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Self Adhesive Vinyl: A Complete Guide

Self Adhesive Vinyl: A Complete Guide

So many of us have interior design dreams for our space -  but time and cost are serious implications that often get in the way! If you’re looking to refresh and re-invigorate your interiors, self-adhesive vinyl might be the perfect solution for you.

Self-adhesive vinyl or vinyl wrapping allows you to resurface, instead of replace. It works on almost any surface, as long as it’s dry, smooth, and not porous. Great options for vinyl wrapping include work surfaces, doors, feature walls, desks, washrooms, furniture, and even windows. 

It’s a great option for recycling and upcycling, rather than replacing - better for both the environment and your pocket! It also allows you to breathe new life into a space, which is particularly ideal if you have a ‘grand overhaul’ planned for a few years’ time, but need a quick refresher in the meanwhile.

If you think vinyl wrap might be the answer to all of your interior design dreams, read on for our complete guide!

What is self-adhesive vinyl wrap?

Self-adhesive vinyl wrap is a thin, flexible resurfacing material available across countless designs, colours, patterns and textures. This cost-effective solution can be used to transform the look of flat, dry surfaces such as countertops, cupboard doors, windows, and walls, and is easy to apply. For both residential and commercial settings, vinyl wrapping is becoming more popular as a versatile and cheap refurbishing option. As it’s waterproof, it is perfect for use both indoors and out, and it endures temperatures up to 75°C.

Uses of vinyl wrap

Self-adhesive vinyl wrap can be applied to most surfaces, as long as they are dry and flat. There are drawbacks to its uses in some circumstances. For example, it doesn’t like moisture, so shouldn’t be applied to a damp wall, for example, and it is only capable of withstanding temperatures up to 75°C, making it perfect for hot plates but not suitable for hot trays straight from the oven). Below we’ll detail some of our favourite uses for self-adhesive vinyl wrap:

Vinyl-wrap for furniture

Vinyl wrap is the perfect tool for breathing new life into old furniture. Whether you’re fed up with an old piece of furniture or you’re thriftily renovating a second-hand find, vinyl wrap offers lots of flexibility in terms of look. A marked desk surface for example can be renovated and reinvigorated with a colourful sheet of wrap. A knocked-about sideboard, or G-plan, can be made to completely fit your interior design scheme using a patterned vinyl wrap on the doors. Or make old furniture fit a new colour scheme with a simple wrap application.

Vinyl wrap for walls

As long as the wall is dry, vinyl wrap can be a real statement addition to your interior design. Either as wallpaper or using graphics, wording or logos, create a statement wall through your vinyl wrap. Bear in mind that the vinyl will not let the wall breathe, so any moisture coming through may cause the vinyl to bubble or come away from the paint.

Vinyl wrap for windows

Using vinyl wrap on windows is an amazing hack for adding privacy to an overlooked room. But it’s also a fun way of changing the colour of light, or simply adding a pattern or a decorative element to your glazing. Because it works both inside and out, your options are really flexible too.

Vinyl wrap for kitchen surfaces

Kitchen worktops are an expensive investment, so self-adhesive vinyl really comes into its own here. Many of these rolls are designed to mimic surfaces like marble, granite, or wood - but cost a fraction of the price of installing a new piece of the original material. What’s more, your ‘new work surface’ can be installed in only an afternoon! It’s a great DIY project too, which requires no real skill or investment in specific tools. You just need a few hours free, and to leave the surface unused for a day or so after application.

The benefits of self-adhesive vinyl

  • It can be an environmentally friendly option
  • Refreshing existing surfaces rather than ripping them out and buying new ones allows you to maximise the whole lifespan of your product. This not only reduces your costs but minimises necessary waste going to landfill.

  • It sets your creativity free
  • Being able to customise furniture, walls and countertops with this product allows you to create the bespoke interiors you have planned, without being too constrained by costs. With thousands of looks and finishes, vinyl is pretty much a blank slate for your upcycling ideas.

  • It is quick
  • Planning to overhaul high-traffic areas like the kitchen is a headache in itself. Self-adhesive vinyl can be fitted in only a few hours, so your space is quickly back in action. This is also super-useful in a business environment - vinyl wrap is so easy and quick to apply that you can minimise disruption by staying open during refurbishment.

  • It is cheap
  • Vinyl wrap is a cost-effective alternative to getting a similar aesthetic result from much more costly materials. A standard roll of wrap is 67.5cm by 90cm, starting at 2m in length. A two-metre roll usually costs somewhere between £7-£20.

  • They are durable
  • Heat resistant, waterproof, and UV resistant, vinyl wraps (they’re also called architectural films!) can outperform other solutions, such as painting, especially in high-traffic areas.  

    The drawbacks of self-adhesive vinyl

  • Not always a long-term solution
  • In high-traffic areas such as on a kitchen countertop, a self-adhesive vinyl surface will not last forever. It is a material which is able to scratch and tear with sharp objects such as sharp kitchen knives. It can also bubble if water gets under the vinyl, causing it to peel away from the surface. If you put a scalding pan on the surface straight out of the oven, it will melt the surface as it can only withstand up to 75°C. It’s wise to use a heat-friendly coaster or trivet to keep anything oven-hot off your new surface. If you’re wondering how long self-adhesive vinyl lasts, then read this article to make sure it’s the best solution for your project.

    Self-adhesive wrap finishes

    As previously mentioned, self-adhesive wraps come in thousands of finishes. Some of the most useful and popular finishes include:

  • Stone
  • Stone creates a stylish, pared-back look. Used on anything from counters to feature walls, vinyl with a stone look creates a distinct finish - marble is luxurious, whilst textured concrete or brick gives that trendy industrial chic feel.

  • Wood
  • Just like the original product, wood-look self-adhesive vinyl wrap is available in so many different finishes. Whether you yearn for the cool and light Scandi feel of Ash or the dark richness of Teak, Walnut or Oak effects, vinyl can give you this finish for a fraction of the cost of investing in real wood.

  • Textile
  • Textile looks can soften a space and add a different feel. Linen, woven fabric or even leather looks can inject your personality right into your project.

  • Metallic
  • On-trend metallic finishes are a really exciting way to refresh furniture or feature items - whether that’s residentially or in business premises. Metallic-look vinyl is long-lasting and durable and is available in finishes such as copper, rust, chrome and steel. Transform a bar or reception with this statement look, or inject some high-end luxe into your interior design at home.

  • And more…
  • There are thousands upon thousands of vinyl finishes. Add a high-gloss element, a burst of colour, or even statement looks such as glitter, pattern or wording to your design. The world of interior design is your oyster with vinyl wrap.

    How to apply self-adhesive vinyl wrap

    For a full description of how to apply your vinyl wrap, check out our blog post. It’s a very simple process. In essence, all you will need is a few spare hours and your chosen self-adhesive vinyl wrap, as well as scissors or sharp cutting knives, a ruler or measuring tape, pencils, and a squeegee.

    First off make sure all of your tools are clean. Always store your vinyl wrap in its packaging, to keep it dry and dust-free, and give your scissors, knives and surfaces a good clean down and dry before you begin.

    First, measure the size you need to cover, and cut this out of your vinyl wrap. Make sure you’re marking it completely straight, to get the best finish. Always cut a slight overlap - we advise about 4mm - to make sure that you can achieve precise, sharp edges. Remove a little of the back sheet to position your wrap, then squeegee your vinyl wrap into the surface, to get rid of any little bubbles of air. Start in the centre and move towards the sides. If you do have air bubbles? Don’t worry. As long as your chosen surface isn’t paper or cardboard, you will be able to remove the vinyl wrap and have another go at applying it. It will take a few hours before the vinyl is fully adhered to the surface, so make sure to make any amends immediately. If you can’t avoid the presence of a bubble or two, use a needle to prick a small hole and get rid of the air with your squeegee. And you’re done. It’s that simple!

    Creative uses for self-adhesive vinyl

  • Transform smaller spaces
  • We’re all always trying to maximise our space at home. Transforming your shed into an outdoor office space, or your van into a campervan, allows you to maximise all the space available to you, and vinyl wrap is a great way to make it feel like home without eye-watering investment. Click here to read our article on sprucing up your caravan or campervan interiors with self-adhesive vinyl!

  • Add personality to a kid’s bedroom
  • Kids’ tastes change all the time whilst they grow. Add a dinosaur feature wall, or unicorn motif,  to create a personalised space they are so happy to call their own (and know that it will peel off so that they can repaint in a much ‘cooler’ colour when the dreaded teenage years arrive!)

  • Upcycle thrift store furniture finds
  • Sometimes you spot a piece of furniture in a second-hand store that looks perfect…if it wasn't in *that* finish of wood, or if it hadn’t been painted in *that* shade of lilac. No need to abandon your plans - with the perfect sheet of vinyl wrap and a few hours of your time, your furniture finds can be the perfect fit for your home.

  • Refresh your white goods!
  • A vinyl wrap on your fridge can be the perfect way to make a functional item fit with your interior design scheme. 

  • Personalise a door
  • Make your teenager’s ‘zone’ clearly theirs with a bespoke door wrap. A graphic pattern or bright colour is the perfect way to make their space feel theirs.

  • Line a bookshelf or cupboard
  • Inject a signature design or colour, as well as longevity, into your cupboard, drawer or bookshelf interiors by applying a wrap. 

  • Add privacy to your glazing
  • Whether for a glazed meeting room which looks out into the rest of the office or for an overlooked window at home, it can be annoying to be overlooked when all you want is privacy. Maintain valuable light in the space but with added privacy by adding a vinyl wrap to the windows. Choose a simple window frosting or make a statement with a colourful mosaic, or bamboo, finish.

    We’ve only scratched the surface of what you can use vinyl wrap on. This transformative material is the interior design answer! Check out our huge range of wrap finishes for further inspiration for your next project.

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