Crafts & DIY

How To Apply Vinyl Stickers

When it comes to decorating a room, a great way to give it a complete new lease of life is to add a vinyl sticker to a wall. It’s a great way to add a little personalization to the space and make it unique and meaningful to you.

However, I have tried and failed to apply them correctly many times. 

It took a lot of perseverance and practice to get to where I am now. Along with several courses from vinyl decals school. Skip forward a few years, and here I am with my very own vinyl business helping others learn from my missteps. 

If you are about to apply vinyl stickers, you need to read this article to avoid making the same mistakes that I did the first time. 

Step-By-Step Guide

1. Prepare The Area

Before you even consider unwrapping that vinyl and placing it anywhere near your wall you will want to ensure that the surface is primed, prepped, and ready to go.

The first step to achieving this is making sure the area is clean, smooth, and completely dust free.

I forgot to clean the surface on my first try and the whole thing went wrong from the get-go. So this step is pretty important.  

You’ll need to give the wall a bit of a wipe-down. Once you’ve got the perfect blank canvas you can start moving on to the next step.

Then you need to ensure it’s dry, I forgot about this before and the vinyl just wouldn’t stick properly and kept peeling because of it.

So if you’ve wiped it down and got it wet, you’ll need to come back once everything has dried. 

2. Say Goodbye To The Material Backing

Most vinyl stickers will typically be covered in a layer of transfer tape. This is usually attached to a material backing. So the first thing you’ll need to do is peel away the tape and design away from the material. 

You’ll want to do this very carefully. This isn’t like a bandaid, we’re not opting for the quick rip method here. I found that if you peel it away too quickly the decor attaches to the material.

Now, some vinyl decors have a tendency to be a little stubborn, if yours is overly attached to its material and doesn’t seem to want to come off you’ll need to use a credit card or something similar to reattach it to the transfer tape and keep it apart from the material that you’re trying to detach.

3. Placement


You might want to grab a ruler for this next part. The very last thing that you’ll want to do is place the decal wonkily – that will just bug you every time you look at it.

Once you’ve measured and marked where you’d like the decal to be placed you can start to line it up where you’d like it. 

If you don’t like its placement, don’t worry too much about it just yet. Generally, you can remove the transfer tape without the vinyl sticking instantly to the new surface. 

4. Apply Time

When you are certain that you’re happy with the placement, you can then apply it. You’ll want to take extra care lining up the sticker, starting at the top and then slowly moving down until it is flat against the surface. 

Slow and steady wins the race here, and if you go at a fast speed you’re going to likely be left with wrinkles or air bubbles in your vinyl, so be really careful as you apply. Press on the tape using your fingers to properly initiate the application process. 

5. Super Stuck

The next thing you’ll need to do is ensure that the vinyl is stuck and secure to the chosen surface. To do this you’ll need either a Cricut scraper, a credit card, or something similar.

With your tool of choice, you’ll want to rub the vinyl firmly starting in the middle and working your way out.

This will help to ensure that it is flat against the surface and will get rid of any pesky air bubbles should there be any. Take your time to ensure you have done this to the entirety of the design.

6. Say Goodbye To Transfer Tape

Again, I cannot emphasize enough, that this is a slow and steady process. Do not rush it. When it comes to removing the transfer tape, you’ll want to begin in the corner and little by little pull the tape away from the surface.

You need to do this super carefully because you can pull the design itself if done too quickly or roughly. I found that sometimes the design tries to come off too, so you’ll want to get that handy credit card again and put the tape back onto the surface, and start again. 

The more complex the design, the harder this step will be. You’ll need some patience and you’ll need to make sure that the smaller aspects of the design are really secured onto the wall. 

Once you’ve removed the tape you’ll want to use your scraper or credit card again to smooth out any air bubbles that are still visible.

7. Take A Deep Breath & Give Yourself A Pat On The Back

And just like that, you’re all done! Congratulations, you did it!

Remember that if it doesn’t look perfectly smooth all you need to do is go back over with your fingers or a credit card and push those air bubbles out from the design.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do You Apply Vinyl Wet Or Dry?

It is always best to apply your vinyl while dry. Graphics that are applied wet don’t tend to have a very successful application.

How Do You Keep Vinyls From Peeling?

Cleaning the surface before you apply the vinyl will stop it from peeling. It is the crumbs dirts and bumps that will encourage it to peel.

Are Vinyl Stickers Easy To Remove?

Yes, it is probably one of the biggest upsides of vinyl stickers! They are very easy to remove and leave very little if any damage at all.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, as long as you are patient and take your time, adding a vinyl sticker to your wall is pretty much a breeze.

As long as you follow these simple instructions you should have that unique design transforming your room at the click of your fingers!

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