Nowadays, wrapping your walls, furniture, or vehicles in vinyl has become more than just increasing aesthetic appeal; it’s about protecting your valuables.
If you ever had the chance to watch a vinyl wrapping project up close, you know it’s a pretty straightforward process.
But like any sophisticated ornament, vinyl wraps have their adversary too.
You guessed it right, the sneaky air bubbles. Even one of these nasty little buggers can ruin the whole appearance of your vinyl wrap.
This is why I have compiled 5 easy fixes for ‘how to get bubbles out of vinyl’ so you can get rid of them and keep your vinyl wrap flawless.
Getting Air Bubbles Out of Vinyl Wrap
Getting bubbles out of vinyl wrap doesn’t require heavy or expensive hardware; rather, it requires your time and patience.
So without further ado, let’s delve into the 5 easy fixes for removing air bubbles from vinyl.
Fix 1: Use Your Thumb
- Take a good look at your vinyl wrap.
- You’ll see the air bubbles – those annoying bumps that don’t belong.
- If your vinyl is dirty, clean it gently with a clean cloth. It’s easier to work with a clean surface.
- For small bubbles, use your thumb to press down and smooth them out.
- Place the pad of your thumb on top of the bubble and hold it firmly for a few seconds until the air disappears.
- This works well for thumb-sized or smaller bubbles, especially on vinyl wraps or decals.
- If you’re dealing with a long bubble, it’s a good idea to divide it into smaller sections first.
- Press your thumb firmly against the surface and drive it through the bubble’s center.
- This will create two pockets of air, making it easier to remove the bubbles section by section.
- Now comes the thumb action. Start at one end of the vinyl where the bubble is.
- Begin in the middle of the bubble and work your way out towards the edges.
- This helps to push the trapped air towards the edge.
- As you press, keep smoothing the vinyl with your thumbs.
- You’ll notice the bubble getting smaller and eventually disappearing.
- Take a moment to step back and check if the bubble is gone.
- If not, apply a bit more pressure and repeat steps 4 to 8.
- Sometimes, stubborn bubbles might need a couple of attempts. Don’t give up; just keep working on them.
Fix 2: Use a Squeegee
- Spot all the pesky air bubbles on your vinyl wrap.
- If your vinyl is dirty, give it a gentle wipe with a clean cloth.
- It’s easier to work with a clean surface.
- Hold the squeegee in your dominant hand.
- For bubbles close to the edge, use the squeegee to push the bubble toward the nearest edge slowly.
- Be careful not to press too hard, as it may leave a mark.
- The key is to do this slowly and gently to force the air out.
- If the bubble is a few inches from the edge of the wrap, you can get rid of it easily too.
- Place the edge of the squeegee firmly against the edge of the bubble.
- Use short strokes to push the bubble towards the edge gently.
- Work from different angles to coax the bubble until it reaches the edge if needed.
- Remember that a squeegee is safe to use on hard, flat surfaces like glass, metal, or plastic.
- However, be gentle on surfaces like vehicle exteriors that can get scratched easily.
Fix 3: Use Heating
- First things first, clean your vinyl wrap with a damp rag.
- Spot the air bubbles before you proceed.
- You can use either a heat gun or a hair dryer for this method.
- Always start at the lowest heat setting and gradually increase it.
- Hold the heat source a few inches away from the vinyl surface.
- Move it back and forth over the air bubble.
- The heat reduces the adhesive’s strength, making the vinyl more pliable.
- Press down with your fingers or a clean cloth to flatten the air bubble as the vinyl becomes more pliable.
- Start from the center and work your way out towards the edges.
- Use a squeegee to gently drag the bubble to the edge of the softened vinyl.
- For large air bubbles, apply heat for a few seconds with a hair dryer on LOW.
- If the bubble doesn’t flatten on its own, use a squeegee to steer it to the edge of the softened vinyl.
- Be cautious not to apply excessive heat, as it can damage the vinyl wrap.
- Always start at the lowest setting and increase it gradually.
- For vinyl sticker papers, start by heating the adhesive with a quick blast from your hair dryer.
- Then, gently lift the corner of the paper, smooth it out to remove the bubble, and place it again.
Fix 4: Use the Pinprick Method
- Place your vinyl wrap on a clean and flat surface.
- This provides stability and makes the process easier.
- Get a straight pin with a sharp tip.
- Position it at a sharp angle to poke a tiny hole in the bubble.
- Avoid poking directly on top of the air bubble.
- This technique prevents the pin from hitting the surface underneath.
- Pricking should be done very lightly, and the hole should not be too deep.
- The Vinyl Frog Air Release Pen with its stainless steel retractable precision needle tip is an excellent choice for this task.
- The hole made by this pen in the vinyl is so small that it’s not visible to the naked eye.
- After pricking the bubble, finish by gently using a scraper or squeegee to flatten the vinyl sticker once more.
- Ensure the vinyl is smooth and free of bubbles.
Fix 5: Use Natural Sun
- Begin by arranging your vinyl wrap or decal on a smooth, clean, flat surface like a tray.
- Ideally, place the vinyl under direct sunlight.
- However, if this isn’t possible, position the vinyl in areas with sun exposure, whether indoors near a window or outdoors.
- Allow the sun’s natural warmth to work its magic on the vinyl.
- Over time, the trapped air inside the bubbles will start to escape.
- As you expose the vinyl to sunlight, you may notice some bubbles shrinking considerably but not disappearing completely.
- In this case, use your thumb to press on the remaining bubble gently.
- This extra pressure can help smooth out the vinyl.
- Remember to be patient during this process.
- The sun’s heat will gradually make the vinyl more pliable, allowing the air bubbles to dissipate.
- Feel free to repeat the process if you find that not all bubbles have disappeared after one session.
- Sometimes, it may take a few attempts.
How to Prevent Air Bubbles while Vinyl Wrapping?
It’s important that you keep in mind these prevention tips while managing a vinyl wrap project. This way, you won’t have to face the bubbles forming in the long run.
- Ensure the surface you’re applying vinyl to is clean, dry, and free from dust, dirt, or grease.
- Invest in high-quality vinyl, squeegees, and heat guns. These tools make the process smoother and reduce the chance of air bubbles.
- Work in a temperature-controlled environment. Vinyl adheres best when the temperature is between 70-80°F (21-27°C). Avoid applying vinyl in extreme heat or cold.
- Measure and cut your vinyl carefully to match the surface you’re wrapping. Properly sized vinyl is less likely to form bubbles during application.
- Take your time when applying the vinyl. Use consistent, even pressure with your squeegee or applicator tool to press the vinyl onto the surface. Work from the center outward to push air out.
- Be cautious not to stretch the vinyl excessively while applying it. Stretching can cause tension and lead to air bubbles.
- When peeling off the vinyl’s backing, do it slowly and at a sharp angle. This minimizes the chance of trapping air beneath the vinyl.
- When trimming excess vinyl, use a sharp blade and make precise cuts along edges and corners to avoid creating gaps where bubbles can form.
- Some vinyls come with air-release technology. Choose these types of vinyl as they have channels that allow trapped air to escape.
Whenever you notice a bubble on your vinyl, it’s best to take care of it immediately. Because the longer you wait, the bubbles will get more crisp.
These crispy bubbles show more resistance when you try to pop and flatten them.
So, if you notice any air bubbles on your vinyl-wrapped accessory, pick the most suitable method from the top and get rid of them ASAP.
What causes bubbles to form in vinyl?
The most common reason for bubbles forming on vinyl is the unclean surface. Sometimes the adhesive under the vinyl can also react with the sun, resulting in bubbles on your wrap. Also, not applying sufficient pressure while applying the vinyl wrap also causes bubbles to form on the final product.
Do air bubbles go away after a while?
Yes, but it usually works with the smaller bubbles. Sometimes it takes 24-48 hours for the bubbles to go away on their own.
Is it normal for vinyl wrap to bubble?
Yes. It’s because even a nano particle of dust or debris on the surface before the application can cause the vinyl wrap to bubble up.