How to Apply Window Decals for Retail Signage and Cars

Posted on July 3, 2018

applying vinyl decals with soapy water

Window decals are useful for advertising a business or attracting customers’ attention. Learning how to put on a decal yourself can be a huge cost-saver, but it may not be as professional looking as using an expert for the job.

This post explains the basics of decal installation, including instructions on how to apply window decal stickers to retail windows and how to install car decals.

What You Need for Vinyl Decal Installation

  • Your decals or retail window clings
  • Spray bottle
  • A few drops of dish soap in a pint of water
  • A hard, straight edge, such as a credit card

How to Put on a Window Decal

When applying vinyl stickers to glass, follow these steps:

1. Clean the Glass

Decals adhere best to clean surfaces. Before you start the installation process, clean the window thoroughly and let it dry completely.

2. Identify the Sticky Side

One of the most common questions we get at Houston Sign Company is – do window decals go inside or outside of the glass? The answer is that it depends whether you have ordered inside or outside decals. If you are not sure which decals you have, check which side of the decal is the most shiny and smooth. This is the protective sheet that shields the decal adhesive.

Regular window decals, which stick to the front of a window, have the protective sheet on the back of the image. Inside decals have the protective sheet on the front of the image.

3. Remove the Protective Sheet

Carefully peel the plastic protective sheet away from the decal. If you are installing vinyl lettering on windows, you will need to remove the plastic sheets from each individual letter.

It is often best to do this for a single letter at a time, rather than unpeeling all the protective sheets and then starting to stick the decals onto the glass.

4. Spray the Decal With Soapy Water

Applying vinyl decals with soapy water is a good way to ensure they adhere firmly to the window. Lightly spray both the decal and the window with soapy water.

5. Place the Decal on the Window

Place the decal on the soapy window and slide it around to get the correct positioning. If the decal is very large, you might need to use a level to ensure it is straight. For more tips on how to apply a large vinyl decal, contact our Houston sign installers.

6. Secure the Decal in Place

Slide your credit card or other hard-edged object across the decal from side-to-side to push out air bubbles and excess water from underneath it. This final step in applying window decals ensures that the decal lies flat, doesn’t trap air bubbles, and doesn’t peel away from the window.

how to apply window decals

How to Put a Decal on a Car Window

Car decal installation instructions are the same as those for how to put on vinyl window decals. If you later want to remove the decal from the car (for instance, when you’re selling the vehicle), simply peel the decal from one corner and then use rubbing alcohol to remove any sticky residue.

More Tips on How to Install Window Graphics

For more tips on how to install window decals, check out Houston Sign Company. Our sign company in Houston can help you out if you’re having trouble working out how to install vinyl decals, and even help you create your own Houston sign designs for your store front or vehicle wrap.

Visit our website today to request a quote.