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The Ultimate Guide to Applying Decals: Tips and Tricks for a Flawless Finish

Applying decals is a crucial task for many businesses, and whether you're branding your fleet, upgrading your equipment, or promoting your services, this guide will help you achieve a flawless finish and make the most of your decals.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

Let's get started! Make sure you have everything you need:

  • Beautiful, high-quality decals (hopefully from Purple Frog Graphics)
  • Cleaning solution (mild soap and water or isopropyl alcohol)
  • Lint-free cloth 
  • Masking tape
  • Squeegee or credit card (time to repurpose that old gift card!)
  • Needle or pin (for tackling those sneaky air bubbles)

Step 2: Prepare the Surface

A clean start is a smooth start:

  1. Clean the Surface: Grab your cleaning solution and remove any dirt, dust, or grease. Make sure the surface is completely dry. This step is crucial for vehicles and equipment that face the elements daily.
  2. Smooth the Surface: If the surface is rough, give it a light sanding. A smooth surface ensures your decal sticks perfectly.

Step 3: Position the Decal

Time to get things in place:

  1. Measure and Mark: Measure where you want the decal and mark the corners with masking tape. This ensures you get the placement just right, which is key for large decals on fleet vehicles and equipment.
  2. Align the Decal: Hold up the decal, align it with your markings, and secure the top edge with masking tape to create a handy hinge.

Step 4: Apply the Decal

Here's where the magic happens:

  1. Peel the Backing: Carefully peel away the backing paper (Purple Frog Graphics back slits decals to make this easier), starting from the top. Avoid touching the adhesive side to keep it clean and sticky.
  2. Smooth the Decal: Use a squeegee or credit card to smooth the decal onto the surface from top to bottom. Apply even pressure and work outwards from the center to banish air bubbles. This ensures your decal stands up to weather and wear. 


Step 5: Final Touches

You're almost there!

  1. Remove Masking Tape: Once the decal is fully applied, gently remove the masking tape.
  2. Banish Air Bubbles: Spot any bubbles? Use a needle or pin to pop them, then smooth them out with your squeegee.
  3. Let It Set: Allow the decal to set for at least 24 hours to make sure the adhesive bonds properly. This guarantees durability for outdoor use.

Tips and Tricks for a Flawless Finish

  • Work in a Dust-Free Zone: Dust can sneak under the decal, causing bumps and unevenness. A clean environment is key.
  • Handle with Care: Don’t stretch the decal—it can warp or tear. Apply even pressure and be gentle.
  • Perfect Temperature: Apply decals in moderate temperatures (50°F to 80°F) for the best results. Extreme temps can mess with the adhesive.

By following these steps and tips, your business can apply decals smoothly and achieve a professional, long-lasting finish. With a little patience and attention to detail, your decals will make your fleet and equipment shine, boosting your brand visibility and durability.



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