Although “custom made signs” can refer to many different types of signage, this article focuses on the installation and materials used to create different types of shop signs (such as business hours signs).
Materials Used for Shop Signs
Most business owners who need a store hours sign want a material that is durable and will withstand the elements. The solution is high-quality, self-adhesive vinyl. This material:
- Won’t tear
- Is ideal for indoors or outdoors
- Adheres to a variety of surfaces
- Can be printed in any shape, size, or color.
Two types of vinyl are used to make custom made signs—calendared vinyl and cast vinyl. Ask the printer which material is best-suited for your needs.
1. Calendared Vinyl
This type of vinyl is made by mixing ingredients and then kneading them with heated steel rollers until a thin sheet forms. (Think of kneading and rolling out pizza dough.) This process is called “calendaring.”
Calendared vinyl is typically used for decals for business hours signs. The benefits include:
- Lower costs due to higher production yields
- Easy to handle because of stiffer/thicker films
- Excellent performance on flat, simple, and moderate curves
- Wide variety of colors and gloss levels
- Greater resistance to abrasion.
2. Cast Vinyl
If the process for making calendared vinyl is like pizza dough, making cast vinyl is similar to making a cake. Ingredients are mixed and then placed in moving “casting” sheets. These sheets move through multiple ovens until solvents evaporate. The result is a film that can be wound up and coated with adhesives.
Although more expensive, the benefits of cast vinyl help offset the higher cost. These benefits include:
- Increased durability
- Very thin film—making it more flexible and able to conform to irregular surfaces (such as concrete and textured walls)
- Maintains color better
- Easy to produce in small batches, which allows for better color matching.
Adhesives Used for Store Hours Signs
Choosing which adhesive to use is critical. This decision depends on two things: the surface to which the sign will be applied and how long the sign will be in place. When ordering shop signs, tell the printer where the sign will be used and how long it will be there.
Choices for adhesives include:
- If a business hours sign is not going to change and will be in place for years to come, then permanent adhesive is the best option.
- Removable. If a store hours sign will be removed at some point, this adhesive is the best choice because it can be removed without leaving behind residue. However, removable adhesive can set over time and become harder to remove.
- Signs with this adhesive are easy to apply and can be quickly removed and repositioned—making it an excellent option for holidays or seasonal business hours signs. The downside is that cling adhesives rely on static, which can decrease over time and become ineffective. Cling adhesive doesn’t work on all surfaces and conditions and is best for short-term usage.
- Air Release. This adhesive is designed so that air can escape during sign installation. This helps prevent bubbles and wrinkles from forming.
Business Hours Sign Installation Options
Shop signs can be installed in many different places—windows, walls, doors, or floors. However, this article focuses only on installation techniques for windows or glass.
The most significant decision regarding sign installation is whether to do it yourself or hire someone. This decision will depend on several factors:
- Large decals can be challenging to install and are best left to experienced professionals.
- If the sign will be installed in a hard-to-reach area, hiring someone is probably the best option.
- The type of material the sign will installed on determines how easy or hard installation will be. It is easiest to install small decals on glass. However, installing large decals on textured surfaces can be tricky and is best left to the pros.
For customers located in New York City, Nova Custom Label Printing can install the sign at your location. However, shop owners that decide to install a store hour sign themselves can follow these steps below.
Steps for Installing Signs on Windows
These instructions are for a “wet application,” which works for most window decals except those with water-soluble adhesive. Materials include a spray bottle filled with soapy water and a squeegee. (For small signs, a credit card can be used.)
- Clean the area where the sign will be applied. Cleaning removes dirt and debris that could get trapped under the sign. For best results, use glass cleaner. Avoid ammonia-based products, which can cause bubbling.
- Mix soapy water. Add one drop of dish soap to a bottle filled with water. This keeps the adhesive from sticking and makes it easier to remove trapped air.
- Position and tape the custom made sign using masking or painter’s tape. Use a tape measure and level to determine placement. Ensure the decal is right side up! To assess sign position (particularly for a store hours sign), step back and walk by the sign. Once the position is finalized, use a piece of tape as long as the sign to tape the top half of the sign to the window. Don’t tape the bottom half!
- Remove the liner. Lifting from the bottom, remove protective backing from the sign. Ensure that the adhesive doesn’t touch the window or hands.
- Apply the sign. Holding up the sign, lightly spray the window with soapy water. Then slowly lower the sign onto the window.
- Squeegee outward from the center. The squeegee forces water out from under the sign. Start in the center and move outward—applying firm and even pressure. Continue until all wrinkles and air bubble are gone.
- Remove tape by slowly peeling it off. Be careful not to pull off the decal. If the decal starts to come off, wait until the adhesive bonds with the glass.
Does your business need a sign printed or installed? If so, contact Nova Custom Printing to begin your project or get more information.