How to Apply Football Helmet Decals Without Fear
Perhaps you are the new football coach, or volunteered to be the equipment manager for the football team. One of the first tasks you will tackle is applying your team’s decal on your freshly minted (or recently reconditioned) football helmets.
You might be forgiven for waiting until the last minute to apply the decals. You want them to look perfect for opening kickoff. This is when you realize you had better apply them correctly because all eyes in the stadium will be on those football helmets. And if the decals are crooked, or inconsistently placed on each helmet, there will be no one else to blame!
Most helmet decals are the standard-sized (4” TO 7”) mascot, name strip, oval or circle. These are the decals we are concerned with in this article. These are the decals that are traditionally applied to each side of the helmet. Nowadays, there are all manner of football helmet decals: mascot stripes, full-helmet headdresses, pro-cut mascots, etc. These have their own unique application procedures. Chances are, you don’t have one of these super-custom decals…yet.
Getting back to YOUR helmet decals… what’s the best way to apply them stress-free? Just be patient and follow these simple suggestions:
Tip #1: There is no single, correct way to align a decal. You may discover a better technique on your own. But when you are faced with the daunting task of applying decals to 200 football helmets or more, you want to have an application method that is quick and easy. You don’t want to spend 10 minutes aligning each decal…you’ll miss the entire first half of the season!
Pull up a chair and set your football helmet on the table in front of you. Take a decal - with the backing paper still attached to the back - and hold it up to the helmet to visualize how it will look best when it is applied. Use the front rim of the helmet as a guide, extending an imaginary horizontal line across the side of the helmet. This will give you an idea of how it will look when the helmet is being worn.
Tip #2: Make sure the helmet is clean and free of any grease, oil or dust. You’d be surprised how oily the surface of a helmet can get when it is handled. Wipe it with a microfiber cloth to pick up any oil or lint. If needed, use a little soapy water and wipe dry. Make sure the soap residue is wiped off, too.
Now you are ready to apply the helmet decal. Remove the backing paper and hold the decal by its edges to avoid touching the adhesive. Hold the decal flat or flex it slightly opposite the curve of the helmet and gently touch the center of the decal to the helmet surface. Double-check your alignment and then carefully lay the decal down onto the helmet surface from the center to the edges. Then use your thumbs to gently slide and press the decal down, always working from the center to the edge. The best decals will conform to the curved shape the helmet. If you’ve created some air bubbles, don’t panic! Simply press them away using your thumbs to draw the bubble toward the outer edge until it disappears.
Special note for mascot decals: Is your mascot depicted charging forward? Then you probably have two distinct helmet decals: one being the mirror image of the other. The reason? You want your mascot facing forward in the same direction as your player inside the helmet. There are very few exceptions to this rule. Therefore, if your helmet decal company only sent you mascot decals facing in the same direction, you need to find another football helmet decal company (we know the BEST one). Make sure you select the correct decal for each side.
Now, step back and admire your work. That’s a mighty fine looking decal on that helmet! But don’t rest on your laurels…you still have the other side of that helmet to do. And 199 more!
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