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Waterslide Decal Help ???

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by guitarman1956, Feb 21, 2008.

  1. guitarman1956

    guitarman1956 Supporting Member

    Aug 29, 2005
    Northern Virginia
    I'm a first timer and I have one shot and don't want to screw this up. Any advice will be appreciated?

    Do I need to put down a clear coat of lacquer before I apply the decal?
    Do I just simply slide the decal off the backing in to place?

    Andy do's and don'ts Please.

  2. dognmoon

    dognmoon Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2003
    City of Angels
    Some of this may be redundant- just excuse what you don't need.

    print the decal, let it dry
    spray it with a clearcoat to preserve the printer ink once you get it wet
    fill a bowl with warm water
    drop a drop or two of elmers glue in there
    hold the decal by a tip with some tweezers in the water until it curls and then flattens again
    apply it to the guitar with the tweezers and use your other hand to dab it with a paper towel.
    you'll have about 15-20 seconds before it starts to set.
  3. guitarman1956

    guitarman1956 Supporting Member

    Aug 29, 2005
    Northern Virginia
    Cool...thanks Dognmoon :AOK:dude:RoCkIn
  4. tlpruitt

    tlpruitt Member

    Mar 13, 2006
    Just west of Baltimore, MD
    My advice....get more decals. :)

    Yes, the headstock should already have some clear coat on it for the decal to adhere to. Getting it on the headstock without tearing it isn't too tough. Getting the bubbles out without tearing it can be tricky. Once it dries on the headstock you need to shoot a few mist coats of clear over the decal and headstock. Not too heavy or it will bubble or curl. Let the last mist coat dry overnight. Then you can lightly wet sand and rub it out. Be careful sanding near the edges of the headstock, it is easy to sand through the clear finish at the edges. Also be careful not to sand through the clear into the decal.
  5. Clutch21286

    Clutch21286 Member

    May 28, 2007
    Make sure the surface you apply the decal too is smooth. Good Luck.
  6. skeeterbuck

    skeeterbuck Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    I have a lot of experience applying water slide decals.

    Decals like to be applied to a smooth surface. The shinner the surface the smoother it is.

    Use distilled water. It can make of difference because normal drinking water has chemicals etc. in it which may affect the results.

    Leave the decal in the water for about a minute. Hold it flat till the backing paper get completly soaked and the decal doesn't want to curl up. About a minute.

    Take it out of the water and place it on a damp paper towel.

    Let it set another minute and then see if it is ready to slide fron the backing paper. DON'T FORCE IT! If you do you may tear the decal. Keep trying until it slides easy.

    Wet the area on the guitar where the decal is to be applied with a little amount of water. This will keep the decal from sticking right away and allow you do the final placement exactly where you want it.

    I would not use any white glue unless you find that the decal doesn't want to stick.

    Position the decal where you want it to be.

    After the decal is in position, lightly blot the decal with a clean cotton cloth. ( I normally use a old T shirt) This will remove the excess water.

    Then go back and starting in the middle of the decal with the cloth wrapped aroung your index finger and roll it lightly towards each end working the water out from underneath the decal film.

    Don't over do this step, but keep it up until all of the excess water is removed.

    Let dry overnight.

    If you want to clearcoat over it, follow the advise listed above.

    Good luck and don't worry. It sounds harder that it is.
  7. guitaraddict

    guitaraddict Silver Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2007
    Sharon, TN
    Good advice! I would definately apply several coats of clear, wet-sand in between then use a ultra fine steel wool before you apply the decal or they won't stick properly. It's a lengthy process but well worth the wait in the long run. After spraying over the decal, wait several days use the steel wool then buff with a good mild compound(3M) Should look good if you use light coats. Good luck.

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