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Vinyl Wall Appliques

Reported by Sara McKenzie

Vinyl wall decals are all the rage right now! Home decorators used to say the quickest way to change the feeling of a room was with paint. Frankly, I never got that, because I think changing wall color in a room is a royal pain. You have to move/protect your furniture and floors, you have to wash and sand the surface, you have to tape off areas to protect them… and that’s just the preparation!!!

Now it seems that the easiest way to change the look in a room is to use removable wall decals. They come in myriad shapes and sizes, lots of colors, words and pictures… just about anything you could want. And some are REALLY big – they take the place of hanging art on the wall.

I’ve not done exhaustive research on vinyl wall art. But I have tried Decor Elements from Stampin’ Up! and “Once Upon a Wall” from Die Cuts With a View. Interestingly, the Once Upon a Wall brand is not even listed on the DCWV website, and there are not a lot of internet retailers that carry them. But I have found them regularly at Michael’s stores in various locations.

Both of the brands I used consisted of three layers, with the wall decal sandwiched between a backing sheet and a transfer sheet. The backing sheet for Decor Elements has a grid on it, intended to help with placement. You use an application tool: for the DCWV decal it was essentially a piece of plastic, exactly the size of a credit card. For Decor Elements you have to purchase a separate plastic tool (but you can use a credit card!)

I found the hardest part of the process was in determining the layout when applying to a wall. While you can see the decal before you’ve applied it, the opaque backing sheet is, to me, distracting. You have to imagine the final look, and then hope you have it right! After determining the layout, the process is simple:

  1. Use the applicator tool to rub the decal off of the backing sheet and onto the transfer sheet
  2. Carefully remove the backing sheet
  3. Use the applicator tool to rub the decal onto the intended surface

I used two different decals from DCWV, both being sayings. One was all black, the other a combination of black and gold. The two color decal came in four pieces. There were no suggestions as to the spacing, so I used a ruler. Frankly, I wish I had put them a little closer together, but I think it looks okay. The first decal, below, is over a doorway.

ABOVE: DCWV decal in gold and black
(the wood trim just below the decal is painted white; I did not have good light so the color is not true in the photo)

ABOVE: DCWV Wall decal in black

Below are examples of the Stampin’ Up! Decor Elements. I used two sets of “Manhattan Flower” (containing 3 different flowers), one in black, and one in kraft. The largest rose image is about 13″ square. The first picture, below, shows placement of the middle-sized image, still attached to the transfer sheet.

ABOVE: Decor Elements, Manhattan Flower, Image placement on wall

After adhering the first flower, I placed a second in kraft, overlapping the first image. No problems with adhering one on top of another.

ABOVE: Close-up of two Manhattan Flower decals on the wall; one in black and one in kraft

I placed another three flowers from the same sets in another corner of the room. Again, no trouble with overlapping the images.

ABOVE: Three separate flower images adhered to a wall.

Last, but not least: placement on glass. I made this fun jar last Halloween. Again, it is with one of the Decor Elements brand wall decals. (If you want to see more step-by-step details of the application, you can check out that blog post.)

ABOVE: Spooky Brocade decal adhered to glass jar

Over Christmas, I also had white snowflakes on my front windows, too. Unfortunately, they did not photograph well. But I found this to be a really fun way to decorate for the season. And they were reasonably priced ($16.95 for 10 images), so I did not feel bad when I scraped them off and threw them away once spring arrived.

To-date, the only decals I have removed are the snowflakes from my front window. They did come off easily with a scraper, and what little residue remained cleaned off easily with Windex. I cannot attest to the ease of removal on a painted surface, and in the Decor Elements brand, there is a caution that it may not be compatible with some painted surfaces.

Overall, here are my pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Fun, trendy way to decorate your home or items for your home.
  • Many, many choices of word phrases or images, in many colors
  • Both of the brands that I tried were sturdy, as long as I worked slowly when removing the backing sheet or the transfer sheet. Even though I did split one of the words, it was easy to place it so that the break was invisible.
  • Smaller images and phrases are quite affordable. And, I suppose, if you compare the price to repainting a room, or buying a piece of artwork, then even the largest ones can be considered affordable.

Cons:

  • This is a caution more than a con: There is no practicing, and there is no equivalent to erasing and starting over. Once you have started adhering the image, you can’t change your mind. So be absolutely sure of the placement when you start.
  • The backing sheet is relatively heavy, and because these all arrive rolled-up, they maintain some curvature. This makes them somewhat challenging to work with for placement. I found it impossible to take advantage of the grid on the Decor Elements backing paper. So I did not even try.
  • The gold color in the DCWV decal only appears gold in certain light. Otherwise, it appears to be almost olive green. It works in my case- but might not in other situations.

DCWV vinyl wall decals are available at Amazon.com

How about you? Have you tried any of these decals (or other brands) for home decor or crafting? Do tell!!

Disclosure Statement

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11 Responses to Vinyl Wall Appliques

  1. Avatar
    ScrappinCntryGrl April 8, 2010 at 7:39 am #

    I have always wondered about this…I have thought of putting a saying in our hallway witht he pictures…or even in my craft room…so thanks for the tips…and this is why I love Craft Critique!

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    Brooke April 8, 2010 at 7:53 am #

    You can do so much with vinyl decals. I have a windup robot on my iphone and I plan on putting these ninjas on my cornhole boards. So many uses!
    http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=43028137

  3. Avatar
    Anonymous April 8, 2010 at 9:35 am #

    I actually make vinyl decals, and a tip for removing them, heat with a hair dryer and don’t try to pull the vinyl straight off, you have to almost pull it at less than 10-20 degrees, this will keep it from snapping apart as well as pulling paint off your wall. Hopefully this makes sense and helps a bit.

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    Gwen Mangelson April 8, 2010 at 11:17 am #

    I love our Stampin Up! wall decor! I have the create saying and the Manhattan flowers in my stamping studio and I have the word Family on the wall going downstairs along with family photos- very professional looking,

    I find all companies wall decor words to be very tricky and the more intricate the design the more you have to pay attention to what you are doing. It’s good to remember that they are not reusable.
    the best tip is to be sure you burnish the decal to the backing (grid) it will pull away and be easier to apply to your wall- you cannot move it after you begin rubbing it on your surface
    and for small decals they are NOT dishwasher safe but can be gently hand washed and dried.
    Have fun!

  5. Avatar
    Katie Brandt April 8, 2010 at 12:11 pm #

    I put ‘Life is Good” from Stampin’Up! on the back of my blue van.I can honestly say it brings a smile to my face every time I see it. And I put their large tree in my dining room, also simple and sweet…just what I needed.

  6. Avatar
    kkaisu April 8, 2010 at 12:31 pm #

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Avatar
    kkaisu April 8, 2010 at 12:36 pm #

    I cut my own with my Cricut – so easy. I have “Creative people are seldom tidy.” on the wall at the bottom of my basement stairs so people see it before walking into my craft ,room/living room/teen hangout. Just a warning(cough cough – excuse) for the mess! I am also cutting some flowers today to decorate my new laptop. Since I did not splurge the extra $40 for a colored laptop I am using some colored vinyl and designing my own! I tested and it stuck well.

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    Anonymous April 8, 2010 at 3:58 pm #

    I use a competitor’s of SU and DCWV, called UpperCase Living. They come rolled, and I learned to layout on the table for a bit to relax the curl before use.
    Also UCL advertise that their wall art IS removable, in case you move, paint or redecorate a room. However you probably can’t move it more than once. I personally like putting my vinyl on prepared masonite and hanging on my walls. I’ve also used on my mini van, glass, metal, and stone all with WONDERFUL results!

  9. Avatar
    dining room furniture April 9, 2010 at 3:36 am #

    I really think that my walls need a change! Thanks for this post and the suggestions!

  10. Avatar
    Jana Weaver April 11, 2010 at 7:31 am #

    I love my decor elements! I have removed from painted surface with NO problem! They are perfect way to spice up a rented home that you don’t want to/can’t paint!!

  11. Avatar
    Jean Fitch from jlfstudio April 11, 2010 at 11:35 pm #

    Thanks for sharing the review of these cool products.

    I love using the Decor elements in bits and pieces on cards and scrap projects as well as other decorative items. Really love that I can get the blank vinyl in over 18 SU colors so I can cut shapes and words with my Big Shot and dies and use in many different ways. Very cool that the vinyl matches cardstock and inks too when I use the pieces on paper projects.