DIY Car Decal

maker diy

vinyl car design for The Humane League

I organized an event called Hack Night for Animals where developers, designers and other technical people spent an evening using their tech skills to help animal advocacy organizations. This was my first project with the group.

Stephanie is the director of The Humane League’s office in San Francisco. She doesn’t have a tech background, but she was at Hack Night for Animals to see if there were any creative ways that creative people could be involved in her work. At The Humane League she organizes campaigns and coordinates a lot of outreach events. She often gives talks at schools, and when she pulls up on campus, she wants to immediately show that she’s professional. She said she thought it would be cool if her car had an official logo for The Humane League on it. We brainstormed some ideas and then set out making a giant vinyl-cut sticker. We converted the logo to a vector for CNC cutting, placed the text for the name of the organization, added some extra cuts to make the production a little easier, then went to TechShop in San Francisco to use a CNC vinyl cutter and produce two giant stickers for her car. You can see the results below.

Tools & Materials

I made this project at TechShop, a maker space in San Francisco.




I took the logo from The Humane League, I used live-trace in Adobe Illustrator to make a vector of the logo and then used a CNC vinyl cutter machine to score the vinyl paper. Next I used the exacto knive and dental tools to remove the negative of the design from the vinyl sheet. Then we covered the design with transfer sticker and we were ready to adhere the sticker to a car. Before sticking to the car, we used the rubbing alcohol to clean off any particulates.

I published a detailed step-by-step guide on instructables, which was then chosen to be an editor’s pick featured project.

10 more

After making it for San Francisco, Stephanie shared photos of her new stickers with directors of other offices of The Humane League. They commissioned me to make 10 stickers for offices in Seattle, Baltimore, Florida, and North Carolina.

I reworked the design to be a more efficient cut and clean up. I added various lines from the logo out to the edge. This gave me a few pieces that were easier to remove. It added time to the CNC cutting, but made the manual detail work much quicker.

Project photos