How to apply graphics - perfectly

‘Those stickers aren’t for life’

Applying stickers is one thing, but what about removing them? Maybe you’ve bought a new-to-you bike that’s covered in them and you want rid, or perhaps you’re just looking to freshen up the ones you currently have. Fortunately, the decals applied using the method in this week’s How To are fairly easy to remove (with a bit of patience).

First things first: you’ll need a bit of heat from a hairdryer or heat gun on a low setting. Gently warm the sticker until the glue and the vinyl itself become pliable. Then start to pick at the edges, either using your fingers or with a plastic scraper tool (from £2.50). Keep warming and scraping until the sticker is gone, then remove the last traces of glue with a squirt of contact cleaner. Highly satisfying.

Unfortunately, things aren’t so easy if the stickers have been lacquered on – as can be the case with restorations or track bikes. This method provides a lovely factory finish to the machine’s cosmetics but does mean that the stickers will require professional removal by a paint shop.

1 – All the right letters…


Applying decals to a bike can be really tricky. Thankfully, though, we know a few pro tips to help the job along. First, check your stickers, especially if they feature lettering, to ensure they are spelt correctly. It sounds daft but it’s easily overlooked, as quite often the brain corrects spelling errors all by itself without you even noticing.

2 – Get tooled up

Sticker applicaion kit

We highly recommend you buy yourself a sticker application kit – these are readily available online from £5 and contain a felt edge squeegee, scalpel, trimming tools, and water spray applicator. The felt edge squeegee is flexible and allows even force to be applied across the sticker when pressing against curved surfaces.


Apply stickers in a warm area but avoid extremes of temperatures

3 – Prepare the surface

Preparing surface ready for stickers

Clean the area where you plan to affix the sticker. As well as being clear of dirt, the surface needs to be free of any wax or polish. Use contact cleaner with a clean cloth, making several sweeps while turning the cloth at the same time to avoid re-contaminating the surface. Use a fresh cloth for a final wipe with contact cleaner and the surface is will be ready.

Read more on this week’s How To in the latest issue of MCN, head to stores to grab your copy now, or subscribe to MCN so you never miss an issue.