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How long are waterslide decals viable on their sheet?

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How long are waterslide decals viable on their sheet?

Old 03-18-21, 01:32 PM
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How long are waterslide decals viable on their sheet?

Say one of us landed a 40-year-old set of OEM waterslide decals. Would you trust they're still viable after all those years, if they were....

==> Stored exposed to the elements on a shop shelf the whole time?
==> Stored in a closed paper envelope their whole life?
==> Stored in a the OEM plastic sleeve their whole life?
==> Stored in an OEM plastic sleeve that lived inside a closed plastic envelope their whole life?

And really, is there any way to test the integrity of a decal, or a general rule of thumb for 'best if used by'? Asking because I'm looking to pickup some decals for a bike that'll eventually get painted, but maybe not this year.

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Old 03-18-21, 01:54 PM
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I have a stack 60 year old water slides (could be older), the sunburst arrows that old roadsters had on the top and down tubes at the head tube intersection. I've tried several techniques to make them work, but it doesn't, they break apart.. Who knows how they were stored so trail and error is the only way for me to go.

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Old 03-18-21, 01:57 PM
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Only once did I attempt to use old waterslide decals and the result was not great, to say the least. Simply put, the two offenders were head and seat tube decasl for an old Legnano. They did not stick. Were I to get those decals (Legnano) again, I would want to make copies and use the new ones, preserving the originals for future patterns...
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Old 03-18-21, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
Were I to get those decals (Legnano) again, I would want to make copies and use the new ones, preserving the originals for future patterns...
That is precisely what I've done in the past: make a super high resolution scan of the original and used that to print new waterslides. It works quite well.
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Old 03-18-21, 03:23 PM
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A very nice BFer gave me hard to find tubing decals for my Heron but sadly they didn’t work. Probably about 15 years old.
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Old 03-18-21, 04:01 PM
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I had several sets of old waterslides for my DOMENIC'S and when applying one set they would transfer from the sheet to the frame but would not adhere and after drying fell off the frame.
I tied a few drops of "clear" Elmers Glue in a small bowl with a drop of Dawn and warm water and guess what..success!
One thing that helped was not to squeegee all of the water from the decal after placing it on the frame. I used a damp tightly folded paper towel to tap off the moisture from the top of the decals and then left them alone to dry.
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PS Warm water and the Dawn along with being patient for the decals to lift from the sheet will get you home without tearing the decals.

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Same, the first decals deteriorated in the water because I was in a hurry for them to "slide" off the backing paper.....warm water and waiting for them to release solved the problem.

Last edited by xiaoman1; 03-18-21 at 06:46 PM.
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Old 03-18-21, 04:25 PM
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Gus Salmon had a YouTube video on applying water slide decals- worth a look as those look of decent size.

perhaps a topcoat of artist spray fix to help stabilize them before application?
I would try to not go beyond the edge of the decal- masking required.

Cannot comment beyond that
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Old 03-19-21, 04:28 AM
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I'm going through this with some Serotta decals (~40yo). According to Gus Salmon, whatever adhesive is in there dries out. He can apparently perform some sort of magic to try and revive things, but I doubt it's a guaranteed procedure. Despite their originality, I'm going to have to go with reproductions if/when I have the frame repainted.
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