Tutorial: Making a spaghetti headstock decal in Gimp

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by moosie, Jun 6, 2020.

  1. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I just finished (as in painted) my first neck, which was from last year's build. I hadn't decided whether to use a custom decal, or a Fender replacement spaghetti logo. The latter is obviously controversial, but it's for personal use, etc. It's not just a brand name, it's a feature of the Telecaster. Like you wouldn't build a VW bug replica and leave off the curved roof.

    Anyway, I guess I had some hesitation about using it, because I started messing around in Gimp to see if I could make my own. Here's what I came up with. It was better than I expected, so I wound up using it.

    Untitled.png

    I made sure it had a transparent background, and printed to some waterslide decal paper I got on Amazon.

    I'm no graphics expert, and I think there are cleaner ways, but this is what worked for me:

    First, download and install the free Strato font. There are a couple fonts in that family. Use the 'linked-text' one, which is the familiar Fender pseudo-cursive lettering.

    Also, download Gimp and install, if you don't have it.

    File / New to create an image. Default size is fine, we'll crop later.

    Overview: Create black letters. Select the region inside the edge of the letters, leaving a small edge band all the way around. This will be the outline. Then fill the main area of the letters with gold, or the main logo color. Crop to size, remove the background, place on the paper, and print.

    It's better to make the logo larger than you need, and scale it down (we'll do this in Gimp). If you do the opposite, needing to scale UP, the lines will be poor resolution, and jerky looking.

    Steps:

    – Set foreground color to black (this will be the outline).

    01 Color.png


    – Use the Text tool (Tools / Text). Set font size to 100 px. Type your custom logo name.

    02 Text.png


    – In the Layers window (Windows / Layers), right-click on the layer with your text in it, and select "Alpha to Selection".

    03 Alpha.png


    – Select / Shrink, and set your line width. With 100px as the font size, the outline thickness should be 2-3px, I think. See what you think.

    04 Shrink.png


    Zoom.png



    – Set foreground color to some flavor of gold, or whatever you want for the main text color.

    – Use the Bucket Fill tool (Tools / Paint Tools / Bucket Fill). Fill the main regions of the letters.

    Screen Shot 2020-06-07 at 04.45.30 AM.png


    – De-select the selection

    Screen Shot 2020-06-07 at 04.46.27 AM.png


    – Image / Crop to Content

    Screen Shot 2020-06-07 at 04.46.37 AM.png


    – In the Layers window, right-click the Background layer, and select 'Delete'. Now your decal will be transparent.

    Screen Shot 2020-06-07 at 04.46.37 AM.png


    – At this point you could save (File / Export) as a .PNG file. It must be PNG, to preserve the transparency.

    But then you still have the issue of placing the logo on a sheet of decal paper. Instead, I found it easier to use Gimp. Picture of this step below, as I reached the max attachments.

    – File / Print

    – Select a printer (I bought decal paper that supposedly works on both inkjet and laser. Mine's laser).

    – On the Advanced tab, select Print Quality = Fine, and Paper Source = Manual.

    (Some of this may depend on your printer...)

    – On the Image Settings tab:

    – Set the width to however much length you want your logo to take on the headstock. Mine came out a bit small. Next time, I'd choose 2.8 inches. It also depends on the density of your lettering. Make sure it comes out clearly, and that you can place it to avoid the string tree.

    – Finally, you can DRAG the little preview of the logo to the position on the page that you want. This makes it easy to use a decal sheet efficiently.

    – Hit Print, and you're all set.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2020
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  2. fenderchamp

    fenderchamp Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    thanks for taking the time to type this up! I like your logo too. I few screenshots would really make this tutorial come to life.
     
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  3. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Here's the final print step, if you choose to print via Gimp:

    Screen Shot 2020-06-07 at 04.48.23 AM.png
     
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  4. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Once you have that down, you could include a tag line that curves around the edge of a Telecaster headstock. Like this. The font looks a bit squirrelly, but I made similar versions that looked clean.

    The headstock image is a screen capture of just the headstock, from Ed Hawley's neck plans (PDF file, here). I dragged it into Gimp, which placed it in a separate layer. It's used for two things here. First, as a visual guide, to make sure the scaling and placement works. And second, the lower edge is used to trace a PATH for Gimp to follow when laying out text.


    Screen Shot 2020-06-07 at 05.42.54 AM.png

    After dragging in the headstock, select the Path tool and lay a curved line out on top of the neck edge. When complete, use the Move tool, set to operate on paths, and move the path up a bit, so it parallels the edge. Here you can see the blue path line I created.



    Screen Shot 2020-06-07 at 05.54.16 AM.png
    To get the text to wrap on that line, first use the Text tool to create the text. You'll need to set the font differently from the logo. I used Avenir Next, about 30 px. (The sizes are all relative, because you'll scale down at the very end, in the print dialog. So, the logo was 100 px, and this is 30, or about 1/3 as big). While still in the Text tool's edit box, right-click, and select Text Along Path. This actually creates another path, laying atop the curvy line path. It looks like letters, but it's actually a set of path rules.

    From there it's a matter of using the Path tool, selecting the path, and clicking Selection From Path. Now you're done with paths, and can hide them all (they're listed in the Path window). Zoom in for the next step, which is using Bucket Fill to fill color into the new selection. But wait, you can't drop color onto an object like that. Create a new layer, make it active, and fill. Select / None to remove the dashed lines. Hide and remove unneeded stuff, including the headstock image, clean up a bit, and use Image / Crop to Content just like before. But this time you grab both the logo and the curved tag line. Print!
     
  5. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Moosie, you star thank you for contributing this how-to documentation.

    Top stuff!

    PS the clarity of your notes tells me that you must to technical engineer or analyst of some sort.

    R
     
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  6. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Programmer. Retired. Or is it just Tired? :)
     
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  7. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Of course!
     
  8. Peegoo

    Peegoo Friend of Leo's

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    GREAT tutorial. This should be a sticky thread.
     
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  9. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Here's the thread where I show the neck I made this decal for. In the process of creating the tutorial, I was able to improve upon the decal that I used. But it's so nicely buried in lacquer... Time to build another?

    Here's the headstock:

    Screen Shot 2020-06-07 at 06.22.26 AM.png
     
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  10. stefanhotrod

    stefanhotrod Tele-Holic

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    Great tutorial!
    By the way: you can also design your logo the way above and print a stencil- no waterslide stress ;)

    2FA0D22B-32D8-4D50-9896-695A5A5D0190.jpeg
     
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  11. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I didn't have any stress. It was my first decal application, but it went very smoothly. I actually created another logo for my woodworking projects, some of which I sell on Etsy. Waterslide on them, too...

    But how the heck did you do that? How did you get such a clean edge?
     
  12. stefanhotrod

    stefanhotrod Tele-Holic

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    1. The neckstock is tru-oiled and polished flat and shiny.
    2. Print your stencil on a self-adhesive, super thin foil.
    3. After applying the stencil on the headstock and masking the rest, spray 2 thin coats acryl color. Let dry.
    4. Remove the stencil and sand the logo carefully (I‘ve used micromesh pads, 4000-12000)
    5. Two or three topcoats truoil, polish, done!
    E14A8EB1-7CDD-485A-8CA7-531D463A95F8.jpeg 97430167-341B-4ECA-ADF4-E7C0008C28A2.jpeg
     
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  13. eallen

    eallen Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Great job!

    I am a long time Adobe Illustrator user from my graphic design days long ago.

    Gimp may be different but, in Illustrator, it is a vector program so if you make something smaller and then enlarge it the resolutions is still retained, meaning no jagged edges.

    A few shortcuts you might consider that gimp may be limited on. For what you are doing, in Illustrator for instance, you would simply type out your logo in the font and color you want. Then for the black edge, you would just change the edge color and select the edge thickness desired.

    Also, if I understanding what you are doing with the transparent background step...which I could be missing. Since pinters don't generally print white, a white background is considered the same as transparent when printing. When they get to white they just leave a blank. When doing online images is different because screens create white. That means you don't need to go to the trouble of retaining a transparent background.

    I have always kept my logo a solid color but, in a vector program, once you have a design you can for instance go and grab specific points in the font and reshape the font at that point as desired. The E for instance was just reshaped by dragging some points out and adding some ripples with them.[​IMG]

    Eric
     
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  14. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Thanks for the tips, though I think some of them don't apply in Gimp.

    Gimp is a raster graphics program, not vector. But it's path structure (like what I used for bending the text) is implemented as vectors.

    Here's more about that: https://docs.gimp.org/2.10/en/gimp-using-paths-and-svg.html

    It mentions Inkscape as the popular and free vector program.

    Gimp can load SVG files, but only as images, not as scalable entities.



    I was a software developer, but mostly finance and telecom. Image manipulation is outside my area of expertise. I do really like that Gimp is open source, and completely free. But past that, I've just used it badly over the years for any one-off task that I need.

    I wrote this tutorial first for myself (without the screen captures ;)), so I wouldn't forget what I'd figured out.
     
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  15. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    This is a most helpful tutorial! Thanks for posting it. I recently acquired some water-slide stock, so once I decide on an actual logo...I'll be off to the races.
     
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