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How To The Difference Between Vinyl Stickers and Vinyl Decals
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Use a tape measure to help center the decal. While you can get a solid sense of where you’d like the decal by holding it up against the vehicle, using a tape measure can help to ensure you have it placed properly.
 If you are placing identical decals on either side, ensure they are an equal distance from at least three points on the body of the car to make the placement match on either side. Measure the distance from things like the trunk lid, door or window.
Custom decals are a great way to make your car stand out, let your opinion be heard, or advertise your business. While many retailers can print and apply custom decals to your vehicle for you, doing the application yourself can save you money and allow for more control in exactly where and how the decals are placed. When applying custom decals to your car, patience is important. Take your time and pay close attention to the small details in order to create a great looking final product.
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Technically, you could make a vinyl decal with multiple colours. But to do this you’d have to cut each layer of vinyl separately and then do one of the following:
REMOVAL OF VINYL: If you decide to remove your vinyl in the future all you need to do is start to peel on the edge and slowly remove at a downward slanted angle. Then use rubbing alcohol or goo gone to remove any sticky residue left behind.
You might wonder why the Alice Searching Behind the Curtains macbook sticker above is a vinyl sticker and not a decal. After all, it’s a single colour isn’t it? That’s absolutely right. The problem is that it’s a very complicated design. There’s no way you could get all the detail in the cross-hatching of that illustration in a small macbook decal. Our team would spend 10 hours to weed it and you would drive yourself crazy trying to keep all the little pieces on the application tape when you tried to stick it down. In cases where a single-colour design is too complicated to produce as a decal, we produce them as stickers that are printed onto transparent vinyl. The result is a product that looks a lot like a decal but has all the properties of a vinyl sticker.
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Peel off the beginning of the backing. Depending on the size of the decal, you may choose to remove the entire backing or just a portion of it at a time. If the decal is larger than your forearm, you may want to peel off the backing in thirds to make application more manageable.
 Decals that are only a few inches long can have the backing completely removed. Only peel off a bit of the backing at a time for larger decals such as ones that will stretch the length of the vehicle.
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Leave the transfer tape on the decal while it dries in place. While you may be able to remove the transfer tape immediately upon pressing the decal into the car, it’s best that you leave it to dry for a bit of time.
Waiting 30 minutes can make removing the transfer tape much easier and reduce the chances that you’ll pull any of the decal off with it. Allowing the decal to sit in direct sunlight will make the transfer tape easier to remove.
Do not attempt to speed up the process by using a heat source such a hair dryer, as it may melt the decal.
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Have a great day and I hope you love the wonders of what vinyl can do! It is so easy to use and remove compared to paint, not to mention most of the time it cost less too! – Mike (from JustDecalit) ———————————————————- ———————————————————-
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Ok. Maybe not quite a vinyl wizard. The vinyl wizards in our studio have been honing their craft for years to learn the best way to weed a decal and create design files for die-cut stickers. Their experience helps us to make the best vinyl stickers and decals around.
Wait a minute. Did you just understand all the terms in those last sentences? If you did than you just might be on your way to becoming a true wizard. Welcome to the club. Now use your newfound knowledge to impress your friends. Or head to our online shop and buy something knowing exactly what to expect. Want your own custom decal or sticker? Just contact us and we’ll be happy to help!
Use a credit card to press out any bubbles. With the transfer tape removed, you will be able to see the decal on the vehicle. It is normal for there to be some bubbling in the decal. Some of those bubbles are easy to remove by pressing a credit card or other flat tool onto the decal and pushing the bubble toward the edge.
 Be careful not to press a sharp edge into the decal or it may tear it. Small bubbles will disappear on their own over the first few days.
This is just a quick and simple guide to help people insure they install their decals on a good clean surface so that they last the longest and look the best. Please note I am not the best writer, I was a math geek in school and not the greatest at English.
So that said any typos I am sorry and just let me know! -Mike STEP 1: CLEAN THAT AREA GOOD! First make sure you have a dry place and no wind to install your decal. Make sure to prep the area, this is the most important part of installing a decal! If you put your decal or sticker on a dirty surface, it will just pick that dirt and grim up like a lint roller does your shirt, those aren’t so sticky after you use them are they! So lets make sure the area is nice and clean so that it can adhere to where you are going to place it.
You can use soap and water, rubbing alcohol, or any other fast drying cleaner. My favorite is rubbing alcohol since it dries by itself within seconds and leaves no residue behind. On that note, do NOT use anything like windex or other household spray cleaners that leave a residue behind or oily substance, that defeats the purpose and will cause your decal/sticker not to adhere to the best of it capabilities.
STEP 2: DECIDE AND PEEL! After you have cleaned your car, you now need to decide where you want to center your decal in the area you cleaned. I use a measuring tape to measure from different spots on the car to make sure I have it exactly where I want it and that it will not turn out crooked.
When I measure I use a piece of masking tape to mark the measurements, normally four for left/right/top/bottom. Then I have a some what boxed area to force me to place the decal where it should go.
Be aware after you stick it, you might can not undo it and use it again, since it can separate the design or text from each other. After you decide where you want it, go ahead and start to peel your decal back, if it doesn’t stick to the transfer tape the first pull, replace the transfer tape and push it together with your fingers or use a credit card to press together.
STEP 3: PLACE THAT DECAL! So you cleaned your area and also decided how and where you are going to place your new decal or sticker and you made sure your decal can peel apart easily. FOR SMALLER DECALS – Now fully peel the decal off the backing and hold it on the tips of the masking/transfer tape.
Try not to touch the back of the decal itself since it could leave dirt on your decals back side. You should have each hand holding the furthest corners from each other and keep it tight so that the decal does not fold in on itself.
Place one end of the decal down and then smooth it out to the other end till the decal is fully placed. FOR BIGGER DECALS – Do not fully remove the backing on your decal. You will want to remove about 1/3 of the backing and start by applying that 1/3 of the decal to the car.
Then slowly pull more of the backing off while at the same time apply the decal to the car until you have fully installed the decal. Either work left to right or right to left, which ever you feel best doing.
Don’t forget you can always buy a $1 spray bottle at your dollar store, put ONE small drop of soap in it and fill with water and shake. Then LIGHTLY (I MEAN LIGHTLY) spray the area and then apply the decal.
This is only suggest for bigger decals or decals that you need to be in a precise area. STEP 3: THE HARDEST PART! Waiting… yes this is the hardest part, because most people are so impatient that they can’t wait and they mess up the decal by removing the transfer tape too early! The best way to allow your decal to dry is out in the sun, having it in the shade or in a cool place will only make it take longer.
If you used a mist of soapy water when installing your decal and do not let the sun dry it, then it will take a very long time before it adheres correctly, since nothing is there to remove the water and dry the decal to the surface.
Do not try and rush this buy using a heat gun, you can melt the transfer tape and vinyl and when you peel it, it could cause the decal to stretch with the transfer tape. Again the best way is the sun.
Finally just give the decal 30 minutes before you remove the transfer tape, go inside and eat lunch. By the time your done you should be able to go back outside and finish your decal and be in a good mood from that great lunch and nice cold sweet tea! If your decal is still not sticking, make sure you got it in the sun and it is warm out side, and just give it a bit longer.
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The vinyl cutter is connected to a computer which allows it to read our vector design files. The cutter uses a single, tiny blade to cut into the vinyl .The big roll of vinyl is moved back and forth as the blade cuts into the material. Most importantly, the blade only cuts deep enough to slice through the vinyl material, not the backing paper it is stuck to. The result looks almost exactly as before. One big sheet of vinyl. But there’s an important difference! Look closely and you’ll see tons of tiny little lines cut into the material.
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Have a quick look at the products above. Do you notice any similarity between them? These are all vinyl decals. There’s a decal for a macbook, a vehicle and a wall. But the important thing is that they are all vinyl decals! You can get decals in lots of different colours and finishes but they are usually only in one single colour. Why? Because vinyl decals are physically cut from a roll of vinyl by a magical machine called a vinyl cutter or plotter. Here’s what our cutter looks like in our studio in Oxford.
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Use pieces of masking tape to mark the location. Once you’ve measured out exactly where you want the decal to sit, tear off small pieces of masking tape and place them at each corner of where the decal will be applied.
 The masking tape will serve as a guide when you begin applying the decal. Masking tape will not damage the paint on the vehicle.
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Have a look at the products above. The similarity between these three stickers might be harder to notice than for the decals at the start of this post. But there is one thing they all have in common. Each of these vinyl stickers is printed onto vinyl using a wide-format printer. We load a roll of digital vinyl that absorbs the inks we use and keeps them looking great for ages. We use special repositionable vinyl for our stickers because it is much easier to apply and remove than other stickers while benefiting from all the long-lasting properties of vinyl. This is particularly important for wall stickers, when you don’t want to damage your wall upon removal. Here’s a photo of one of our printers in our studio in Oxford. Looks a little more complicated than the plotter doesn’t it?
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Identify a location on the car for the decal. Before applying a decal, you must determine the location on the car you want to place it. This is particularly important for large decals that may extend onto multiple body components, as you will need to plan for applications that extend over gaps.
 Assess the area you want the decal to be placed and determine if it will fit there.
Apply the corner of the exposed decal to the car. Use the tape on the car as a guide as you begin by applying the corner of the decal to the vehicle. Press the corner into the vehicle firmly, then use a straight edged tool such as a credit card to press more of the decal down in a controlled manner.
 Keep the decal pulled taught as you press it into the vehicle to prevent bubbling from occurring. Using a straight edged tool helps ensure you apply pressure over the entire decal, which will force out small bubbles.
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Place the decal on the vehicle to measure. Hold the decal up against the vehicle to get a sense of how it will look and if it will fit in the area you’ve chosen. This will give you a sense of how the decal will look and the best placement for it.
 Leave the protective backing on the decal so it doesn’t stick as you hold it against the vehicle. Ensure the vehicle is dry before pressing the decal and backing into it.
Clean the area. Once you have the area the decal will be applied determined, use a soft cloth and a mild cleaner on the surface of the car. Rubbing alcohol will clean the area well and evaporate quickly, making it a common choice.
 Do not simply spray the cleaner onto the car or it may soak the masking tape you’ve used as a guide. Apply cleaner to a rag and wipe where the decal will stick to the car.
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Once the vinyl has been cut it’s removed from the machine and laid on a table for weeding. Weeding is when the excess vinyl (the negative space in your decal) is removed by hand. This can be quite a time consuming process depending on the complexity of the design. Check out the video below for an example of what this looks like. Thankfully we can speed it up so you won’t be watching for hours!
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Vinyl stickers can still have shapes cut out of them. In fact, most of our stickers have shapes cut out of them. They just look much better when stuck to your surface like that. We actually die-cut all of our stickers to make them look even better. That means that after your sticker is printed onto the roll of vinyl, the same machine goes back and cuts a contour for each sticker into the role. This cutting process is exactly the same as for decals with one important difference: the blade is set to cut all the way through the vinyl and backing paper (rather than just the vinyl). This creates a die-cut sticker that we pop out of the big vinyl roll and quality control before preparing it to be sent anywhere in the world.
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At Vinyl Revolution, we specialise in making the best quality vinyl products possible. That’s why we want to make sure everyone can understand the differences between vinyl stickers and decals. It’s not rocket science. It’s just some simple vinyl science that everyone can wrap their heads around (excuse the pun – we just can’t help ourselves).
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You might have heard the terms vinyl stickers and vinyl decals before and wondered what the difference is? It’s not surprising you might be confused. A lot of people seem to use the terms interchangeably. Or they think that hearing the word vinyl immediately means decal. But vinyl stickers and vinyl decals are very different and it’s important to understand the difference when buying online in our shop. You need to be sure you’re getting what you want!
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Combine all the layers onto a single piece of backing paper before taping them. This leaves you with only one layer to apply when it comes to sticking it to your surface. Tape each layer separately. This means you then have to combine each layer separately when you try and stick it on your surface.
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Allow the cleaned area to dry completely. Decals won’t stick as well to a wet surface, so either dry the area you cleaned with a towel or allow it to air dry completely before moving on. If you opt to use a towel, use a chamois cloth to avoid damaging the paint.
 Wait for the surface to be completely dry before applying the decal.
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Peel the transfer tape off. After thirty minutes or so, peel the transfer tape off starting at one corner. Peel the tape back slowly while watching for any areas the decal may peel back with the transfer tape.
If the decal begins to peel off with the tape, press the tape and decal back into place firmly, and begin peeling the tape away again from another angle. Be careful not to tear the decal while removing the transfer tape.
Slow, steady movements are the best way to prevent damage to the decal.
Once the decal has been weeded, it’s ready for the taping machine. When the decal is pushed through the taping machine it rolls a layer of application tape onto the decal. This is what is then used to apply the decal to a surface. Voila! You’ve got yourself a vinyl decal.
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Weeding one vinyl decal is already quite a lot of work. Doing option 1 above is very time consuming to produce and would mean your decal would get very expensive. Doing option 2 above means you’d have to stick multiple layers on your surface, which can be a serious pain. While we do this sort of thing all the time for businesses that hire our professional services, we rarely include it in our products. Why? Because some customers already struggle with applying their decal. It can get a bit tricky with all the bits and pieces. Imagine trying to do multiple layers!
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Do not use any cleaner that leaves a film or oil on the car. Some cleaners like Windex or spray on cleaner-waxes leave a residue intended to help maintain shine. This residue will prevent the decal from sticking properly to the vehicle.
 Rubbing alcohol or basic car wash soap both will clean the area sufficiently. Be sure to rinse the area thoroughly if you use car wash soap.
Unpeel the backing as you go. As you apply more of the decal to the vehicle, peel more of the backing off to reveal more of the decal. Peel the backing off a few inches at a time to ensure you can keep the decal straight as you apply it without worrying about other parts sticking.
 Continue to apply the decal to the car while peeling back more of the backing as you progress.