Q&As with the UK custom decal supplier


At the Red-Penguin we are known for our awesome custom vinyl decals and aiming to be the best professional decal supplier around was key to how our company started. We love decals of all shapes and sizes and have years of experience in helping people get the best for their applications.

Vinyl decals also seem to be one of the areas that we talk about the most with our customers so we wanted to put together everything we know and share it with you in one simple guide.

Before we get into what happens behind the scenes producing decals at Red-Penguin it is important to establish what we are talking about, so here is a useful guide to all things decal related...

What is a vinyl decal?

There seems to be a lot of confusion with this and with the popularity and ease of ordering decals improving in recent years the name has also got some new additions.  A vinyl decal is basically a design, text and numbers or shapes that is cut out of adhesive vinyl for application onto a wide range of surfaces.

The pieces of the design are held together with a special transfer tape so that they can be lifted from the backing paper in one piece which ensures that the precision of the design is maintained.

Think of your local delivery van with its name emblazoned on the side or a shop window with letters on the glass or even an excavator with a bright yellow name on the digger arm and you are in the right area.

One of the key features of a vinyl decal is that there is no 'background' to the design so that the surface you are sticking it onto shows through. There is no sticker-type outline as vinyl decals are not printed but instead cut from the material (normally - but we will cover that a bit later!).

Is a vinyl decal the same as a vinyl sticker?

This is where it gets fiddly! Yes and no depending on who you are talking to. In the trade these are two different things but as these products have moved online the lines have been blurred.  As decals are sticky there are a lot of people who would call them vinyl stickers. In fact there are lots of names for them including vinyl transfers, decal transfer, decal stickers, decal transfers, vinyl lettering, vinyl numbers, vinyl logos, etc.

How are vinyl decals made?

Its a pretty clever process and involves a huge amount of variables but basically:

A roll of vinyl material is chosen and loaded into a machine.  The machine is driven by software that follows paths, think of a dot-to-dot sketch and you won't be far off.

The machine follows the paths of the design and cuts this into the vinyl.  The vinyl then has all of the excess removed by hand by our team of skilled 'weeders' leaving only the shapes in the design on the backing paper.

A special transfer tape is then applied over the top.  The product is then finished and made ready for use.

Are vinyl decals a technical product?

Yes, they certainly can be depending on where they are going to end up. Part of the fun in being a decal supplier is getting involved in special projects and providing technical solutions.

The materials used for producing decals are highly technical and we take things into account such as adhesive, life span, colour fade/fastness, thickness... the list goes on.

Every day we produce a wide range of custom decals and use different materials so that they are best suited to the application.  To the untrained eye you would never know but for example the material we use for vehicle decals and larger vehicle stickers is totally different to the material we use for logo decals and brand decal stickers.

Within our Special Projects we dig deep into our experience and that of our supply partners to find solutions to more complex commercial requirements. An easy example is temperature as when vinyl gets cold is can shrink and crack. For applications in cold environments we use special vinyls that can withstand this by having the material produced in a special way.

There is lots of cheap vinyl available which makes for higher profits from decal manufacturers. We avoid this type of material at all times, no questions, no consideration. Our view has always been to provide quality products at affordable prices so that you love your custom decals and keep coming back for more.

How do I apply a vinyl decal or a vinyl sticker?

There are lots of methods depending on the size of the decal and the surface it is going onto.  Before anything else you need to ensure the surface is clean and free of grease, grime and dust. Vinyl is a very thin material and even a spec of dust between it and the surface can show though your finished work.

Applying your custom vinyl decal is actually pretty easy and we send our infamous 4 step guide with each and every order, but to get you off to a good start...

  1. Make sure your chosen surface is clean and dust free

  2. Rub over the decal with your squeegee or credit card to ensure all parts of the design are sticking to the transfer tape.

  3. turn your decal over and carefully pull the backing paper away, starting in the corner and pulling it right back on itself instead of upwards.

  4. If bits of your design lift with the backing paper drop it back into place and rub over some more.

  5. Once the backing paper is removed carefully lay your design stick-side-down onto your surface.

  6. Rub over the transfer tape gently at first and then a second time but more firmly. Your objective is to push the air out to the sides and have a nice flat finish.

  7. Carefully remove the transfer tape in the same way you did the backing paper.

  8. Your decals now finished and should look awesome.

Extra tip - If you have a large decal and it is showing 'bubbles' of trapped air then use a pin to prick each bubble and gently push down the vinyl to push the air out.

Are vinyl decals multi-coloured?

They can be but this involves using different panels of material for each colour to form the design at the point of application. We always recommend keeping this simple and by far our biggest movers are single colour decals in gloss black and gloss white.

Where multiple colours are needed for products such as custom vinyl wall decals and custom vinyl window decals we go the extra mile to make it as easy as possible and are design team add special little line-up dots.

These small dots can be used to register one colour to the next to get precise alignment as per the original design. Once installed the dots can be removed leaving your multi coloured decal in place.

What types of decals are available?

At Red-Penguin we make all sorts of decals and vinyl decal stickers for a wide range of applications including;

Custom vinyl lettering

Our custom vinyl lettering allows you to create your own text in vinyl to transform windows, walls, vehicles, products and much more.  we ave know custom vinyl lettering to be used for signs, panels, racking, machine marking and even wine bottles for weddings.  There is no size restriction and we can produce in nearly every font or typeface there is.  We recommend not going smaller than 10mm high to ensure you have some adhesive surface area, much smaller and the parts of the letters can be very thin and yo may have trouble sticking it to your chosen surface.

Custom vinyl numbers

Our custom vinyl numbers allow you to mark pretty much any object so long as it has a smooth clean surface. From hard hats to equipment, vehicles to boxes getting things in order and clearly visible is easily done by simply applying the custom vinyl number in place. We use long term vinyl with algoss finish as standard and colours can be spefcified from and colour in our vinyl colour range.

Custom vinyl wall decals & custom vinyl lettering for walls

Our custom vinyl wall decals are perfect for brightening up kitchens, bedrooms, receptions, offices and shops.  By using stylish fonts alongside icons and pictures pretty much any design is achievable.  Custom vinyl wall decals have a special adhesive that allows you to remove them should you wish and we inlcude a test panel with every order so that you can check your paintwork first in a discreet area.  Wall decal designs are made using matte finish vinyl so that the finished effect does not have a glossy glare.

Custom vinyl window decals & custom vinyl window stickers

Our custom vinyl window decals are designed to brighten up the glazing shop fronts, offices and home windows.  Custom window decals are especially deigned and product in reverse so that you can apply the window stickers to the inside of the glass but the design can be viewed correctly from the outside. Retail window decals can also be produced in easy-peel vinyl for short term promotions and sales events ensuring the shop front decals can be removed as quickly as possible afterwards and with minimum disruption. 

Etched glass decals and frosted glass decals

Our etched glass decor and frosted glass decor can be used to add subtle and discreet designs and branding alongside giving privacy or simply or safety.  We produce office door names, conference room decals, glass safety decals and logos in a range of stunning finished including rose tint and gold frosting to add warmth or luxury to your glazing.

Custom vinyl decals for cars and custom car decals

Our custom vinyl decals for cars are used for all sorts of things, form one-offs for performance cars and single cars for small businesses to fleet marking decals for company branding.  We use high quality external grade material to ensure the colours do not fade and the car sticker decals stay in place for years to come.  

Custom vinyl decals for boats and vinyl boat stickers

Our custom vinyl decals for boats help you quickly and easily add boat names, numbers, messages, countries and clubs to your boats hull.  We use materials that last and understand that not every boat is moored in the warmth of the Caribbean all year round so work hard to provide decals that will withstand tough conditions. custom boat sticker decals are easy to apply and once in place require no further care or attention.

As a UK decal supplier do you ship abroad?

Most definitely as decals travel well when packaged correctly, in the last week alone the team at Ted-Penguin have sent orders go across the globe including locations in Europe, Asia and Australia. 

Are you a local decal supplier?

We work with a wide range of organisations locally and as a Worcestershire decal supplier provide custom vinyl decals and stickers to businesses large and small as well as directly to clubs & charities. Based in Malvern just outside of Worcester we are perfectly placed to provide a dedicated personal service across Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire.

Malvern itself is a wonderful place and as well as the being home of the stunning Malvern Hills, Morgan Motors Cars and Malvern Water it is a centre of excellence for science having been then home to some of the worlds brightest and best in defense and radar for several decades. 

Want to know more?

If you would like to find out more about vinyl decals and custom stickers drop us a line.