How to Make Vinyl Decals with Creative Methods at Home

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Making vinyl decals and screen printing is now easy enough for anyone to do it at home. Even if it's for business purposes, you can create attractive and long-lasting decals that are professional enough to make money.

Nevertheless, you will need the right items and instructions to pull it off.

So, this article discusses DIY methods of creating vinyl decals at home in a few steps.

Let's begin!

How to Make Vinyl Decals with Printable Vinyl

Most people are only familiar with regular vinyl paper and not with the printable type. However, it is a simple concept to grasp since it is similar to printing on paper using your desktop printer. You can't print on regular vinyl since it doesn't take ink from the printer. So, printable vinyl is the ideal choice because it has a special coating on one side that allows you to print on it without any trouble.


  • A vinyl cutting machine like Cricut Maker, Cricut Explore Air 2, or Silhouette Cameo 3.
  • A computer design software
  • A cutting mat
  • Print vinyl, e.g., Expressions vinyl
  • An inkjet printer
  • A tool for straightening the edge

Step 1: Making the Print Design

Start by using design software like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, or Silhouette Studio to create the vinyl decal design you want. Make sure you select an appropriate page to letter size for the printable vinyl paper.

The designs should be lined up so that you can cut them perfectly without eating in. Fit as many as necessary into a single page and rotate them in various ways to ensure you use much of the vinyl paper and reduce wastage.

However, if you are making vinyl stickers for your home business, you should arrange them as neatly as possible. This will make them appear as appealing as possible to your customers. Either way, the decals should not go beyond the cutting lines.

Step 2: Load the Printable Vinyl

With your design at hand, load the decal sheet into the printer and make sure the paper's dull side receives the ink since the shiny side of the vinyl decal in the back.

Finalize the arrangement of the sticker designs and the cut lines, and then print on vinyl to get your DIY vinyl decals.

Step 3: Apply Vinyl Laminate

The next thing to do is apply a layer of vinyl laminate to the sheet to prevent fading. While the stickers could last about a year without protection, they won't resist water damage for long.

The best way to ensure the stickers from your vinyl business last as long as possible is to add the laminate, which will provide up to 5 years of water resistance. This is necessary for washable items like mugs and tumblers or outside posters subjected to water or rain.

Place your print vinyl on a rigid surface and peel the backing from the laminate, starting from one edge with about an inch. Ensure the edge of the laminate is aligned to that of the vinyl paper and smoothly press it down using an application tool to remove air bubbles and creases. As you pull the backing off, use a ruler to burnish the laminate on the vinyl decal.

Step 4: Cutting the Vinyl Stickers

Place the printed sheet on a cutting mat and feed it into the vinyl cutter. Double-check the cut settings and then let the machine cut the stickers out.

Step 5: Peel and Stick them

Finally, peel out the stickers and stick them onto the intended surface. Burnish the decals and smoothen out any wrinkles or air pockets.

How A Mom Can Create Vinyl Stickers By Hand

If you want to make stickers at home for your vinyl decal business but don't have a Cricut machine or any other vinyl cutter, you can still make them differently. Once you gather the supplies, we'll get straight into the steps involved.

Things You'll Need

  • Decal designs
  • An inkjet printer
  • A cutting tool like an X-Acto knife
  • A flat surface
  • Adhesive vinyl
  • Transfer tape
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers

Stage 1: Invent the Design

You'll need to try out several ideas to create something that looks good at the right size. You can lay multiple layers of different colors to get a clear and vibrant image.

Stage 2: Place the Image on the Vinyl Sheet

Cut a vinyl piece that is larger than the design by about an inch and tape it onto the cutting surface. A portable cutting surface will provide you more flexibility. Since curly vinyl is easy to manipulate when cutting, you don't have to tape it down.

Stage 3: Cutting

The cutting is the most tedious part of this process. Begin cutting the inner designs, such as the inside of letters, and if you cut too deep, you can tape the piece together. You can overlap the cut lines instead of leaving gaps between the words. Ensure you constantly look at the image to keep you on the right track as you cut.

Stage 4: Pick the Sticker

Next, you should cut the borders of the design into sections to make it easy to remove the stickers. Use the tweezers to pull out the pieces, which will allow you to check the edges of the design.

Stage 5: Tape it and Trim

Ensure the decal is flat, and then slowly tape it down while ensuring no creases or bubbles form. After taping, trim the decal about half an inch and leave one end overlapping to make it easier to place the sticker.

Stage 6: Apply the Sticker

Before you place the decal, the surface you are sticking it on should be clean. Place the sticker and ensure the overlap is long enough to hold the decal in place as you remove the backing. Then press the decal firmly and check that it adheres to the surface without any creases.


You can use the methods in this post to make prints for water bottles, a bumper sticker, business logos, and more. With the right materials and method, you can make printing stickers that will earn you the sales you want. 

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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