevent bubbles.
Glass surfaces should not have been treated with water repellent.
Apply decals in the shade (no direct sunlight).
The ideal temperature would be between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Surface temperature should be above 40 degrees.
All surfaces should be considered dirty and must be cleaned prior to installation. Clean the area where the decals are to be applied with a household, non-ammonia based cleaner, such as isopropyl alcohol or equivalent. Rinse thoroughly and dry.
Applying Small Decals
Since GearWrap is initially removable, we recommend that small decals be installed dry. There are instructions below for installing larger decals with water, and those instructions can be used if desired, but with smaller decals, it's not usually necessary. Also, when installing on helmets or other rounded surfaces, wet installation can be more difficult as the decal won't stick securely until it starts to dry. Getting the decal to conform and stick to the slippery wet surface will require some patience.
For dry installation on flat surfaces, you can simply peel and stick the decal into place. If positioning is critical, we recommend placing the decal in position before removing the release liner, and taping it in place along one edge. Lift the decal and remove the backing, using the tape to keep it positioned. Smooth the decal onto the surface starting from the taped edge.
For installation on helmets or curved surfaces, it's best to stick the center of the decal to the helmet, then rub it down from the center out to the edges. You should be able to rub out the air tunnels. If the curve is too severe, it may be necessary to make relief cuts in the decal.
If any of the edges of your decal pop back up after application, there are generally two reasons: Either the area where it is popping up is contaminated with something such as oils from your fingers, or you are trying to condense too much of the vinyl into an area... and something has to give.
Oversized decals such as a 10” x 10” on a helmet may display such symptoms. That’s where the strategic cut may be needed to relieve the pressure on the vinyl.
Once the decal has been smoothed out, apply firm pressure over the entire decal to ensure it's securely in place. The adhesive will take up to 24 hours to set up, so avoid anything that will cause the decal to lift during that time.
Applying Larger Decals, Dry Method
Position your decal in the desired location and tack into place on each end with small pieces of masking tape.
Peel back about 2” of the release liner away from the top edge on the adhesive side of your decal.
Cut off that section of the release liner and discard.
Squeegee down the exposed edge of the decal starting from the center and working towards the edges. Let the squeegee cause the contact with the mounting surface and brush from the center outward using overlapping 45 degree angled strokes.
Flip the decal up and start to peel back the remaining release liner.
Pull back a few inches of the release liner at a time and squeegee the graphic into place using the same technique as above.
If you get an air bubble or wrinkle, you can carefully lift the decal enough to fix the problem and continue. If there are air bubbles in your finished installation, you can pop them with a pin and squeegee the bubble toward the pin hole to squeeze out the air. Small bubbles will tend to disappear over time.
Once the entire decal is applied, squeegee the entire decal once more to ensure a firm bond with the surface.
Applying Larger Decals, Wet Method
Tools you will need:
- Spray bottle with soapy water solution consisting of 1/3 teaspoon dishwashing liquid to 1 quart of water
- Scissors, Xacto knife or razor blade
- Rubber window squeegee. A nylon squeegee with a low friction sleeve can be used, but you are more likely to scratch the material.
- Soft cloth or paper towels
- Spray the surface thoroughly with the soapy water solution.
- Lay the decal, liner side up on a nearby clean, dry surface. Start removing the liner at one corner, spraying the exposed adhesive as it’s removed. Once the liner is completely removed, spray on more solution if necessary until the entire surface is wet.
- Place the adhesive side of the decal against the wet mounting surface. The decal should easily slide around as it’s floating on a film of soapy water.
- Position the decal in its final location, then with light pressure and the window squeegee, smooth out any wrinkles or bubbles using overlapping strokes from the center of the decal out to the edge. Soak up excess water with the cloth or paper towels
- The film should then be flat on the surface and most of the water should be pushed out.
- Now apply firm overlapping strokes with the squeege from the center to the edge. Each stroke should overlap by 50%.
- Any small bubbles should disappear as the remaining water evaporates, which can take as long as 2-3 days, or they can be eliminated by puncturing the film at one end of the bubble with an air release tool or pin. Using your thumb, press the trapped air or water toward the hole to allow it to escape.
- When it’s time to remove the decal, simply use a fingernail or a knife to lift a corner and remove at as close to a 180° angle as possible.
Decals with Transfer Tape
For decals that are cut into irregular shapes or multiple pieces, and sometimes with unlaminated decals, your graphic will come with transfer tape applied over the face of the decal. Transfer tape looks like big piece of masking tape and serves a few purposes. For decals in multiple pieces, like individually cut letters, the transfer tape keeps the decal together in once piece during installation. It also helps protect the image for unlaminated decals, and keeps the vinyl from stretching during installation.
The installation procedure for decals with transfer tape is basically the same with a few variations. For larger decals, especially those that are irregularly shaped, rather than starting with the top 2" of the decal, it can be easier to run a piece of masking tape through the center from the top of the graphic off the bottom. This tape will act like a hinge. You would then fold back the left side of the graphic to the hinge, peel back and cut off the release liner, then while holding the left edge of the graphic, squeegee the graphic down to the mounting surface starting at the hinge and working left. Just like before, you would work from the center out with overlapping, angled strokes. Once the left side is applied, you would fold back the right side, remove the remaining release liner and repeat the procedure for the right side.
The only other difference is that once the decal is applied to the surface, you will squeegee the entire decal again, and then carefully remove the transfer tape off the face of the decal by pulling it off at a sharp angle to prevent it from pulling your decal off the mounting surface. Once the transfer tape has been removed, squeegee the decal one last time to ensure it's on securely.
With all decals, the adhesive will take up to 24 hours to fully set, so avoid washing or causing stress to the decal for the first day after installation.