Military Stickers vs Decals – What’s the difference?

Often throughout our website we use the term “military stickers” and “military decals” interchangeably, because most people, when searching Google, are wanting decals even though they used the term stickers. So our goal is to show up in the search results, but then educate people on the differences as decals are what most people see on vehicles driving around town. Decals will hold up in weather, stickers won’t. We only offer high quality military decals, over 7000 different designs, in sizes from 1″ to 32″.

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Our Customers

Our typical customers are veterans, VFW’s, American Legions, museums, etc. who want to commemorate their service on their vehicle, boat or aircraft, or create some project like bar tops, corn-hold boards, or honor boards. Check out our gallery for lots of cool examples of what our customers have done! We also serve all of the military branches, and our decals can be found on Naval ships, aircraft, crew helmets, etc. All of these customers want a long lasting application. Over our 23 year history, we have thousands of repeat customers, and the typical cycle is about 5 years, when a customer replaces a vehicle.

Key Differences

What’s the difference? A military sticker is a self-adhesive label or tag that is usually printed on paper. It is designed to stick onto a surface for a short period of time, and can usually be easily removed. A sticker is not weather or UV resistant; if you go to the toy section of a store you can find examples of stickers for kids, with many per sheet. Occasionally stickers will be printed on vinyl but the vinyl is low quality and apt to fade or peel after a short period of time. Many of the military stickers you find on Amazon are printed overseas and are very poor quality.

On the other hand, a decal is a design or image that is printed on a special type of vinyl material. We use the best available 2.5mil calendared vinyl which is weather and UV resistant. It is intended to be applied to a clean, hard, smooth surface like glass, metal or wood for a long period of time. It can be even be clearcoated as well for extra durability. Check out our FAQ for clearcoat products we know work well.

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Vietnam Service Ribbon DecalOur military decals are much stickier than military stickers, and while they are still removable, it is more difficult to remove them, and they are more steadfast since they are designed for outside application.

Die Cut

High quality military decals are also “die cut” which means that they are cut out to the exact shape of the image at the time of manufacturing and printing, with a very tiny knife that cuts the image out of the background vinyl. Check out this customer photo at the left for an example. The top decal in this application even has it’s center parts cut out around the eagle’s feathers for instance, making it look very sharp. Many so called military stickers are not die cut, and are just on a circular or rectangular background, or have an ugly white border around them, and don’t have the vibrant colors that can be produced on high quality vinyl.

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Another typical difference is installation. Military stickers are simply peel and stick. Just peel off of the waxy paper and stick them on your surface. Military Decals on the other hand have 3 layers; the waxy backing paper, the vinyl decal, and a piece of transfer tape that lays over the top. After you peel off the sticky back of the decal, you can hold onto the transfer tape to apply the decal to your surface with precision. Once it’s in place, simply peel off the transfer tape, leaving your beautiful military decal behind. Here’s a link to our Youtube Video showing installation instructions, or check out our installation page.

Quality at any Size

Unlike a military sticker, our military decals can be printed at any size. We offer sizes on most of our 7000+ decals from 1″ up to 32″. Because we have created all of our artwork in-house, we can print even the largest sizes without losing any quality or sharpness. You’ll find our large decals in VFW halls, on Naval and Coast Guard ships, and even in museums! Check out our huge selection using the button below. Our incredible quality along with first rate customer service is why we have such a huge following. Over 60,000 people served in 23 years, and hundreds of 5-star Google Reviews. 100% Made in the USA, unlike many of our competitors, or Amazon!

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