Flame Treating Plastic

Some plastics require special preparation to successfully apply vinyl graphics. There are so many plastic variations, we recommend checking with the product manufacturer to determine if a special process is required prior to installation. We have found that flame treating some plastics allows vinyl to be used and provide years of problem free performance. Those plastics include but are not limited to low-density plastic & polyethylene.

Some of the tools indicated may be dangerous if not handled with care and competence. It is up to you to determine if you are able to safely use those tools and seek assistance from a professional installer if not. Read and understand the guidelines before beginning.

1. Following safety guidelines and common sense, ignite the flame of a propane torch.

2. Observe the flame in a darkened room to observe the primary flame that is bright blue, and the secondary flame that appears faint yellow.

3. Treat the plastic surface with the tip of the secondary flame by passing it over the plastic in gentle sweeping strokes. The surface should be exposed to the flame for 2-3 seconds (1/2 second per stroke). This light exposure should not deform or melt the plastic in any way.

4. Test the preparation of the surface by wetting it with water. If the water runs off immediately, the treatment was not effective. If water sheets on the surface it is ready for application. Unsure? Compare water on the treated and untreated surfaces.

5. After flame treating, wipe the surface with isopropyl alcohol to insure good adhesion. Once this dries, the surface is ready for application. The window for application is approximately 30 minutes.

6. Even with this treatment, small letters or graphics may not adhere well to the surface. Test a small piece by applying, then attempting to remove it after allowing to bond for a period of time. If small pieces are necessary, consider applying a larger, solid base piece to the surface, then applying the small graphics or letters to the base piece.