How to Apply Vinyl Decal to Glass/Window

When it comes to vinyl decals, the choices are endless, but choosing the right one is only the first step in your vinyl journey. Once you’ve found the best vinyl decals, you need to know how to apply them. 

We’ll be focusing on how to apply vinyl decals to glass and windows, which can be tricky even at the best of times. Even if you’ve applied vinyl stickers before, be sure to read this guide before going ahead. Working on glass involves completely different techniques than applying decals to a wall

What This Article Covers:

What Is a Vinyl Decal

how to apply vinyl decal to glass

Vinyl decals are a really fun way to decorate your home or advertise your business. They can be applied to walls or windows and provide an eye-catching pop of color.

Vinyl decals are made out of plastic or resin and are much harder than simple stickers. This makes them a great choice if you’re decorating your storefront or any outdoor space since they’re more capable of surviving harsh weather without getting sun-damaged or peeling at the edges.

There are also different types of vinyl decals for windows. Some have adhesive on the back, meaning that you have to stick them on the outside of your window. 

However, others have the adhesive on the front, allowing you to put the decal on the inside of your store window. 

This can be a benefit as it reduces the risk of vandalism and keeps your vinyl decal safe from the weather. 

Either way, you will need to remove the layer that is covering the adhesive surface in order to put the vinyl decal onto your window. 

There are many kinds of decals, and vinyl may not necessarily be the right option for you. You can choose from waterslide, calender, ControlTac, and many more. Make sure to research each thoroughly before buying.

When it comes to using vinyl decals or decal stickers, you need to make sure that you’re using a high-quality product and that is what we offer here at Coastal Creative. 

Our large custom vinyl decals provide you with the best possible product for your home or business. 

How to Put Decals on Glass

how to put decals on glass

While putting up a vinyl decal may seem self-explanatory, there are actually several factors that go into the best installation. This is especially important when it comes to applying window decals with no bubbles

The first step in putting decals on glass is to make sure that your glass is fully clean. While some vinyl decals are removable, you definitely don’t want to get dirt stuck to them as this diminishes their adhesive capabilities. 

Dirt and oil on the glass also make it harder for the adhesive to stick to it, increasing the chance that your vinyl will fall off prematurely. 

You also want to choose to apply vinyl decals when the conditions are right. Applying vinyl decals in cold weather is not ideal, and you should choose a day that is dry and mild, especially if you’re working outside. 

How to Apply Vinyl Decal on Glass

The first thing you need to do is make sure everything is properly clean. Spray down the glass with a mild soapy mix (5% soap, 10% water), and wipe it thoroughly with a cloth. Wait for everything to dry before moving on to the next step.

It’s a good idea to do this inside so that no fresh dust blows onto the glass while you’re working. If you’re working on an exterior window and don’t have that luxury, you’re going to have to wait for a calm day when there’s minimal risk of wind ruining your hard work.

Once the surface is prepped, do a test run to make sure you’re happy with the position you’ve chosen for your vinyl decal. Stick the top of the decal to the glass with some masking tape and let it hang down freely. Step back from the window and make sure you’re happy with the way everything looks. You don’t want to reposition it once it’s on, so it’s a good idea to make sure everything is good to go.

applying vinyl decals to glass

With Coastal Creative, we make our decals to be easy to apply, so the next step is relatively simple.

Peel the tape off the back of the decal, line it up with the masking tape from the dry run, take a deep breath, and press it down firmly. Once it’s on, it’s time to remove any air bubbles. Run something straight and firm, like a credit card or ruler, down the applied vinyl before it has time to completely set.

You need to allow at least 24 hours for the vinyl decal to set to the glass before removing the transfer tape. If you’ve followed the steps correctly, it should stick like a dream.

How to Apply Decal Stickers to Glass

Decal stickers are another great choice and provide more options when it comes to color and design. 

Decal stickers are often more intricate than vinyl decals and are created using a slightly different method. Designs are printed onto vinyl that already has adhesive on it. 

One major advantage of decal stickers is that they are more easily removable. This makes them a great choice for seasonal decor, like putting pumpkins on your storefront for Halloween. 

However, being removable doesn’t mean that your decal stickers won’t stay on once you put them up. It simply means that they are easier to move around once you have stuck them, unlike more permanent vinyl decals. 

When it comes to putting decal stickers on glass, you do not have to be as precise, because the adhesive allows them to be removed. 

But you still need to follow the preparation steps and make sure the window or piece of glass is clean before you start applying. 

You can then take the decal sticker and work out where you would like to position it. Once you’ve chosen a spot, you can remove the backing and apply the sticker onto the glass.

Like with a vinyl decal, you can use something hard to press out any bubbles that may have formed. It is important to do this thoroughly while applying to prevent the bubbles from getting stuck.

While the adhesive is still drying, you have a chance to make sure the application is perfect. 

how to apply vinyl decal on glass

How Do You Seal Waterslide Decals on Glass

Waterslide decals require a different application technique than vinyl ones. They’re thinner than vinyl decals and use sugar molecules to form an adhesive.

Because of the way they’re printed, you can include an even greater level of detail than vinyl decal stickers. 

You use water to activate this adhesive layer and place it onto your window or other surfaces. 

One of the advantages of waterslide decals is that you can make them yourself using a machine at home, making this an option for hobbyists who can’t afford professional decals.

Because of how thin they are, waterslide decals are great to use when applying decals onto a curved surface. You can use them to decorate a mug, for example. 

To apply a water slide decal, you follow the same process as a vinyl decal in terms of cleaning the surface and carefully positioning the decal.

Next, get a bowl of water that’s large enough to completely cover the waterslide decal. You don’t need any fancy filtered or distilled water, so you can get it straight from the faucet.

Drop the decal in the water and let it soak for about a minute. You don’t have to be too precise about this, but don’t let it go too long or it might tear.

Then, dampen the surface on that you’re applying the decal. Shake off any excess liquid from the decal, remove it from the backing sheet, and press it firmly against the glass. Once it’s stuck firm enough to keep itself up, gently wipe off the decal and glass to make sure it’s dry. Leave the decal to set for at least a day and it should be good to go.

how to apply decal to glass


Once your waterslide decal has been applied, you then need to seal it with about three coats of clear spray paint or sealant. 

You need to apply light layers and let them fully dry to avoid ruining the decal. There can also be applied to glass and windows. 

Because you need to seal them, they are more permanent, which may be useful if that is what you need. 

Why Go with Coastal Creative?

We pride ourselves on our versatility. No matter your design or ambitions, we’re sure we can be a part of your journey to make your dreams come to life. 

Our premium vinyl decals work on textured walls, canvas, curved surfaces, and just about anything else you can think of. Don’t believe us? Give us a call and pitch your idea and we’ll tell you how much it’ll cost and how we’re going to get it done.

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