How To Apply Vinyl Wall Decals

April 25th, 2011

You gotta love vinyl wall decals.  They are such an easy and affordable way to decorate without paint!  Vinyl is used everywhere . . . museums, schools, businesses and even on cars.  So many times I thought a design or lettering had been hand painted.  Only touching reveals the “vinyl” secret.  Decals are simple to install and take less time than painting.  No Muss . . . No Fuss . . . No Paint!

A decal is packaged as a sandwich of three layers; the bottom is backing paper, the middle is your custom decal, and the top is transfer paper.  During shipping the sandwich may ripple or the layers may have pull apart.  That’s ok.   Lay it on a flat surface and use a squeegee or credit card to gently press the layers back together.  You may find it necessary to allow the decal to lay flat overnight and acclimate to the environment.   We include a sample decal in our packages for practice.  Apply to paper, in the closet, or any flat surface.

Gather a few Supplies and you are ready to rock & roll.

  • Pencil & Scissors
  • Painter’s Tape (please don’t use masking tape as you risk pulling paint from the wall)
  • Level
  • Tape Measure or Yardstick


Prepare Your Wall Your decal should be applied to a clean surface.  If your walls are freshly painted simply dust the wall with a soft cloth to insure there is no surface dust.  If your paint is not so fresh, wash the surface with a mild household cleaner and rinse.  Allow the wall to dry completely before application.  It’s important to allow freshly painted walls to cure before applying your vinyl decal.  Ideally, that’s 30 days.  At a minimum, two weeks, at your own risk, a week or less.

Placement Choose the wall placement for your decal.  If it’s a quote or a phrase you may want to mark a center point as well as a level line on the wall.  If it’s a design with random placement, you want to make sure your design is level.  On most designs, we give you the center point and a level line.  Using a yardstick or a straight edge, mark a pencil line across the design using our guide triangles.   Hold the design to the wall and place pieces of painters tape aligned with those marks.   We like to make marks on the painters tape rather than the wall as sometimes erasing the wall doesn’t work out too well.  Remove design and make sure your marked tape pieces are centered and level.   Matching those marks, secure the design in place along the top edge with painters tape.  The tape acts as a hinge.

Remove the Backing Depending on the design, it may be precut into sections that butt against each other.  If it’s too long to manage comfortably, feel free to cut the design being sure not to cut the vinyl.  Flip the decal design up keeping it flat against the wall and slowly peel off the bottom layer (grid paper.)  Watch that no parts of the decal are sticking to the backing paper.  All design elements should all be attached to the transfer tape.  Also, be careful not to touch the decal adhesive backing.  Once the backing paper is removed (a section at a time if necessary) carefully lay the decal back down into position.

Rub the Design onto the Wall Use the squeegee to firmly rub/smooth the entire surface working from the center out.  This step secures the decal to the wall.

Remove the Transfer Tape Slowly peel the transfer tape which is the sticky paper top layer to reveal your design now on the wall.  When removing the tape pull in a “rock & roll” motion at an angle from top left corner to bottom right corner rolling it back on itself.   Move slowly and carefully watching that all elements of the design have adhered to the wall and not lifted with the transfer tape.  If something hasn’t stuck to the wall, roll the transfer tape back and use your squeegee to burnish the decal to the wall then, continue with the removal.  Remove placement triangles if they transferred to the wall and gently smooth design with hand.

Enjoy!   You did it!  Friends and family will be so impressed with your decorating diva talents!

If you prefer an instructional video, visit us on YouTube.  How To Apply a Vinyl Wall Decal by

When it’s time to remove the decal from the wall, use a blow dryer to heat/soften the vinyl making it easier to remove.

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