How to Apply Custom Decal(s)?


Applying decals may seem like an intimidating activity. You don't want to make a mistake and ruin the decal you just purchased. But in practice, it's a very simple process that involves a handful of simple steps and requires no expertise. Vinyl decals can be installed by nearly everyone.

In general, the process of applying your decal involves cleaning the area you wish to place it in, removing the decal backing, positioning the decal in the area where you're going to apply it, pressing firmly, and getting rid of any air bubbles using a squeegee. We outline a step-by-step process of how to apply below, but here is a general set of rules to follow:

  • Installing your decal should be done at a temperature between 50°F and 90°F.

  • Make sure to thoroughly clean the surface to which you are going to apply, removing all dirt, dust, grease, etc.

  • When applying, begin in one corner or side and work your way out from there. Attempting to apply them all at once will cause large air bubbles to form.

  • Use masking tape or a dry-erase marker to aid in the positioning and accuracy of your application

  • Place the backing as a liner between the squeegee and your decal to prevent the squeegee from damaging your decal.

Step 1: Clean the Application Area

Once you choose the area in which you wish to apply the decal, begin by cleaning the area and making sure it's dry before applying. Make sure to use household cleaners appropriate for use on the application surface. Make sure there is no residue left over and make sure the surface is dry. Wipe it down with a towel or rag or let it air dry for the appropriate amount of time.

Step 2: Place Your Decal

Your decal will come positioned between two other sheets. If you are looking at your decal as it should be seen, then the first layer is the mask layer, the second layer is your decal, and the final one is the backing. Make sure to measure the dimensions of your decal and hold it up to the surface. Use a tape measure and level if needed. Measure and center where you want your decal to be placed and mark it with masking tape.

Step 3: Set Up a Hinge

Place masking tape horizontally across the top of your decal, with the mask side facing you. You will still see the graphic as it should appear, and the decal will be positioned between the masking and the backing. Remove any tape you used to measure the position of your desired application. With this hinge, you should be able to lift the whole decal.

Step 4: Remove the Backing

Now it's time to remove the backing layer, exposing the adhesive on the back of your decal. Keeping your hinge in place, peel the backing from one corner and slowly remove the backing layer. Remove the backing completely while holding a corner of the masking layer to keep the decal from applying to the surface before you are ready.

Step 5: Apply to Your Surface

It's time to apply the decal. Lower the mask layer and using a squeegee, firmly press down on the decal at a 45-degree angle. Start from the middle and go out to the sides. The adhesive on the back should stick to the surface. Continue to go over the decal with your squeegee to eliminate any air bubbles and seal the application.

Step 6: Remove Masking Layer

With the adhesive applied, slowly peel away the masking layer and then your hinge tape away from the decal. The decal should stay put and the masking layer should peel away without much resistance, but still, it's best to go slowly.

Step 7: Cure and Complete Decal Application

Let your decal sit for 12-24 hours before you clean the surface. Cleaning too early could move or damage the decal.

With this, you are done! Applying your decal might be a daunting task. But if you follow these simple steps, you'll be finished with your new decal in no time!