Installing store window decals

Tips and tricks for installing decals/stickers on your store window(s).
DIY vs call an expert?

If you have a local supplier/installer you are comfortable using, you may choose to have your window assets installed for you. Make sure you book in your local supplier early, so they have time to print the assets (if necessary) and lock in an install window. This install time should be scheduled for the evening before, or the morning of, the promotion start date (or as otherwise stipulated).

However, you can also install the sticker(s) yourself. It is recommended that you install large stickers ‘wet’, as described below – and that you have 2-3 people available, and sufficient time, to do the job properly. Poorly applied decals reflect poorly on the brand, so you should always aim to install them correctly.

Note – you should only attempt to DIY install stickers that are printed as a single sheet (i.e. one large sticker – even if it contains clear/empty elements). If the sticker assets are provided as cut vinyl (or similar), then you should organise a professional to install them for you.

Checklist

Here’s what you will need:

  • 1x squeegee
  • 1x spray bottle filled with ‘slip solution’ (made up of water and enough soap/washing detergent added to make it ‘slippery’)
  • 1x bottle of window cleaner (can be replaced with slip solution if necessary)
  • 1x clean rag
  • 1x sharp blade
  • Masking tape


It is important to keep the work site as clean as you can. Make sure the window and your hands are clean at all times, and the decal(s) and window are free of dirt and dust.

Preparation

Before you start, make sure the window has been thoroughly cleaned using window cleaner and the squeegee. You should ensure both sides of the window are:

  • Completely dry
  • Free from residue or remnants of previous stickers
  • Free of any dirt, dust or other contaminants on the surface you will be applying the decal to (or they may show through)


Once you have done this, determine which side of the window you will be applying the decal to. The decal might be designed to be applied to the outside of the window or, preferably, will be printed in reverse so that it can be applied to the inside of the window. Once you have worked out which side you need to apply the decal to, spray that side down thoroughly with slip solution. You will need to keep the surface from drying during the installation, which can be challenging (especially on a hot day). This means you will need to work quickly or reapply the slip solution as it begins to dry.

Applying the decal

Place the decal on the window (over the slip solution). You will notice that you can move the sticker over the glass (the solution allows it to ‘slip’). Once you have finalised the position of the decal use masking tape in the corners to hold it in place.

Carefully remove the backing of the decal. If it is a small sticker, you may choose to remove all of the backing in one go. However, if you are installing a larger decal, it is recommended you use remove the backing in manageable sections (using the ‘hinge’ method as outlined in the video below, or similar). Make sure you have enough people to be able to remove the sticker backing without the sticker ‘sticking’ to itself during the process (you should always have at least 2-3 people for a large window sticker install).

Then remove any excess water or air bubbles from behind the sticker by running the squeegee firmly over the front of the sticker. Always start in the middle of the sticker and work outwards – you will see the slip solution leak out the edges of the decal. Make sure the decal is clean (apply slip solution to the front of the sticker and wipe it down) before applying the squeegee.

Once all the slip solution has been removed from behind the sticker (and all air bubbles similarly removed), the sticker should remain in position (it will dry out, and the adhesive bond to the window, over the next couple of hours). You can see this process in action in the video below.



Cleaning up

Wipe down the sticker with a clean rag. Re-apply slip solution as required to clean the front of the sticker, if any marks (dirty finger prints, etc.) are visible. If you make a mistake, you can always add more slip solution behind the sticker and reposition it (before the adhesive has bonded). However, each subsequent application weakens the adhesive, so the less times you need to do this the better.

If you notice any remaining air bubbles or impediments on the sticker once dry, you can use a sharp blade to make an incision and ‘pop’ the air bubble, or remove the impediment.