What technology does decal printing use?

What technology does decal printing use? Well, you may have thought of decorating your home with decals at least once in your life. Everybody does. These designs prepared on special transferable paper are a great way to act some character to your walls or display information about your business.

Some people confuse window decals with stickers and often use them interchangeably. But they mean different things in the printing industry and are usually digitally printed or screen printed.

So, if you are curious about the technology that decal printing uses, you have come to the right place. Hopefully, by the end, you will have all your queries resolved.

What technology does decal printing use for this store with a car parked in a parking lot in front of it??

What is Decal Printing?

Decal is derived from “decalcomania” which means to transfer designs from the prepared substrate to other mediums, like glass or porcelain. And you would need contact, heat, or water to do so but, it is an easy application process.

Decals have multiple sections that make them perfect for both long-term indoor and outdoor use.

What you generally get when you order a decal:

one silicone coating to cover the main design on the upper side

one print paper material on the top

one adhesive layer

one paper liner as the bottom layer of the label stock

The eco-solvent printing process starts with the materials being immersed in water before the actual printing process. It can be done by both screen printing and digital printing, although the right decision depends on the situation, such as costs, qualities, whether you prefer gloss or matte, etc.

With some specialized industrial inkjet printers, you can print on most reflective vinyl as well. But sizes can be limited so it is important to understand how big large window decals can be.

Since printable vinyl can be used in either machine, it is often the primary choice when printing decals.

Differences Between Decals and Stickers

The easiest way to understand the difference is this: all decals are stickers, but it is not the same the other way around. And it is important to understand the different types of window decals for business. Window decals for consumers are very different than window decals for business, and you generally can’t get professional results when you print them at home.

Decals usually come in two forms: printed or cut form. And stickers are printed and can also be made from cut vinyl. Unlike decals’ four layers, stickers usually have two: the layer that you peel off and the design with adhesive on the back.

Stickers are often best used outside and can last up to eight years. They are also quite cost-effective and can come in different colors and textures.

The Supplies You Will Need

If you are interested in making your decals and stickers, here are all the things you would need:

  • Computer
  • Printer (Screen, Digital)
  • Scanner
  • Photo Editing
  • Software
  • Scissors
  • Vinyl sheet
  • Laminator
  • Laminate Sheets


You may also have to go through different types of adhesives to choose the best ones. We have listed some of the most popular ones there are:

High Tack: These are a good choice if you want your decals to stay put. The design latches onto the surface without any bumps or bubbles.

Static Cling: If you do not want to damage the surfaces underneath, static cling is the best option. This is because it uses static electricity as the glue.

Removable: If you intend to change your decals in the future or switch it out often, then go for these adhesives. They hardly leave any residue which makes changing the stickers extremely convenient.

Permanent: For labels, stickers, and decals that you plan to keep around for as long as possible, look for permanent adhesives. If you see printed decals on a safety sign and instrument that is resistant to moisture and most wear and tear, they are most likely permanent.


It is normal to be in a dilemma about the different types of printers to use to print decals. They are mainly two in the printing industry, and here is everything you would need to know about them.

Digital Printers: These are high-end, state-of-the-art machines. They cost thousands of dollars, but the results they produce are worth it. Although they do not print white ink, through technological advancements of digital printing, this is rapidly changing.

Digital printers, especially inkjet printers, are best for intricate, complicated designs as they directly print the graphics onto the surfaces. That is, they do not use any heat or contact but have the link directly bonded with the material.

For high-quality work for smaller designs with many details, digital printers provide many benefits. They have endless color possibilities and combinations and are less cost-effective for large-scale jobs.

Screen Printer: On the other hand, screen printers are better suited for larger pieces. They are limited with color possibilities so you can use them for less detailed works. And it is more affordable to order screen printed products on large scales so, if you want to make custom t-shirts, this is your best choice.

This screen printing method has been around for centuries and is still quite effective. They apply the ink in layers, which can be time-consuming. However, only professionals can operate the screen printers.

The Designing Process

Initially, people used actual pen and paper to create their graphics. Some people still do and then use a scanner to upload their artwork to their computer.

But nowadays, most prefer digital sketchpads and drawing tablets. Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator is the holy grail for most designers who cannot function without them.

You can choose to combine different design software, or just use the one depending on your preference and experience. If it helps, you can even download templates from a website.


Decals and stickers need to be bright and should catch attention. Color values can either make or break your final products. So, to ensure the highest quality and vibrancy, it is best to use CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) format.

In this format, the printers layout small dots of pigments and then creates shading.


If you want a flawless and professional finishing, you must pay extra heed to the image resolution. It must have a resolution of 300DPI (dots per inch) or more. The higher it is, the better your prints will be.

Avoid resizing your image as it can create rough edges or pixelation. You can use illustration or photo editing software to adjust the aspects while maintaining the highest quality.

Although these steps may seem tedious, they are the most important part of the printing process. And the more you emphasize this section, the better your decals will be.

The Printing Process

After the graphics design is finalized, the materials are chosen, and the decision has been made between screen printing or digital printing, it is time to print decals.

Step 1: Print the decal on the Vinyl Paper

Take your paper and place it on the tray. Make sure it is facing the right side and is properly aligned. The design should not overlap.

Step 2: Print the Decal Sheet

After checking the color balance and contrast of the paper, print the decal sheet. Make sure the results are as per your desire.

Step 3: Laminate

With the help of a cold press laminator, laminate your artwork to make them last longer. After trimming the excess, repeat the process through the machine again.

Apply the Decal

After the image has been printed and laminated, cut out the design with scissors. Make sure to remain as close to the outline as possible.

Peel off the backing and just stick the design to your preferred surface. They stick to most surfaces, even plastic. Just make sure to remove any texture with sandpaper.

If you are sticking them to t-shirts, remember to position them correctly.

What To Do Now

The technology behind decal printing is pretty easy to understand. And once you have figured it out, you can create your printed vinyl decals for pretty much all surfaces and anything you own. For example, printed t-shirts, mugs, bumper stickers, etc.

But for professional applications for businesses and especially for large decals, your only option is to use a professional. That’s where Platon Graphics comes in. Platon Graphics isn’t simply entrusted to supply you with quality digital printing, quick pivot time, eco friendly printing materials, assist with fulling administration yet in addition at an exceptionally cutthroat cost. Simply search “decal printing near me” and you’ll think that we are on the main page. Much obliged to you for your advantage in Platon Graphics, we expect to serve you later on ! Get in touch! (310) 227-8027

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