Most of the attention we give vinyl graphics involves how to put them on: what vinyl cutter to use, what vinyl, what transfer tape, etc. But there’s a sign industry twist to the old adage that what goes up, must come down. In vinyl sign making, car wraps, and other digital graphics, what goes on must eventually come off.
Sooner or later, you’re going to be asked to remove old vinyl before you can install your nifty new graphic. So this article will cover tools and techniques for removing old vinyl graphics.
The common approaches to removing vinyl range from basic to high tech with costs ranging from pennies to hundreds of dollars. Determining which approach is right for you depends on a few variables. Let’s consider the options.
Chisel and Clean
Vinyl Remover Li’l Chizler & Plastic Razor Blades
Vinyl Remover Tools: Li’l Chizler and Plastic Razor Blades
The simplest method for removing vinyl graphics is to pull them off. Of course that’s easier said than done so there are tools designed to help you get under the corner of the graphic. The most common and affordable of these are plastic razor blades and “Li’l Chizlers”. Both are thin, plastic hand tools designed to slide under the edge of the vinyl and scrape it away from the surface without damaging the substrate. If you can pry the edges up with a Lil Chizler or plastic razor blade, you may be able to simply peel the rest by hand. This will depend on the age and type of vinyl.
The younger or more pliable it is, the better your chances of getting it off in large sections; or at least, entire letters. The older it is, the more likely it will be brittle and come off in little pieces and more.