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Questions About Placing and Removing Stickers – Decals

window decals

The best way to stick a decal to a velvet surface. Can windshield wipers damage the rear window decal? Will removing a very old car sticker uneven the car paint? And, the right way to remove an auto dealer sticker from the trunk of a car without damaging its paint.

Question:  What is the best way to get a decal to stick to velvet? Will a decal or sticker work?

No, or at least none that I know of. Acrylic adhesives will adhere to the fabric somewhat, but not for long. And do NOT wash any fabric or garment EVER with an adhesive sticker, as you’ll likely never fully remove the adhesive. Applying decals to velvet will produce the same result as you would with any other fabric.

Velvet, as with many materials, is printable with screen print inks, but it will stiffen the fibers to some degree, like you will find with printed cotton T-shirts and other fabrics. Unless the fibers are printed in the manufacturing process, this will always be the case.

Question:  Will my windshield wipers ruin the decal on my car’s rear window?

Laminated decalIf it’s just rain water, it is unlikely that any real damage will occur in the short term or at least within in a couple of years. However, if there’s lots of dirt or mud that hits your windows, then you may see the abrasive action of the dirt (which contains silica, the main ingredient of glass) begin to wear on the decal’s ink.

Another way you can minimize wear and tear on the decals is to order laminated stickers. If you know the decals are going to be used in a climate or region where there are a lot of muddy roads, it might be wise to protect the print using over-lamination. Over-laminate comes in various finishes like gloss or semi-gloss or matte, and  the warranties will vary from three to five to seven years mostly. For decals, three years is probably enough.

Question:  My car is 10 years old and has a decal on it that I want to remove, but I fear that when I do this, the paint under the sticker will be darker than the rest of the paint. What can I do about this.

Repaint the car. That is about the only thing you can do to even the paint out. If the sticker’s been there for a while, it is very likely that your assessment of the paint being darker underneath the vinyl decal will be absolutely correct, and there will be nothing you can do, short of repainting your car , to fix it.

Question:  What is the best way to remove a dealer sticker from the trunk of my car without damaging the paint?

vinyl graphic stickers for carsWe’ve covered this topic in detail in several other posts, but it is an important topic, so I’ll be happy to cover it again to make it easy for our readers to find answers on successful and safe vinyl sticker or decal removal.

1. Be warned on the adhesive of your auto dealer sticker.

First, realize that standard decal adhesive is a very tough adhesive, meant to withstand temperatures down to 40 below zero Fahrenheit and up to close to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. These acrylic adhesives are very strong so that they won’t let a sticker fall off your car window or in your case, the painted trunk of your car.

Over time, too, acrylic adhesives harden to the point that they don’t want to release your sticker or decal, and as many dealer stickers are also made of mylar, or polyester, they also tear quite easily as well.

2. Use heat and slowly peel it off.

So, to combat this, you need to use heat to get the decal’s acrylic adhesive to release. Using a hair dryer on high heat or a heat gun on low heat, heat the stickers up until soft, then slowly pull them off.

3. Scrape off the glue residue with orange peel.

It is likely you’ll leave a little to a lot of glue residue, so you’ll need to purchase an orange peel glue remover to soak the adhesive in order to soften it, then use a stiff card, such as a credit card, to scrape the softened glue off the car. Once most of the glue is removed, it is best to use a soft paper towel soaked in the glue remover to rub off any remaining glue.


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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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