Dry vs Wet sticker application. Which one should you choose?

Have you ever had trouble installing stickers? Maybe you are applying the stickers using the wrong method. People are often a bit surprised to learn that there is more than one method of sticker application,

Different application method tends to have different strengths hence it is best to understand this difference so you can optimise your sticker application, durability, and lifespan.

What happens when the sticker is not applied correctly?

Improper application of stickers can lead to the loss of adhesive strength, creasing, folding, formation of air bubbles, and decreased lifespan of the sticker itself.

How many sticker application methods are there?

There are mainly two sticker application method, Dry method of application and Wet method of application. We will briefly elaborate on these methods but if you want to learn more then you can check out our articles on the Wet and Dry methods of application.l

Dry method: This is the most common application method which involves, peeling the back of the sticker and applying it directly onto the surface without the use of any solvents or liquid to help with the positioning or application process.

Wet method: In this method soapy water or application fluid is applied onto the surface before the sticker is placed, A squeegee is used to apply pressure onto the sticker and push the water from under. it is then left to dry for a while before the backing paper is peeled off and the sticker is set.

Difference between the two application method

In the table below we will be comparing the dry and wet method of application.

 Dry MethodWet Method

The sticker is applied directly without any liquid or solvent hence it sticks instantly after contact.


Mistakes made during the application process are hard to fix and at times not possible.


The application process is very quick but there is no room for mistakes



It is a messy process due to the need to wet the surface with soapy water or any application solvent.


The sticker needs to set before the backing paper is removed.


The water allows us to move the sticker after the initial application, making easy to reapply or re-position the sticker


This method is ideal for applying high “tack” stickers with high initial tack.


This application process is quick and simple. The sticker is applied directly onto the surface and pressure applied.


There is no use of application liquids and solvents, the sticker does not need to be given time to set unlike the wet method of application.

This application method is slow and takes a long while to apply.


Application fluid or soapy water is applied onto the surface to help with the sticker positioning.


The sticker needs to be left undisturbed for a while to dry and properly set.


The dry application process might be quick and easy, but it cannot be re-positioned hence there is a higher chance of creases and air bubbles forming on the surface.


The quality of the application depends on the skill of the installer.

The stickers might still have some air bubbles that are hard to remove, these disappear automatically after a few weeks.


This application method is specifically used to minimise the formation of these imperfections on the surface.


This method helps to produce good results consistently even if the installer is not skilled.

APPLICATION DIFFICULTYThis method is recommended for experienced installers. Not recommended for large stickers.This method is recommended for beginners due to ease of application.

Application Fluid: When applying stickers using the wet method of application this application fluid can be used to assist in the positioning of the sticker. Application fluids are available at most printing stores. It is also available for purchase on our online store here.

What’s our recommended sticker application method?

We often recommend the wet method of application, especially if the installer is not as experienced, but both the methods produce good results and are viable options. If you’d like more advice, want to hire our installers, or order some stickers, you can contact us at sales@signprintaustralia.com.au or at 1300 627 548.

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