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How to Install a Vinyl Decal

How To Install a Vinyl Decal

By Naomi J. Golbeck, Decals.com Staff

Whether you are about to paint a room, hang a picture or apply a vinyl decal, the first thing you should do is figure out the best method to use. There are two methods of vinyl decal installation: wet installation and dry installation. 
Most of our vinyl decals will use the dry application, but these two use the wet application:

Read on to learn both of these application techniques! 

 

Preparing for Your Vinyl Decal Install

The best way to camp in the mountains, fly an airplane or simply install a vinyl decal is to be prepared, so we strongly suggest keeping these three things in mind when preparing for vinyl decal application. 

Texture

Surface texture is key when choosing where to put your vinyl decal. Our vinyl decals work best when applied to smooth, non-porous surfaces like glass, plastic, painted drywall, stainless steel and tile. We do not recommend placing our decals on brick, cement, or other porous, rough surfaces.

Temperature

Room temperature or 60 to 74 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature margin for vinyl decal application. Keep this in mind when applying car window decals in a garage or outdoors.

Tools

These are the tools you will need for dry installation:

  • Light cleaning solution, we recommend warm soapy water.
  • Paper Towels
  • Masking tape
  • Scissors
  • Tape Measure
  • Squeegee, credit card or small, flat, hard edged object.

These are the tools you will need for wet installation:

  • Light cleaning solution, we recommend warm soapy water.
  • Paper Towels or dry cloth
  • Squeegee, credit card or small, flat, hard edged object.

 

How To Install a Vinyl Decal - Dry Install

Clean & Dry Surface

Clean the intended surface  with a light cleaning agent, like warm soapy water or rubbing alcohol. Using an absorbent paper towel, dry off the surface, and be sure not to leave any paper bits behind. 

Tape Decal to Surface

Next, grab your masking tape and use it as a temporary adhesive to hold the decal in place, kind of like a decal seatbelt. 

Level & Measure Decal

Once you have the decal secured to the intended surface, using a line of text as a place to measure from, level off the decal.

Peel & Cut Bottom Half of Backing

Peel back and cut off the bottom half of the decal backing. 

Apply Decal to the Surface

Using your squeegee, or similar object, press and apply the decal to the intended surface beginning on one side and working your way in a zig-zag pattern to the other side of the decal. Take your time working your way across the decal, otherwise air bubbles can occur.

Remove the Tape

Once the decal is smooth and bubble free on the surface, gently remove the masking tape seatbelt. 

Peel & Remove Top Half of Backing

Carefully peel off the top half of the decal backing.

Press and Apply

Using your squeegee or similar flat edged object, press and use pressure to slowly apply the decal to the surface with the same zig-zag motion as before. Take your time to avoid air bubbles. You are now done with your dry decal installation!

 

How To Install a Vinyl Decal - Wet Install 

Clean the Surface

Use a light household cleaning agent, like warm soapy water or rubbing alcohol to thoroughly clean the surface. Clear away any cleaner residue or debris with a dry cloth. Debris can weaken the adhesive, so make triple sure you don’t have any clinging to your surface. 

Spray & Apply Decal

Prior to peeling away the decal backing, spray the surface with light soapy water or glass cleaner.

Squeegee Out the Liquid

Use your squeegee, or small, flat, hard edged object, to squeeze out any excess moisture. The best way to do this is to start in the middle of the decal and move toward the outer edges, using the squeegee tool to work out the liquid from behind the decal. 

Wipe Away Liquid & Dry Surface

Wipe away the liquid from around the decal and make sure the surface is dry. You are now done with the wet install application!

 

Conclusion 

Remember that preparation is the first step towards a successful decal install, and taking your time with the application process as well as using the right tools, will result in a well-applied, great looking decal. Enjoy!