DIY Decals: Answering 7 Key How-To Questions

Car decals provide cost-effective mobile marketing opportunities for small businesses. Vehicle advertising generates anywhere between 30,000 to 70,000 impressions each day and 95% of Americans are reached with vehicle-targeted media. There are a few questions to consider when searching for the car decals that are right for you. Before you set your mobile marketing strategy up for success, keep in mind some important DIY decal tips and tricks. 

How to Remove Decals from Car Windows?

If you have updated your brand strategy, you will want to remove any outdated signage before you apply new car decals. Removing adhesive vinyl decals from car windows is actually quite simple. You can choose from a couple different removal methods. 

Spray window cleaner over the surface of the car window decal. Once the decal is completely covered in cleaner, lift the edge of the sticker and begin to slowly peel it back. If the decal is hard to grasp, you can use a small razor blade to lift the edge, but use caution so you don’t scrape the window or injure yourself in the process. 

If you do not have window cleaner on hand you can use rubbing alcohol. Apply rubbing alcohol to the decal surface and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Then use the same process for removal as you did with window cleaner. Once the car decal is removed, clean any excess adhesive off with window cleaner or soap and water. Once your car’s surface is clean, you are ready to apply the new window decal.

How to Apply Vinyl Decal to Car?

Car decals are an extension of your company. Since you only have seven seconds to make a good first impression on your fellow motorists and it only takes 90 seconds for passersby to make a subconscious judgement about a product, knowing how to properly apply car decals will set your mobile advertising efforts up for success. 

Start by cleaning the surface with soap and water. Wait for it to dry. Next, use a ruler to keep the decal application level. Once you have determined the ideal application, carefully peel the decal’s paper backing off to reveal the adhesive surface. If it is a large decal, only peel back a few inches of the sticker. This step will protect the decal from creasing or wrinkling during the application process

Now it is time to place one edge of the vinyl decal on the car’s surface. Slowly smooth out the surface with a credit card as you work your way down the decal. Using the credit card, press firmly in one direction to remove any wrinkles or bubbles from the decal. Allow the decal to dry in direct sunlight. Once the vinyl decal is dry, remove the transfer paper from the car decal’s surface. 

What Type of Vinyl Is Used for Car Decals?

Whether you choose a clear or opaque decal, it is important to purchase long-lasting vinyl stickers made from durable materials. Monomeric vinyl is commonly used for car decals and stickers. This material provides the flexibility you need to apply decals to cars and other exterior surfaces. Calendered film is also a durable yet flexible vinyl material used for vinyl decals with transparent backgrounds. 

How to Remove Vinyl Lettering from Car?

There are a few tips to help you safely remove vinyl lettering from your car without scratching the vehicle’s paint. First, you will want to warm the surface area of one of your decals with a heat gun or a hair dryer. Carefully lift up one edge of the letter with your hand. Then, peel the letter off. Repeat this process until all lettering is removed from the car’s surface. Once the letters are removed, spray adhesive remover on the surface area and use a paper towel to wipe away any excess adhesive. 

How to Apply a Vinyl Decal to a Car Window?

First, clean the glass surface area prior to window decal application. If you are applying a vinyl sticker to a glass surface, leave the area slightly moist. Next, carefully peel back an inch of the decal’s paper backing starting at the top. 

Apply the top of the decal to the surface and, using a squeegee, press downward on the surface of the vinyl removing any excess wrinkles or bubbles. Continue peeling the paper backing and using the squeegee to press out any wrinkles until the entire decal is applied to the window surface. 

What Type of Vinyl Is Best for Car Decals?

Calendered vinyl is the most commonly used vinyl for car windows. This vinyl is durable yet flexible and works well on flat or slightly curved surfaces, which is why it is an ideal choice for your mobile advertising signage. Calendered vinyl is an ideal surface for high-quality printed graphics that will keep your decals fresh for many years to come. 

How to Install Large Decals on Cars?

Large vinyl decals are a great way to mobilize your marketing strategy. Whether you own a fleet of company trucks or want to use your van, pickup, or SUV as an advertising tool, this option can seriously boost brand visibility. Afterall, mobile advertising generates 2.5 times more attention than a static billboard. 

Before you apply your decal, clean your car’s surface area with warm soapy water. Remove any dirt from the surface for better adhesion. Next, use a level or ruler to properly align the decal to the surface. You can use painter’s tape to mark the application area if you do not have someone who can assist you. Once you have measured the proper placement, remove a portion of tape and slowly peel off a small section of the vinyl decal’s backing paper. 

Working your way from top to bottom, slowly peel off the paper backing and, using a squeegee, smooth out wrinkles or bubbles as you work your way to the bottom of the decal. Now, remove all placeholding tape. Using the squeegee, remove any excess wrinkles or bubbles from the decal surface. Once there are no imperfections in the decal’s surface, slowly remove the masking paper from the front of the vinyl decal. 

Final Considerations for Your DIY Decals

Approximately 30% of mobile advertising viewers indicated they would base a buying decision on these outdoor ads. Since it takes five to seven impressions for customers to recognize your brand, you can seriously decrease that window using mobile decal options. Knowing how to properly apply and remove car stickers and vinyl window decals will promote those positive consumer impressions and clearly communicate your advertising message. 


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