Applying Vinyl to a Tile


You will need the following materials:  Applicator (a credit card or plastic spatula works well), tile the correct size for the vinyl.


Step 1:  Prepare Your Surface

The best tiles are glazed tiles that have a non porous surface.  If you have an unglazed tile you will need to seal it with acrylic or varnish.  Some unglazed tiles will still accept the vinyl, you will just have to work with it a little more.  If there is any coating or dust on the tile you may clean it with water and wipe with Rubbing Alcohol.  Some cleaners will leave a residue.


Step 2:  Prepare Your Vinyl

If your vinyl was shipped in a roll, unwrap it and let it lie flat with the transfer tape side up (so you can see the lettering or design) until it stays flat on its own.  Rub it with your applicator to be sure the design is sticking well to the transfer tape.  Rub from the center outward like rays of a sun.


Step 3:  Position the Vinyl

Your vinyl is provided with different sized rectangles at the corners.  These should match up with the corners of your tile.  Your tile may be larger or smaller than the corners on the vinyl, but they can be a guide to position your vinyl.  The easiest way to line up the vinyl is to cut about an inch of the backing paper off on one side, or bend it back an inch.  Position the corners on the exposed side and check to be sure the other rectangles are lined up the same way on the other corners. You can reposition the vinyl if the only thing touching the tile is the transfer tape and the guide rectangles.  Once it looks good, slowly pull back on the backing paper as you smooth the transfer tape and vinyl onto your tile.


Step 4:  Burnish your Design

The design should have placed just where you want it.  Using an applicator, firmly rub the entire design from the center out, like rays of a sun.  This is where you may need to take extra care to press the vinyl into any areas with texture.


Step 5:  Remove Transfer Tape

When the design is firmly attached, slowly peel the transfer tape from the design.  Start at a corner of the design and peel down at a 45 degree angle to the design.  Don’t pull the transfer tape up, but pull it 180 degrees back on itself as you pull it off.  If the design begins to lift up, put the transfer tape back and press firmly over the area and then try to remove it again.  Once the design is placed, peel off the corner guide rectangles.


Step 6:  Burnish your Design Again

Remember the backing paper?  To be sure the design is firmly in place you can place the backing paper over the design with the slick side (unprinted) down and burnish with your applicator tool over the paper and the design.  With the transfer tape gone this keeps your applicator from scratching the vinyl.


Problem solving:  If there is a problem getting the design to attach, sometimes you can try heating it through the transfer tape with a hair dryer, letting it cool slightly, burnishing it as in Step 4 and then peeling the transfer tape off.