Raise your hand if you’ve had a vinyl cutter for some time, made decals for yourself…
…and now you have people wanting to buy them but you have NO idea how to prepare vinyl decals to sell to folks.
🙋♀️ 🙋♀️ 🙋♀️
Yep, I thought so! But don’t worry, I’ve got your back.
Before I quit to sell SVGs full time, I made a living with a vinyl business which included selling thousands of vinyl decals over the years.
Out of what I learned over time, I have some tips for you – things you won’t find in most of the general “how to start a vinyl decal business” articles.
The key thing to remember is this: You want to make it EASY for your customer. Keep in mind your customer will be applying the decal themselves, and hey – let’s be real – they probably don’t know what they are doing.
Here are some things you can do as you prepare vinyl decals to sell in order to make it a success for THEM (and you).
(Note: some of the links below are affiliate links for the products that I recommend.)
How To Prepare Vinyl Decals To Sell – Tip #1:
Use Professional Transfer Tape For Vinyl Decals
You don’t want to cheap out here – use the good stuff. Professional quality transfer tape is so crucial because, as I said before, your customer will probably be applying the decal themselves with no experience.
Cheap transfer tapes can stick too much, making it almost impossible to get the decal off and you’ll end up with an unhappy customer.
- Rtape AT65 – the tape of choice I used for years in my own vinyl decal business. Can sometimes be a bit hard to find in hobbyist quantities, but usually can be found on Amazon or US Cutter.
- Expressions Vinyl Transfer Tape – I have also used this and it is pretty much identical to the AT65 and you don’t have to buy a ton at once.
- Frisco Craft transfer tape – This guy gets an honorable mention – it is very similar to AT65, and while I haven’t used it myself, it is the current #1 recommendation by many people who sell vinyl decals.
I do NOT recommend:
- Contact paper – Contact paper works fine for in-house use when you’re going to put it on and then transfer right away, but it starts to really REALLY stick to the decal if it sits for more than a day or two. Plus, it looks weird, cheap, and unprofessional. You don’t want your customers to think you “cheaped out” on anything, trust me.
- Grid transfer tape – okay, this one is a maaaaybe… because the quality itself of most of them is fine. I only say that because it is MUCH easier for the end user to position a decal on the right spot if they can actually see through the transfer tape really well. Your customer will be happier and have a better experience if you use a clear tape.
- Cricut transfer tape – Cricut machines are pretty ding-dang awesome, but their supplies are kinda meh. I’ve heard of SO many people having issues with their transfer tape when they are selling decals, and so just based on that I don’t recommend it.
How To Prepare Vinyl Decals To Sell – Tip #2:
Always Pre-Peel The Decal
I know, I know, some people say this isn’t necessary. If the customer rubs the decal hard enough, it should be fine, right?
Well… yes and no.
Remember what I said above – your customers probably will have zero experience doing this and very likely might not burnish/rub the decal hard enough.
If you pre-peel the decal, then you know for sure the decal is attached securely to the transfer tape AND will come off the backing easily.
And – hey – we’re in it for customer service, pre-peeling takes literal seconds, so why wouldn’t you take a few extra seconds to ensure a fabulous customer experience?
Pre-peeling is exactly what it sounds like – just apply the transfer tape, rub it down, peel up the decal, and reapply it back onto the backing paper. I like to trim the edges even after I’m done with the process, it makes for a nice sharp look.
How To Prepare Vinyl Decals To Sell – Tip #3:
Include Actually Detailed Vinyl Decal Installation Instructions
Over the years, I’ve seen people talk about how customers screw up installation and often I suspected it had to do with the instructions they sent.
Many people send small cute cards with the decal that have a very basic simplified overview on how to install it, but let’s be real – these customers generally have zero clue what they are doing, so why not make it easy & give them some actual DETAILS on how to do it right?
Otherwise, they won’t know things like not to apply the decal in extreme temperatures, how to use the hinge method to position it, or how to deal with air bubbles?
My instructions for my customers were simple but plenty detailed – a half sheet printed back and front and I would fold it up and include it in the bag with the decal.
No – it isn’t a cute little card, but you know what? I almost NEVER had issues with my customers installing decals.
Not nearly to the level that I hear about from other people. I think it’s because my instructions are detailed, rather than abbreviated.
And of course you’re like “OMG I don’t want to write that out” and you don’t have to worry about that! I have a printable PDF copy of my vinyl decal installation instructions (both full sheet and half sheet) that is available to all my email subscribers.
Which reminds me, if you are still reading this, you probably should subscribe to my list anyway because vinyl business tips are kinda the main thing I talk about on it.
👇 Subscribe right here & grab your free vinyl decal instructions printable 👇
And if you’re reading about how to prepare vinyl decals to sell, I bet you’ll love the other stuff I have to talk about!
How To Prepare Vinyl Decals To Sell – Tip #4:
Use Professional Quality Vinyl
I know, I know, this isn’t so much on the preparation part but I needed to say PLEASE DO NOT USE CRICUT VINYL. Use professional vinyl, please. If you’re selling, you’re a business, and you really do need to have a professional quality product.
My recommendation: Oracal 651 for permanent and Oracal 631 for removable decals.
End rant on that.
How To Prepare Vinyl Decals To Sell – Tip #5:
How to Package Vinyl Decals for Shipping
Ahh, the tough one. This is actually probably its own blog post, really, but here’s a quick overview.
If you’re JUST shipping, I recommend packaging the decal with the instructions, a business card, and maybe a freebie (I used to use my scraps to cut myself a stockpile of little fun seasonal shapes to include in orders) in a plastic bag.
For bonus points, you can include an alcohol wipe (I used to have a hard time finding them reliably but they seem to be consistently available on Amazon these days).
You can use a zip bag or even just a cello bag taped closed. You DO want it to be somewhat watertight… because you never know what can happen in shipment.
If, however, you intend to also sell in person like at shows, or in a shop of some sort, you may want to do something a little fancier.
When I did shows, I would pre-package the decals in a cello (or zip) bag, then print off a little folding “topper” for the bag, staple it on, and punch a hole in the top center for hanging. It makes for a really nice presentation.
Now – as far as shipping envelopes (and methods) for packing vinyl decals goes.
Many people just use a regular envelope and stamps. Which may work fine while you’re a lil guy, but if you want to grow your business into a “this is how I make a living” deal you want to have a professional presentation, and it’s pretty important to be professional if you want people to take your business seriously.
Not to mention order tracking, since “Gosh I don’t know what happened to your order, wait a few more days… still not there, so I guess I’ll just send you a new one” doesn’t exactly give people the best customer experience.
So – I recommend rigid chipboard mailers, or your decal-in-a-bag sandwiched between two pieces of chipboard/cardboard inside a mylar mailer, sent First Class with Tracking.
Don’t guess on shipping cost – you can use Pirate Ship to get an idea of shipping costs (or if you’re selling decals on Etsy you can use their shipping section to estimate cost) – simply pack your vinyl decal as if you were going to ship it, then weigh it (I use this postal scale from Amazon), and input the details and they will tell you how much shipping will cost.
Also – side note – don’t ever doubt that people will pay for decent shipping. THEY WILL. I had someone once pay me over $80 in shipping cost alone to express mail two coffee mugs from the USA to Australia. That taught me a valuable lesson about assuming what people will and won’t pay to ship.
And that, my friend, is a bunch of things that no one will tell you on how to prepare vinyl decals to sell.
Got more questions? Let me know in the comments!
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