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  1. #1
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    Installing decals

    Just wanted to know from you guys with experience, what the best method for placing new decals is?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Define "decal" for me.

    I have a local sign company make up custom vinyl stickers for me. To install them you use a piece of masking tape to position the sticker until you are satisfied with the position. Then you flip it over using the masking tape as a hinge and remove the protective covering from the stickum. Squeegy the sticker into place, remove the paper covering and, after waiting about 24 hrs, it's good-to-go.

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    I have a decal paper kit dealie, they stick. But do I place them then use a clear coat, or is the clear coat not necessary?

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    Curmudgeon Wil Davis's Avatar
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    Thoroughly wet the surface to which the decal will be applied, with a solution of warm water to which has been added a couple of drops of liquid soap. The soapy solution will allow you to carefully move the decal to the final position. Remove all air bubbles from the decal (sponge or squeegy, and pin for the stubborn air bubbles); allow to dry. I've used this method for putting decals, numbers, and also decorative tape (pin-striping etc.) on model sailplanes (largest I have has wingspan of just under 10 feet).

    - Wil
    "………………………" - Marcel Marceau

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    Senior Member bellweatherman's Avatar
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    The other big problem is getting the decal aligned straight on the tube. It's common to put on the decal and it ends up a little crooked, no matter how much you mess with it.

  6. #6
    Ride it like you stole it WheresWaldo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve001
    I have a decal paper kit dealie, they stick. But do I place them then use a clear coat, or is the clear coat not necessary?
    Clearcoating after applying decals will help protect the decal from cracking and otherwise getting damaged. But, if you wand to replace the decals ever again, you will have more work sanding through the clearcoat to remove them. You could also apply clearcoat to vinyl stickers, but check with the manufacturer first.
    "Never use your face as a brake pad" - Jake Watson

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    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wil Davis
    Thoroughly wet the surface to which the decal will be applied, with a solution of warm water to which has been added a couple of drops of liquid soap. The soapy solution will allow you to carefully move the decal to the final position. Remove all air bubbles from the decal (sponge or squeegy, and pin for the stubborn air bubbles); allow to dry. I've used this method for putting decals, numbers, and also decorative tape (pin-striping etc.) on model sailplanes (largest I have has wingspan of just under 10 feet).

    - Wil
    I don't think he's talking about waterslide decals. It's hard to tell what he's talking about.

  8. #8
    Curmudgeon Wil Davis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtdrop
    I don't think he's talking about waterslide decals. It's hard to tell what he's talking about.
    …true, but FWIW this method works well for any type of transfer where the final position of the trim/transfer/whatever has to be tweaked, which is very difficult when they're applied dry.

    - Wil
    "………………………" - Marcel Marceau

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    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wil Davis
    …true, but FWIW this method works well for any type of transfer where the final position of the trim/transfer/whatever has to be tweaked, which is very difficult when they're applied dry.

    - Wil
    That method won't work for the rub on type or the type that's applied with shellac or for sticky backed vinyl.

  10. #10
    Curmudgeon Wil Davis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtdrop
    That method won't work for the rub on type or the type that's applied with shellac or for sticky backed vinyl.
    I think you're correct about the "rub on" type, but the method certainly does work with the sticky-backed vinyl type (much to my amazement the first time I tried it…)

    - Wil
    "………………………" - Marcel Marceau

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    Senior Member bellweatherman's Avatar
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    Yeah, but the problem is how do you get the decal on nice and straight. It's like hanging a picture on the wall. You never get it perfect. At least with a picture, you can constantly readjust. With the decal, once it's on, it's on crooked for good. If there was only some tool out there that would make things straight.

  12. #12
    Curmudgeon Wil Davis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellweatherman
    Yeah, but the problem is how do you get the decal on nice and straight. It's like hanging a picture on the wall. You never get it perfect. At least with a picture, you can constantly readjust. With the decal, once it's on, it's on crooked for good. If there was only some tool out there that would make things straight.
    If you use the method I described, it will "float" on the soapy film, allowing you to move it to the correct position, at which point you squeegee the liquid out, and then it will stick…

    - Wil
    "………………………" - Marcel Marceau

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    Senior Member bellweatherman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wil Davis
    If you use the method I described, it will "float" on the soapy film, allowing you to move it to the correct position, at which point you squeegee the liquid out, and then it will stick…

    - Wil

    Sure, it's a good method you proposed. You can adjust it all you want before you make it stick, but what happens is that you have to trust that you can line things up right. It might still end up crooked and it probably will. Now, if there was some sort of tool that lined it up for you then that would be ideal.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Couldn't you lay out tape as a guide? I wonder if someone on the Framebuilder's Forum could help.

  15. #15
    Stv
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    I have just recently installed a new set of custom made decals on my 20 year old/new steel Miele bike. A Mike Swantak of VELOGRAPHIC made them for me just from the photos I supplied. He did a fantastic job and I'm very pleased with the results. A patient and professional guy, I highly recommend him if you are considering giving a new face to your old ride.

    http://www.velographicdecals.com/

    My decals were all individually precut into small manageable pieces. I suggest you do the same and install one at a time. They are easier to manage. Throughly clean the frame of previous residue with Gunk remover, whatever. Degrease also. Keep your finger prints off the decal seating surface areas too!

    Line up the area that you want to mount the decal. Do it several times. Practise lining it up for perfect orientation. Also line-up the opposite side if there is a matching decal. Dry-run and triple check all clearances with the decals, preseparation. Peel off the back layer and place, working slowly down or across the decal from one end to the other. YOU ONLY GET ONE CHANCE AT THIS CAUSE THE DECAL IS PERMANENT ADHESIVE. You will most likely destroy the decal if you have to re-lift it!

    Use soft rounded wood or plastic utensils to burnish press flat and remove any air. I used a small wallpaper/artist seam roller that worked great. Always work from the centre out to the edges. Spend extra time on the edges for a good seal.

    Then carefully peel off the last top piece of carrier sheet at a 45 degree angle. Watch that the decals don't lift off at the edges. Use a small exact-o-knife to carefully separate if this happens. Lastly and very gently, roll the tool across the decals once more to establish good adhesion has occurred. Be careful not to snag or tear the new decal surfaces.

    Clear coat wasn't necessary as I wasn't repainting and the new decal quality is quite durable. The O.E.M. decals were not clear coated either and they lasted 20 years.

    Take yer time. I was sweating some, but the job came out perfect!

    (andnowfortheumpteenthboringpostpicofmyold/newbikeagain)
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    Last edited by Stv; 05-17-06 at 05:04 PM.
    TODAYS OBJECTIVE: Avoid road splatter; my own, preferably.

  16. #16
    Junior Member drewellison's Avatar
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    I can also highly recommend Michael at velographicdecals.com. I had him create some for my cinelli and he created them from scratch from photographs and internet images. He was great to work with and his price was great! I highly recommend him to anyone needing to recreate decals. (No relation, no interest.)
    --Drew

  17. #17
    fig
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    Look for ActionTac. I got it with my vinyl cutter. I haven't had the need to use it yet, but the vinyl shop highly recommended it, and game me some to try out.

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