Applying Vinyl Boat Lettering

in Boat

Vinyl boat lettering

I don't know about anybody else, but I've had problems with vinyl boat lettering and numbers over the years, they can certainly be troublesome to apply but with patience and a little preparation the application of vinyl letters need not be that much of a nightmare.

Vinyl letters are never going to look quite as good as a hand painted sign by a professional sign writer but the price is right and they can be a big time saver.


Have you ever applied vinyl lettering for registration, only to find the letters coming loose within a day or two? The main reasons for this are: surface not clean enough,  air temperature to hot or cold, and over stretching.

The surface must be absolutely spotless, this is best achieved by giving it a good rub down with alcohol to remove any grease and oil, temperature needs to be between 45 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, to hot and the letters become soft and stretchy, to cold and they will not be supple enough, the glue also needs to be at a reasonable temperature or it will not bond properly.

Over stretching is one of the main reasons why vinyl letters come loose as the vinyl has a certain amount of "memory" and will always be trying to return to the original shape of the letter or figure, it is very easy to over stretch vinyl letters if the temprature is to hot.


Positioning the letters can be a real problem, there is an application spray available that when sprayed on the back of the letters over the glue will stop them from sticking for a few minutes while they are moved into position.
It is important to mark the hull with a straight pencil line to set the base of the letters too and also a center point mark where the first and central letter of the sign must be applied, correct spacing can also be worked out and marked, you can then work outwards in both directions from the center, making sure that the individual letters are in line.

Keep a soft cloth handy to smooth down the letters as you apply them, chasing away wrinkles and air pockets.

If you are going to buy vinyl lettering for your boats hull, then hopefully these few hints will save you from some of the difficulties that can occur while applying them.

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Simon Turnbridge has 3 articles online

Siimon Turnbridge - boating and fishing writer.

Vinyl Lettering

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Applying Vinyl Boat Lettering

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This article was published on 2011/03/12