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Installing Aircraft Lettering and Decals

When your N-numbers arrive you will notice that they are attached to a quick release backing material, and they have been covered with tape across the front.

It should be noted that the adhesive on the lettering is much stronger than the adhesive on the tape, so after the lettering has been applied you can slowly peel the tape away leaving only the letters applied to the surface.

What you will need prior to N-Number installation:

  • A clean surface! We recommend a final cleaning with an ammonia based surface cleaner such as Windex or 409.
  • A tape measure
  • Scissors
  • A 2″ roll of masking tape
  • The squeegee included with your N Numbers
  • The N Numbers


1.) Apply 2″ masking tape to the front and top of the stencil, leaving approximately 1/2 inch overhang on top.

2.) Using the tape measure, align letters in desired position, then adhere overhanging masking tape to aircraft.

3.) Cut between each letter to the top masking tape, creating a “hinge” for each letter.

4.) Peel the paper backing up and off each letter one at a time.

5.) Using the included soft plastic squeegee, wipe back and forth from the top until each letter is adhered. It is advisable to firmly squeegee the entire area once the letter has been applied to ensure proper adhesion.

6.) After all letters have been applied, slowly peel tape off, leaving the N Numbers intact.

7.) If you are installing permanent or temporary vinyl, the job is complete. Stand back and admire your handiwork!

8.) If you are installing a paint mask make sure and cover the cuts between each letter and then add necessary additional masking around stencil prior to painting.

9.) Paint, then allow to dry prior to removal of mask.


  • For areas with rivets or other surface irregularities you can use your finger to help push the lettering in around the object.
  • If you find a small air bubble under the letter you can prick the center with a straight pin and then press the air out with your finger or squeegee.
  • If you are painting N Numbers with a shadow or outline, paint them first, let them dry, then mask over the shadow prior to painting the lettering.
  • Occasionally you may accidentally allow part of the vinyl letter to stick to the surface (or sometimes it’s self) before you are ready. If this happens, don’t panic! The lettering can be removed by carefully pulling it apart from the surface. Often the most effective method is to use a quick jerk, similar to quickly removing a band aid.
As always, if you have any questions please contact us. We’re here to serve you!