Car decals and stickers for vehicle windows can turn your car into a mobile advertising platform for your company. They’re also a great way to customize your car’s look, make it stand out from the crowd, or simply showcase your favorite sports team or a family portrait.
Whether your goal is marketing or personal expression, it’s essential to apply car stickers properly. You want the focus on your design and message, with no messy application or bubbles causing a distraction. Of course, you can take your vehicle to a car detailer to do the work, but if you learn how to put stickers on your car yourself, you’ll save yourself a great deal of money
Learning how to put a sticker on your car may seem complicated, but it’s an easy process. Choose your vinyl car stickers, or create your own custom decals using our free online design tool. Decal stickers for cars can be any size, shape, or color. Some are small and simple, while others are large or intricately cut into custom shapes that follow your design's outline. Apply your car decals using our guide no matter what type of decals you choose.
For the best results, work with your car decals in a shady location when the temperatures are between 50F and 90F. Before applying the decal to your car, apply firm, even pressure to the decal so each of its three layers is firmly attached to one another. This ensures the decal won’t come away with the removable backing.
Once you have determined the general placement of your car decals and stickers, clean the surface. Clean a much larger space than the size of your sticker so you can get the positioning precisely the way you want it. This step will prevent your sticker from having weird bumps and ensure it won’t peel or become unstuck.
Use a car cleaner and a soft cloth to get started. Rubbing alcohol is another excellent choice. It guarantees strong cleaning action and evaporates quickly. A 50/50 mix of water and rubbing alcohol cleans your car without damaging the paint, and without leaving a waxy residue that will impair the car decal’s adhesive.
Hold the car decal against the vehicle to get an idea of how it’ll look. Assess the overall position to see if the sticker will look better at another location. While evaluating options for the car decals’ placement, keep the protective backing on the sticker to protect the adhesive.
Once you’re certain of the exact position for your car decal, secure it in place with a piece of masking tape. This tape will not damage either your car’s paint or the decal.
Now, fill a spray bottle with a solution of roughly 5% dish soap to 95% water. This “wet method” of car decal application is particularly helpful with large or intricately cut decals. Spray the car where you will apply the decal and the adhesive when it is exposed. The soapy water allows the vinyl car sticker to “float” as you position it to your liking.
Place a single piece at the top of the vinyl car sticker. This anchors the sticker in place. Now, lift the bottom of the sticker, using the masking tape like a hinge. Remove the decal’s backing, exposing the adhesive. Make sure you don’t touch the decal’s adhesive because it can become dirty, which impairs the adhesive and may introduce messy-looking bumps to your sticker. Spray the adhesive with soapy water.
Holding the bottom edge of the decal away from the car, slowly lower the decal to the vehicle, using your thumb to press and smooth the sticker from the center, working our bubbles to the edges.
If your car decal is small or has a simple shape, you can remove the backing at one time. But if it is quite large or intricate, take the backing off in pieces. Again, move slowly to avoid causing wrinkles.
Most vinyl car decals are made in three layers — the adhesive, the colorful sticker, and the clear top coating called the transfer tape. The transfer tape keeps all parts of the decal together and maintains proper spacing between components of the design. In steps 1-4, we left the transfer tape in place. Once the car decal is in place and all the air bubbles have been removed, leave the transfer tape in place for several hours or even overnight. This ensures the sticker fully adheres.
Then, gently lift off the transfer tape to complete the application process. Congratulations! You now know how to put stickers on a car like a pro!