How To Apply a Vinyl Decal

Decal Anatomy

Before we get started, here is what a decal is made up of. Top layer is the transfer tape. Middle layer is the vinyl decal. The bottom layer is the backing paper.

decal anatomy - three layers - transfer tape vinyl decal backing paper

Step 1: Surface Preparation

Clean the surface you are about to apply your decal to with alcohol and a clean microfiber cloth.

Do not use a window cleaner because it will leave a residue that may cause the decal to not adhere to the surface. Do not use paper towels because they may leave small particles that the decal will stick to instead of the surface and ultimately cause it to peel up.

Let the area fully dry before moving on to the next step.

Step 2: Placement

Once you have determined where you would like to place the decal exactly and the area is clean and dry you can now tape the top of the decal to the surface with masking tape. Make sure you can lift the decal up in a hinge type motion.

Vinyl decal application step 1

Pro Tip:

Squeegee the decal at this stage so that the vinyl sticks to the transfer tape and not to the backing paper when removing it. You can also use a credit card.

how to apply decal

Step 3: Flip Up & Backing Removal

Now you can remove the backing from the decal. Be sure no pieces of the decal are left behind on the backing paper. If so, allow the backing paper to fall back down and you can apply pressure with your finger to the backing paper and this should stick the decal back on to the transfer tape.

How to a apply vinyl decal

Step 4: Squeegee the Decal to the Surface

Squeegee the transfer tape down on to the surface as you slowly release it. Run the squeegee over the transfer tape to get out any air bubbles and to assure that the decal has adhered to the surface. If you can try to leave the decal in this stage for 24 hours before moving on to the next step to allow the decal to stick properly.

How to apply a vinyl decal

Step 5: Peeling the Transfer Tape Away

Once you are ready to peel the transfer tape away start by peeling up one corner and move towards the opposite corner.

If you run into a situation where the vinyl is sticking to the transfer tape and not the surface, put the transfer tape back down and push on it with your finger, or squeegee, and then try to peel it back up again.

How to apply a vinyl decal

Once you have transferred the decal to the surface you can remove and dispose the transfer tape and masking tape.

How to apply a vinyl decal

That's it!

Now step back and enjoy your new vinyl decal.

How to apply a vinyl decal