Decal Application Instructions
Posted by DJ Fisher  10/04/2005

Tips to help you apply your graphics:

Roughly cut out the stripes/decals from the sheet (if not already).

Clean the surface that the decal will be applied to. The surface must be free of cleaners, solutions or solvents. If the surface has been freshly painted, allow at least a week for proper curing time. Paint that has not cured properly will attack the vinyl adhesive.

The clean part is carefully marked up with low tack masking tape or similar as a guide to correctly position the stripe.

Lightly mist with a mixture of water and a drop of dishwashing liquid, covering the whole area. Too much dishwashing liquid in the water will affect adhesion. This mist will enable the decal to be gently lifted off if the initial positioning is not accurate.

If the decal is between a backing paper and a transparent application tape. Peel off the backing paper making sure the whole graphic sticks to the application tape.

The “exposed” part of the stripe should be carefully aligned to the guides on tank/panel and gently placed in position. If the positioning is not right at this point the stripe/decal can be carefully pulled off the piece. If too much pressure has been has been used the vinyl can easily be stretched. When satisfied with its positioning the stripe can be smoothed down with a plastic squeegee or a piece of stiff card, expelling the water.

Peel back the application tape carefully, should the graphic start to lift push it back down then continue peeling back the tape. While it is still wet, push out any air pockets while being careful not to move the decal out of position. Always work any water or air pockets to the outside edges of the decals to avoid trapping them.

Decals should be allowed 24 hours to dry. If you have pushed out all air during the previous steps, the decal should not have air bubbles. Should any appear after drying, use a sewing needle to extract air with a very small hole. Small bubbles will disappear over time with exposure to sun.

Allow at least 2 days before applying a clear coat over your new graphics.

The decals should be carefully spirit wiped and allowed to dry, twice, before applying clearcoat to remove any traces silicone from the surface.

Applying a clearcoat is best left to an experienced painter. The decals must not stay wet for long. The first coat of clear must be what is sometimes called a “dry coat”. This is a light coat to seal them, which is allowed to dry before the final coat(s) are applied. If they are sprayed heavily with clear without doing this, the solvents in the clearcoat may attack the decals causing the them to wrinkle or lift.