Installing vinyl letters on your car, truck or van vehicle
Car-Truck-Van Lettering Decals Installation

Wet or dry Car-Truck-Van Lettering Decals Installation

1.  Wash your hands thoroughly! first, then remove decal from package.  It is very stressed from being rolled up and it may also be stressed from heat or cold it was subjected to during shipping. 

2.  Lay Car, Truck or van lettering decal  out on a flat table, face down.   Using a straight edge (preferably a Rubbermaid Kitchen Spatula (rubber type),  stroke the Car, Truck or van lettering decal backing starting from the center of the decal to the right, and to the left.  This will insure the decal is firmly still attached to the application membrane which is the semi clear plastic or paper facing covering the front of the decal.   In some cases,  elements of shipping can cause a weakening between this application membrane and the letters or graphics it is holding in place and position during installation.

3. Clean your Car, Truck or van  completely to remove any spec of dirt or other contaminant.  Any dirt can  can cause a "decal pimple" that will not be able to be corrected.

4. After the Car-Truck or Van Lettering Decal is fully rested and ready to install, take the whole decal with backing still on to your Vehicle  Tape the Car, Truck or van lettering decal into position before removing any backing.   Use masking tape on the very edges of the Car, Truck or van lettering decal to hold it in place and make sure there is no  "slop" under the Car, Truck or van lettering decal.  Lay it against the Vehicle and tension the left and right side to make the Car, Truck or van lettering decal lay completely flat.  Position the decal perfectly and exactly where you want it on your vehicle.  Use tape to hold it in place and stand back and examine your placement.

There are three types of application membranes we ship with Car, Truck or van lettering decal.   One is a paper style that is opaque and you barely can see the decal underneath it.  The other is a plastic type that has a bumpy texture to it as the result of a series of fine and raised lines If you have either of these application membranes, you can use a wet method.    The final application membrane is a nearly completely clear and smooth covering.  This is a dry only application membrane.

5A  WET VEHICLE LETTERING DECAL-GRAPHICS APPLICATION...  Once you have the Car, Truck or van lettering decal exactly in the position you want,  Place marking tape on your Vehicle in any fashion that allows you to remove the decal and place it back exactly where you had it.     Now remove the Car, Truck or van lettering decall from the vehicle  and it's temporary position.   Mix a solution of 1 glass of water and 5 or more drops of Palmolive dish washing solution.  Put this solution in a sprayer and test it on your Vechile.   When you spray the application area,  the fluid should not bead up, but form a clear and constant coating of wetness.    If you need to add more soap use no more than 10 drops per glass of water.

Next,  begin pulling the backing from the Car, Truck or van lettering decal.  Have someone spray the sticky side of the Car, Truck or van lettering decal as you pull off the backing.  This will prevent destroying the Car, Truck or van lettering decal should it tangle as you pull away the backing.

Next, with the vehicle  and the decal wet (soaking wet completely),  place the sticky side to the wet vehicle side and slide the decal around into position.   Once it is in position, gently with your hands push out any air bubbles.    Starting from the center of the decal to the left, then to the right, use a window squeegee or a Rubbermaid rubber kitchen squeegee and in straight lines squeegee out the remaining air and water always working from the center to the right, then from the center to the left.  This action is what gives you a totally professional result - a decal without air bubbles or water bubbles under it.

Next,  Here is the hard part.  Once you have the Car, Truck or van lettering decal on,  you must now wait.   The decal requires time to bond to the Vehicle.  ALso the adhesive on the application membrane will begin to break down as it is water soluable.   TEST A SMALL SECTION OF YOUR DECAL BY CUTTING OFF A SMALL CORNER AWAY FROM THE Car, Truck or van lettering decal.  WET THE APPLICATION MEMBRANE WITH THE SOLUTION YOU MADE AFTER PULLING THE BACKING FROM IT.   GENERALLY THE MEMBRANE ADHESIVE WILL TURN MILKY AND BREAK DOWN.  THIS WILL ALLOW YOU TO TEST HOW QUICKLY THE MEMBRANE ADHESIVE WILL BREAK DOWN DURING THE ACTUAL INSTALL.

5A  DRY Car-Truck or Van Lettering  DECAL-GRAPHICS APPLICATION...
This installation is the easier method for those that feel they can get it right on ONE TRY.
Now that the
Car, Truck or van lettering decal is in position,  tape the decal down firmly in the center of the decal.  This is to firmly hold the center of the decal into position on the Vehicle.   Make sure your tape overlaps the decal well.   You will understand why in the next paragraph.

Now remove the tape from the right side of the decal.  Raise the decal by pulling it away from the vehicle  until you reach the CENTER where the decal is taped firmly to the vehicle.  Pull the backing off the right side until you reach the center where the decal is taped down.  Using scissors, cut the backing off as close to the center as possible.  Now you will have only the sticky decal and sticky side of the application tape in your hands and the backing is removed from 1/2 of the decal.   Using a wide rubber squeegee or a Rubbermaid kitchen spatula, starting from the center begin dragging across the face of the decal (from center to the right) as you hold the decal away from the vehicle.   The squeegee's job is to uniformly apply the decal at the point of contact as you drag the squeegee firmly to the right.  Naturally the decal will follow a straight path.   In one single wipe from the center to the right with the squeegee (do it slowly) you will both apply the decal and eliminate any air pockets as the decal feeds down to the boat as you are moving the squeegee.

Next,  once the right side is down,  un tape the left side and remove any other tape you have used to hold the decal down.  Just like before,  remove all the backing from the left side and hold the decal away from the Vehicle.  Now starting from the center use the squeegee to push down the decal again while holding it.  Move from the center towards the left and let the decal feed down as necessary when dragging your squeegee across the decal.  Again, in one long slow swipe of the squeegee, you will apply the decal and eliminate any chance of an air bubble.

6.  Now that the decal is installed,  take a towel and more firmly rub in the decal to insure a great bond between the actual decal and the Car, Truck or Van.     If using a dry method, you can begin to remove the application membrane from the left or right side.   Just pull it across the decal to remove, don't pull UP!!!!   Pulling across will insure you don't pull the decal right off the boat.    PULL SLOWLY AND IF YOU NOTICE THE DECAL COME UP AS YOU PULL,  STOP IMMEDIATELY AND PUSH THE DECAL BACK DOWN AGAIN FIRMLY AND TRY AGAIN.   If using a wet method, all the same still applies, but you can't remove the membrane now.  Don't even try sooner than 1 hour if using the plastic application membrane.  You can test removal sooner if we provided the paper membrane, but test carefully  and immediately stop if the decal begins to come up.

NOTE:  These instructions may seem complicated.  Basically, if you break all these rules you might still have a perfect installation.  If you should happen to ruin part of the Car, Truck or van lettering decal, a letter or two,  we can and will gladly make the replacement letters necessary to fix your installation.  Don't worry!


TINY Air or water bubbles:  Air or water bubbles are a common problem and tend to be made into bigger problems by incorrectly trying to remove them.  IF YOU HAVE SMALL 1/8" or smaller air or water bubbles, just leave them alone! Vinyl does breathe and if you can just be patient they will fix themselves without any help from you or your installer.    If you have a layered decal (multi-color) there could even be tiny air or water bubbles left in-between the layers during manufacturing.    Chances are,  you will end up with a few small bubbles and it is best to leave alone.

LARGE (1/4 inch) Air or water bubbles: These bubbles do require a little help.  Absolutely do not just push down on them.  This will stretch and damage the vinyl.  Instead, use a very fine sewing needle and simply poke the edge of the bubble and from the opposing direction wipe out the air or water with a Rubbermaid kitchen spatula or window cleaning squeegee.

FILM or CHALKY LOOKING SURFACE:  This is very common and results from the adhesives used on the application membrane.  You really need to do nothing with this.  Weather and rain will remove it.  However, if it bothers you,  simply allow 48 hours for the decal to fully adhere to the object  to which it was applied and then simply wax the decal with any car or boat wax or polish.  The Chalky looking film is easily removed.

FOLDS or FLAPS:   There isn't much you can do with these.  The only cure is to avoid them from the beginning.  You can cut out a fold with a razor.  However, if this does not provide the look you are after, it is best to remove the decal immediately and reinstall a new decal.

PIMPLES:  Pimples are different from air or water bubbles.   A pimple looks like you have a grain of sand under the decal.  There is nothing you can do to fix this.   Make sure you apply the decal to a totally clean surface and make sure you don't contaminate the sticky side of the decal when handling it.
Wet installation of truck lettering
Truck Lettering Instructions
StreetGlo Reflective Decals
div. of  Cobra International, Inc.
2415 Lafayette Blvd
Norfolk, VA 23323

Car Truck & Van Lettering  Decals installation instructions and tutorial wet or dry decal instalation.
Boat Name Decals Installations
Car-Truck-Van Lettering Decals Installation

Car, Truck-Van

Installing Lettering/Decals

Decal installation instructions and tutorial.

How to make Application Fluid:

This fluid is for installing decals designed for WET installation applications only.

Decal installation fluid is made from 1 glass of water  with 6-8 drops of Palmolive dishwashing fluid mixed in a clean hand sprayer.   Add enough soap so that spray forms a film and does not let water bead up.