Custom printed decals and stickers present quick and easy ways to transform most solid surfaces. They can impart critical information, bright colors, or beautiful design. Stickers and decals can be used indoors or outdoors, and both are quite durable. The best quality decals and stickers are made from vinyl. Both come with an applied adhesive and a slick paper backing that protects the adhesive until you remove the backing to affix your design.
Decals and stickers are pretty much the same things, right? Not quite. If you don’t know the difference, you may order the wrong option for your needs. That said, understanding the difference between decals vs. stickers is essential to your satisfaction. Yet, Google searches turn up a dizzying array of conflicting opinions that are likely to confuse you further. Not to worry — Printmoz to the rescue!
So, to finally address the difference between stickers and decals. Stickers come with two layers, and decals come with three. It seems a small difference, but it has big repercussions!
Stickers are made up of two layers:
Decals are made up of three layers:
To better understand the differences between decals vs. stickers, let’s first fully investigate their similarities. Stickers and decals share the following qualities:
With so much in common, you might think you won’t care about the difference between custom decals and stickers. But you will, when it’s time to attach your design to the wall, floor, bottle, car, or surface of your choice.
Now we can dig into how the difference between decals vs. stickers affects you and your project. Decals are typically far larger and/ or far more complex in shape than stickers. That size and complexity would make it too challenging to manage the sticker layer by itself without risking wrinkles, tearing, or having it adhere to anything except where you want it attached.
As an example of a complex decal, let’s consider how decals and stickers would handle script text. You could use either a sticker or a decal to add an inspirational quote to a wall. With a sticker, the text would be printed on a solid vinyl sheet and attached to the wall as a solid sheet.
With a decal, the script text would be die cut, following the outline of each letter, both inside and out. So, a script Y is cut out as a Y shape, with the loop at the bottom also cut out. In order to maintain the proper shape of each letter and the relative spacing between each letter, the solid, transparent transfer layer holds each of the letters in place until you have attached the decal to your wall. Then, you remove the transfer layer, leaving nothing behind but the script letters making up the quote. There is no blank vinyl connecting the decal’s letters as there would be in the sticker.