A sticky subject

19 Sep

Taxi Finished taxi on wall

Wall stickers or ‘decals’ are everywhere. I’ve seen them in magazines, in shops, on Pinterest, on friends’ walls… they can look brilliant, and transform a room very cheaply, but I’ve always suspected they might be fairly tricky to apply. So, when it came to putting one on my little boy’s room wall, I thought I’d share the experience with you…

My son is OBSESSED with taxis, so I bought a new London cab design from a seller called rs201111 on Ebay.co.uk. It’s worth checking out Ebay for wall stickers/decals as you may be able to save tens of pounds compared to places such as Notonthehighstreet.com and bouf.com (who both have lovely designs too). Mine cost just £6.99 for a huge 58cm x 38cm sticker personalised with my son’s name. Not bad eh?

Now for sticking it to the wall…

1) Start by unrolling your decal (I recommend only buying flat decals – more on this later). The actual vinyl sticker part is sandwiched between a layer of thick white backing paper, and a layer of thinner application paper (which looks a bit like greaseproof paper you’d use for cooking with). Your first job is to place the decal on a flat surface, face down, and rub over the backing paper with a credit card to ‘activate’ the decal and make it stick to the application paper.

Taxi unrolled

2) Place your decal where you want it on the wall, and stick it down with masking tape on the top edge only. I used a spirit level to make sure it was completely straight, as I’m a bit anal about these things. It’s a bit time-consuming, but worth it to get it just right:

Taxi placing on wall

 

3) Now’s the first tricky part. Lift the decal up, using the tape as a hinge to keep the design in place. Starting from a corner, slowly begin peeling away the thick backing paper. The actual decal should still be stuck to the greaseproof-like application paper. If at any point any of the design is still stuck to the backing paper, you need to stop, rub the application paper onto the decal again, and slowly continue. It’s little areas – in this case, the lettering and the grill – that are most likely to cause problems, but if you’re careful and patient, it does work:

Taxi taking off backing paper

 

4) And the second tricky part. Lower the now-sticky decal back down, using the credit card or your hand to press the application paper onto the wall, starting in the middle and working your way outwards towers the edge of the design. Pay attention to any air bubbles or creases, smoothing them outwards to get rid of them. Finally, gently peel off the application paper. Your decal should now be firmly stuck to the wall!

Taxi smoothing onto wall

 

My verdict? It was indeed fairly time-consuming, so not something to be attempted in a rush. Also, despite my very, very careful application, I was left with a few tiny creases – the result of the decal having been rolled in the post. So, if you’re buying a wall sticker, my top tip is to ask the seller to post it flat, even if that adds a little extra to the cost.

Having said that, the end result (see pic at the very top of this post) looks great, and my little boy LOVES it. He’s now asking for a red bus on the opposite wall (“…and a fire engine, and a digger, and a car!”) so I have a feeling I’m going to become a bit of an expert at applying stickers by the time all his walls are covered…

Have you got any good wall decal tips? If so, I’d love to hear them!

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