Best Ways to Print Your Favorite Team’s Car Decal

For many of us sports are serious business, perhaps even a way of life. Supporting your favorite team requires a deep, often lifelong, commitment. You watch the games, attend them live and discuss them with your friends. You bleed team colors and try to pass on an appreciation of your chosen team to your children. Day in and day out, your allegiance is unshakable.

So where’s the best place to celebrate your team pride on a daily basis?

Your vehicle. Car decals offer a creative way to show where your team loyalties lie. They also can be a fun DIY project that can easily be completed from the comfort of your own home.

Here you’ll find a few different ways to accomplish the various steps of the decal printing process.

car decal

Ways to Design Your Decal
Creating a decal for your favorite team doesn’t require you to be an expert on graphic design, since a premade logo may best serve your purpose. Once you’ve found the perfect image, there are two ways to ready it for printing, depending on whether you intend to use a digital or physical copy.

  • If you’re using a logo you’ve found online, you’ll need to save it and bring it into a program that allows for editing images. Adobe Photoshop or Corel PhotoImpact are two of the premiere products for photo-editing software, however the preloaded programs Microsoft Paint or Mac Paintbrush will cheaply do the job as well. Open your image in any of these programs to perform resizing and resolution touch-ups that will make your decal image print ready.
  • If it’s a physical copy of the image you intend to use, you’ll need to scan it. Then, either bring it into to one of the programs mention above OR have it ready to print directly after the scan. You should only use the second option if you’re content with having your decal be an exact replica of your physical image.

Types of Paper for Printing Your Decal
There are a variety of paper types that can be used for printing your own decals. Decide which one will depend on the overall quality and permanence you’re looking to achieve. There are four types of decal specific paper and there is also the option of using sticker/bumper sticker paper.

  • The first type of decal specific paper is vinyl. Vinyl decal paper offers clear and crisp prints at the relatively lowest cost. However, unless you undertake a layering process, you are limited to using one color per print with vinyl paper. To get an idea of the process when using vinyl decal paper at home .
  • The second type of decal specific paper is water-slide. Water-slide decal paper will allow you to implement multiple colors per print as well as finer detailing. Water-slide will be slightly more expansive than vinyl, but if you shop around you should be able to find very reasonable prices.
  • Both types of decal paper come in either white or clear appearance. Solid white is probably better suited for decals placed on the body of the car, whereas clear should be used on windows.
  • A final option is to use sticker paper. You’ll likely need to find a decal bonder to apply after printing, but images will set quicker on sticker paper. Sticker paper is also easier to come by than the decal types. If you’re looking for a game day only decal, this is the paper type to consider.

Types of Printers to Use for Decals
It’s important to know what type of printer you have before purchasing paper, since decal paper is often printer-specific. If you’re unsure, try a web search of the make and model to figure out what type it is.

  • Inkjet printers, the more common household printer, tend to be the better option for printing multi-colored images. New HP inkjet cartridges are expensive, but used cartridges can be refilled.
  • Laser printers, more often used in offices, are better for handling volume jobs with a lot of text. If you plan on printing decals with a laser printer, your best bet is to make your design single-toned.

For further reference, take a look at this thorough guide. Have fun.

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