How to Attach Travel Stickers to an Airstream Basecamp Door

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It’s quite common to see RVers with travel stickers somewhere on their RV.  Many have the stickers on the outside of their rig while others have a variety of ways to display them inside their rigs.

When I started full-time RVing, I also wanted to collect and display stickers from the places I traveled to.  But what if I didn’t keep the Basecamp forever?  What if down the road I change to a larger RV or sell it all-together? Does that mean I lose my sticker collection?

Location, Location, Location

First I had to decide where to put my travel stickers.  I decided I did not want to place them on the outside of the RV for a few reasons. First, with all the weather and travel, I was worried they would eventually get ruined.  Second, I don’t like to advertise that I am extensively traveling. Even though I am towing an RV (although some people mistake it for a horse trailer), I prefer to remain as subtle as possible about how much it travels as well as not have any defining characteristics for safety.

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Stickers on the door are a bit more subtle in a small space

This left me with placing the stickers inside.  With the Basecamp’s walls being aluminum, I could place them almost anywhere.  I had also seen some really creative frames other RVers made to hold everything.

With big dreams of traveling to many different locations, I wanted a spot in the RV that I could have an extensive collection, all the while not taking over the aesthetic of the RV with bright colored travel stickers.  After seeing other RVers with stickers on their interior door, I decided the side door of the Basecamp was the best spot.

Double Sided Tape

To solve the problem of permanently affixing the stickers to the door, I used double sided tape for the first year and a half on the road .  I would keep the paper backing on each of the travel stickers I purchased and cover every inch of the backing with double sided tape.  Using a small alcohol prep pad to then clean the spot on my interior door, I would then stick the taped sticker to the door.

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Sticker pulling away from the door

About a year and a half in, I started noticing some of the stickers were peeling back from the paper backing.  Being on my main door, it was very easy to catch these edges with my hand when entering or exiting the RV.  At first, I considered just peeling every sticker off, removing the paper backing, and sticking them straight to the door.  However, this brought us right back to the original problem of not being able to transfer the stickers anywhere else.

Then the thought occurred to me that I could take a nice piece of metal and attach that to the door.  Then all the stickers would attach to the metal, and if I ever switched RVs I could just move the metal over.  However, trying to track down a thin piece of metal, and also one that I thought would look good on the door, was more difficult and expensive than I was looking for.

One day as I was driving between camp spots, it occurred to me that if the stickers were a sturdier material, it would be much easier to tape them to the door and then remove without damage.  This brought me to magnetic adhesive backed sheets.

Magnetic Sheets

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Stickers on magnetic sheets

The thin magnetic sheets that are used for crafting provide the perfect rigid backing for the stickers.  I did some searching around Amazon and found a few options for magnetic sheets with adhesive backings and decided to give it a try.

Originally I had purchased the Magicfly version, but these are no longer available.  I’ve found that X-bet Magnet also makes an almost identical product which is what I have switched over to now.  The nice part about having smaller 4″x6″ sheets is that they are easy to store in the Basecamp for future stickers.

Removing the Old Double Sided Tape

Once I received the magnetic sheets, it was time to peel all the stickers off the door, attach to the sheets, and then re-stick to the door.  This turned into a much larger project than I originally thought it would be.  As I began to pull the stickers off, I found out just how strong the double sided tape is.  If I continued to pull the stickers, they were going to crease and be damaged. Thankfully, they were all still stuck to the original paper backings.

I therefore pulled the stickers off the paper backings and stuck them to the adhesive side of the magnetic sheet to ensure a long lasting connection.  This worked very well and prevented any damage when removing the stickers.  However, it also meant all those paper backings were now stuck to my door.

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Removing the stickers and leaving the paper backings behind

Once all the stickers themselves were off, I then pulled off as much of the paper backing as I could, then leaving the double sided tape itself.  Since the aluminum can scratch easily, I didn’t want to try using a razor blade or any sharp object to peel the tape off.

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Double sided tape everywhere!

Therefore, I pulled out my hair dryer (first time using that in two years) and began to warm the tape.  If I focused the heat on the tape for 30-60 seconds, it would warm it up enough that the tape would peel right off the door.  For the amount of stickers I had on there, this took over an hour to get all the old tape off.  Thankfully I was in a RV park for this and didn’t have to worry about how much power I was using.

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Removing the tape with heat

Cutting Around the Stickers

Once the stickers were attached to the adhesive side of the magnetic sheet, it was then time to very carefully cut around the sticker so that the magnetic sheet was no longer visible.  This was a very tedious task, and for the odd shaped stickers can take quite a bit of time.  However, in the end, the stickers ended up feeling much more sturdy and I was very pleased with the outcome.

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Cutting the stickers to shape

Re-Attaching Stickers

Now that I just spent over an hour taking all the old double sided tape off, I was now going to re-attach the new magnetic stickers to the door with, you guessed it, double sided tape!  Originally I had put tape on every possible area of the sticker because they were flimsy pieces of paper.  Now that they were attached to the thicker magnetic sheets, they no longer required anywhere near as much tape.  The magnetic sheet holds the sticker to shape and prevents the corners from curling out with the weather changes.

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A blank canvas to start re-sticking!

This means for the smaller stickers, I use just one long piece of double sided tape. For the larger stickers I may use 2-3 longer strips to hold it more securely.

Summary

Almost six months in, all of the stickers are still securely attached to the magnetic sheets and to the door. They still all look good as new.  As I’ve picked up more stickers, some re-arranging was required in order to get them to fit nicely together. With having only a piece or two of tape holding the stickers to the door, it is now easier than ever to re-arrange the stickers if needed.  I also know if I need to remove them completely in the future, it will be a much simpler task.

Have other suggestions of how to preserve travel stickers.  Comment below, we’d love to hear your ideas!

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NOTE: THE AMAZON LINKS PROVIDED BELOW ARE PART OF THE AMAZON AFFILIATES PROGRAM. IF YOU MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH THESE LINKS, AS AN AMAZON ASSOCIATE I EARN FROM QUALIFYING PURCHASES. THIS DOES NOT COST YOU ANYTHING EXTRA.

7 Comments

  1. Any vegetable oil is great to help break down sticker and tape residue! For thicker remnants, you might need to try to get it to be saturated to get through to the bottom layer, which is challenging on a vertical surface, of course. Two steps might then be needed to get thicker residue off completely.

    A plastic scraper, guitar pick, credit card, spudger tool, etc can help after the oil has soaked in.

    Then, you just need a little water and dish detergent to clean off the oil.

    Saw your interview on 30 and a Wake Up. Terrific job of explaining the reasons why you chose the elements of your rig!

    Like

    1. Thanks for the tips Ed! I didn’t go with a scraper due to how easily the aluminum can scratch. But great advice in the event the hair dryer doesn’t work for others!

      Like

      1. That’s a good combo: vegetable oil to remove the residue after using the hair dryer to remove the sticker.

        Like

  2. Michlyn McLeod

    Next time go with patches, they hold up better and you can do the same thing to them but also with option to do domething else with them later.

    Like

    1. Great option, thank you for sharing Michlyn!

      Like

  3. Brake cleaner from an auto parts store will remove adhesive and even stains (be careful it will also remove the oil from your skin). Use it sparingly – it jets out in a stream and
    allow for ventilation. The odor will evaporate. You can also use it on durable fabrics for tougher stains. I use an old clean rag and spray it then wipe
    at the adhesive or stain.

    Like

    1. Interesting, thanks for the tip Jay!

      Like

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