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How to Apply Vinyl Stickers

Vinyl stickers are the perfect way to get your branding and message across to your target audience on a range of surfaces including shop windows, car windows or any glass surface. Vinyl stickers also make the perfect sticker solution for cosmetic product labelling due to their durability and being waterproof

To make sure your vinyl stickers stand the test of time and look as good as possible, it is important to take care and time when applying vinyl stickers to any chosen surface. Vinyl stickers can be applied to a range of surfaces including wood, glass and plastic and create all kinds of different desired effects.  

But how do you apply your vinyl stickers securely and in the right position?

To help you know where to begin, we’ve put together our quick guide on how to apply vinyl stickers below! 

How to apply vinyl stickers and decals 

This approach works for the majority of vinyl stickers across most surfaces. Be sure to take time to get the positioning correct so you don’t end up with a lopsided sticker! 

  1. Begin by ensuring the surface you are sticking your vinyl sticker on is clean and dust or dirt free. Although incredibly durable, vinyl stickers are made from a reasonably thin material that can easily show dust or dirt on the surface through your sticker, so it is vital your surface is completely clean. 
  2. If you want it to be extra clean, and you are sticking it onto a car or window, you could use soapy water or a specific cleaning product. If doing so, be sure your surface is completely dry before applying the vinyl sticker.
  3. Use a credit card or similar object to make a squeegee and press down on your decal to ensure there are no bubbles on the sticker. 
  4. Without removing the backing, line up your sticker to where you want it to be, either by marking on the product or familiarising yourself with the surface.
  5. Starting from a corner of the sticker, peel the sticker away from the white backing, so that the full sticker pulls away from the backing.
  6. Lightly place the sticker down onto your chosen surface, and readjust the sticker so it is centred and where you need it to be.
  7. Use a credit card or squeegee to firmly set the sticker down, going from the middle out, removing any remaining bubbles too.
  8. If your vinyl sticker has transfer tape, once the sticker has been firmly attached, peel back the transfer tape leaving the sticker firmly in place. Do this slowly and carefully and use your fingers to keep the vinyl sticker in place if needed.

How to apply large vinyl stickers

Applying large vinyl stickers follows a very similar process to normal-sized vinyl stickers however there are a few handy tricks to make sure your sticker is in the right place and well attached. 

  1. Once your surface is clean, position your large vinyl sticker where it needs to be and stick a piece of tape (ideally masking of duct tape) onto one end or corner of the sticker, and attach it to the surface (with the backing still on).
  2. Then, use a level to align the sticker so that it is straight and stick another piece of tape on the other side.
  3. Once you’ve got your sticker up, stick two pieces of tape down the middle of your large vinyl sticker. 
  4. After your tape is in place, remove one side of the stickers tape, folding over this side, so it is on top of the other half of the sticker and peel off the sticker away from the backing. 
  5. Cut the backing away down the middle and stick the sticker onto the wall.
  6. Use a card or squeegee to remove bubbles and firmly stick the sticker down. 
  7. Once that side is in place, remove the tape from the middle and the other corner tape and repeat the process of folding the sticker over, pulling away from the backing and sticking the sticker onto the surface.
  8. Again, if the sticker has transfer paper, slowly and carefully remove this from one corner, while pressing down on the sticker so it stays in place.

This method of how to apply a large vinyl sticker is known as the centre hinge method.

How to put a decal on a car

Car vinyl stickers and decals are made from strong materials that can withstand outdoor weather conditions. This means that they are incredibly durable and it’s important to get the positioning correct the first time. To do so follow these steps:

  1. Before applying the vinyl decal, clean the area of the car with warm soapy water or water and rubbing alcohol and dry with a microfibre cloth to ensure it is completely clean and dry. 
  2. Ideally apply your vinyl to your vehicle when it is not too hot, so not in direct sunlight, windy or too cold.
  3. Position your decal in place on your car and stick a piece of tape (masking or duct tape) to the top of the decal. Use a tape measure or ruler to make sure you are happy with the position of the decal.
  4. Then, flip the sticker up, peel away the backing and flip it back down. Try to avoid touching the actual decal with your fingers to avoid smudges. 
  5. Run your fingers down the centre from the masking tape down and press down firmly, securing the decal.
  6. Use a credit card or a squeegee to get rid of any air bubbles and firmly press the decal into place.
  7. Then, if your sticker has transfer paper, peel away the transfer paper, keeping the angle close to the surface and remove the paper and masking tape. 

You can also use the centre hinge method of applying decals to a car, as an alternative. 

Vinyl stickers can be quite fiddly to apply at first, but once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll be applying them in no time! For more useful guides like our, How To Apply Vinyl Stickers, check out our blog! 

Handy Labels produce premium quality, custom vinyl stickers and vinyl decals with over 20 finishes. Choose from the largest range of vinyl stickers on the market including clear, matt and laminated and create your own personalised vinyl stickers today.