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How to Apply a Bumper Sticker: Only a Few Steps Needed

December 26, 2023  |  
How to Apply a Bumper Sticker: Only a Few Steps Needed

Adding custom-crafted stickers to your car can be a nerve-wracking process. First, because you don’t want to damage your car’s bumper, and second, because you want to ensure a clean, smooth, and beautiful application.

While you can certainly take your car to an auto shop and have them stick the bumper sticker for you, you might want to save yourself a few bucks by doing it yourself.

Applying a bumper sticker isn’t a professional job. With a little know-how and our step-by-step guide, you should be able to do it yourself confidently and successfully.

Materials Needed

Let’s start by gathering the materials you need for the process. Don’t worry — it doesn’t take a lot to apply a bumper sticker, and you most likely already have these at home.

  • Soapy water (mixture of water and a little bit of mild soap) in a bowl or bucket
  • Soft cloth for scrubbing and washing
  • Soft towel for drying
  • Your choice of bumper sticker

Step 1: Find a Place

Before getting started, you need to have a plan in place for where you intend to apply your sticker. The last thing you want is to place your sticker onto your vehicle and not like the placement later.

With the backing paper still on, try placing the sticker in different areas of your bumper until you find the perfect spot. If necessary, also consider the sticker’s orientation.

A clean car bumper that doesn't have a sticker on it yet.

Step 2: Wash and Dry the Area

Before you proceed to peel the backing paper off and put the sticker in place, you need to prep the surface. Cleaning the area will help maintain the integrity of the adhesive, ensuring the specialty vinyl sticker stays stuck for a good amount of time.

Soak your cloth in soapy water and wash the spot thoroughly. Remove any traces of dirt, dust, or debris, ensuring a smooth and clean surface. To finish, wipe the area dry with a clean towel.

Step 3: Place the Bumper Sticker

Now, you’re ready to apply the bumper sticker. Remove part of the backing paper and apply the sticker to your intended area. Don’t remove the whole rear backing yet — work in sections to reduce wrinkles and air bubbles. As you place the sticker, use your thumb to smoothen out the application.

Step 4: Smooth Out Air Bubbles

After placing the sticker, use your fingers to smoothen it out. Start from the center and push outwards to get rid of air bubbles that may have been trapped underneath the sticker.

You can also grab a stiff card to help you push bubbles out. But do so carefully to avoid scratching the sticker and ruining its design.


So, you see, applying a bumper sticker isn’t rocket science. You can very well do it yourself with our step-by-step guide above.

Installing the sticker itself is fairly straightforward. The most important thing to do is to clean the surface to maintain the adhesive’s integrity and ensure you can enjoy your bumper sticker for years to come.

How to Apply a Bumper Sticker: FAQs

How do you put bumper stickers on?

Clean the area where you intend to place the sticker with soapy water and a soft cloth, then wipe it dry. Peel the backing paper off your sticker and carefully install it in your intended area. Smoothen out the sticker, starting from the center and pushing outwards to get rid of wrinkles and air bubbles.

How do you get bumper stickers to stick?

Bumper sticker adhesive will stick to any clean, smooth, and flat surface. But for good measure, it’s important to clean the area thoroughly before applying the sticker. This will keep the adhesive in good condition and prevent it from losing its stickiness over time.

What is the best glue for bumper stickers?

Bumper stickers are made with acrylic adhesive glue affixed on the back of the sticker. This adhesive is strong enough to ensure long-lasting application, but at the same time, there are different acrylic adhesives with varying degrees of toughness.

Why is my bumper sticker not sticking?

If your bumper sticker is not sticking, then chances are, you didn’t clean the area properly. Dirt, dust, and debris can stick to the adhesive and affect its stickiness. Make sure you clean the area thoroughly with soapy water and dry it off before applying the sticker.