How to Apply a Vinyl Decal (with examples)

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A vinyl decal consists of three layers.

From back to top when looking at the decal face up:

3.     Backing paper of vinyl (back)

2.     The vinyl decal itself (middle)

1.     Transfer paper (top)

The goal is to peel away the backing so that the decal will stick to the transfer paper. Then you will use the transfer paper to place your decal on the surface you want and peel the transfer paper off.

Step 1:

Clean the surface where you will place the decal (test a small area first to make sure your cleaner of choice does not damage your surface). Make sure there are no particles of hair or dust.

Step 2:

Lay your decal right side up on a table/counter and burnish the vinyl into the transfer paper.

Using a credit card or scraper, rub the transfer paper so that the vinyl decal sticks more to the transfer paper than to its backing.

Step 3:

Flip the decal over and peel off the backing paper very slowly.

Peel the backing at a complete angle so that you are essentially parallel with the table/counter you are using. This will make the decal more likely to stick to the transfer paper than the backing. Move slowly so that you can make sure every small piece of vinyl is sticking properly to the transfer paper.

Step 4:

Turn the decal back over so that it is sticky side down and hover over where you want to place your decal. Make sure to look at the decal and not the edges of the transfer paper for alignment.  

Step 5:

Place one corner of your decal down and slowly lower it little by little from that corner so that you avoid air bubbles. You can also burnish as you go if you would like.

Step 6:

Once you place the decal down completely, burnish again over the transfer paper to make sure the decal is secure and there are no air bubbles.

Step 7:

Remove the transfer paper in the same way as you did the backing.

Step 8:

Congrats, your decal has been applied!

Where should I put my decal?

Here are some great examples of where you can put a vinyl decal!

Keep in mind that there are different types and grades of vinyl. Removable vinyls are typically used for walls so that you can remove them without peeling off the paint. Removable vinyl is not super sticky and therefore should only be used for things that do not need to withstand constant movement or exposure to outdoor elements like rain. Permanent/outdoor vinyl is great to use on most flat and smooth surfaces and can withstand rain, sun, and some movement. Permanent vinyl works great on car windows, laptops, tablets, glasses, tumblers, etc. If you apply a decal to drinkware make sure you hand wash only! *Tip: You can use a hairdryer to heat the decal up a little if you apply it to an indoor surface. This will help it stick better. If you use a decal outside the sun will do this for you!