Learn how to make your own customized vinyl car decals with my simple tutorial and fun designs!
Love decorating your car windows, but just can’t find the right saying? You can make your own vinyl decals! I have tutorials showing you how to Make Vinyl Decals for Instant Pots, make a Vinyl Mandala for your Macbook, and even Large Vinyl Wall Decals. But what about cars? Can you put vinyl on windows? What kind? I get you — and I can help! So let’s focus on the sorts of vinyl decals you can make for your car windows. Vinyl car decals are a fun way to personalize your vehicle and to show the world what you care about. It’s fun and so much easier than you think to make these vinyl car decals!
Many people have vinyl car decals to show support for their favorite cause, sports team, or family. There is an unlimited number of different designs you can create. Now, these aren’t your typical “bumper sticker” with the printed text on a rectangular white background. These vinyl decals are designed to be placed on the outside of your car window. And they last a surprisingly long time. I put one on my SUV over three years ago and it’s still there!
To show you how easy these vinyl car decals are to make, I’ve created four free designs for you to try out! First, we have the #CraftLife decal, along with the crafty “stick figure family” collection for all my fellow Makers out there! We’ve got stick figures that look like pencils, rulers, scissors, glue, pushpins, and more! And look, the pets are glue guns!
Next up is my personal favorite — “Crafting is my therapy” with some pretty flowers. Imagine how great that would look in your back window?
And last but not least, this wonderful “kind words are free” decal …so true!
Let me show you how easy it is to make these vinyl car decals! This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Read my full disclosure policy.
Materials to Make Vinyl Car Decals
- Cricut Outdoor Premium (Permanent) Vinyl
- Standard Grip Transfer Tape
- Fine-Point Blade
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Lint-Free Paper Towel
- Painter’s Tape
- Cricut StandardGrip Cutting Mat
- A weeding tool. (I used the air release pen)
- Scraper tool
- Fonts Used (Optional) – Allspice, Quirkle, ChunkFive, SS Coconut Meringue. (See the Notes section at the bottom of the post to find out which font I used for each design.)
- A cutting mat for your Cricut (green or blue works, just make sure it’s sticky!)
- A way to cut your paper (I used the Cricut Maker cutting machine but they can also be cut on a Cricut Explore or Cricut Joy)
- Design #233 (My free SVG/PDF/DXF design files are available in my free resource library – get the password by filling out the form at the bottom of this page)
How to Make Vinyl Car Decals
Step 1: Get my free vinyl car decals
Get Design #233 which is the free vinyl car decals SVG file. I have created several different designs for you, and they are all included in that file. You can download my file from my free resource library (get the password at the bottom of this post).
For this demonstration, I am using the 'Crafting is my therapy' design.
Upload the SVG file into Design Space. This is what my vehicle decals design file looks like when you upload it to Cricut Design Space:
If you’re not sure how to upload an SVG cut file to Cricut Design Space, watch this helpful video training series I made. If you’re on an iPhone or iPad, here’s how to download and upload SVG files to the Cricut Design Space app.
Step 2: Prepare your file for cutting
Once the file is uploaded, decide which of the designs you want to use and hide or delete the remaining designs. To do this, with the design images selected, click ungroup then click a design to delete or to hide the layers you do not want to cut.
Next, you will want to measure the area of your vehicle where you want to place your decal. Then go back into Cricut Design Space and resize the design by grabbing and dragging the lower right corner of the design when selected.
If you are using my Maker Family decals, you can use the family labels I created or create your own personalized family member labels. To create your own labels:
- Select the text tool
- Select a single-layer font that you would like to use. I used Allspice in my design which is also available in Design Space
- Adjust the letter spacing, if necessary, by selecting the text and clicking ungroup. You can then adjust spacing for individual letters.
- Once you are satisfied with the placement of your text, select all letters and click weld.
Step 3: Cut out your car decal design
Once you have your vinyl design sized properly, it's time to cut it out. I used the Cricut Maker to cut my vehicle decal designs, but you could use a Cricut Explore or Joy or anything that cuts vinyl.
Using a StandardGrip mat (the green one), place your vinyl on the cutting mat with the color side of the vinyl facing up. Select the proper cutting material setting (I used premium vinyl), load your fine-point blade into your Cricut machine, load your mat, and cut.
Weed your design. You can pull away larger pieces.
Use a weeding tool, if necessary.
Place a sheet of transfer tape over the design.
Use a scraper tool to transfer the design and ensure it has fully adhered to the transfer tape.
Step 4: Apply the vinyl decal to your vehicle
Before applying your vinyl car decal, make sure your window is clean. Use some rubbing alcohol on a piece of lint-free cloth, coffee filter, newspaper, or paper towel to wipe the window where the design will go.
I like to use painter’s tape or masking tape to tape my decal to the application area prior to applying it. This way I can measure and adjust to ensure the placement is straight and centered. Once I am satisfied with the placement, I use painter’s tape to mark the corners of the design so I know where to place the decal for application.
Remove the transfer tape backing and stick the design to the window.
Before removing the transfer tape, make sure your design adhered to the window by gently pressing with a scraper tool.
Step 5: Show it Off
Now you're ready to drive around with your newly personalized vehicle!
Font used in this project
- Allspice (for the titles of the Maker Family)
- Quirkle (for "IS MY" in Crafting is my Therapy)
- ChunkFive (for "Life" in CraftLife)
- SS Coconut Meringue (for "words are" in Kind Words are Free)
- All other text is hand lettered
Special thanks to the JenniferMaker Design Fairy team, specifically design fairy Caitlin, for helping me design and assemble these vinyl vehicle decals.
Answers to Your Questions About Making Vinyl Car Decals
Q: Can I put this on my car bumper?
A: No, you should not put permanent vinyl on any painted surfaces of your car. You only want to use these car decals on your car windows.
Q: Can I use a glass cleaner to clean my window?
A: Many glass cleaners leave a residue behind so we recommend cleaning with rubbing alcohol.
Q: How do I remove the vinyl from my car?
A: You should be able to remove this vinyl from your window with just a little elbow grease. It might be helpful to use a flat plastic item like an old gift card or the Cricut Scraper to get under the edges.
Q: Can I put my vinyl decal on the inside of my car?
A: You can. Note that if you have tinted windows, it will be harder to see your design. For information on doing this, you’d follow the steps in my Customized Serving Tray tutorial.
Q: Can I go through the car wash with my vinyl?
A: I have and the decals held up fine. However, your experience may vary based on the type of car wash.
Q: Will the rear windshield wiper ruin my vinyl decal?
A: Windshield wipers often get dirt and debris on them, so it is possible that the wiper might scratch your design or cause it to start peeling. If you notice that, you may want to replace your decal.
Q: Can I remove my vinyl decal and stick it on another part of my car?
A: You can try; however, you might have better results just cutting a new design.
Q: Can I use glitter vinyl, removable vinyl, or a different type of vinyl?
A: You can certainly try using a different vinyl with the exception of iron-on vinyl or HTV. But we had the best success with our vinyl sticking when we used the Outdoor Premium Vinyl.
Get my free SVG files to Make Vinyl Car Decals
I’d love to see your vinyl car decals! If you have any questions about crafting with vinyl, take a look at my free Ultimate Guide to Vinyl. That guide answers all of the questions I get asked about vinyl. If you want to learn how to customize any of my designs, consider enrolling in my Custom Cut workshop. And please do share a photo of your vinyl car decals in our Facebook group or tag me on social media with #jennifermaker.