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Using Decals on Textured Walls

Using Decals on Textured Walls
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Synopsis: Do you have textured walls and ever wondered if wall decals will work for you? This article shows you some popular textured finishes and how they look with decals. Orange peel, plaster and more.


Using Decals on Textured Walls
Using Decals on Textured Walls

We hear it every day "Will wall decals work on my textured walls?" The truth is that it really depends on the texture that you have. From the smooth textured walls to classic orange peel to heavy troweled effects, there are a variety of textures found in homes across the US. We've sold over 100,000 decals since we started in 2008, at this point we think we've run into just about all the texture options out there!


First things first. In order to understand how vinyl will work on your texture, you need to understand that cut vinyl is a superior look to printed vinyl. For this article, we'll be covering premium removable computer cut vinyl. We are not covering the stuff that you find on a shelf in a big box store that came from China. 


Basic decal on a fairly flat textured wall


Orange Peel:

It is found anywhere a building boom occurred in the past 2 decades. This typical drywaller's friend can be used with decals. Just use a bit of elbow grease to make sure you've gotten the decal into the crevices. This photo shows a coffee cup image with some small defined lines on a typical orange peel texture. You can see the texture through the vinyl, and it sticks well to the rough surface. 

Orange Peel Texture

Venetian Plaster:

If you like the old world look, you may have this finish on one of your walls. The deeper the finish, the more work it will take to get into the hand troweled crevices. It will work with decals, but may lose the hand painted look up close. Use the installation tool to really work the design into the grooves.  

Trowled Plaster Texture



Add sand to a can of paint and voila, you have a sandstone finish. What you also have is a porous surface that makes a decal a bit tougher to adhere. Once it is in place, however, it looks beautiful on the relatively smooth surface.  

Sandstone Texture


Tissue Paper:

Some tissue and even wallpaper effects are heavy on the texture. Some are not. If you've got a heavier texture, it will take a little more work to get the decal in to the crevices. If you have the smooth version, well life is good!

Tissue Paper Texture



This is a relatively smooth texture, and it works really well with wall decals. The minimal texture shows through the solid pieces of the design, making the decal look like it has been painted on the surface better than some other textures.

Fresco Texture


This dramatic finish adds very little overall texture to the wall. This means it works really well with wall decals. The matte finish decal goes really well against the glazing and looks hand painted. Decals are a great compliment to your hard work on the glazing effect.

Glazing Texture


Cinderblock & Wood Paneling


The texture itself is not a big deal, it's the glossy paint (or paneling veneer) that will drive you nuts as you try to install a decal over a paint surface that doesn't want anything sticking to it. Just use some elbow grease and you'll do fine. We recommend chunkier letters with cinder block and paneling since fine lettering can get stuck in the recesses pretty easily. 



Cut vinyl vs. Printed Vinyl

And now for a word about the look of printed vs. cut vinyl. We do both printed and cut vinyl, and our favorite medium is always the cut vinyl since it looks the best on any wall. The photo below is cut vinyl, and there is no outline or anything to detract from the design itself. For the best results on any texture, cut vinyl is your best bet. 

Cut Vinyl (no outline)


Printed vinyl, on the other hand, has an outline. This vinyl is generally clear, but the sheen does show up when looking at it in certain light. The printed vinyl is typical of what you get at a big box store. If you need a full color design, then print works just fine. When you want a beautiful design from 1 or 2 colors, especially with lettering, opt for the cut vinyl. You'll be glad you did. 

Printed Vinyl (outline shows in certain light)
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About the Author

Morgan Battisti IT analyst turned business owner, Morgan is the creative director at Trading Phrases--making walls beautiful one design at a time.

Comments on Using Decals on Textured Walls

cate 09-16-2012 05:06 PM
Does it depend on the type of paint? I would imagine that shiny paint (eggshell, high gloss etc) would work better than flat matte. Is that true?
Administrator Note:
Cate, the flatter the paint, the better. However our decals do stick on even gloss paint (with a little elbow grease to get them off the application tape!). If masking tape will stick, so too will decals! ~Cheers! Morgan
margie leslie 03-21-2012 04:45 AM
When the time comes how do I remove this phrase from my wall?
{@Margie, it is easy, you simply peel a corner of the vinyl up with your fingernail to get it started, and then peel it right off. We put them up and take them down all the time, and it is easy to do. Tedious, but easy!}
Administrator Note:
Margie, it is easy, you simply peel a corner of the vinyl up with your fingernail to get it started, and then peel it right off. We put them up and take them down all the time, and it is easy to do. Tedious, but easy!
Deni 08-25-2011 03:59 PM
I have the most horribly textured walls ever and with a little heat, they stick great! I just have to do a lot of tapping to make sure it is flush within each crevice.
Patti O'Leary 08-07-2011 05:59 PM
OMG! i seriously was JUST THINKING THIS TODAY!!!! :) sooo weird you would post this! :) and cool~!
(From Facebook)
DeeDee Hicks Wiitala 08-07-2011 05:58 PM
awesome!! :D I have loved your stuff but been hesitant to order because of my 'slightly textured' walls... this is GREAT to know!! :)
(From Facebook)
Lisa 08-02-2011 09:33 PM
How do I get a sample to test on my wall? I have textured walls, and I'm afraid that it won't work with them.

Administrator Note:
Hey Lisa, You can request a working sample right here: http://tradingphrases.com/color-sample-request.html
Brooke 07-25-2011 10:51 AM
These decals are the coolest thing ever. So simple to install. My kids are thrilled with our new house and how I chose to put their names tastefully on the wall. Our walls have the orange peel texture, and I love the look of the decal since you can see the texture through the letters. It looks like I spent hours painting not a few minutes installing!
Angie L. 07-22-2011 05:40 PM
I put a bunch of decals up in my classroom on the white painted cinder block walls. I'd order them in a larger size next time, but I absolutely love them!

Thanks for such a great idea.
Laura S 07-21-2011 09:23 PM
I finally got up the courage to install my decals. I have a slight orange peel texture on my wall and was worried about my new paint in my bedroom getting messed up. BUT....application was a breeze. I tested with the free working sample and had no problems. I think the orange peel under them even enhances the look! I love them and will be recommending them to everyone!
Sandy 07-21-2011 09:21 PM
We ordered some decals from your company and are SO happy with the result! It was an cost effective alternative to other artwork and looks even nicer! We've had so many compliments on it and have referred so many friends to your site. Thanks to your free samples we got to test out the texture on the walls and knew they would work. I can safely say that orange peel texture works with decals!

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