How to apply your Vinyl Decal.
Decals are comprised of 3 layers. The bottom layer is usually a white or blue waxy paper. The vinyl decal itself is the next layer, covered by the final layer, a clear sticky back tape. Decal vinyl has pressure sensitive glue on one side. This means that the microscopic “bubbles” in the glue are crushed when pressure is applied and cause the glue to start it’s “sticky” properties and will create a permanent bond in a few days. Be sure to store any unused decals in a dark, room temperature area, don’t leave them in the car. Excessive heat or cold will cause the tape and decal to warp and will leave nasty air bubbles and tunnels in the vinyl.
Decals should be applied to surfaces which are clean, and between 50 and 90 degrees F.
NOTE: if the surface is hot to the touch, then it’s probably 90deg or more. Park in the shade or wait until it cools down.
Clean the surface with a non-ammonia based cleaner, or if applying to glass, rubbing alcohol works great.
Ammonia in Windex and other cleaners will affect the glue in the decal, so try to avoid it. Make sure no dust or dirt is on the surface you want to apply to.
For most regular size decals, lay the entire decal on a flat surface before application, and rub the top and bottom of the decal with a rigid object such as a credit card or squeegee. This lays the sticky tape back down evenly, which could have loosened in transport.
(NOTE: We use rigid mailers for most decals to help avoid this issue).
Start from the middle and work your way out. This removes any excess air bubbles and presses the vinyl to the waxy paper backing.
Now, try pulling up the sticky tape from the blue backing very slowly. It should come up with the vinyl decal attached to the clear tape. Try using your thumb and finger to squeeze smaller items that want to be stubborn and stick to the wax paper.
If it doesn’t, lay it back down, and rub it again with a rigid object, with more force.
Next, peel back the wax paper in one corner about an inch or so.
Bend it slightly allowing only a portion of the decal to be exposed.
Align the decal without touching the surface with the exposed part.
When you get it lined up like you want, slowly apply the exposed part, just an inch or so.
This ensures the decal is lined up.
Now, very slowly peel the wax paper from underneath the decal, ensuring the decal doesn’t contact the surface yet. Do this a few inches at a time.
Slowly press it down with your fingers while still holding up the other side of the decal.
Work your way to the end of the decal until the entire decal is laid.
Next, run the rigid object (credit cards work fine) over the tape and decal to press out any air bubbles that might be left.
Slowly peel the clear transfer tape from the decal at an angle away from the edge of the vinyl decal. Do not pull the tape straight up, as this could cause the vinyl to stretch or lift. The decal should remain on the surface it was applied to. If a piece of the decal comes off the surface, stop and lay the tape back over that part, and press down with your thumb.
Once the tape is removed, rub the decal with your fingers or thumb. Try to work out any bubbles you may see. Don’t use the rigid object at this point as it will damage the vinyl.
Using a sharp point hobby knife or needle, you can poke a hole in any larger air bubbles that remain, and squeeze the air out. Try to minimize this, as holes and cuts in the vinyl allow dirt and water to get underneath, decreasing it’s lifespan.
Now enjoy your decal.
Try not to wash it for a few days. The heat will dissipate smaller air bubbles in a week or so, so don’t be alarmed if tiny bubbles are left. Simply press on them with your finger a few days later.
Car washes are fine, however try to avoid direct high pressure to your decal.
With just a little care your new decal should last 6-8 years in an outdoor environment.
Use a heat gun or hair dryer to lightly heat the decal, softening it. Don’t heat it to the point it is bubbling, and ensure you’re not heating it enough to damage the surface it is applied too. Slowly peel the decal away. Once the surface is cool again, use some rubbing alcohol on a rag and rub the remaining glue particles from the glass. NOTE: Don’t use rubbing alcohol on paint surfaces. Use a warm soapy water and some elbow grease…. It works, just takes a little longer.
A small flat razor blade can also be used to peel back the decal in pieces.
Do this slowly, and be careful.