Back to blog

What’s the Difference Between Stickers and Decals

snowboard stickers and decals
Share This:

If you’re unfamiliar with the label and sticker industry, sometimes things can be confusing. One of the most common questions we get is, what is the difference between a sticker and a decal? While there may not be many, the differences are essential for each product to do its job.

Custom stickers and decals are widely popular for several reasons. Mainly because they’re both quick and easy to transfer to solid surfaces, and they can be custom-made. What better way to advertise your business, organization, personal endeavors or vocalize your thoughts than on a custom sticker or custom decal for your car, water bottle, coolers, or even your laptop case? Furthermore, we’ll discuss the similarities and differences between stickers and decals.

What is a Decal?

When you ask someone or even look up the difference between a sticker and a decal, some will say they are the same thing: decals are stickers! However, not all stickers are decals. How, you ask? First, decals are printed on vinyl, making them more durable for the great outdoors. Second, you should know decals consist of three different layers:

decal diagram
  • Layer One- the adhesive is protected and covered by the backing paper
  • Layer Two- The custom decal design will have a unique adhesive on the back.
  • Layer Three- The last layer is a flexible transfer layer that will be on top of your custom design. (Sometimes transferred in multiple pieces).

Nonetheless, custom decal designs are printed on specific paper for the decal to be transferred to other surfaces, such as metal, glass, or porcelain. A few more notes to keep in mind are:

  1. Especially with lettering, decals usually come in individual pieces, whereas stickers come in sets of one. 
  2. Decals usually come in larger and more complex shapes than stickers do.
    1. The sheer size makes it difficult to apply it without attaining wrinkles or accidentally tearing it. For instance, ordering a decal of your business name in a large size for your wall would be very different from ordering a 2-inch sticker for your car or ordering a motivational quote for the office. You would need to remove each word or even letter individually.

What is a Sticker?

As mentioned before, stickers are widely popular now, so our customers must know what a sticker is. A sticker is an adhesive label that is generally printed or illustrated and usually comes in individual stacks. A sticker has two layers:

sticker diagram
  • Layer One-  the backing of the paper, which protects and covers the adhesive.
  • Layer Two- your design that will adhere to other surfaces will also have a protective backing.

So, essentially stickers have one backing where the decals have the liner on both sides

A fantastic tip for stickers is ordering custom sticker sheets, and then you can have multiple different stickers on one sheet!

Stickers typically come in one cutout.

How are Stickers and Decals the Same?

Although stickers and decals have a few significant differences, they also have many similarities, such as:

Which will work better for you: Stickers or Decals?

It may not seem like a big deal at the moment, but when you go to apply your design or logo to the surface of your choice, it will make all the difference. Despite this tough decision, Sticker Mountain is here to help you make the best decision possible. If you are still unsure which to choose for your custom design, contact us today to be paired with one of our experts to help meet your needs, or visit our FAQ page for any more questions!

Random Fact of the Day:

Did you know the human brain is made up of about 60% fat and weighs an average of three pounds? The brain is the fattiest organ in the body, and those fatty acids are critical to the brain’s performance. That’s why it’s crucial to fuel your body with good nutrients.