What are Glass Decals?

Tara Barnett
Tara Barnett
Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

Glass decals are removable decorations used to change the appearance of non-porous surfaces like glass and mirrors. While these decorations are usually designed for use on a specific type of surface, such as a car window or a bathroom mirror, they will often adhere to other smooth surfaces just as well. Many popular glass decal designs take advantage of the nature of the material to which they adhere, creating the illusion that there is an object in the glass, for example, or that the person looking in the mirror is wearing a mustache. Other designs are purely ornamental and do not interact with the glass itself. Typically, glass decals are removable, making them excellent for seasonal decorations.

In most cases, a glass decal is essentially a clingy sticker. Some decals are three dimensional and are sometimes made of a gel material. Sometimes, the sticker will adhere to the glass without any additional adhesive. This makes it very easy to remove and reuse glass decals, which can last for years without any deterioration.

While windows are popular places to install glass decals, this type of decoration is also often made for drinking glasses and other glassware. Mirrors that bear glass decals often show a reflection of the decal on the actual mirrored surface, which must be considered when designing the sticker. By printing the decal in a certain way, the look of more permanent glass decorations can be imitated. Decals can be used to create the look of etched glass or stained glass without the investment of either option.

Businesses that cannot make permanent changes to the windows of their establishments often use glass decals to display their information in an aesthetically pleasing fashion. Glass decals can be made semi-transparent, allowing light to pass through even when the company's logo is displayed prominently on a window. This makes these decorations a nearly ideal way to display information that does not frequently change, such as the company's name and logo.

A glass decal can be personalized at a relatively low cost, making this a very easy way for individuals to customize a space. Decals for windows can be printed with any design and can be made in custom sizes for a precise fit in any area. Many people find that printing partial cityscapes or landscapes on windows is an effective way to hide otherwise unattractive views. This technique requires a little planning and creative printing, but it can turn a view of an industrial wasteland into the skyline of New York City without breaking the bank.

Discussion Comments


@chrisinbama- My husband has a habit of putting decals on our car windows. It aggravates me greatly. He will put a deer decal or some kind of hunting or fishing decal. At one point, you could hardly see the cars behind you in the rear-view mirror because of all the back glass decals!

After much rehabilitation, he has agreed that it's just time to let some of them go.


Growing up, our house looked like the "glass decal" store! Every single holiday, my mom had glass decals on the windows. We would have everything from Easter bunnies to black cats and witches. All of my friends loved coming over to our house on holidays because my mom went all out!

I especially loved it in the winter. She used frosted glass decals and it made it look snowy. She put snowflake decals all over the windows. Since we live in Florida, that is the closest thing to snow that we saw!

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