How to Apply A Vinyl Sticker

1. Prep Your Surface

First, make sure your surface is ready for the decal. It should be a clean, smooth, and dust-free surface. If necessary, wipe down the area before applying the decal. Just be sure the area is nice and dry before moving on to step two.

Acceptable Surfaces

  • Glass
  • Metals (Ideally should be painted with a smooth, glossy enamel)
  • Vehicles (Ideally should be painted with a smooth, glossy enamel)
  • Vinyl (Such as banners, canopies, flags, etc.)
  • Plastic, Acrylic and other high gloss surfaces.
  • Fiberglass (Must be painted with a smooth, glossy enamel)
  • Wood (Must be painted with a smooth, glossy enamel)
  • Other Painted Surfaces (Paint must be smooth and glossy, vinyl will not stick to oxidized, faded, or peeling paint)

Not Recommended Surfaces

  • Pitted Cement
  • Raw Lumber, like chip board or low grade plywood.
  • Oxidized or Faded Paint
  • Textured plastic surfaces
  • Rubber
  • Rusted Metals
  • Oily Surfaces
  • Dusty surfaces, like fresh drywall

2. Remove The Transfer Tape

When you receive your decal or sticker, it will likely be covered with a layer of transfer tape and will still be attached to the material backing. The first step to apply your decal is to remove the transfer tape and the decal from the backing.

Slowly peel the tape from the backing while making sure the decal doesn’t stick to the backing. If the decal does stick, use a credit card to reattach the decal to the transfer tape.

3. Place the Decal

Next, line the decal up on the desired surface. For precise application, measure and mark where you would like it before you place the decal. If you don’t like the placement at first, you can usually remove the transfer tape without the decal sticking to the new surface.

Once you are happy with the placement, apply the decal. Carefully line up the sticker at the top and slowly lower it until it lies flat on your surface. If you rush this step, you might end up with air bubbles and even a wrinkle in your vinyl. Press on the tape with your fingers to start the application process.

4. Grab a Cricut Scraper or Credit Card

Next, use a Cricut scraper or a credit card to ensure the vinyl sticks securely to the surface. Firmly rub the vinyl starting from the middle and pressing outward. Make sure you go over the entire surface. You shouldn’t see any air bubbles.

5. Remove the Transfer Tape

Take your time with this step. Start at one of the corners and slowly pull the tape off of your surface. Be careful not to lift up part of the vinyl design. If it sticks to the transfer tape, put the tape back on the surface and use the credit card again.

This can be tricky if you have a more detailed design. The smaller the pieces of vinyl, the harder it is to secure them to the wall. Take your time to ensure each part of the design is applied properly. Smooth any leftover bubbles with the scraper.

6. Your Decal is Finished!

Great job! Once you remove the transfer tape, the application process is complete. If necessary, I go back over the vinyl with my fingers or the credit card to fix any air bubbles.

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