Make Your Own Signs | DIY Decal Guide

Step-by-step Guide for DIY Decals

If you want a custom facelift for your walls, clock, photo frames or any other object, then vinyl decals are your best bet. Perhaps you’ve tried buying the same ready-made designs as everyone else, and you weren’t too impressed (though ours are MUCH better) or you just want to start learn how to cut your own vinyl. Don't sweat it. This article will guide you on how to make beautiful, professional decal designs that are unique to you if you don't want to order online! Making your decals at home is not a complicated process. You have three options, depending on how specific you want your pattern to be:

  1. Make handmade drawings on contact paper.
  2. Cut your decals out of a patterned sheet. The sheet is made out of a vinyl material, backed with adhesive.
  3. Print your decals on an adhesive-backed vinyl that is specially designed to retain inkjet ink. If you're a hobbyist or a commercial decal designer, this is a route you should consider.

Once you've decided the option you're going with; the next step is to work some decal magic. Don't worry: we'll look at the methods for each DIY decal option, as they're all easy peasy, decal queasy. You'll be done in no time.

1. Making Decal With Contact Paper

This method is quite inexpensive compared to using a computer, and you'll need fewer materials as well. Using contact paper to make decals is suitable for simpler designs that don't require much detailing with rendering.

What You'll Need

  • Plain paper
  • Contact paper
  • Brown packing paper
  • Scissors
  • Felt tip marker
  • Squeegee for vinyl

How to make decals with contact paper

  1. Sketch out your design on plain paper. For better precision and a neater result, you could use photo-editing software or one of the sticker maker apps to work on the design.
  2. For wall decals, create a sketch of the room where you plan to put the design and see how it fits. If you're using digital photo software like Photoshop, scan in a picture of the room and add the design digitally.
  3. Draw out a sample design on brown packing paper or an old newspaper. Tape this dummy to the wall to be sure that you are correct with scale and shape. If you're not, retrace the steps and make the necessary adjustments.
  4. Remove the paper from the wall and use a felt tip marker to trace the design onto the back of the contact paper.
  5. Cut out your design carefully with a pair of sharp scissors to get clean lines.
  6. Transfer the contact paper to the wall, starting from the bottom of the design, working your way upwards slowly. Peel off the backing paper as you go.Run through this step slowly, so you don't create wrinkles or bubbles in your design. Better still, use the Squeegee for the vinyl instrument—it has sharp edges, which you can use to apply your decals equally without trapping the air bubbles beneath. You can even use it to place the transfer tape on the decals before sending it to customers.
  7. Do a final rub of the decal on the surface to make sure every piece is set. Take a step back and admire your work. You are finished!

2. Making Decals With A Computer

What You'll Need

  • A computer or tablet
  • Photo editing software
  • Scanner
  • Printer
  • Vinyl sheet paper
  • Laminating sheets
  • Laminator
  • Scissors

How to make decals on a computer

  1. Scan the image you want for your design on the computer or a laptop (see also best laptop stickers sites). If you want a custom-made image, you can use Photoshop or any alternative software to draw the image of your choice. If you're going with the scanning option, ensure you scan a high-resolution version, and avoid blurry or distorted images. It is also recommended that you scan your decal into your computer at a 600dpi resolution and no lower than 300dpi resolution
  2. Edit the decal with the design software. Make color changes as you wish, and resize the image to fit the space you want to cover.
  3. Insert a plain vinyl paper into the printer, with the right side up. You could use white paper to test which side you should print on
  4. Make a decal sheet, fitting as many decals as you can on one page. Make sure that the designs do not overlap, as you'll need to cut those out later.
  5. Test print the decal sheet on plain white paper, to view the accuracy of the production.
  6. Print your decal sheet onto the vinyl paper. If the printer ink doesn't stick to the vinyl paper, then you have printed on the wrong side of the paper. You can use a plain white piece of paper to test which side to print on. This step is quite important
  7. Once you've printed on the right side, it's time to protect your design. Laminate the page with a cold press laminator. This will protect the design and prevent the colors from fading.
  8. Cut out the excess laminating sheet before putting it in the laminator.

Peel off the backing from the vinyl sheet and stick the decal to your object. If you're making decal designs with text or images that have intricate details, you might have to cut out the patterns for best results. An X-Acto knife would be more suitable than scissors to get precise lines. Creating your own decals is a fair amount of work, but once you get used to the process it's not terribly hard. If you're interested in having professional vinyl done then make sure to order with us for the best rates online.


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