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The Art of Displaying Decals

In the recent post about Doug Hanson’s sweet custom el Tigre, reader Auggie commented on the decals affixed to Doug’s tool cab.

That got me thinking about decals and the places that some of us place them.

The decals we have and/or display are a glimpse into our lives. They reflect our hobbies and ourselves. I love decals, especially those that are connected to the sports I love.


Some of my decal collection

I’ve sort-of collected decals (and patches) since I was a kid and I have a pile of snowmobile, moto and bicycle-related ones that I prize greatly. But the problem with this collection is that it’s contained in a handful of file-folders, so I don’t look at them very often. Above are just a couple of those file-folders.


Decal art on my shop fridge.

However there are a few exceptions… locations that have gotten plastered with extra decals over period of years and which now serve as something of a gallery. Like Doug and Auggie, one of my display galleries is a common shop surface: the old, extra refrigerator.

There’s no real rhyme or reason to the types of decals or the placement, especially once my kids started adding their own.


Toolbox decal collection from the 1980s BMX era

When I was a kid back in the 1980s I raced BMX bikes. This was my toolbox from that period. I love how the decals immediately take my mind back 30 years, with vivid recollections of the products from many of these companies.


Family cooler is another good surface for decals

Coolers are another nice display surface.


My trash can from my job at Snow Week.

My trash can from my job at Snow Week.

When left the employ of Snow Week & Snow Goer magazine back in 1991, the two things I brought home on my last day of work were my Rollodex and the garbage can from my office, the latter because it had a nice collection of decals. I still can’t get myself to dispose of the thing.

Still, I need to figure out a way to display all the other decals I’ve collected, because the ones in the file folders are the true gems. Maybe in poster-sized collections that hang on the wall like art? I’m sure my wife would love a few of those in the living room.


Prototype Arctic Cat 800 H.O. Y-pipe on display at my house

She’s already thrilled with the first prototype Y-pipe from the 800 H.O. engine that graces our kitchen area (it was donated by Arctic Cat to the SHOF raffle this year, for which I was the highest bidder).


Auggie's decal display

Obviously I’m only one of thousands of people who display their decals on tool boxes, refrigerators and the like. Here’s Auggie’s tool chest.


Arctic Cat stylist Corey Friesen with the sweet fridge in his studio.

Here’s Arctic Cat stylist Corey Friesen and the fridge in the corner of the Arctic Cat styling shop.


Kirk Hibbert's ArcticInsider-sponsored tool chest

Kirk Hibbert could use a few more decals for his shop tool chest. I’ll be sure to add some more the next time I’m there.

If anyone wants to share a photo of their decal display, click on the “Contact Us” link at the bottom of this page and attach the image. I’ll add it to this story.


Most iterations of the ArcticInsider decals from 2009-13

And if you want to add an ArcticInsider decal to your collection, send an email via the “Contact Us” along with your name and address. I’d be happy to send you the latest iteration.

Thanks for reading.


UPDATED with others’ submissions:


Plueddeman's collection

Plueddeman's collection

Above two images from Charlie Plueddeman, who I want to publicly thank for writing this comment above, “And if a sticker is too cool, I’m reluctant to stick it on anything. So it stays in the box.” and then proceeds to send me a photo of his computer featuring an ArcticInsider decal. Thanks, Charlie?!


Dave Wells file cabinet

Snow Goer feature editor Dave Wells submitted this shot of his file cabinet, noting: “Like most guys, I have most of my decals and patches stored away in a beer box and some plastic bags. However, I do have a very old (early 1970’s) Nero Arctic Cat letter pad cover that is decorated front and back with old sled racing decals including one with Gilles Villeneuve and a bunch of period Cat racing decals among others. I still use it at some snowmobile events. I’ve given the same treatment to a couple of clip boards that I also still use.

“I also have snowmobile-related magnets on my office file cabinet, which is another good display option.”


The Dragan Decal Collection

From s.t.i.c.s.9: “The first shot is of my Dad’s former basement refrigerator. 1958-2012 R.I.F.H. (rest in fridge heaven). My brother and I adorned it with stickers throughout the 70’s until about ’82. The door is now hanging in my brother’s garage.”


The Dragan Decal Collection

From s.t.i.c.s.9: “This is the toolbox lid in my garage. There is quite a collection of stickers and business cards that have accumulated over the years.”


Dragan is a creeper

From s.t.i.c.s.9: “Finally… my 30 year old creeper. It was refurbished last summer and I decorated it with some of my collection. This is NOT the preferred way to go about plastering an item with stickers. The legal method is to apply the various decals over an extended period of time, preferably several decades.”


Jeff & Jeremiah Johnson Arctic Cat decal display

From the Jeff & Jeremiah Johnson collection.


Jeff & Jeremiah Johnson Arctic Cat decal display

From the Jeff & Jeremiah Johnson collection.


Jeff & Jeremiah Johnson Arctic Cat decal display

Yet another beauty from Jeff and Jeremiah.


Arctic Cat-tagged decals from the 1970s

A special thanks to Ken Gardner, who sent me these awesome decals from the 1970s. Seriously, I love the humor that someone at Cat displayed with this concept.



  1. Great entry, John. I keep my sticker collection in a plastic tote box. I like to look at old stickers from companies that no longer exists.

    I have a lot of stickers from snowboard, wake board and PWC accessory brands that were big in the 1990s that are gone now.

    And if a sticker is too cool, I’m reluctant to stick it on anything. So it stays in the box.

  2. I just got refinishing a set of metal cabinets for my shop (sanding, primer, blocking, painting). 2 days is how long I looked at it before i had to start with the stickers! I’ll send you a pick this weekend John.

  3. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. SkyWay Tuff Wheels, I remember waiting for my blue Tuff Wheels one Christmas. This was along time ago in a distant galaxy. Anyway I went for the biggest box that Christmas morning, just hoping they were in there. I don’t remember opening anything else, but I’ll never forget the Tuff Wheels. So many stickers or decals that bring back some great memories.
    Thanks for reminding me how old I am. Now I’m going to have to look for my Mag Scrambler. I wonder if I can still do a table top? I’ll send pics from the E.R.
    Drive fast, take chances:):)

  4. John…you have de-valued the AI stickers by giving them away to everyone, by the fist full. I have dozens. We use them in place of duct tape.

  5. To piggy back on Pluedy’s last post… I was looking through some decals the other day and I realized that I have at least one or two of each generation of AI decals (something of which I am quite proud). The exception is the “Light fuse and get away” version, and anything that may have come out since Haydays. Not sure what I’ll do with them all yet, but chasing down “the set” sounds like fun.

  6. I use have decals on my laptop and on a frig, but both of those kicked the bucket. My new plan is to get a large piece plexy glass screw it to the wall in my office then stick my collection to that. John the y pipe is a nice touch, I have a 72 Kitty Kat my dining room.

  7. Hi, My name is Dan D ,and I also suffer from the, “Sticker too cool to stick” affliction. Pluedy will you chair the next Sticker Anonymous meeting ?

  8. John, What no Arctic Insider stickers on alligator and crocodile
    warning signs ? Not to mention the southernmost point. I wish (not) I was home I’d post a pic of the back of my snowmobile trailer and truck, that’s where mine are.

  9. I also do not like to use a sticker if it is “too cool” so now I stick the to sheet magnets then I can stick them to the garage furnace, garage cabinets or fridge. This way I can display them but can remove them at any time.

  10. Hello John! My favorite was the tool box from your BMX days! Super cool! You wouldn’t happen to have any 20″ whips from your past that you would be interested in parting with? I am have been keeping my eyes open for a mid-late 80’s resto.

    Spicer, MN

  11. I really liked seeing how everyone displays their collection. I have a tip. Use magnetic tape on the back of the stickers then you can re-arrange them or move them when you get a new toolbox or fridge.

  12. Ive been trying to come up with a good way to show all the good decals I have. Just saw this and pretty much the only thing online! Wanting a wall hanging to start this with. Thinking the ultimate thing would be to get a smooth piece to a pickup truck tinted back glass and hang on the wall.

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