Waterslide decal problem......

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by chrisjw5, May 15, 2011.

  1. chrisjw5

    chrisjw5 Member

    May 22, 2003
    I bought some waterslides for a new neck I'm putting on. I followed the instructions from the printer, as well as a few Youtube videos I looked up: clean and dry the surface, submerge in lukewarm water for 20 seconds or until the decal starts to lift, place on wood, slide bottom paper out, slowly blot until water and air are out from under. Leave it lying flat.

    It looked great. And then a half an hour later it was curled up and dried out. the smaller decal (similar in size to an "Original Contour Body" on a Strat, stayed on just fine.

    What did I do wrong? More importantly, can I salvage the decal as I don't want to pay another $20, especially to get the same results.
  2. Structo

    Structo Member

    Apr 10, 2007
    I don't like to let the decal sit too long in the water as it can wash away the glue.

    So I leave it in the water perhaps 10 seconds then take it out and lay it on a paper towel.
    Then let it sit for another 20 seconds or so to finish soaking up the water.
    You should also wet the surface you are applying the decal to.

    There are a couple products to help lay the decal flat but if the surface is truly flat you shouldn't need them.
    Micro Sol and Decal Set come to mind.

    Anyway, slide the decal onto the surface and position it carefully using a Q Tip.
    Then carefully blot the decal. If any air bubbles remain, carefully push them out with the Q tip.

    It sounds like your decal didn't have enough glue left to stick.

    There is also a wide range of quality I have seen in these decals.

    You used to be able to buy them from Fender or music stores years ago and they were the real deal.
    Not the kind that people are making at home using an Alps printer.

    I don't think the decal stock is as good as it once was either.

    There was a guy at another forum selling silk screened decals that looked like the real deal.
    These were already cut to the right shape, all you did was soak them in water then apply them.
    I honestly don't know how they make those kind but they are the closest to the read deal I have seen.

    You may be able to salvage your used decal by putting some Elmer's glue in some water then submerging the decal for a few seconds, then applying carefully to smooth it out. They tear very easily.
  3. JBennett718

    JBennett718 Member

    May 11, 2010
    You can take a little bit of elmers glue or wood glue and dilute it in some water so it's not cloudy. Then brush that water/glue on the headstock and soak the decal in that glue/water solution when applying the decal. That should do it.

    Also, your headstock should have a smooth finish on it. Decals wont stick to unfinished wood very well, or at all.

    For the record, I make custom decals and have had many satisfied customers who have applied them to lacquer/poly/tru-oil/shellac headstocks.


  4. Nanker Phelge

    Nanker Phelge Member

    Feb 7, 2012
    Do you make fender headstock decals? Are your decals printed backwards so when applying
    paper is on top ?( not sure what correct term is for this)
  5. Killcrop

    Killcrop Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Waterslides can be tricky. When I bought some the guy I bought them from gave me 4. My guess is you didn't leave it in the water long enough to activate the glue. Usually what I screw up it breaking the decal.
  6. jiml

    jiml Supporting Member

    Sep 10, 2002
    Got to have water on the spot where you are putting the sticker, just a little. Makes it very easy...
  7. Baxtercat

    Baxtercat Member

    May 11, 2009
    just west of Monterey, CA
    There can be no silicon, oils, etc. on the wood first. Gotta be clean!
  8. JBennett718

    JBennett718 Member

    May 11, 2010
    Nanker... I think you might be asking me directly? I do not make Fender decals, or any other company decals. Just custom jobs inspired by. I print them right side up, not reversed so you slide them off the backing paper to apply them. I clearcoat the decal with lacquer though so they are more durable than a plain decal.

    Yes, a small puddle of water on the headstock before you place the decal is essential to keeping air bubbles out of the decal.

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