Mistakes to Avoid When Applying a Nudge Printing Car Decal or Bumper Sticker

Mistakes to Avoid When Applying a Nudge Printing Car Decal or Bumper Sticker

Even though we are still practicing social distancing (keep washing those hands!), the weather is warming up nicely and it's s l o w l y starting to feel like Spring, despite the lack of ANY sports on TV!

The best thing about summer is hitting the road (my wife bought a car with a sunroof last summer and it forever changed the way I drive around in the summer). Part of getting excited for the summer road trip is personalizing your vehicle (or boat!) with a bumper sticker from Nudge - we have the Great Lakes sticker in 16 different colors, great Michigan pride stickers, and decals for all 50 US states - but only if that decal is applied properly!

My first car decal was a Tigers logo on my back window of my 2003 Mercury Sable, but I botched it and it was riddled with air bubbles and eventually tattered and withered away through the rain and wind. That will not happen with a Nudge decal - if applied correctly. Like the mistake I made, what are some common mistakes that customers make when applying their decal to their car?

  • Not cleaning the surface. It doesn't matter if you are putting your decal or bumper sticker on a window, cooler, grill, laptop, water bottle, iPad, or a boat, the surface must be clean. The decal will sit snugly to any smooth surface (it doesn't need to be flat, but it can't be textured like cinder block, brick, or a beautiful popcorn ceiling), but if it is not cleaned properly prior to application, you will be out of luck. No matter the surface or where it is, there are always microscopic flecks of dust and dirt that will affect the integrity of the decal. Any glass cleaner or all purpose cleaner will do the trick (obviously treat your finer electronics with a little more care), just spray the surface and wipe it down with a rag - but wait for it to dry before application!
  • Applying when wet is another big mistake we see. Cleaning the surface is important, but immediate application after cleaning won't allow the vinyl to stick to the surface; it might hold temporarily, but after a rain shower or a car wash, there will be enough gaps between the decal and the surface that it will slide off easily, and you don't want that to happen. It doesn't take long for the surface to dry, but a good idea is to have a wet rag to clean the surface and a dry rag to dry the surface. 
  • Assuming the transfer tape is part of the decal. After you've removed the blue backing and have applied the decal to a clean and dry surface, there is still a thin layer of transfer tape on top of the decal that is not part of the decal. It is strictly for storage and transport of the product, it is not meant to stay on. All you need to do is peel off the blue backing, stick the decal where you want it, and then remove the transfer tape, and all that should be left is the decal on the car!

Don't forget to remove the top adhesive to make your bumper sticker look great!

  • Not rolling it after application. Unless you're a perfect human like Keanu Reeves, your decal will have some air bubbles or pieces of it will come off with the wax paper. That's expected to happen and easy to fix! When the wax paper is on, either with your fingers or a plastic card or someting similar (no sharp edges!), simply press the decal further onto the surface and the air bubbles should disappear. As you're removing the wax paper, do the same thing on the remaining decal itself, starting with the wider sections and working your way to the edges. Air bubbles should work their way out and you're good to go!
  • Ice scrapers! Snow in the northern states is a necessary evil, and your decal could be in danger. The snow and ice itself won't be a threat as long as your decal is applied properly, but snow and ice removal could get tricky. I've had my Great Lakes sticker on my car for a winter now, and it survived the scraper and rear wiper perfectly fine, but that's because I'm always careful scraping ice off the back. As your car is warming up and you are removing ice, just be aware of where your decal is and don't scrape past it violently; if you catch it right, the edges will come off and it will be almost impossible to salvage. 

We've had some customers leave bad reviews because of improper application or not fully reading the directions. All of our decals are packaged and shopped on a blue backing just so it is a little sturdier, but we've had some customer service problems in the past because someone thought the blue backing was part of the product and they didn't get what they ordered.

Yes, there is blue backing, but that comes off right when you open the package. We've also had some customers not remove the transfer tape and say their product was damaged because of it. The transfer tape is not durable or heavy duty like the vinyl decal itself, so if it stays on your car or boat, it is going to get beat up very easily and will look pretty bad. 

This is a one-star review we received - note how the transfer tape is still on the car and it looks terrible because a car wash destroyed it. The instructions are in the product description and on the back of every decal we package, but this is a very common mistake when it comes to applying your decal to your car. 

For such a small product, a decal or bumper sticker can be difficult to apply if done incorrectly or out of order in relation to our instructions on the back. Click this link for a step-by-step guide to applying a Nudge decal or watch the video below!

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