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Vinyl Wall Art Installation Walkthrough

Vinyl Wall Art Installation Walkthrough

If you are looking for our Vinyl Decals Catalog please click the Take A Peek button.  Read on for some great information on installation of wall decals.

Click here to go to our Wall Decals Catalog

There are countless articles out there on applying vinyl wall art. Yet, I feel there still seems to be a great deal of mystique out there that translates into fear into those that have never done it. So, let’s do a slow walk through of a simple application that will then give us the chance to show a clever secondary application of the same wall decal.

I happen to be transforming part of my home into a large bar area. So I am gonna have ample opportunities to illustrate how to use vinyl wall arts and also how to apply.

This project was one of my first for this new use of the space. I am transforming an old ugly refrigerator into a beautiful refrigerator for the bar. As such, I am going to put a wall decal on the freezer door to make the whole thing more decorative.

Preparation for the Wall Decal Application

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the fridge before I started. However, here it is right after I spray painted it with appliance epoxy spray paint. You will see I have the doors removed and the inside masked off. The paint went on extremely well and I am very pleased with the finished paint you see here. It used to be a basic beige color.

Fridge being prepared for vinyl wall decal installation

Here is the picture of the freezer door I will be applying the wall decal to. You see, wall decals aren’t just for walls. They can be applied on nearly any smooth surface. Having the door off is going to make this project very easy as I will have it at an optimum level for my work.

Freezer Door

As you can see, I have painted the sides of the door in black. I then painted the front of the door in a very light gray paint that is used throughout the room. This is because I am going to reverse out the wall decal so the what is left is this gray paint where the wall decal was. Don’t worry, this will all make sense as we continue through the process.

Here is the wall decal/bar logo that we are putting on the door. Kev-dogg’s Absurdities Lounge. Yes, that is the name of this new space lol. The entire room is becoming filled with things that I think are absurd. Each one of them has a story behind it and the collection came out truly amazing. That’s not just my opinion, but the opinion of many of my guests as well.

Absurdities Lounge Vinyl Wall Logo

You can see in these photos that I am determining the placement of the logo. In this scenario, I am going to center it on the door. For the most part, making sure your decal is level is all that matters for the majority of installations. Placement is nothing other than personal preference. I install many of my wall decals at angles so I don’t even have to level them. That type of positioning works very well for this room I am working on.

I did a few marks on the door that I didn’t photograph. After this wall art is installed, I am going to paint over the top of it and those marks will simply be painted over. That won’t work on all installs. You may want to mark placement for your location differently. A pencil mark can work well, a chalk marker is very easy to remove, or small pieces of painters tape also work very well. Use whatever will be easy to remove or cover depending on your application.

Installing the Vinyl Wall Art

Our surface is ready to go and we know where we want to install the decal. So, let’s get this done.

Remove the paper backing from the vinyl wall art. I did not take a picture of this. If this part of the application is unclear to you please refer the basic wall decal installation article we have posted. Basically, grab a corner of the paper backing and slowly peel it off. This will leave the decal stuck to the transfer tape. If a letter starts to come up with the paper simply push it back down onto the transfer tape and peel the paper off again slowly.

Place the decal on the desired spot. Since I am going on to this door, I know that decal is not going to simply grab hold of the surface. This gives me some maneuverability. I just hold the edges of the tape and lower my wall art down. If I am off a bit I can simply raise it and adjust. Please note that this will not work on a window or mirror. The adhesive nature of the decal to the glass is such that you only get one shot at placement with those surfaces. I would not recommend an application on glass for anyone’s first install. It isn’t horribly difficult but it is harder than a more forgiving surface like a wall.

In these pictures, I am simply rubbing the decal down onto the door. Notice I am simply using my finger. I see countless people out there telling people that they need to use a credit card. They want a hard straight edge pressing the decal. THIS IS NOT THE BEST WAY TO DO IT! Using a straightedge works wonders on a mirror or window or even the side of a car. However, it does not work well at all on any surface with texture. I see very few homes that have non-textured walls. This refrigerator also has texture although not nearly as much as a wall.

So, when trying to work a vinyl wall art into a textured surface, you need a tool that will also get into the texture. My finger is working great on this door. The texture is very fine and I really want to get into it well. As I mentioned I am going to paint over the decal. If I do not get the decal into the texture, the paint will run under it. That isn’t always bad, but in this case, I want a tighter edge.

If I was working on a wall, I might just use my hand with a towel to slide over the decal to rub it into the texture. Each wall is different so you have to make adjustments accordingly. I normally just my palm in 98% of the installations I have done. I have done hundreds if not thousands.

Peel Off the Tape!

Now it is time to slowly remove the transfer tape. The important thing about doing this is all about the angle that you pull it back at. Actually, there are two angles that I will mention.

I like to pull a corner of the tape across the decal at a 45-degree angle like in this picture. I don’t believe there is a scientific reason for that as much as it just the way I have always done it. Others will pull straight down and that works fine as well. However, the angle of the tape being removed is important.

Removing the transfer tape from a vinyl wall art

Notice how I am pulling the tape flat across the decal. The flatter you can pull the tape, the easier the installation. This is because the part of the tape being pulled off the decal at this angle is minimized. This allows the tape to release easily leaving the decal behind. On this application, everything came off easy so I can’t really illustrate how to adapt to tough spots here. I do have other articles on installations that illustrate some tougher situations and how to handle them.

Vinyl Wall Decal Transfer Tape Removal

And here is the decal fully applied to the door. If you were doing a regular install on a wall, you would actually be done at this point. However, as I mentioned earlier, I am doing another level of install with this so that I can reverse it out of the black paint of the refrigerator.

Vinyl Logo Decal Installed

So, let’s continue…

Getting Creative… The Reverse Stencil Install

In a nutshell, here are my next steps. First, I am going to paint the whole door with the black matching paint. I am going to paint right over the decal. Then I am very carefully gonna peel off the decal while the paint is still wet. This is gonna leave the gray paint coming through. That gray paint is the same paint I have used in other parts of the bar. This will basically give me a painted on wall decal that perfectly matches my other paint. And I don’t need any real painting talent to do it. That is very good as I can assure you, I have no painting talent at all.

Here is the door painted. Notice how you can see the decal edges through the paint.

Wall Decal covered in paint

In this photo, I have removed the decal of the word “lounge”.

Wall Decal removed to see color beneath

To do this, I use this little pick tool that was in my toolbox. It is absolutely nothing special. I bought a pack of like 6 of them with a different angle on each at Harbor Freight Tools for a different project. I think I paid $1.99 for the set. You could also use an exacto knife. All you need something with a sharp point as we need to carefully lift up an edge of each letter to the point where we can grab it and remove it.

Pick Tool for removing Wall Decals

You may notice the edge of the lettering looks rough. In this case, that is what the font is. I chose this font for two reasons. One, I like it. Two, I knew the rough edges would work well with this type of application. There is always gonna be some paint that gets into the texture or gets spread a bit when removing the decal. You have to work with the paint wet as after it dries it will not release the decal.

Here is another step.

Reverse Wall Decal almost finished

 

And here is the finished product drying.

Fully Applied Lounge Logo Wall Decal

And the Final Product

Drum roll, please…

Finished Fridge with Decal Applied

Uh, wait, is that it? But, but, the logo, it’s upside down. True story, as this bar continues to take shape there is quite a debate going on between those that know me. Did I make a mistake and put the logo on upside down? Or, did I want it upside down due to the bar name “Absurdities”? I mean, really, with the logo upside down it is quite absurd. Wanna know the answer? Yeah, so do they. I am having so much fun listening to the speculation I don’t think I will ever tell anyone the truth. That just may be a secret I take to the grave with me. Or better yet, maybe I will include the answer in my will. Hmm, I wonder if they would kill me off to find out…

The End Result

So here is the bar at its current state. There is still some trim work that needs to be done, but you can see the fridge in the corner. I think the logo on it really makes it pop. It was an ugly old beige fridge. It could have been a shiny new black fridge. Instead, it has been transformed into a piece of art. Sort of the like the Elvis wall decal on the door.  I just love the Elvis decal at the end of the bar.  It is like you are having a drink with Elvis everytime you sit down.

Absurdities bar with 2 vinyl wall arts

This is why I love vinyl wall decals so much. They are versatile, easy to use, and add a great decorative flair to your home or office.

Ready to shop for some amazing vinyl wall art? Just click on the “Take A Peek” button below to see our catalog.

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Have questions? You can send them to us through our contact form.

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This Post Has 22 Comments
  1. Hi there,
    Wow. These are fantastic. I love them. I’ve just downloaded the catalog and will be browsing through this evening.

    My wife wants something like this for our dining area. This will be on a painted wall. Can you please tell me if, once applied, there are washable – i.e. waterproof, so when we decide to wash the walls they wont peel off?

    Great post. Thanks for sharing.

    Sean

  2. These decals are really awesome and your bar area looks lush. Brilliant job. Do you know if these would work on a caravan exterior? I need to jazz my caravan up and this is a great idea.

    I think you made a mistake putting it upside-down but it looks awesome and fits your theme beautifully. A beautiful mistake.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Patrick,

      We have been making wall arts for over 10 years now. I have installed hundreds or more for sure. They are quick, easy, and relatively cheap which makes them an incredible decorating option.
      Thanks for visiting our site.

      Kevin

  3. Hey Kevin,

    Those are some great shots!

    I’d never considered vinyl wall art for non-wall surfaces, but that’s a cool thing to do that opens up a lot of creative possibilities. There’s all kinds of furniture and appliances you could apply art to.

    Our new office has a fridge that we inherited from the previous tenants. It had a few stickers on the freezer door. I added a couple, myself. I never even thought about applying vinyl art to it, but that could be really cool. Maybe a company logo.

    Well, in any case, thanks for the inspiration.

    And, really, you accidentally put it on upside-down, right?

    1. LOL, I am taking that secret to the grave with me.

      Glad I could inspire you. Wall decals are extremely flexible in usage…walls, mirrors, windows, appliances, furniture, almost any flat surface can take a vinyl wall decal.

      Thanks for swinging by.
      Kevin

  4. You make it look so easy lol! I love how you incorporated the pictures with the instructions, it really helps me understand the directions! The fridge looks stunning! Great post!

    1. Thank you so much. I will have plenty of more posts about installation as I finish other parts of that room. It is making a great example project.

      Thanks for visiting our site and please come back often.

      Kevin

  5. Hi,
    I have had limited experience with Decals. So far a small one I put on a wardrobe door for my son and then ones on airfix models I sometimes do.
    I have been looking recently at getting a few big designs for walls and the door in one of the rooms at home. I love sharks so have been looking into Decals with sharks on.
    Reading this information on installing them properly will help me a lot. I have both smooth and textured surfaces to do and will definitely be using your advice.
    Thanks,
    Michael

    1. Thanks Michael, I am glad the information can be of help. When you are ready to find some for yourself check with us. If we don’t have what you want, you can always email us and we will be happy to find it for you. We have a lot of resources and friends out there and can get you great options fast.

      Kevin

  6. WOW!
    Absolutely awesome vinyl skills! That fridge looks amazing, you made it look so easy. How long does that epoxy paint take to dry/how long have I got to peel all the letters before they’re stuck forever??
    PS when the absurdity lounge open for business? The whole bar looks like the place to be to me.

    1. Come on over Anthony. The bar is always open to friends. The epoxy paint probably took about 30 minutes to be dry to the touch but I let it sit for overnight before doing any work on it. I peel the letters off right away. I suspect you have a good 20 minutes or so but it only took about 5 for me. Someone doing their first one would probably be done in ten or so. It is not hard at all.

      Thanks for visiting the site.

      Kevin

  7. Hey Kevin! The fridge looks amazing this way, very good job!

    I must admit, I’m impressed with your wall arts, and never thought about decorating my own space like this before.

    But it seems to work wonder and makes the room look more personalized. Thanks for your tutorial!

    1. Glad you liked the info Ben. Wall decals are extremely versatile and really can add new life to a room for under $20 in most cases. We appreciate you visiting our site.

      Kevin

  8. That is such a cool project! I would love to do something similar to that in my bar. I dont know if i would be as brave as you and do the reverse color. Peeling off that decal must have been very meticulous.

    Are these the same kind of decals that are used on automobiles? If so then I imagine they would hold up ok for an outside bar as well? One more thing, do you have any idea how well these would adhere to wood? Thanks for your time, great project. I look forward to reading your answers.

    Cheers,
    Jeff

    1. Hi Jeff,

      Thanks for the awesome questions. Removing the decal at that particular stage really isn’t that hard. It all depends on the detail and how many small pieces there are. And yes, these are made out of the same vinyl as used on cars. They will, in fact, go through a car wash with no problems. So an outside bar would be just fine.

      As to installing on wood…that would really depend on the surface of the wood. The simple answer is yes but if we are talking about old rough wood it won’t do great. If it was smooth wood with a layer of smooth sealer on it then it would do great.

      Thanks again.
      Kevin

  9. Wow these are awesome! I am a new auntie and I want to help with decorating my niece’s room. These are definitely something I will mention to my sister-in-law. Would you recommend these over the regular wall decals?

    1. I am not exactly sure what you mean by “regular” wall decals. There are some that is basically a printed design on a piece of plastic and then you put the whole piece of plastic on the wall. Those typically do not look good as you can see the background plastic. With these cut vinyl ones, they truly look like they have been hand painted on so they really add a touch of class.

      Thanks so much for stoping by.
      Kevin

  10. Thank you for sharing this. This is the most informative and helpful article I read so far for the day. I love that you showed us step by step instruction along with the picture on how to install the vinyl wall decal. Sometimes we just need someone to hold us by the hand and walk us step by step. Thank you so much. I learned something new today!

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