My not-so-recent bathroom refresh included a temporary wall treatment that will work great in any home, but especially an apartment! Today, learn how to use vinyl decals for a wallpaper look!
HOW TO USE VINYL DECALS FOR A WALLPAPER LOOK
Have you had a chance to see my modern coastal bathroom update? It took a long minute to finish, but it was sure worth the wait… at least for me it was!
The updates included:
- Repainting the ugly yellow cabinets
- Updating the old beige shower tile surround (This was actually my favorite project.)
- Adding a new light fixture
- and, changing out the old faucet
- plus a whole lot more!
And then there was the wall treatment…
Because I live in an apartment, I needed a wall treatment that was ‘temporary’.
Let me tell you, trying to figure out how to add a removable wall treatment to my orange peel bathroom was a bit of
a nightmare an adventure.
First, I tried removable wallpaper. Repositionable wallpaper is normally a perfect solution to a wall treatment in a rental home. But, with the humidity in the bathroom and the orange peel wall texture, the test strip just wouldn’t ‘stick’. (Remember, always do a test strip with removable wallpaper. During the summer, temporary wallpaper won’t even stay adhered in my living room!)
Next, I used a stencil. Unfortunately, with the orange peel, and the look I wanted, it was just TOO difficult. At least it was too difficult for this G-ma who needs to get out and get some exercise! However, I think using a different style stencil on a different wall would have worked great. I’m hoping to try this technique again in the future (after I’ve shed a few pounds, perhaps?!) 😉
If I told you that this temporary wall treatment issue kept me up at night, would you believe me?
Well, it DID!
Several ideas rattled around in my noggin’ for quite a few days and nights! And then I remembered…
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The Solution: Vinyl Decal Wallpaper Look
I got a Cricut for my birthday!
So I started my research for creating vinyl decals for the bathroom walls.
Using the Cricut Design Space, I found several arrangements of vine-type leaves, and decided to try it.
The Cricut Design Space has all kinds of SVG files to use for projects, along with lots of projects, tutorials, and so much more. I paid the monthly fee (about $10) and started creating!
Tips and Tricks for How to Add Vinyl Decals for a Wallpaper Look
Let’s take a look at some key tips for successfully creating a temporary wall treatment in your bathroom!
What Materials Tools Are Needed to Make a Vinyl Decal?
Believe me, having the right tools for THIS job is absolutely necessary!
Usually I can ‘wing-it’ for a lot of DIYs. And I *did* try get by with what I had for this project, as well. But, it just didn’t give the same results as when I finally broke down and purchased the best tools for adding vinyl decals to a bathroom wall.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Cricut Explorer 2, or your favorite cutting machine
- Basic Cutting Set
- Variety Pack Cutting Mats (You’ll use the Light Grip mat)
- Vinyl Transfer Tape
- Adhesive Vinyl, I used this brand, and it worked GREAT!
- Frog Tape
- Hair dryer
How to Make Vinyl Decals?
Learning how to make vinyl decals with your Cricut is easy to figure out with the instructions that are enclosed in the box. And, there are SO many YouTube videos that you can search for, as well.
However, here are a few tips that will help to fine-tune your vinyl decal project. And, to be honest, I simply contacted the Help Desk at Cricut for most of these tips! The Cricut Design Space Help Desk really is that… helpful!
- Use the Light Grip mat and be aware that the knife can cut completely through the vinyl. Obviously, this isn’t good. There is actually a setting in the Cricut Design Space app that will keep the knife from cutting too deeply.
- When arranging SVG files, arrange and rearrange the different files (I had at least 5 different files) to get the most out of the vinyl.
- Before using the vinyl, do practice cuts on cardstock.
- To add the vinyl to the mat, keep the roll attached. After the decals are cut, peel the vinyl off the mat by bending the mat back and away. This keeps the vinyl smooth. Then cut away the vinyl with the decals away from the roll.
I’ll share more tips along the way, with photos, too!
Test Your Vinyl Wall Decals
So, here’s an ugly photo for you!
First, be sure your vinyl decals are the size you want. The best way is to print different sizes and place them on the wall.
Also, leave the decals on for a few days to see how they react to the elements in your space. For me, the steam from the shower, humidity from the weather, and the texture of the walls all played into whether or not the vinyl decals would work. And work they did!
Prep Walls and Arrange Your Vinyl Decals for Wallpaper
Be sure to clean your bathroom walls before starting this project. It’s really important that the decals have a very clean surface to ‘stick’ to. Using an all-purpose cleaner and some microfiber cloths worked great for me!
After you have cut out your decals, take some painter’s tape and arrange them on your wall.
When you have a variety of vinyl stickers that are random, you can pretty much arrange them to your liking. If you use a more uniform design (like something that needs to go in rows, etc.) be sure to measure and arrange systematically.
If you want to add some wood trim or another element to the wall after the decals are affixed, add a strip of green frog tape to be a ‘placer’ BEFORE you start adding your decals. This will show you where you need to cut away excess vinyl.
Make sure to align the Frog Tape straight on the wall… and check with a level. 🙂
How to Use Vinyl Decals for a Wallpaper Look
Okay… here are the details of the best way to actually place your vinyl decals for a wallpaper look.
- After printing and trimming your decal, place it on the vinyl transfer tape and use your smoother to get a firm and even ‘grip’ on the decal. (Photo 1)
- Remove the backing of the vinyl so you have the decal’s adhesive side exposed. (Photo 2)
- Take the adhesive side of the decal and place it on the wall and firmly smooth onto the wall. (Photo 3)
- Pull away the vinyl transfer tape from the decal. Be sure to pull the tape away as flat against the wall as possible. This will keep the decal from lifting off the wall. (Photo 4)
- As you pull away the tape, smooth the decal with the smoothing tool. (Photo 5)
- Sometimes, you may have some lifting of the decal. If this happens, use a hairdryer to ‘warm’ the decal, then smooth with your finger. (Photos 6-8)
The Finished Wall Treatment with Vinyl Decals
After all was said and done, and I added the painted wood trim, I think the walls looked like they were wallpapered (or at least stenciled).
What do you think?
Even close-up… it looks great!
And after six months, I’m happy to say, it looks as good as it did the first day!
Would you consider this wall treatment technique? This vinyl wall decal process took about two days total.
Do you have any questions that I may not have covered here? Let me know in the comments!
And for more tips and tricks on creating a vinyl decal wallpaper look, check out this post from Driven by Decor!
I might just be looking to create me some vinyl car decals or bumper stickers. If you’re thinking about doing the same, you may want to look into the best vinyl for car decals.