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How to make Headstock Decals

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by Doth, Mar 2, 2011.

  1. GrievousA

    GrievousA TDPRI Member

    15
    Feb 10, 2011
    Statesboro, GA 30461
    I agree, this is an excellent thread. However, I do have a question as I am curious:

    Following Testors' decal instructions, you do not print a mirror image on decal film, instead print a normal image, lightly spray bonding agent onto printed decal then slide decal off backing paper directly onto decal location, etc. Are you printing the logo mirror image on decal paper in order to apply the gold paint onto backside of decal? Then use Elmer's glue to hold decal in place after its flipped over so the added paint is next to the guitar surface? In your process, are you still using the Testors' bonding spray after it's printed?

    In my project, I am re-placing the gold 'Gibson' logo on a black peg-head. I wonder if I can use a paint brush w/ gold accurately enough to follow the logo's script lettering? What do y'all think? Please see my attached photos.

    Thanks,
     

  2. GrievousA

    GrievousA TDPRI Member

    15
    Feb 10, 2011
    Statesboro, GA 30461
    The clear spray you are referring to, is that the same as the Testors decal bonding spray?

    Thanks,
     

  3. JBennett

    JBennett Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    40
    Jun 23, 2008
    Cold Spring, NY
    Painting that logo by hand would not be impossible, but only if you are a real pro at hand lettering. The decal could be printed normally(with lazer-jet on lazer-jet clear decal paper), without flipping it as a black outline. I don't know what Testors bonding spray is but I spray the tops of my decals with clear lacquer (or poly if that is the kind of finish on the neck). This makes them much more durable and easy to flip and paint.

    Then I would soak the decal, flip it, dry it, and then fill it in carefully with gold paint. When you do this you'll see how hard it is even to fill in the ouline with gold. Imagine trying to paint the logo on the headstock directly. Even Gibson screen printed their logos.

    Then, when the decal is done you can soak it again and stick it down (paint against the headstock, with the decal as the top layer?).
    This will look pretty nice and will give you a nice, sharp gold logo. I suggest if this is all new to you, you make a few decals and finish a test hunk of wood with black paint and do a test before you try putting it on the headstock.

    Sorry it's not a big image but you can see one of my decals, on a black headstock that was done this way.

    [​IMG]
     

  4. GrievousA

    GrievousA TDPRI Member

    15
    Feb 10, 2011
    Statesboro, GA 30461
    I'm curious: Has anyone tried the Cricut machine yet? It cuts most all types of paper/film per your image (or at least I think it can cut custom images and not just stock images)?

    If you did much of this type work, it would be handy for less than $200 with perfect results. You could then do 'silk-screening type logos, stencils, even cut around decal paper, etc.

    What do y'all think?

    Thanks,
     

  5. GrievousA

    GrievousA TDPRI Member

    15
    Feb 10, 2011
    Statesboro, GA 30461
    Yes, the Testor decal spray.
     

  6. GrievousA

    GrievousA TDPRI Member

    15
    Feb 10, 2011
    Statesboro, GA 30461
    JBennett,

    It looks great!
     

  7. tuuur

    tuuur Friend of Leo's

    Nov 12, 2006
    the Netherlands
    Colt, thanks for posting that video, that clears things up so much!
    You mention using laserprinter paper to prevent decals from running; I presume that paper needs a laser printer too, or can it be used with an inkjet printer?
     

  8. JBennett

    JBennett Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    40
    Jun 23, 2008
    Cold Spring, NY
    You'll need a laser printer. Or just go to a copy shop and ask them to print your file on a laser printer. Laser printers fuse carbon onto the paper/decal. Inkjet just rolls tiny dots of ink onto the surface. Inkjet ink is transparent and not as detailed as laser print black. It comes out in a very obvious...

    here is a poorer example of an inkjet decal:

    [​IMG]

    Here is a nice ink-jet by Conorb, upthread:

    [​IMG]

    The only limitation here is that the woodgrain (or color if you're using a painted headstock, or dark wood) will show through the "gold" or "silver" since it's not really using metallic obaque inks. You need an "alps" printer for that. The detail can be pretty sharp too, depending on the printer and the current level of the ink cartridges.

    A laser-jet decal (examples below in detail) will give you a RAZOR sharp black line on your decals and a slight, raised surface, and it's opaque, bottom of the well, black.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     

  9. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Jan 21, 2007
    Tucson, AZ
    Here is a laser decal I printed on a Xerox. I didn't fill the center because its a silver metalic finish.

    [​IMG]
     

  10. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Friend of Leo's

    Sep 15, 2007
    Glen Head, NY
    Actually I was talking about a quick shot of whatever clear you're using on the guitar to set the ink. Kind of like doing a mist coat to keep stain from bleeding. But it's not necessary with laser decal paper.
     

  11. timbraun

    timbraun TDPRI Member

    72
    Apr 5, 2011
    Canada
    Great info here! I need to get a logo onto my Frankincaster. Step 1. Check Michaels for Tester Decal paper.
    Step 2. Design logo...
     

  12. slobbo

    slobbo TDPRI Member

    5
    Apr 27, 2012
    CA, USA
    First post... hi, everyone!

    I'm thinking I'll try this laser decal paper for the headstock logo on my tele build. I have a related question, though:

    Would the same thing work to add a custom graphic to a body?

    I have an ash tele body that I'm staining and planning to finish with satin polyurethane. I want to put a graphic I designed behind the bridge, but have been uncertain how to do it. I drew the graphic in Adobe Illustrator and can print it on the decal paper. Any reason this won't work or won't look right on a stained and poly-finished body?

    Thanks!
     

  13. bender66

    bender66 Friend of Leo's

    Jan 18, 2010
    on my bike
    Great thread. Thanks for all the info.
     

  14. timbraun

    timbraun TDPRI Member

    72
    Apr 5, 2011
    Canada
    Great thread indeed. Very helpful.

    Did a logo up with InkScape.

    Used the Fender font from http://fontmeme.com/fender-font/.

    Got some metallic gold decals done up by Stan Cedarleaf. I later found I could blend the letters together easily with Inkscape, but I had already had the design printed by then.

    It is tricky to get the decal on smoothly - no wrinkles, no breaks. A small paintbrush helps. Good lighting and eyesight helps.

    Here's the first application on one of my DIY tele's.

    After this picture, I made the mistake of putting a few coats of clear enamel over top. It still looks okay, though.
     

    Attached Files:


  15. sansa

    sansa Tele-Meister

    311
    Mar 3, 2009
    ITALY
    Hey man great decal! Could tell me if I have to put it on the paint or under the paint?
     

  16. Luthier Atlanta

    Luthier Atlanta Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 21, 2011
    Atlanta

  17. barbrainy

    barbrainy RIP

    Mar 2, 2012
    Northampton, UK
    You mean on or under the clear coat?

    That's up to you. Over clear coats is how AVRIs were (still are? idk) done to make them period correct, like Fender used to do. Of course, no clear coat over a decal means that decal will will very easily damaged.....


    I do mine under plenty of clear nitro - it takes quite a few wet coats to properly bury them, but of course much of that gets sanded back.....

    [​IMG]


    I make them following much the same method as JBennett and Colt Knight... draw them in CorelDraw, print them out in reverse, hand paint in the metallic, apply, etc
     

  18. James J LaRue

    James J LaRue Tele-Meister

    281
    Feb 7, 2012
    La Mesa, CA, USA
    RESURRECTION.

    I read this thread and visited the links from the various posts. I'm looking for advice on the best way to create a logo given my circumstances.

    I have an inkjet printer. I can probably get to a copy shop if laser is that much better. I want to do the gold paint thing. Thing is my headstock is not lacquered but wiped a billion times with wipe-on poly. Sanding with 1000 grit and wiping on another coat over and over I've got a really shiny finish built up on it. I'm ok with the decal thickness being kinda visible on close inspection, I don't need to bury it so you can't feel a slight raised area, but I DO want to protect it a bit.

    to cover the logo, can I use a ton of wipe-on poly coats, or perhaps some spray poly that's compatible with the wipe on?

    Which method, decal paper or transparency with the adhesive spray/glue-in-water, is better for the wipe on poly finish?

    If I freshly sand the headstock at 1000 grit, and brush off any dust, do I need to do the naptha thing?
     

  19. barbrainy

    barbrainy RIP

    Mar 2, 2012
    Northampton, UK
    Yes, you can use poly.

    Yes, you can use an inkjet. You just have to cover the decal with some clear coats of something before you put it in water...... Laser is better IMO, but not by a huge margin, mainly just it's easier to work with. btw, it costs me about $1 to get an entire A4 sheet of decals printed to decal paper at my local copy shop. So that's maybe 20 decals?? I always plan for mistakes....


    Yes, you can use the wipe on poly over the decal once it's on the headstock, as the decal itself is already protected IF you've used inkjet. However, wiping on poly to the decal to protect before application, idk if that would work so well. I'm concerned it might smudge the decal.


    I'd say you don't NEED to use naptha, it's just a good substance for cleaning
     

  20. James J LaRue

    James J LaRue Tele-Meister

    281
    Feb 7, 2012
    La Mesa, CA, USA
    Cool, thanks for the reply. Just to clarify, having re-read everything, the gold paint is going to be applied to the back side of the decal (in the non reverse/mirror method). The black lines are on the other side and therefore make for a clean looking job. This I understand...what I'm confused about is the application of gold paint to a sticky surface.

    Decal is soaked, slides off the backing, and is sticky. I've never slid off a decal from its paper and let it dry, I always applied it to something, a model, etc. When it dries, is the surface no longer sticky? Wouldn't I need to use some kind of adhesive to stick it to the headstock? I mean even with decal paper, not just transparency paper...because the gold area is most of the logo, with just a bit of clear border around it...the gold paint would keep the decal from sticking when re-wet wouldn't it?
     

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