How To Make Football Helmet Decals

How To Make Football Helmet Decals

Helmet Decals

So you want to make homemade helmet stickers? Not a problem, making them is actually pretty easy, but to make it easier this article will take a step-by-step look at how to do just that, so your team can add them for on and off-field accomplishments. 

The sticker-making process works for more than football decals, and you can follow these steps and turn any design into a decal or sticker to decorate your favorite things. 

What Is a Football Helmet Decal

Football helmet decals refer to the little stickers you see on many college teams’ helmets that usually represent a team at large, but in some cases also represent individual accomplishments. Also known as reward decals or pride stickers, these personalized decals often signify the number of games a player has participated in. There are a few other definitions of football helmet decals, though:

Fathead Wall Decals

We often refer to some of our own products as football helmet decals, but in the case of a Fathead, this is a large vinyl wall hanging of your favorite team’s football helmet. Some of our football helmet Fatheads do showcase the smaller helmet stickers we are talking about in this article, like the one pictured below:

The “football helmet stickers” we will be walking you through how to make in this article are the small, white circles seen on the larger Ohio State Fathead. 

Helmet Logo

The most common definition of “football helmet decal” could be used to describe the main logomark on a helmet, but those are generally just referred to as “helmet logos.”

Helmet Stickers (a.k.a. Reward Decals or Pride Stickers)

What this article will be mainly focusing on is most commonly referred to as helmet stickers. These small identifiers are added to a player’s helmet for certain accomplishments (starts, touchdowns, interceptions, etc.). For your team, coming up with reasons for getting to add a sticker to a helmet is completely up to you!

History of Helmet Stickers

According to ESPN, helmet stickers first burst onto the college football scene in 1965 at the University of Miami, but in true college football fashion, many other “WE WERE FIRST!” claims have been made.  

On and off again Big Ten rivals Ohio State and Nebraska both have staked claims of making their own football decals before Miami did. Rutgers also claimed that they predated Ohio’s use of helmet stickers long before they, too, became kind of rivals to Ohio State. 

The most credible “pre-football” claim for helmet stickers comes from early American fighter pilots who would paint small circle patterns called “roundels” on their helmets after every successful mission they flew. We’ll give the claim to them. Cheers to the troops!

What Do Helmet Stickers Mean?

Some teams use them for tallies of games played, some for wins, and others use a single helmet sticker to signify a player who maintains a high GPA (usually 3.0 or 4.0). 

Other teams also use helmet stickers to pay homage to a school legend or community member that passed away. Generally, these stickers will remain on a helmet for the entirety of a season, allowing for an endless mythos of possible meanings. 

Some of Our Favorite Helmet Sticker Ideas

Here are some current and past helmet stickers that college football teams used to signify various things. Hopefully one will spark an idea so you can make your own football helmet sticker.

  • Pawprint - Currently used by a few college teams, many of whose mascots also leave paw prints at events.
  • Feather - Another relatable marker for many bird-themed mascots.
  • Flowers - A classic and universal symbol often relating to locale or a school's plant life.
  • Ax/Sword - Generally weapons are a no-go in regard to the world of education, but these and other warrior-esque decals can be used regardless of a mascot, but often go hand-in-hand when represented by a pirate-type mascot, just run these helmet stickers by the school first.
  • School Logo - The most common, but always a crowd-pleaser, printing a run of your school’s logo can easily create the perfect helmet sticker.

Can I Just Buy Helmet Stickers?

Sometimes there is no need to DIY, Fathead offers custom vinyl stickers and all you have to do is upload your image and follow a few easy steps. The simple on-screen instructions guide you through to having your custom football helmet decals delivered to your door.

Steps to Make Football Helmet Decals

For the DIYers left in the room, here are the 7 steps you need to make your own football helmet stickers at home.

Collect Materials

Here’s what you’ll need to make your stickers once you come up with a design:

  • Packing tape
  • Parchment Paper (a.k.a. wax paper, Dad)
  • Scissors
  • Tablespace

Pick Your Design

Lions, tigers, and bears, oh, and your imagination based on your school’s mascot! You can draw it yourself, or print off a graphic you created or found on your phone or computer. 

Most helmet stickers are less than 1-inch x 1-inch, and we recommend keeping them that small, especially if they are going to be used for something like “games played,” which has the potential for them rapidly multiply. 

Cut Wax Paper 

Cut your parchment paper so that it is 1 to 2 inches bigger than your design on all sides. Lay it out flat, and set something heavy on it for a few minutes so that it remains flat in the case it tries to roll itself up. 

First Tape Cut

Put your masking tape sticky-side-down directly onto the parchment paper. This will ultimately be the adhesive that will stick your decal to your helmet. 

Add Your Helmet Decal

Next, put your decal face up on top of the first layer of masking tape. Line it up right where you want it, and maybe even ask a friend to hold it down for you while you get more tape ready. 

Second Tape Cut

Next, add another layer of masking tape with the sticky-side-down, right on top of your helmet decal design. Take your time, because once it sticks, that’s all she wrote! 

Trim Around the Edges

Trim around the edges of your decal, and when it’s time to stick: simply remove the parchment paper like you would the back of any sticker, and put it on your helmet! Happy sticking!

Stick ‘Em Up!

Now that you know how to make your own football helmet decals, it’s time to get the team together to make some! 

You probably shouldn’t put them on your helmets without asking the coaches first, but if you show up with a bunch of stickers already made, they’re going to definitely be more receptive to the idea. 


Who makes the decals for NFL helmets?

The decals on NFL helmets are manufactured by many different companies. 

What are the stickers on football helmets called?

The large ones are called the team logos, and the smaller ones are called helmet stickers or pride stickers, and usually signify player achievements either on or off the field. 

Are vinyl decals removable?

Removable? Yes. Reusable? Not intended to be. Make sure you hang them where you’re going to enjoy them for a while!

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.