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Adhesive Vinyl as Car Decals or Stickers

Adhesive Vinyl as Car Decals or Stickers

One of the many good things about adhesive vinyl is that you can apply it pretty much anywhere that has a smooth and even surface, like wood, walls, glass, and even cars! Adhesive Vinyl is perfect for this kind of craft because it is designed to last outdoors. Customizing cars using an adhesive vinyl is definitely a great choice as it is durable, it looks way better compared to paint and can easily be changed when you want to upgrade and replace the design in the future.

Before showing you the process of how to make and apply the car decals, let us show you 2 factors you should consider before proceeding!



There are various kinds and types of adhesive vinyl to choose from in the market, but not all of them can be used when making car decals. When making car decals, we want to find an adhesive vinyl that can withstand different temperature and an adhesive vinyl that is water-resistant. That’s why Oracal 651, Oracal 751, and Oracal 951 are the adhesive vinyl that we want to use when making our car decals! You can also use Printable Adhesive Vinyl but remember that there can be discoloration and even peeling some time after application make sure to use a laminate on top for a longer lasting decal. That’s why for this type of craft, we strongly recommend the Oracal 651, Oracal 751, and Oracal 951!


The weather and temperature can greatly affect your decals before and after the application! Warmer days are better when you are applying the vinyl or your design onto your vehicle. 

How to make car decals/stickers using Adhesive Vinyl

  • Step 1 – Prepare the design

Using your preferred cutting software or application, prepare your design. Choose the colors of the design and re-size it into however you would like. After editing the design, pick the adhesive vinyl you will be using for this craft. Again, here are the 3 best adhesive vinyl to use;

• Oracal 651
• Oracal 751
• Oracal 951

  • Step 2 – Cut the Design

After choosing the type and color of adhesive vinyl to use, send the design to cut. There’s no need to mirror the design before sending it to cut since we are not using a heat transfer vinyl. But if the decal is going to be put on the inside of the car, mirror the design.

Before loading the cutting mat into the cutting machine, make sure that the vinyl is applied on the cutting mat correctly. The vinyl should be placed on the mat shiny side or colorful side up.

  • Step 3 – Weed the Design

After the vinyl has been cut, don’t remove the vinyl from the cutting mat, proceed to first weed your design. The cutting mat will help you weed the vinyl easier, it will serve as an extra helping hand!

  • Step 4 – Apply the Transfer Tape

On this step, we will apply the transfer tape after the design is completely weeded out! When the transfer tape is already applied on the design, get your application tool and burnish the design with firm pressure. Make sure that the design is adhered on the transfer tape correctly. To check this, peel one side halfway to check if the design is already transferred on the transfer tape, then put it back and do the same process on the other half of the design. Do not completely remove the backing of the design just yet.

  • Step 5 – Prepare the Final Substrate

Clean the surface where the decal is going to be applied. Here’s the step-by-step procedure when cleaning the surface;

1. Clean the surface with soap and water. You can use dishwashing soap as your soap when cleaning the surface, make sure to not use Windex or any glass cleaner, they may have some chemicals that will affect the adhesion of your vinyl! After cleaning with soap, rinse the surface well and ensure that there is no soap residue left on the surface.

2. After rinsing the surface, use rubbing alcohol and wipe the surface to remove any soap residue that are still on your surface!

3. Then lastly, use a microfiber cloth to help dry the surface.


  • Step 6 – Apply the Vinyl

When the final substrate is completely dry, try to not touch it as much as you can. Grab masking tape, your application tool, and your design!

Without removing the paper backing of the design, place the design on where you want it to be, the masking tape will be used to help the design remain in its place while applying. If your decal is small and has a square-like shape, place the tape on the top part of the design. And if your decal is long and has a rectangular shape, start by putting a tape on the center of the design and then add more on the sides of the design.

We will first show you how we are going to remove the backing of the small and square-like shape. With this size, you’ll lift the decal vertically, which means lift the bottom part of the design, and then carefully remove the backing paper. And then gently put the decal back down, while pressing it (with firm pressure) towards the surface with your application tool. When the decal and transfer tape is finally applied on the surface, burnish it once again until there are no bubble or air pockets on the decal. When removing the transfer tape, make sure that you do peel it off at an angle and do it slowly and gently.


Now, we’ll show you how to do it with a long and rectangular shape decal. Pick a side that you want to start with. Take the tape off on that side and peel the backing and then cut it off. Gently place it back on its place while pushing it down with your application tool. Repeat this process on the other side. When all of the paper backing is completely removed, burnish the decal until there are no bubbles or air pockets left. And then finally, remove the transfer tape off at an angle, do it slowly and gently.

And that’s it! We’ve successfully made and applied the car decal! We hope that you find this article helpful and educating! Share this with your family and friends who are also planning on “upgrading” or customizing the looks of their car! If you tried making this craft, we’d love to see them! Share them by sending a picture of the project on our social media accounts! Also, while you’re at it, follow us on our social media accounts to see some tips and tricks for adhesive vinyl and heat transfer vinyl!

Social Media Accounts:
Instagram: @craftvinylca

Thank you, keep safe, and stay crafty, Crafters!