Instructions for Making Outdoor Displays from our Vinyl Posters
(Please read and thoroughly understand all procedures before starting)
General: The Sign Industry has successfully used Vinyl Posters identical to the ones you have purchased as Outdoor Signs for years. The self-adhesive Vinyl Posters adhere well to smooth, non-porous surfaces such as steel, aluminum, glass, plastic and PVC boards and to properly prepared and painted plywood. These instructions for applying our Vinyl Posters to plywood are based on methods used in the Sign Industry and on results of in-house testing by The Winfield Collection
Plywood: For superior results, use only MDO Board (Medium Density Overlay plywood) as a wood backer for our Vinyl Posters. While slightly more expensive, this engineered exterior plywood has a resin saturated paper on one or both faces which creates an ultra smooth finish for paint. Lower cost exterior grade Plywood with one or two sanded sides (BC grade or better) can also be used but more sanding and coats of paint will be required to get an ultra-smooth surface equivalent to MDO Board. Lower grades of sheet material, such as sheathing grade CDX plywood and OSB chipboard should never be used as wood backers for our quality Vinyl Posters. Use a minimum thickness of 1/2" for smaller projects and 3/4" for larger projects.
Primer, Paint and Edge Sealer: Use a high quality, oil based Primer to prime the MDO Board or Plywood. Use a compatible high quality, oil based, gloss or high gloss finish, exterior Black Enamel to create a smooth finished surface for the self-adhesive Vinyl Poster to properly adhere to. Use a clear outdoor Edge Sealer (such as Edge Sealer 3950 by 3M) to provide a watertight seal to vulnerable Poster edges. Test your Primer, Paint and Sealer for compatibility by applying to scrap plywood (according to the manufacturer’s directions) before starting. There’s nothing worse than investing time and money into a project (especially a major one like an Outdoor Display) then having the Paint peel off or the Sealer bubble due to product incompatibility.
Cutting: Refer to any Plywood Layout Diagrams provided with the Vinyl Posters as a guide to the efficient location of Posters on your sheet of MDO Board or Plywood. Lay the Vinyl Poster flat on the MDO Board or Plywood (do not remove the paper backing yet) with carbon or graphite transfer paper underneath. Secure both layers with painters tape as needed to keep them from moving. Then, using a ball point pen or a stylus, trace around the outside line that surrounds the entire color image on the Poster. Set the Poster and transfer paper aside, then use a hand-held jigsaw with a smooth cutting, scrolling blade (Winfield Item #SB11U or #SB21T) to cut along the transferred line to make the plywood backer for your Display. Fill any holes or defects in the cut edges with wood filler (Probond, Winfield Item #WF8) and sand smooth when dry. Additionally, if using Plywood, sand the entire good sanded side with medium grit sandpaper followed by fine grit sandpaper to produce a super smooth surface for painting. Thoroughly wipe off all dust with a clean dry cloth.
Painting: Select a clean indoor work area with a temperature controlled environment. All MDO Board, Plywood, Primer, Paint and Edge Sealer must come to room temperature (65º-75º F) before starting.
Primer—Apply one coat of oil based Primer to the entire plywood backer (both sides and all edges) using a roller with a low-nap (smooth surface) foam pad and a small paint brush. When dry (refer to paint manufacturer’s directions), lightly sand the front surface (vinyl Poster side) with fine sandpaper to smooth out any unevenness and raised wood grain in the Plywood.
Enamel—Thoroughly wipe off all dust with a clean dry cloth. Now use a roller with a clean low-nap pad to apply the first coat of Black Enamel to this sanded surface. Immediately “tip-off” this wet coat using a good quality 2-3 inch wide enamel brush to produce the smoothest surface possible. (“Tip-off” refers to a technique of immediately pulling the tip of your tilted paint brush over the entire wet painted surface using very light pressure and always working in one direction.) When dry (refer to paint manufacturer’s directions), lightly sand with a 400 grit paper then remove all residue with a tack cloth. Now roll on and “tip-off” a second coat of Black Enamel in the same manner. Apply additional coats if using Plywood or as needed to create an ultra smooth surface. Allow sufficient drying time and light sand as needed between coats. Finally, paint the back surface and edges with several coats of Black Enamel.
Paint Curing Time: DO NOT mount Vinyl Posters until the paint has had sufficient time to cure (as opposed to drying time). Until the oil based paint is fully cured, it releases solvents that may negatively affect the adhesion of your Vinyl Posters to the painted surface. Refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding cure times for your specific paint but, as a rule of thumb, under ideal conditions of good air circulation, less than 50% humidity and 65 to 85 degree temperatures, allow the paint to cure for a minimum of 2-3 weeks before applying adhesive Vinyl Posters. Allow additional curing time under conditions of poor air circulation, high humidity and/or low temperatures.
Applying the Poster: Cut off the excess white vinyl material leaving 1/16 to 1/8 inch of black border around the entire Color Image using scissors or an X-Acto knife.
Dry Method—Immediately center this trimmed Poster face up on the painted plywood backer and secure all but one end with pieces of masking tape. Roll up the free end of the Poster then separate and peel back several inches of the paper backing. Use scissors to cut off an inch or more of the backing. Carefully unroll so this exposed end falls back in place then smooth out with hands, a medium bristled brush or a soft squeegee to adhere it securely to the painted backer. Now remove all masking tape and roll up the other end of the Poster, back side up, all the way to the secured end. Pull on the paper backing to expose several inches of glue then smooth this area of Poster down centered on the painted plywood backer. Continue slowly pulling off more of the paper backing and smoothing down until the entire Poster is completely adhered to the plywood backer. (Be careful not to pull too hard on the vinyl as it may stretch and distort the final image. Small entrapped air bubbles can be smoothed further until they disappear. Large Posters generally go on easier with one person peeling back the paper backer as another smoothes out the vinyl). Finally, apply pressure again with hands, brush or soft cloth in a swirling motion around all edges to ensure good adhesion where it matters most.
Wet Method (many prefer this method for larger sized Posters)—Fill a spray bottle with water and add a couple drops of liquid soap. Lightly spray the surface of the plywood backer that will receive the Poster. Now turn the Poster face down on a clean flat surface and completely remove the backing. Lightly spray the exposed adhesive surface then pick up the Poster (requires two or more people for large Posters), turn the adhesive side down and place it on top of the plywood backer. The Poster can then easily be slid around as needed to center it in position. Lightly spray the top color surface then, using a squeegee or soft bristled brush, smooth out the Poster, starting at the center and moving towards the edges, until all trapped water is worked out and all bubbles are flattened. If the Poster moves as you squeegee out the water, simply slide it back into position and continue. Now, using a soft absorbent cloth, gently and thoroughly wipe down the entire surface and edges. Let dry for at least 24 hours.
Edge Sealing: Allow the dry Vinyl Poster to cure for several days then apply 3M Edge Sealer 3950 (Item #CP-SEAL) to all edges using a 1/4” wide brush following the manufacturer’s directions. This sealer provides a continuous watertight seal over Poster edges and is extremely important to keep your displays looking good for many seasons of use. Allow the sealer to dry thoroughly before displaying.
Displaying in Your Yard: Attach our convenient Yard Stakes to the back of each Outdoor Display using Stake Clamps (#YS11 & #YSC1 for projects up to 36” tall, #YS18 & #YSC2 for projects over 36” tall) or attach wooden stakes and secure in your yard. Larger projects may require additional bracing.
Maintenance: Follow these steps to keep your Outdoor Displays looking good for many seasons:
1. Season end—Wipe down your Displays and store them where they will be protected from sun
and rain in the off season. Set them up vertically, elevated off the ground, inserting soft spacers between them to avoid scratching the color surfaces. Loosely cover with plastic, a drop cloth or an old sheet to keep your Displays clean.
2. Season start—Touch up any damaged areas and apply additional Edge Sealer where needed.
Disclaimer: The recommended materials and methods presented here are based on our thorough research and in-house testing and, while we believe following these recommendations will give you satisfactory results, ultimately there are so many variables involved which we have no control over, that The Winfield Collection cannot guarantee your results using our Vinyl Posters nor can we assume any liability in the case of unsatisfactory results.
Copyright 2015 The Winfield Collection (revised 5/17/16