Skip to Content

How do you make multi layer vinyl decals?

Making multi layer vinyl decals can seem daunting at first, but with the right materials and techniques, it is achievable for any crafter. Multi layer vinyl decals allow you to create intricate designs with dimension by layering vinyl in different colors. This adds visual interest and depth to your decal projects. By following some key steps, you can learn how to make professional, multi layer vinyl decals yourself.

What are the requirements for multi layer vinyl decals?

Here are the main requirements you’ll need to make multi layer vinyl decals:

  • Vinyl – Use high quality, permanent vinyl like Oracal 651. Purchase different colors for each layer.
  • Transfer Tape – Needed to transfer vinyl layers onto project surface.
  • Cutting Machine – Cricut or Silhouette to cut vinyl into shapes/designs.
  • Design Software – Cricut Design Space or Silhouette Studio to design decals.
  • Weeding Tool – For poking out excess vinyl after cutting.
  • Squeegee – To apply transfer tape and decal to surface.
  • Project Surface – Clean, smooth surface for applying decal.

How to Design Multi Layer Vinyl Decals

The first step is to design your decal layers using design software. Here are some tips:

  • Plan out your layers – Decide which elements will be on the bottom, middle, and top layers.
  • Make each layer a separate color – Cut each color vinyl separately.
  • Overlap layers – Account for overlaying parts in the design.
  • Consider dimension – Add interest by layering 3D-like elements.
  • Include a background – The bottom layer can be a solid color base.

When designing, create each layer on a separate canvas in your software so you can send them individually to be cut.

How to Cut the Vinyl Layers

Once your multi layer decal is designed, it’s time to start cutting the vinyl. Follow these steps:

  1. Load vinyl into cutting machine – Use mat for thin vinyl.
  2. Send each layer to cut separately – Start with bottom layer first.
  3. Weed away excess vinyl – Poke out scraps using weeding tool.
  4. Repeat above steps for each additional layer – Cut and weed all layers.

Be sure to keep each layer organized and labeled so you know the correct stack order when assembling the decal.

How to Layer and Apply the Vinyl

Now it’s time to assemble your multi layer decal. Follow this process:

  1. Lay down the first vinyl layer – Bottom background layer.
  2. Remove backing paper from layer.
  3. Position second vinyl layer on top.
  4. Use transfer tape to combine layers.
  5. Remove backing paper from top layer.
  6. Continue stacking and using transfer tape for each additional layer.
  7. Apply entire decal stack to project surface.
  8. Rub firmly with squeegee to adhere vinyl.
  9. Carefully peel off transfer tape from top.

Take care when layering the vinyl and applying the decal. Go slowly and smooth firmly to avoid layers shifting.

Tips for Multi Layer Vinyl Decal Success

Follow these tips for the best results with your multi layer vinyl decal project:

  • Always cut from bottom layer up when stacking decal.
  • Work on a clean, smooth surface when assembling layers.
  • Apply transfer tape to each layer before stacking.
  • Remove all paper backing before final application to project.
  • Go slowly and firmly when applying finished decal.
  • Consider using permanent gloss vinyl for longevity.
  • Allow layers and project surface to fully dry before use.

Common Problems and Solutions

Here are some common issues and fixes for multi layer vinyl decal projects:

Problem Solution
Vinyl layers shift or peel off Ensure each layer has transfer tape applied before stacking
Decal won’t stick to surface Make sure surface is clean/dry. Use firm pressure with squeegee.
Cut lines don’t connect or fully cut Adjust cut pressure in machine settings
Weeding is difficult Use a quality vinyl and sharp weeding tool


The process of making multi layer vinyl decals may seem complicated, but just requires careful design, cutting, layering, and application. With quality materials, patience, and the right techniques, you can learn to create eye-catching dimensional vinyl decals. Follow the steps outlined for preparing your design, cutting the vinyl layers precisely, assembling the decal, and properly applying to your surface. Reference the tips and troubleshooting guide to help avoid common issues. With some practice, you’ll be making professional multi layer vinyl decals in no time!