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7 Myths About Wall Decals, Vinyl and Surface Graphics

Myth One

Myth: Wall decals are stickers

Reality: No. A “true” wall decal is cut from vinyl. Vinyl is a synthetic material that appears like a thin plastic, but it is not plastic. A decal will have a backing paper and a low tack application tape on the front. It will be very thin so it appears hand painted.

Vinyls are self adhesive, much thinner than a sticker, and are able to withstand heat which can be used to ensure it sticks properly to the surface. A sticker would just bubble, but vinyl likes the heat and will contour to the surface.

Stickers are on a sheet, and you peel up the corner of the design and pull it off the backing paper and then stick onto another surface. Basically a sticker is a print onto paper which has adhesive. Sometimes this paper is glossy, sometimes it is plastic coated etc. They can be made of vinyl, but are much thicker and don’t look like they are hand painted. Generally stickers look cheaper and more temporary than a true decal.

Myth Two

Myth: Decals are only for walls

Reality: No. In fact, decals are best applied to the hardest, flattest surface possible. They love drywall, glass, formica, painted wood, steel, plastic. Can be applied to painted plaster, (might require heat to assist in application), and absolutely does not work with stucco and brick surfaces.

In reality, decals and surface graphics can be applied to any surfaces that you imagine as long as they fit with the above. Try applying decals to a ceiling! A floor! A fridge! A filing cabinet! A reception desk! Decals and surface graphics work on many surfaces.

Myth Three

Myth: Wall decals and surface graphics are as easy as PEEL AND STICK.

Reality: No. This is not true. Wall decals come with a backing paper and a low tack application tape. These are used to assist in applying the pre-spaced letters and designs to the surface. You need to follow the instructions, work slowly and often require two sets of hands to complete the application. However, once applied they are absolutely worth the effort!!!!

Myth Four

Myth: Surface graphics ruin the paint.

Reality: Mmmmm. Always a hard one when it comes to paint. If your paint is poorly applied or old, anything will ruin it, not just decals. Bubbling paint will lift simply by running your hand over it, so never mind having something stuck to it.

We always recommend using heat to remove the decals or surface graphics. Heat will loosen the adhesive and make removing the vinyl a simpler task. If you paint was good to start with, it will survive having a surface graphic placed on it.

Myth Five

Myth: Decals can only be used inside.

Reality: Decals and surface graphics can be used inside and outside. The rule is that decals won’t stick to rough surfaces, so if you are trying to apply to a rough surface outside, no, it probably won’t stick. But, if you are sticking the decal to the outside of a garden shed, or applying the decal to an outdoor patio as a feature, then absolutely it work. Exposure to UV, rain and other environmental elements will be okay for the vinyl for up to 7 years (depending on the level of exposure).

Myth Six

Myth: Wall decals are reposition-able.

Reality: No. They are not. Many companies claim they are, but the fine print is they accept no responsibility if they don’t. Very convenient for those companies. You have already paid your money for something you think will restick and then it doesn’t.

Decals are made of self adhesive vinyl. Good decals are made of ultra thin vinyl. So if you can imagine lifting a very thin sticker off a hard surface, it will most certainly be damaged where a) you have picked at the corner to lift it and b) where it stretches as it is lifted away from the hard surface. Plus, some of the adhesive is left on the surface, so the next time you apply the stretched, damaged decal, it won’t stick for very long.

The team at Cool Art Vinyl know their stuff. When purchasing wall decals or surface graphics, think of it as a single application purchase and you won’t be disappointed.

Myth Seven

Myth: Decals look like hand painted murals and designs on the surface.

Reality: Right On! Well-made, good quality decals are absolutely fantastic as a decorating item. Generally they are low cost and beat the price of someone hand painting or doing calligraphy on the wall. We regularly do comparison quotes against painters and our prices are a third if not a half of the competition.

For other enquiries, questions or discussions about decals, vinyl or surface graphics then please try the FAQ section on located at

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