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Lettering Truck Curtains, help and advice please?

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Shane Southall

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Post Wed Oct 04, 2017 6:24 am

Lettering Truck Curtains, help and advice please?

Hi all. I start a new job soon doing curtains on trucks. Been 12 years since iv done any. And even then just basic one colour. It's mostly going to be ink with paint masks. Any tips and tricks.
Thanks in advance. :)
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Martyn Heath

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Post Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:02 pm

Re: Lettering Truck Curtains, help and advice please?

Only know about doing them in vinyl. Done a fleet last year using apa truck vinyl, comes in many colours. Seems to be well recommended. Done know much about the ink side of it.
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Shane Southall

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Post Wed Oct 04, 2017 5:39 pm

Re: Lettering Truck Curtains, help and advice please?

Thanks.
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Robert Lambie

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Post Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:04 am

Re: Lettering Truck Curtains, help and advice please?

short-hair-roller.jpg


use a medium hair 4 inch roller, NOT foam.
Foam sucks up the ink and will not disperse the ink going down without some pressure.
This pressure will create pressure marks in the ink coverage. more so at each end of your roller.
Also, using pressure to release more ink can make the ink "run" down the curtain if over logged with liquid.

once you have applied your stencil, using a felt squeegee, make sure you go mack over all the edges of the letters of the stencil. stencil doesn't have a high tack so it lifts easy. if it has not adhered properly and you apply ink. it will seep down the back of the stencil creating a time consuming clean up!

Your ink mix with thinner is key.
you dont want it thick as paint, but not as runny as milk. Very hard to explain, but i normally had a good eye for when it was just right.
If it is too runny, it will spray/flick the ink as you roll, so be careful.

I normally could get the perfect application colour on first or second coat dependant on colours used and on what colour background it was being applied too.

Ink dries extremely fast, however, if you have too thick a coat going on, or there is too much thinner in the ink. it can quickly eat the edges of the stencil vinyl. this will shrivel back and turn to a wobbly jelly material. meaning your BEAT because the second coat will bleed right into the new wobbly shaped vinyl leaving a very bad finish.
How to overcome this and also speed the process up. if you have a second person helping coming behind you right after and waving a heat gun over the surface. you can apply ink over about 6 feet of letters and go right back over them again with the second coat because its already dry. doing it this way also helps prevent the stencil being eaten by the thinner/ink. so faster and safer if you have it being heated.
(careful not to over heat or burn the curtain with the heat gun. keep it moving in quick circular motion about 6-8 inches from the surface).

slit along one side and bottom of black bin liners. folding them out double their size.
take 2 inch masking tape and stick it along one edge half on and half off the bag.
Now using this liner with tape on it, stick it immediately below the line of stencil letters your about to ink and repeat along the length.
Now when you ink the stencil with your roller. any little spray back or drips are caught from hitting the surface of the curtain right below where the letters are going.

any splashes or bits you need to tidy up. use meths or isporopynol alcohol to wipe it off immediately after it happens.
Yes thinner will take it off even when dry. however, the thinner will also take the sheen of the curtain. so everywhere you have wiped will have big dull patches that look bad and cannot be fixed.
using the likes of meths right after will cut in enough to the ink, but not damage the curtain surface.

Do not ink over with a colour in an area that already has ink of another colour on it. the second colour will activate the first colour that went down and mix. looking bad as they bleed together.

ill post again if i can think of any other quick tips.
best of luck!
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Martyn Heath

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Post Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:56 am

Re: Lettering Truck Curtains, help and advice please?

wow nice response robert, sounds to me like a challenging task with a lot that could go wrong.
As i said ive used the apa vinyl in the past, inks have been on my mind for a while thinking that as its so labour intensive the rewards could be good. However reading your post has put me off a little :smiles:
<<

Shane Southall

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Country: United Kingdom (uk)




Post Thu Oct 05, 2017 4:31 pm

Re: Lettering Truck Curtains, help and advice please?

Robert Lambie wrote:
short-hair-roller.jpg


use a medium hair 4 inch roller, NOT foam.
Foam sucks up the ink and will not disperse the ink going down without some pressure.
This pressure will create pressure marks in the ink coverage. more so at each end of your roller.
Also, using pressure to release more ink can make the ink "run" down the curtain if over logged with liquid.

once you have applied your stencil, using a felt squeegee, make sure you go mack over all the edges of the letters of the stencil. stencil doesn't have a high tack so it lifts easy. if it has not adhered properly and you apply ink. it will seep down the back of the stencil creating a time consuming clean up!

Your ink mix with thinner is key.
you dont want it thick as paint, but not as runny as milk. Very hard to explain, but i normally had a good eye for when it was just right.
If it is too runny, it will spray/flick the ink as you roll, so be careful.

I normally could get the perfect application colour on first or second coat dependant on colours used and on what colour background it was being applied too.

Ink dries extremely fast, however, if you have too thick a coat going on, or there is too much thinner in the ink. it can quickly eat the edges of the stencil vinyl. this will shrivel back and turn to a wobbly jelly material. meaning your BEAT because the second coat will bleed right into the new wobbly shaped vinyl leaving a very bad finish.
How to overcome this and also speed the process up. if you have a second person helping coming behind you right after and waving a heat gun over the surface. you can apply ink over about 6 feet of letters and go right back over them again with the second coat because its already dry. doing it this way also helps prevent the stencil being eaten by the thinner/ink. so faster and safer if you have it being heated.
(careful not to over heat or burn the curtain with the heat gun. keep it moving in quick circular motion about 6-8 inches from the surface).

slit along one side and bottom of black bin liners. folding them out double their size.
take 2 inch masking tape and stick it along one edge half on and half off the bag.
Now using this liner with tape on it, stick it immediately below the line of stencil letters your about to ink and repeat along the length.
Now when you ink the stencil with your roller. any little spray back or drips are caught from hitting the surface of the curtain right below where the letters are going.

any splashes or bits you need to tidy up. use meths or isporopynol alcohol to wipe it off immediately after it happens.
Yes thinner will take it off even when dry. however, the thinner will also take the sheen of the curtain. so everywhere you have wiped will have big dull patches that look bad and cannot be fixed.
using the likes of meths right after will cut in enough to the ink, but not damage the curtain surface.

Do not ink over with a colour in an area that already has ink of another colour on it. the second colour will activate the first colour that went down and mix. looking bad as they bleed together.

ill post again if i can think of any other quick tips.
best of luck!

Thanks Robert. Very helpful. And yes please do. All help is much appreciated.
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David povah

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Post Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:55 pm

Re: Lettering Truck Curtains, help and advice please?

You can also use pvc based paint which can be mixed to diffrent pantones all you need is a compressor and a spray gun use a plotter for stencils and mask up everything you dont want to paint . It doesnt bleed unless ur gun settings are wrong . Its good because its flexible and doesnt crack or fade you can buy it from most places that sell and make car paints
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Shane Southall

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Country: United Kingdom (uk)




Post Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:00 pm

Re: Lettering Truck Curtains, help and advice please?

Hi. Is it possible to but one colour next to another? Like a drop shadow. Or do you have to leave a gap. Just thinking about when it comes to doing the designs. I am also suprised that it is still done this way. With larg format being so available now and with the truck vinyl being better nowadays.
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Robert Lambie

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Post Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:04 am

Re: Lettering Truck Curtains, help and advice please?

You can purchase ink and further info from Apollo Inks. http://www.apolloinks.com or even Sericolinks...
various other sources, but found Apollo to be more competitively priced to Sericol after having used Sericol for many years.

Ink is very easily mixed by hand and you use "very little" of it because you then mix it with thinner. so don't buy large cans unless you need it.

Colours are easy mixed by hand also, so primary colours black and white is a good start when working out stock to have.

Keep mixed ink in new metal ink tins. you can source tins from the supplier.
It is years ago now from when i used this but we had loads of colours built up from left over ink on jobs.
Once the jobs done, you tip remainder of ink into a new can and just put a blob of the ink on the tin lid and you now have a new colour premixed for stock.

of course when you have to hit exact colours, you buy it in done for you. The supplier will give you a standard colour chart but will also mix colours based on pantone refs and the like.

You can also spray using Ink. I used to do this a lot with big banners before lettering them in solid colour banner vinyl. It meant i could have any colour background i want very fast because "spraying inks" was dry in about 20 seconds from hitting the surface.

Yes you can have two ink colours touching, but i would advise masking off what you have already applied in ink. if this is letters with a drop shadow like you say, this would be time consuming, there for i would keep away from this type of thing when designing. You do also always run the risk of the two inks bleeding together.
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David Hammond

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Post Wed Oct 03, 2018 4:57 pm

Re: Lettering Truck Curtains, help and advice please?

Very helpful thread, we've our first curtain job booked in a week on Friday.

Found Apollo Inks very helpful, interested to read your comment about not overlaying inks due to reactivation of the ink below.

Is it a case of punching out the above colours from the colour below?

We've a drop shadow on ours, along with a 3 colour logo :puppyeyes:
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Neil Davey

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Post Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:05 pm

Re: Lettering Truck Curtains, help and advice please?

David Hammond wrote:Very helpful thread, we've our first curtain job booked in a week on Friday.

Found Apollo Inks very helpful, interested to read your comment about not overlaying inks due to reactivation of the ink below.

Is it a case of punching out the above colours from the colour below?

We've a drop shadow on ours, along with a 3 colour logo :puppyeyes:


Couple of pics here David of some curtains using Apollo Ink but only one colour. It can get quite tricky when using more than one colour!
You'll need good ventilation too as this stuff gets pretty smelly!!
I've since started using APA vinyl.
Attachments
truck-curtain-ink.jpg
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David Hammond

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Post Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:10 pm

Re: Lettering Truck Curtains, help and advice please?

Thank's Neil.

I've considered APA truck vinyl, but I only need a small amount of Gold & Black, and they've advised they sell their material in 5m increments (understandable), we've a roll of paint mask in stock, and it's cheaper to buy in a small tin of ink.

Once it arrives, we're going to do some more test prints, and decide how we go about layering the colours. It's quite simple with the exception of one small logo :awkward:
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David Hammond

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Post Mon Oct 15, 2018 12:16 pm

Re: Lettering Truck Curtains, help and advice please?

Neil, did you use application tape over the mask to apply the lettering?

In my mind I'm assuming yes, but in the post you linked too it doesn't show it, and I know the Oramask isn't very sticky at all, probably less so on a curtain side.
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Neil Davey

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Post Tue Oct 16, 2018 10:16 am

Re: Lettering Truck Curtains, help and advice please?

Hi Dave, yes I used application tape and I use Metamark blue mask.
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David Hammond

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Post Fri Oct 19, 2018 8:58 am

Re: Lettering Truck Curtains, help and advice please?

Cheers Neil & everyone else. Day of reckoning today we're off to do our first curtain job at lunch.

Quite looking forward to it, we've hatched a plan how we'll do it to ensure the ink has time to dry before the next layer goes on, and make sure we're not waiting around, will take a few pictures along the way :thumbsup:
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David Hammond

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Post Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:54 pm

Re: Lettering Truck Curtains, help and advice please?

Got a week's reprieve as the dealership hasn't ordered the new curtains, they assumed we were supplying them... he even trundled off to check our quotation, which of course didn't mention us supplying the curtains :lol:

Tail between his legs, and having to fork out for a new set of curtains for our customer, we're still on when they get fitted to the truck.
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Robert Lambie

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Post Sun Oct 21, 2018 9:11 pm

Re: Lettering Truck Curtains, help and advice please?

David Hammond wrote:we've hatched a plan how we'll do it to ensure the ink has time to dry before the next layer goes on, and make sure we're not waiting around


The ink will dry literally in minutes.
if sprayed on, its less than a minute.
you want the right consistency of ink and thinner and as soon as you get the first coat on, back it up with the next.
if you leave each coat too long to cure, the thinner will start eating the stencil film and the following coat will bleed under it creating a mess.

i prefer to mask of with masking tape because it has a better bite on the curtain than application tape.
i cut bin liners in half and fold them out to double the size. masking tape along one edge and stick to the curtain. this gives good coverage for the bin liner to protect from drips or spray from the roller.

do all you can not to bring to colours into contact. the thinner will activate the dry coat and the two colours will bleed into each other.

soon as you have a coat your happy with and touch dry, begin removing the the stencil. i do this as it lets me make sure nothing has bled under the vinyl. it also means the vinyl hasn't had time to turn into a gummy elastic mess, which can happen depending how much thinner has got to it.
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David Hammond

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Post Sat Nov 03, 2018 5:25 pm

Re: Lettering Truck Curtains, help and advice please?

Done the job today.

First thing to note is, it took much longer than we anticipated. Being our first go at it probably slowed us down a bit. Lots of masking required.

In future I think we'll use APA truck vinyl. On this occasion though, the size of the design, plus the fact we already had a roll of Oramask in stock, we opted to screen ink it.

Cheaper to buy 1l of gold ink, than 5m of gold APA for a tiny crest.

Pleased with how it came out, always good to try new things :thumbsup:

Huge thanks to you all for the advice, and a big thanks to Apollo inks for great service and advice! :claps:

Will upload some photos and a time lapse video.
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Robert Lambie

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Post Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:09 pm

Re: Lettering Truck Curtains, help and advice please?

Good to hear you got it completed David.

The main thing is you have done it and now know what's involved should you ever need to revert to this method again.
the nice thing about ink on the curtain is you know it will not crack, peel or chip like vinyl. it's on there and not coming off!
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David Hammond

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Post Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:46 pm

Re: Lettering Truck Curtains, help and advice please?

Time Lapse video of the installation, light was pretty rubbish, and the camera died before we got the black on.
Watch on youtube.com

Photo of the finished truck, 3 colours layered to create the 100 year laurel on the curtain. Chuffed to bits with how it came out.
Attachments
Allen-Transport-Seymor-Sign-Print.png
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Neil Davey

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Post Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:47 am

Re: Lettering Truck Curtains, help and advice please?

Well done David, the curtains look great.
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David Hammond

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Post Mon Nov 05, 2018 1:22 pm

Re: Lettering Truck Curtains, help and advice please?

Cheers Neil,

I think we could have improved the design a little, making the logo a tad bigger, and the storage/transport a little wider.

Customer's happy so we're pleased.

Impressed with how the Oramask stuck to the curtains, it worked a treat. Not in a rush to do another one :lol:

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