How to Apply Vinyl to Painted Wood? Most Precise Method…

There are numerous methods of decorating and transferring patterns to wood, one of which is applying Vinyl to painted woods. Vinyl is a material that sticks to different materials like ceramic, glass, wood, etc. Transferring a design to wood using a Vinyl sheet is a sort of cheat method for getting beautiful decorations because the process is fast, easy, and stress-free. Using Vinyl allows you to choose different colors, styles, and fonts while recreating high-quality designs with no errors.       

To apply Vinyl to wood, start by sanding the wood until it is very smooth after which paint is applied. After painting the wood, allow it to dry for at least 24 hours before introducing Vinyl. You can apply Vinyl to wood using; The Heat transfer method, or the Adhesive method.

For the Heat Transfer Vinyl method, cut the file with the cutting software and weed out the negative Vinyl. Using either a pressing iron or a heat press on the painted wood, press the Vinyl evenly with pressure at 3000F for 35 seconds. Allow it to cool before pulling off the transfer film. For adhesive Vinyl, apply the Vinyl on the painted wood surface, burnish with a squeegee, then gently pull up the transfer paper. In scenarios where the letterings or patterns do not entirely stick to the wood, lay down the transfer paper and burnish a little more before pulling up again.

Wood may not be the best substrate for Vinyl. Therefore getting Vinyl to stick and stay on wood for long requires some basic knowledge. Not to worry, check out our steps and tips to get the best result for your project!

Seven Simple Steps to Apply Vinyl to Painted Wood.

To use Vinyl on wood, you will need the following materials;

  • A piece of wood
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint for the wood
  • Oracal 651 permanent Vinyl or Heat Transfer Vinyl
  • A weeding tool
  • A cutting machine (Cricut)
  • A transfer tape
  • A squeegee or flat plastic

Step One: Sand the Wood

If the wood you intend to work with isn’t smooth, you must sand the wood to get it smooth. 150-grit sandpaper is appropriate for this. Continue to sand the wood until the surface feels smooth when through with a finger, you may even want to go up to 400 grit if you feel it is necessary. The smoother the surface of the wood is, the better Vinyl will stick to it.

Step Two: Paint the Wood

To ensure that the Vinyl sticks for long, the adhesive has to firmly bond with the substrate, which is the wood. Painting the wood is, therefore, essential because it gives the Vinyl something to bind with. You can paint the wood using Polycrylic, Wood stain, or Acrylic paint; spray paint also works fine. After applying the base coat, allow the wood to dry for at least 24 hours.

The paint must be well dried; this is so that it completely cures. Fresh paints emit Volatile organic compounds that react and tampers with the adhesive in Vinyl.

Step Three: Open the Design Space and Resize Your Image

Assuming your already downloaded SVG design, or any other suitable editing software for such a job, open it in the Cricut design space. Next, resize your image to ensure it covers your wood in the appropriate proportion. Use the size tool in the Edit Toolbar to achieve this. If you are uncertain of the ratio to resize it to, measure your wood, and type the required dimension.

Step Four: Cut Out the Design

Once your project is correctly sized, press the “Make It” button in the upper right corner. Next, you’ll be prompted by Design Space to cut your two colors of Vinyl. Place the colored side of the Vinyl up on the mat, insert it into your Cricut and press the blinking C button to cut. 

Vinyl comes with a carrier sheet that helps to keep the Vinyl in place while cutting. For heat transfer Vinyl, the carrier sheet comes in the front. Unlike any other materials, when you cut Heat Transfer Vinyl, you cut the back of your project; therefore, you have to mirror it on your software before you cut.

Step Five: Weed out the Design

To weed the design means to remove parts that are not part of the desired design. Weeding can be achieved with special tools that have a sharp, narrow, and pointy edge called Weeders. Weeding should be done carefully in a well-lighted space to avoid weeding out valuable parts of the design. For complex designs or images, hold out a picture of the design and compare it as you weed on.

Step Six: Cover the Design with a Transfer Tape

The next step is to cover your design with transfer tape. Burnish the transfer tape, and then gently peel it off. Now, your carrier sheet should be transparent and the design transferred to the transfer tape.

Step Seven: Place the Design on the surface of your wood

There are multiple ways to transfer the design onto wood. For a full list of methods check out our article 9 Best Ways To Transfer A Pattern Onto Wood or follow along the most popular method that is described below for both adhensive vinyl and transfer vinyl.

For adhesive Vinyl, line up the design on the surface of the wood, then begin to burnish with a squeegee. Press it firmly before gently peeling off the transfer paper. If any part of the Vinyl refuses to come off, place the transfer paper down and burnish the affected portion a little more.

For heat transfer Vinyl, place the design on the surface of the wood and press it down using an iron, an Easy press, or a Heat press.

Once the design is set, you can add a Mod podge or topcoat layer to your wood. This step is optional.

How to Make Vinyl Stick Better and Not Fall Off?

A falling Vinyl can be a real pain not only because it wastes time and effort but also because it wastes resources. If your Vinyl is falling, it is an indication that something has not been correctly done. Here are some tips to make Vinyl stick better to wood.

  1. Ensure that the wood is well sanded:  As earlier mentioned, Vinyl will not stick to a wood that has a rough and uneven grain or one that has splinters and cracks.
  2. Coat the wood: Vinyl bids well to a smooth surface, and a painted wood helps to achieve this better.
  3. Type of Paint: If you use latex paint containing silicone, there is a high chance that the Vinyl will fall off. It is safer to use home-based paints. Also, Vinyl will not stick to flat paints; use an oil-based enamel instead.
  4. Allow the paint to Properly dry: Fresh paints emit compounds that tampers with the adhesive on Vinyl.

Other Reasons Why Vinyl May Not Transfer to The Wood

  • Use a less sticky Transfer Tape: If your transfer tape is too sticky, the Vinyl will not come off it no matter how hard you try. To make your transfer tape less sticky, you can continuously spread it on the surface of fuzzy materials like denim so that the potency of the gum is reduced.
  • Don’t Cut Too Deep: If you are cutting too deep, there is a high chance that the back paper will be cut along with the Vinyl. This will make the Vinyl very difficult to pull off. You can adjust the settings of the cutter to ensure that you are not cutting too deep.

Adhesive Versus Heat Transfer of Vinyl

Adhesive transfer of Vinyl involves the use of an adhesive that sticks to the surface of the wood. Unlike heat transfer adhesive, they don’t require a heat source. They are of two kinds;

Adhesive Removable Vinyl: This type of adhesive Vinyl is best for indoor decorations on walls and doors. This sort of decoration is removable and more suited for short-term use.

Adhesive permanent Vinyl: As the name connotes, this adhesive makes the design permanent. It is best used on surfaces that get exposed to elements.

Pros of Using Adhensive Vinyl

  • It is fast and easy to use.
  • It comes in two variances.

Cons of Using Adhensive Vinyl

  • May cause wastage if not correctly done.

Unlike Adhesive Vinyl, Heat transfer Vinyl is more suited for fabrics; never the less, it works well on wood also. While working with heat, it is vital to know the temperature that works best with the iron or heat press. A suitable temperature to use for a start is 3000F for about 35 seconds. You can slightly increase the temperature as you go. However, a good indication that it has wholly adhered is when the carrier sheet begins to curl.

Pros of Using Heat Transfer Vinyl

  • It appears really thin on the project, making it look just like a painting.
  • It is almost impossible to pick out or fall off because it sticks better.
  • It has a nice matte finish that makes it look realistic.

Cons of Using Heat Transfer Vinyl

  • There is a slight chance that the adhesive might leak to the side of the project due to the effect of heat.
  • The heat transfer Vinyl may slide off while ironing.

I believe that both methods of using Vinyl are equally effective. However, there is a lesser chance of falling off from the heat transfer method, which is why I stick to it.

Will Vinyl Stick to All Kinds of Paints?

 Vinyl will most likely not stick to a latex paint that contains silicone in it. There have been situations where some users who have tried it out complained. Also, Vinyl will not stick to flat paint. A satin, semi-gloss, or high gloss paint is always preferred.

Lastly, Vinyl will not stick to Chalk paint because there are components in the paint that will make the Vinyl fall off. On the other hand, there are methods of getting around this problem.

In conclusion, using Vinyl on wood is a quick and easy method of making beautiful crafts and decorations for your home. You can try out either Vinyl application method, get creative with it and decide for yourself which one you prefer.

Martin Swizz

Hi! This is Martin, I like to research, experiment, and learn new things related to wood carving and other kinds of woodworking.

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