Which Side of Adhesive Vinyl Goes Down

Sure, you’ve seen the many uses of adhesive vinyl and its many benefits, but have you ever stopped to wonder which side goes down? 

There are two sides to every piece of adhesive vinyl, and it’s essential to know which one to use when. 

With these tips on applying your adhesive vinyl, you can ensure that your projects will last longer and look better than ever!

Read More: What is Adhesive Vinyl Paper?

Which Side of Adhesive Vinyl Goes Down?

When installing adhesive vinyl, is it better to lay down a shiny or dull side? The answer will surprise you: typically, your adhesive goes down with its dull side facing up, and the shiny side will go down. 

This makes it easier for air bubbles to work out from underneath. 

I know: I was totally surprised when I found out too. When working with opaque products like foils or metallics, ensure you’re putting down a shiny side; that’s more often than not what people want and expect.

What If I Do It Wrong and Put My Vinyl Upside Down? 

If you apply your vinyl upside down. Don’t adhere to anything yet, and make sure that you have an extra sheet handy in case you mess up. 

Once your sheet is ready to be applied, look at which side has an adhesive backing and lay that down first so it will stick to whatever surface you’re sticking it on. 

Then place another piece of clear plastic over the top before adhering both pieces together with pressure from a roller or squeegee.

Common Mistakes People Make When Applying Vinyl

The biggest mistake people make when applying vinyl is putting it upside down. When people are picking out their vinyl, they almost always look at which side has a glossy finish and assume that it’s supposed to go down. 

In reality, the adhesive should be on that side, so it will stick to whatever surface you’re sticking it on. If you ignore what type of material you’re buying and how to apply it, you could make your project even more complicated than it needs to be by having your vinyl adhere wrong. 

Alternative Methods for Applying Vinyl

When considering applying a vinyl graphic to your vehicle, you’re confronted with two primary options: The first is to apply it with spray adhesive. The second option is an application kit with an iron-on transfer paper and heat-activated material. 

Both methods are acceptable for most applications – however, each has its benefits and downsides. The most significant benefit of spray adhesive is that you can remove and reapply vinyl graphics as often as you like without damaging them or your vehicle’s paint job. 

Moreover, graphics applied using spray adhesive last longer than those applied using heat transfers. The downside is that the process can be messy and time-consuming, so it may not be worth the hassle if your design isn’t a large one. If you’re looking for longevity in design, choose spray adhesive over heat transfers.

Bonus Tips

The longer you wait to press your vinyl onto a surface, the more likely you’ll end up with air bubbles and wrinkles. If you’ve ever applied for an iron-on transfer and had them pop up everywhere, they were left on too long. 

Another mistake people make is peeling off one side too early. The film has not yet cured fully, so pulling it off now can tear or wrinkle your design before it’s fully set. If you need to reposition your design at any point in the process, try using scotch tape. 

Make sure to peel away the backing carefully and slowly; if you rush this step, you will create another layer of issues for yourself. Be sure that as soon as your adhesive vinyl is peeled from its backing, place it firmly on top of what it needs to adhere to.

Last Opinion

When people hear adhesive vinyl, they probably think of its most popular use: car decals. However, a growing number of people are also using adhesive vinyl creatively on all sorts of surfaces, like glass or metal. 

While there’s no right or wrong way to apply adhesive vinyl, I decided to experiment and see if it was possible to apply it upside down. Surprisingly, it worked beautifully—even though your first instinct would be that it wouldn’t work. 

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