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Car Decals: DIY Style!

Dec 14, 2022


How can I remove a car decal?

You can either use a less strong adhesive like Oracal 631 or gently heat it up with a hairdryer and peel from one edge. You’ll have some adhesive goo leftover, you can use Goo Gone or a similar product, just make sure it doesn’t get down into the rubber seals. You’ll also want to clean it off after so there’s no Goo Gone residue left.


How intricate can the design be?

This depends on if you’re cutting with a cutting machine and laying out your design in something like Cricut Design Space. Also, how patient you are with weeding vinyl. I’d try a simple design first and then get more adventurous later on.


Can I place a decal on my bumper or car paint?

Absolutely! The adhesive in permanent outdoor vinyl (like Oracal 651) is extremely safe to use on a car. Oracal 751 is often used for car wraps and it uses the exact same adhesive backing (it’s just a bit thinner and easier to apply to a complex surface like a car).


What should I use to clean?

I like using just plain water, but you can add a little bit of dish detergent if it’s especially dirty. To make sure it’s dry after, clean with some rubbing alcohol.


Can I put it on the inside?

Yup! You’ll have to mirror the design, but this is a great way of keeping it safe from the weather and looking great for a long time.


Will the decal survive a car wash?

Yes, it’s fine to use a car wash! I’d wait around a week or so for the adhesive to cure, but after that you’re good to go.


What about windshield wipers?

The decal will probably be fine, but you can wear away your wipers a bit faster. I usually place my designs where the wipers don’t hit them, or I use the inside window.


What kind of vinyl can I use for a decal?

I prefer Oracal 651. If you’re using a large design that wraps around the car or has to contour to its surface, you’ll want Oracal 751. I go through the differences between 651 and 751 in this article.


What about car decal vinyl?

There isn’t really a vinyl specifically made for only cars, so the above recommendations are what will work the best.


Will it interfere with heater coils?

Nope! The heater coils will keep working just fine, and they won’t damage the vinyl at all. The number one enemy of vinyl is almost always the sun and its UV light, so you can either place the decals inside because your glass will filter some of the UV, or you can place them outside and 651 is rated for a minimum of 6 years.


How do I give a car decal as a gift?

If you’re selling them or giving them to friends, I’d put them on the transfer tape and give them that way. If they don’t have a scraper to use for applying, they can just use an old credit card.


What’s the difference between a car sticker and a decal?

Basically the same thing! Stickers (like a bumper sticker) usually are printed and a variety of colors. A decal is cut usually of a single color of vinyl, although there is printable vinyl as well that you can use.

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