3M Optically Clear Window Graphic
This 2 mil optically clear cast vinyl window film is designed for interior or exterior mounting on glass surfaces. The special adhesive allows the graphic to remain removable for up to three years, while allowing unprinted areas to offer a completely clear view through the glass. Optionally, the image areas can be under-printed with white for the best visibility in a window. This material should be installed wet, and instructions are available in the Installation Instructions tab, as that's the best way to achieve a clear, bubble free appearance on glass. Because this is a cast vinyl, it's conformable to curved surfaces such as car windows. Available in widths up to 60".
Approximate longevity of 2-20 years indoors, 1-3 years outdoors.
We recommend a white underprint for the greatest visibility in a window.
The product photos above show the 3M Optically Clear Window Graphic sample on a window from both the inside and outside. Generally, we recommend the white floodcoat behind all or part of the design when the decals are being used for advertising purposes because they make the image much easier to see. If the graphic is being used for decorative purposes, it's best without the white floodcoat as it will look brighter from the inside. In the example photo, you can see how it's almost impossible to see the clear areas of the decal, other than the edges, For that reason, it's common to cover an entire pane of glass if the goal is make it difficult to tell there is a graphic on the window at all.
Clear window graphics are printed so the colors look correct when installed on glass and light passes through them. If you want your design printed so it looks correct without illumination, chose the 3 Layer Printing white ink option so the graphic will look correct both with and without illumination.
The clarify of the film makes it virtually disappear on glass, mirrors or acrylic. The graphic stays cleanly removable for 3 years, where other materials get more aggessive over time and are only guaranteed removable for 6-12 months.
Because it's so clear, it will show any small bit of dirt or flaw if the window isn't thoroughly clean. The film can scratch during installation if a sharp squeege is used or dirt gets on the graphic, and those scratches will be visible because of the clarify of the film. It's vinyl so it's not eco-friendly.
Face mounted window graphics that apply to the inside surface of the window to be viewed on the outside. Window graphics that look as if the image is painted on the glass because the decal is so clear it's hard to see.
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These instructions are provided for our customers that want to install their own window decals.
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
- Clean the surface of the glass immediately before applying the film. Any grease, oils or dirt can prevent the film from adhering or leave contaminants that will show after the install. Also, glass surfaces may have a wax or other substance that can interfere with proper adhesion. A mild abrasive cleaner like Soft Scrub can be used to remove the coating if necessary. Do not clean the glass with cleaners containing ammonia as they can interferre with the adhesion of the graphic. Alcohol should be used to clean the glass instead.
- The glass surface should be at least 60°F and not in direct sunlight if possible. Direct sunlight or too high of a temperature can cause the soapy water solution used to evaporate too rapidly, and cause the adhesive to stick before air bubbles are removed.
Applying the Window Graphic
- Spray the window thoroughly with the soapy water solution.
- Lay the printed film, 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.
- Lift the film up and place the adhesive side against the wet surface of the window. The film should easily slide around as it’s floating on a film of soapy water.
- Position the film 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 film out to the edge. Soak up excess water with the cloth or paper towels
- The film should then be flat on the window 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.
- Make sure the film is dry and firmly adhered to the surface before trimming the edges. If the window has a rubber seal around the edge, it is recommended to trim the film 1/8 inch away from the seal to allow for thermal expansion. Note: the film will not adhere to silicon caulking.
- When it’s time to remove the film, simply use a fingernail or a knife to lift a corner of the film and remove at as close to a 180° angle as possible.
- The film should remove smoothly, in one piece, with no adhesive residue left on the window.
I just received my print and it's too dark and the color is wrong.
Clear window graphics are printed by default to allow for illumination through the print, either from the sun in exterior windows or interior lights. In order for the colors to not look washed out in these situations, the colors will look too dark when there is no light through the print. prints are profiled so the color looks correct when the graphic is illuminated, so you need to backlight the graphic for the color to look correct. See the question below for more details on this, but other than Day/Night backlit graphics, colors will always look too dark when the graphic isn't llluminated with a standard amount of lighting and often some colors will shift as well. If the graphics are printed so they look correct without lighting, they will look washed out when lit. Choose the Day/Night Backlit Graphic for displays that look good whether or not they are illuminated.