How To Apply A Car Window Decal

Car Window Decals are one of the most-popular car signage products available, but the design,  ordering and installation process can sometimes be a challenge and slightly confusing.

Here we attempt to list the best step-by-step instructions to explain everything you need to know about car window decals.  From sizing to ordering to applying the Decal, we have it all right here.

How to Prepare For The Best Results

Step 1. Measure your vehicle’s window

If you want a full-coverage about car window glass decal, then you need to carefully measure your window. There is no standard size for car windows.

For example, if the decal is to cover the entire rear window then your decal will need to be custom-made or larger than your vehicle’s rear windshield.

Most rear windows are not exactly-rectangular, but the piece you order will come in the shape of a rectangle and you’ll trim away the edges to fit your window.

You will need to measure the Top Width, Bottom Width, Side Height, and Middle Height of your window.

The Middle Height and Bottom Width are usually the larger dimensions and will be the overall size of the decal you order.

The Side Height and Top Width, which are usually the smaller dimensions, are also important to ensure that the elements of your design (text, images, etc.) fit within the overall shape of your window.

Amercian Flag Decal Fitted Onto Entire Truck Rear Window

Step 2. Draft your Message

Your car window decal’s message should be clear and focused.

Passing motorists don’t have much time to read your decal, and if they are overwhelmed with too much information, the sign won’t make much of an impact.

Your decal should make a strong push for your business, encouraging the reader to call you, email you, etc., but only include what’s necessary.

Step 3. Design your Decal

Always use contrasting colors for maximum readability (i.e. black background with white text or vice versa).

Your design elements (text, images, etc.) must fit within the dimensions of your window shape. Text that runs all the way to the edge of the design will likely be trimmed off during installation.

If you have a rear windshield wiper history on your window, design your decal accordingly so that the wiper doesn’t cover up part of the design.

If you need help, decal providers can assist with this part of the process.

Rear window decal using wiper as part of design

Step 4. Order your sign.

This is the easy part, but it’s important that you provide your decal company with all of the following to get the best result:

  1. The squared dimensions of the decal
  2. A prepared design with colors
  3. The make and model of your vehicle
  4. The specific window the decal will be applied to

Providing the Decal company with all of the information above will ensure that the product you receive will fit your window perfectly and be exactly what you expected.

How to install your Window Decal

Step 1. Clean The Window

  • Clean the window thoroughly but do not use any commercial cleaner. The best thing to use is rubbing alcohol. It will evaporate leaving no smudge or residue to prevent your decal bonding properly to the glass.

Step 2. Find the Window Center

  • Using a measuring tape, measure both vertically and horizontally to find the center point of your window.
  • Tape the top of your car window decal in the center position using masking tape.
  • Add tape to each of the top corners of the decal as well for added security.
  • Step back and look at the window to make sure your design fits within the window shape.

Step 2. Apply One Side Of The Decal

  • Undo the tape on one side of the car window decal and pull it back to the center of the window.
  • Tear off or cut away that side of the protective backing. Since the material is perforated, there’s less of a chance of air bubbles.

Step 3. Apply The Other Side Of The Decal

  • Undo the tape on the other side of the graphic, pull it back and remove the remainder of the backing.
  • You can now install the remainder of the graphic using the squeegee, working from the middle out to the edges.
  • Step back from the window to make sure the design fits within the dimensions of the window.
  • The entire piece will likely run over the edges of the window, but you’ll address this next.

Step 4. Trim The Decal

  • Using a razor blade, carefully trim around the edges of the window, removing the excess material.
  • If you have a rear windshield wiper or handle, cut a slit in the material with the razor blade and install your car decal around it.
  • Rear windshield wipers should not damage your car sign, but it’s still suggested that you use it only when necessary just to be on the safe side.

This step-by-step guide has hopefully made the car window decal ordering and application process seem much simpler.

Decal companies are always willing to help with the process, so if you have questions or are unsure of what to do, it’s always best to ask the professionals.

Here are a couple of excellent window decal application videos so you can see the entire process from beginning to end. These experts know what they are doing, so watch and learn!

Wet Install Top Hinge Car Window Decal Method

Video Transcription:

Thank you for viewing discount graphics installation video.

There are many ways to install vinyl decals we will simplify the installation process by offering these instructions.

This will be for our wet installed top hinge method, please do not use this wet method for wall decals or wood surfaces. Although the process is almost the same, you do not use spray liquid on walls or untreated wood surfaces.

This process is more for vehicle decals, windshield lettering or boat names.

The items needed are as follows:

  1. Rubbing alcohol to clean the surface
  2. A lint-free rag
  3. A tape measure to align your decal application
  4. Spray consisting of four drops of dish soap in a large spray bottle of water
  5. Masking tape
  6. A squeegee or credit card to apply pressure to the decal, we recommend a squeegee

This video is only an example, there are many ways to install decals.

To get started, first clean the surface well with rubbing alcohol. Do not use Windex or other cleaners, you must use rubbing alcohol after you’ve cleaned the area.

Align your decal where you want it. Measure sides to align if needed, then tape a hinge across the decal.

Look for a spot with no vinyl under it so it will be easier to remove the tape later.

Be sure to add plenty of pressure to the tape so it will hold the decal in place.

Next carefully and slowly peel back the backing of the decal.

If any section starts to leave the decal on the backing lay it back down and squeegee that area on the front of the transfer tape.

Then begin lifting the area again and continue the process.

Next mildly spray the area with application spray both on the surface and on the transfer tape.

Then carefully squeegee the section down, pulling fluid under decal away from the other side.

Repeat this squeegee step several times, applying more pressure each pass to ensure all fluid is removed from under the transfer tape.

Finally, do not rush this step. The more you squeegee the better. Next allow about 10 to 20 minutes for the decal to bond. Do not rush this step. After 10 to 20 minutes has passed simply spray the white transfer tape with the application spray, then allow one minute to soak in.

This will help release the tape, then carefully remove the transfer tape by peeling up any corner of it and pulling at a sharp angle, almost flat against the other part of the transfer tape.

This step is delicate so if the decal under the transfer tape starts to come up, lay the transfer tape back down and squeegee with pressure until decal sticks then repeat the removal continue until complete.

When completed carefully dry around the decal, not putting any pressure on the decal itself.

If you see a small bubble or mild lift on the decal press down with your thumb.

Sun and a few days of bond time will allow the decal to bond properly.

Now that you’ve completed the install process do not let anything touch the decal for several days to allow proper bond time.

No car washes for at least two weeks and no high-pressure washes for at least four weeks.

Keep away anything that could harm the decal.

This has completed the install process For more videos on installation instructions or decal removal please visit our website at WWDC decals. Thank you.

Apply Car Window Decal With The Dry Method

Video transcription:

This video is to show the proper installation of window decals.

For this proper installation, you’re going to need a card.  It doesn’t have to be a credit card. It can be regular card lying around that you might have in your wallet or in your purse.  Then, of course, the decal.

In order to apply this decal, you’re going to make sure you have a clean surface. Wipe it down with some window cleaning solution.

After it’s clean, you’re ready to go.

If you have used some type of wax on your window the decal will not adhere to the window, so the best thing to do is to use some rubbing alcohol.

Get the rubbing alcohol, wipe it down & clean it off very well. Once it is clean then you get your glass cleaner clean it off and your decal is ready to go.

With your decal, you find your center. You measure your center of the decal from here to here.

Don’t measure outside because the outside might actually be cut different.  You want to measure the inside of your decal from one end to the other and you find your center.

Once you have found your center and you find the center of where you’re going to be applying it, you then would take some tape.

Tape it off on top. Once you’ve taped it off on top there, you lift your decal up over.

Make sure that you peeled this way. Hold this here. You can go ahead and put your thumb to it.

Get your card and go down slowly with a foot with a slight arc on it. Go down with it. Once it’s there, get your card, smooth out all of the areas.

Once you have got all your smooth areas out, if you’ve done it right you’re not going to get bubbles. If you do don’t worry about it you can always wait for a warm day and nine times out of ten the heat takes off the bubbles.

Now you peel off the backing. This is what’s called transfer paper. Make sure you get it at this angle.  Pull back at the angle slowly and you’re done.

Detailed Steps To Apply A Car Window Decal

Video transcription:

Hey Guys, I’m going to show you how to put on a decal. I’m gonna go pretty fast, so just pause as needed.

If your decal is wrinkled when you first get it,  it’s probably from heat. Just let it cool down to room temperature and it will straighten back up.

There are three parts to a decal. There’s the backing paper, the decal itself and the transfer tape. Backing paper can either be blue or white.

There are some things you might need:

  1. scissors
  2. squeegee or credit card
  3. masking tape
  4. measuring tape

First, we have to make sure our decal is stuck onto a transfer tape. Scrape the front then peel halfway just to check without taking off the backing paper. Check both sides and then just lay the transfer tape back down.

If the decal doesn’t want to stick to the transfer tape like this, just flip the decal over face down and scrape the back then peel the backing paper at a tight angle, making sure that it sticks to a transfer tape instead. The angle will help release it.

Here’s some more information – please read the following…

Clean the surface you’re about to put the decal on to. I just used water and rubbing alcohol let dry before for continuing.

I’m going to show you two different methods. Choose according to the size and shape of your decal.

Use masking tape to hold the decal in position. You can tape just the top or one of the sides.

Step back look at it, and make sure that’s where you want it.

You can use a measuring tape to measure it and check if it is even on both sides.

Measure the decal itself and not the backing paper. Reposition as needed.

Once in position put more tape on one side to keep it stable.

This is called a hinge method works great for square shaped decals.

If you have a longer or a bigger decal let me show you a different way.

This is called a center hinge. Put masking tape down the center. This can be done vertically or horizontally depending on how big or tall your decal is.

Put more tape on one side to secure it.

We’ll come back to that one in a second. Back to the first one.

Make sure that it moves up and down like a door hinge.

Just hold it up to decide whichever side you put the masking tape on, and peel the backing paper off keeping it at a tight angle, close to the surface.

Don’t let your fingers touch the decal itself.

Slowly roll it back down, running your fingers down the center press the front firmly with your fingers in and scrape it with our credit card or squeegee.

Try to get all the air bubbles out, but if there is any still, it’ll go away in about a month or so. Peel the transfer taped off keeping a close angle to the surface.

If the decal doesn’t want to come up off the transfer tape just rub it back down with your fingers.

Take your time and do this part slowly. Firmly press the decal and all its corners down with your fingers and that’s it for that one.

Let’s go to the other one now. This method is just like the hinge method except we’re gonna do one side at a time.

Cut the backing paper off but don’t accidentally scratch your car with the scissors

Slowly roll the decal back on starting from the center out. Now just do the same thing on the other side.

Take off all the masking tape and then take off the backing paper. Remember take your time and do this part slowly.

Use your squeegee or credit card rub the front firmly get any air bubbles out. Remember if there is any left they’ll go away in about a month or so.

Slowly peel off the transfer tape keeping it at a close angle to the surface. Make sure all the decals stuck onto the surface. Press it back down with your finger if it’s not, press the decal and all its corners down with your fingers and that’s it!

If you ever need to remove your decal, you can just use your fingernails to peel it off.

The key is to do it very slowly to get all the residue off, but if you do have any residue left over there are adhesive removers that you can buy.

If you bought a decal from me and you still messed it up during the application process, take a picture and send it to me and I’ll send you a replacement for free.

If you still have any questions feel free to contact me my information is right here Thanks

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