Vinyl Decal Application Instructions
- Application fluid and spray bottle (several drops of dish soap in one gallon of water.)
- Squeegee (plastic bondo paddle)
- Masking tape (3M low tack)
Each decal normally has three pieces
- The top layer is the transfer tape.
- The middle layer is the vinyl decal
- The bottom layer is the backing paper
To begin, your decal surface must be free of all oils, waxes, and dirt. For cleaning glass, use Windex (Formula 409 if you use Rainex.) Make sure your body panels are clean using a good soap solution and rinse.
Aligning and centering your decal
Measure where you want the decal to be applied. About 1" above and below the outside of where the decal will actually be placed, apply a piece of masking tape as wide as the decal, making sure it is level. You may also do this to the left and right of the decal. You will use this masking tape as a reference to make sure your decal is aligned properly.
Application using the wet transfer method:
Mix a gallon or so of water with a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Fill a spray bottle and wet the area where the decal is to be applied. Trim away the transfer tape so that the tape is about (within 1/2") the size of the decal. Remove the backing and place the decal, still attached to the transfer tape, to the thoroughly wetted surface. The decal can now be moved and repositioned correctly, as it will slide on the thin film of solution trapped between the vinyl decal and the surface. When the decal is in the final location, use a small squeegee to squeeze the water and soap solution out from under the decal. The transfer tape will protect the decal during this process. Caution, be sure to squeegee as much solution as possible from under the decal. Take your time, because if not enough solution is removed from under the decal, it will not adhere to the surface enough to allow the easy removal of the transfer tape. Although a squeegee is the recommend tool, the water can also be removed using the fingers, or a soft cloth. When finished with the squeegee, the transfer tape can be carefully removed. Work the decal with your fingers, and a soft, absorbent cloth around the edges to remove any remaining solution. Warm weather is the best time to apply your decals, but not too hot! If there are bubbles present under the decal that cannot be removed by working them to the edge of the decals with your fingers, then a small pin or needle can be used to puncture the decal at the bubble, and remove the air. A small pinhole will not be seen after the air bubble has been worked out with the fingers.
In colder climates, decals on windows can be damaged by the scraping of frost or ice. Mild window cleaner may be used to clean the windows without damage to the decal. On painted surfaces, care must be taken when waxing. Wax will build up around the edges of the decal and will be need to be removed. Use a soft cloth, take your time and be gentle. A brush, for example will force the wax underneath the edge of the decal and the decal will begin to peel. The decal will not be damaged by normal use of automotive car wash products or water. Although the decals will withstand pressure washers and automatic car washes, these will reduce the life and appearance of the decal. The decals will not last forever, but will give many years of service if taken care of.
Removal of decals
On glass surfaces, with temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, a blade scraper can be used. Decals can be removed from painted surfaces by using a heat gun or hair dryer to warm the decal to the point where it peels of easily.
M Squad "Decal Application Service" is available for the majority of all the Chgoland Emergency Vehicle Shows.
The application of vinyl decals requires a degree of dexterity and concentration. If you feel you cannot apply the decals yourself, any auto detailer or body shop can apply it for you. We cannot be responsible for replacing decals that have been damaged during application.