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Using Decals on Painted Wood/Walls, Taking Them off Paper Backing

Painted Wood Walls

Applying decal stickers on painted wood and walls, and how to remove them from paper backing.

Question:  Can I put decals on painted wood

Generally yes. It depends, of course, on a couple factors.

The first factor is how rough is the wood the paint is on. If the wood is very rough, it would need to be sanded well before painting it. Then you can stick vinyl to it.

The other factor is how long has it been since the board was painted? Assuming the board was relatively smooth, you should wait, at a bare minimum, a week before applying vinyl decals to it. I recommend 2 weeks, but I’ve been known on occasion to push the limits.

However, on those occasions where I had to remove vinyl, it usually took the paint with it, and I had to do some touch up painting, which never looks as good as the original coat of paint. Get to know more about these vinyl graphics.

Question: Can vinyl decals or stickers be used on painted walls?

Paint on WallsYes, of course. We’ve covered this question in detail previously, but it’s a good review to answer your question.

Any time you’re planning to apply decals such as wall decorating decals to a wall, you must make sure the walls are clean and grease free.

There are a couple ways to do this…the first way is to use a degreasing soap (I recommend TSP, or trisodium phosphate, available at most paint and home improvement stores in a powder form).

Wash the walls thoroughly, rinse, and repeat. You will be surprised, more than likely, at how much greasy grime is on your walls that you can’t see. The reason that your walls are so greasy is because your house breathes, just like you do.

And, like would happen to your lungs if you smoked, stuff builds up on your walls over time. Even if you have a good filtration  system.

The second way to have fresh clean walls to install your decals or stickers on is to paint them. However, even if you’re painting your walls, we still highly recommend cleaning them as stated above, before you paint them. This will help the paint grip the walls better, and when you go to peel those stickers off the wall later on, they won’t take paint with them.

Question: The decal keeps sticking to the paper backing. What should I do?

This sometimes happens if the company that printed the decals uses some old or cheap or cheap old decal stock.

There’s a couple ways to deal with this, but the easiest way, if you have access to a hair dryer or heat gun, is to lightly heat the surface of the decal. This will usually release the adhesive from the paper. However, if the glue sticks like that to paper, it may also stick very well to anything else so be careful where you place your stickers.

The other way, if there’s paper residue stuck to the vinyl decal (make sure it is vinyl) is to get it wet. Yes, believe it or not, the wet paper should come right off. You can actually rinse a vinyl sticker under water and it won’t hurt it at all.


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Barry K. Brown

Barry Brown has been in the Sign, Banner, Decal and Display Business for over 20 years. It isn’t what he thought he’d do with his life, but he says he knows too much now to do anything else!

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