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How to Hang Large Vinyl Wall Decals

Hang, large, vinyl decal

I was honored to recently be asked by my daughter's school to create not one, but two very large vinyl decals. The original plan was to put them directly onto the wall of the newly made over teacher's lounge.  Long story short - the PTO ultimately decided the smaller of the two should go on a large canvas to be hung. But I still had an 8' x 15" beast on my hands.

Due to the size of the decals and how they had to be cut, I calculated that I needed 10 yards of black Oracal 631 which was provided by Expressions Vinyl...which also threw in a $50 gift card giveaway for one lucky Sil School reader, that you'll find at the bottom of this post!  While that sounds like a lot, due to the 9" limitations of my Portrait every line of the three line quote had to be cut separately and then later pieced together on the wall using registration marks.
I have to admit this project had me sweating. I had very little wiggle room as far as a deadline and the amount of vinyl.  Needless to say I was very relieved when everything cut a-ok.  But that was only half the battle. I now needed to hang the huge decal and make sure 1) it was centered on the wall 2) straight on the wall 3) and all three lines were equally spaced.

My biggest tip for hanging huge decals is to call in reinforcements.  A longtime Silhouette School reader who just so happens to live in my town agreed to help me hang the decal.

Now it's time to get down to business. The first thing you want to do is figure out where you want the decal placed. We were working with a huge 26 foot long wall.  We found the center of the wall and marked it with a small pencil mark.

Hang, large, vinyl decal

Then we measured the longest part of our decal (for this project, it was the top line) and found the exact center. We marked it on the vinyl backing. Then we laid down gridded transfer paper (make sure to line the top edge up with a straight edge) onto the vinyl.  Lining up straight is essential so use those grid lines! DO NOT PULL THE BACKING OFF YET!!!  Make another mark on the transfer paper to indicate the center - the mark should be EXACTLY in the same spot as where you put it on the backing of the vinyl only this time you're marking on the transfer paper. 

Now measure the distance from the center point to the left most edge of the decal and repeat on the right side. Obviously the distance should be exactly the same. For this 8' decal, our half-way distance was 4'.

Hang, large, vinyl decal

So now you want to go back to your wall and measure out 4' (or whatever your half way distance is) from that center wall mark.  Make the mark on both sides of the center.  Use a laser level or measure down from the ceiling to ensure that the center mark and two marks on either end line up exactly. This ensures that the vinyl decal (indicated by the purple shaded area) will be level once it's added.

Hang, large, vinyl decal

You and your helper are now ready to begin the transfer process. With the gridded transfer paper still on the vinyl and the vinyl still on the backing, grab a roll of painters tape and head over to the wall.   You and your partner should each be on either end of the decal, with the backing against the wall and the gridded paper facing out, making sure the far sides and the top line up with the marks you've made on the wall. Double check that your middle mark is lined up exactly.

When you've got everything lined up, rip off a small piece of painters tape and tape it so half is on the wall and half is along the top of the gridded transfer paper.  Put pieces of tape in a few spots all the way along the top of the decal.  I haven't lost you, have I? I know you're probably thinking "What on earth?" Just hang in there... the tape is going to act as a hinge while keeping everything in place.

Hang, large, vinyl decal

Hang, large, vinyl decal this point, you want to flip UP the decal so that the gridded transfer paper is now against the wall and the vinyl backing is exposed.  Slowly and carefully peel away the backing while holding the transfer paper/vinyl decal up until you have all of the backing removed.

Hang, large, vinyl decal

Here is where you and your partner will flip the transfer paper back down so that the vinyl can be pressed directly onto the wall. Each of you should pull at the same time- but not too hard, you don't want the painters tape to come off causing your design to be uneven.  Remember that tape is what is keeping the design in the exactly perfect spot!

Hang, large, vinyl decal

Once the vinyl is on the wall use a Silhouette scraper to burnish it onto the wall.   If you used registration marks, as you can see I did - by the large square - make sure you put them on the wall, too. You'll pull them off later when you get the next part of your design decal up.

Finally, you can remove the transfer paper leaving the vinyl decal on the wall.  Breathe a HUGE sigh of relief. You rock!!!

Hang, large, vinyl decal

Now, if you are using registration marks CONGRATULATIONS you just saved yourself a boatload of time and measuring. Simply add transfer paper to the next part of the decal, line up the registration marks on the wall, and use the tape and flip method to add the next section.  No measuring required thanks to the registration marks.

Hang, large, vinyl decal

If you didn't add reg'll be wishing you had and swear to do it the next time ... so repeat the entire process until you have the entire design hung. 

Hang, large, vinyl decal

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing products through my links, I received a small commission. That's what helps fund Silhouette School so I can keep buying new Silhouette-related products to show you how to get the most out of your machine! 

Thanks for coming to class today at Silhouette School.  If you like what you see, I'd love for you to pin it!

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  1. This is good info! I install large vinyl graphics on store front windows and am solo most of the time. Another alternative if you are solo as well, is to cut the graphic into smaller sections once you have it hinged. The painters tape is your hinge, named that because you'll treat it like a door but instead of opening and closing, you are lifting up/down. Once your graphic is taped up and in place-- you can cut vertical sections along the words or images. You can move down the line lifting up and installing one word at a time this way. If the tape is adhered good, the tape/hinge won't move, this will alleviate the mental stress too worrying if your letters will lay smoothly all the way across!


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