You are not logged in.

How to Create and Apply Waterslide Decals

#1 2009-11-08 11:44am

wired
Pro Member
From: 6202', CO
Signed up: 2009-06-14
Posts: 4490
Bikes: 56
For Sale: 19
Website
Offline

How to Create and Apply Waterslide Decals

What you'll need:

graphics software
inkjet printer
scanner (optional)
decal paper (available through www.texascraft.com)
2-3 small pieces of an old t-shirt
Krylon clear gloss paint

The first step is finding or creating your image(s).  I've used several methods so far including scanning original stickers, saving images from the Internet and drawing from scratch.  If you're using text there are literally thousands of free fonts available via search.  Next you'll need to choose what software to work with.  Some choices would be Windows Paint, Microsoft PowerPoint, CorelDRAW or Adobe Illustrator.  For this tutorial I started with a set of original [red and black] Redline PL-20 Carerra decals.  I scanned the decals at 1200 dpi and opened them with Adobe Illustrator.  Using Illustrator I manually traced each line and curve until I had a pure vector-based set of images.  The whole process of scanning, tracing and coloring took about six hours.

Here is what my final drawing looked like with images arranged close together to squeeze as many decals as possible onto each sheet.

http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l258/GHS_Wired/waterslide/HowTo_Redline_Waterslides_01.jpg

Because the sheets I bought were 8.5" x 11" I could not fit the down tube decal in one piece and had to split it.  I copied the entire set and duplicated it so that one sheet of decal paper included two full sets.  This paid off since I messed up a couple and had to use some from the 2nd set.

My printer is nothing special.  It's an Epson R200 Photo which cost about $99 and I don't buy genuine Epson cartridges (too expensive).  I tried several different settings (plain paper, glossy photo paper, text + image, photo, etc) and ended up printing four full sheets while experimenting.  I liked the quality of the "photo" setting with "glossy photo paper" best.  Unfortunately, you have to waste a few sheets of decal paper to see how they'll really look because plain paper soaks up the ink and may look different than what you'll get on the decal paper.

Here is a sheet coming out of the printer.

http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l258/GHS_Wired/waterslide/HowTo_Redline_Waterslides_02.jpg

The finished product.

http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l258/GHS_Wired/waterslide/HowTo_Redline_Waterslides_03.jpg

Important: your decals must now be clear coated with Krylon clear gloss.  Apply the first coat spraying left to right then let it dry for at least a few hours.  Turn your decal sheet 90 degrees then apply a second coat spraying left to right.  This gives you two good coats sprayed in perpendicular lines to ensure full coverage.  You should be able to see a nice glossy reflection when wet to verify that you sprayed it evenly.  Missed spots will appear flat or satin.

Edit 2011-08-15: I now do three coats of clear all at once right after printing.  I tape my decals to cardboard and spray L to R from top to bottom, turn it 90 degrees then spray L to R from top to bottom then turn it back 90 degrees and repeat one last time.

This is what I consider the fun part - letting your creativity flow.  I was able to take PL-20 Carerra decals and modify them to be retro-looking Proline AL-20 decals.

http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l258/GHS_Wired/waterslide/HowTo_Redline_Waterslides_04.jpg

Here is the frame laid out ready and waiting.  This frame was painted with Rustoleum white lacquer then clear coated with Rustoleum clear lacquer.  I let the clear dry and cure for at least two days before applying these decals.

http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l258/GHS_Wired/waterslide/HowTo_Redline_Waterslides_05.jpg

I cut each decal out as close to the edge as possible then test fit them where they were going to be applied.

http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l258/GHS_Wired/waterslide/HowTo_Redline_Waterslides_06.jpg

Drop them in the water and watch them curl.  It takes 30-60 seconds for the decals to moisten and begin loosening from the paper backing.  While they're in the water I like to bend them back against the way they curl.  The flatter the better for applying.

http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l258/GHS_Wired/waterslide/HowTo_Redline_Waterslides_07.jpg

Here's the next one going in.

http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l258/GHS_Wired/waterslide/HowTo_Redline_Waterslides_08.jpg

When I started working the curl out of the decal I noticed the black and purple began to smear and run.  I had only applied one coat of clear and obviously didn't cover them enough.

http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l258/GHS_Wired/waterslide/HowTo_Redline_Waterslides_09.jpg

I stopped here and sprayed the remaining decals I had cut out along with the 2nd set I had printed on the same sheet.  Back to work the following day I continued with the head tube.  After the decals loosen you'll want to position them as close to where you want them on the frame.  Begin sliding the decal off and immediately let it touch the frame.  Slide the backing away from underneath while holding the edge of the decal in place.  Once the backing is about half way out you should adjust the position again and get it just right.  The backing makes a very good handle for moving the decal ever so slightly.  You may still adjust it once it lays down but you won't have the micro-control you do when half the decal is still off the surface.

Once fully down there may be air and water bubbles underneath.  Some of the edges may also curl up.  Make any final placement adjustments now then begin wiping up all excess water from around the decal.  Now gently wipe the decal itself and smooth out any air or water bubbles.  Once the center of the decal is smoothed out begin focusing on the edges by wiping from the center toward the edge.  The edges will lay down flat by continually wiping over them and even holding your rag on them for a few seconds.  This process may take up to five minutes for all edges to stay down smooth.

http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l258/GHS_Wired/waterslide/HowTo_Redline_Waterslides_10.jpg

Here is half of the down tube decal going on.

http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l258/GHS_Wired/waterslide/HowTo_Redline_Waterslides_11.jpg

I noticed that the first seat tube decal I applied had a single drop of water roll under and just sit.  It was one of the ones that didn't have enough clear coat and it bled and ran.

http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l258/GHS_Wired/waterslide/HowTo_Redline_Waterslides_12.jpg

How to remove a decal

I flipped the frame over and began wetting my rag and wiping the decal.  The color started disappearing and the decal loosened from the frame.

http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l258/GHS_Wired/waterslide/HowTo_Redline_Waterslides_13.jpg

http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l258/GHS_Wired/waterslide/HowTo_Redline_Waterslides_14-1.jpg

Eventually the decal lifted right back off.

http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l258/GHS_Wired/waterslide/HowTo_Redline_Waterslides_15.jpg

I wiped the frame to completely remove any black ink left then went back to my spare set and cut out another one.

A couple shots of the finished frame.

http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l258/GHS_Wired/waterslide/HowTo_Redline_Waterslides_16.jpg

http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l258/GHS_Wired/waterslide/HowTo_Redline_Waterslides_17.jpg

After the decals have been applied and dried you'll need to clear over them on the frame.  I hit it with three more heavy coats and it now has an almost powder coated look to it.

Here are a few shots of the finished bike.

http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l258/GHS_Wired/BMX_Museum_Posts/Redline_Proline_AL_01-1.jpg

http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l258/GHS_Wired/BMX_Museum_Posts/Redline_Proline_AL_06.jpg

http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l258/GHS_Wired/BMX_Museum_Posts/Redline_Proline_AL_07.jpg

http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l258/GHS_Wired/BMX_Museum_Posts/Redline_Proline_AL_08.jpg

Here some other posts I've made relating to the waterslide process:

DIY Inkjet Waterslide Decals
http://bmxmuseum.com/forums/viewtopic.php?id=156444

Waterslide decals on chrome
http://bmxmuseum.com/forums/viewtopic.php?id=166121

Haro Backtrail Pro build off progress thread
http://bmxmuseum.com/forums/viewtopic.php?id=165499

Last edited by wired (2011-08-15 5:10am)

Offline

 

#2 2009-11-08 12:03pm

Hollywood Babylon
Member
Signed up: 2006-12-09
Posts: 31
Offline

Re: How to Create and Apply Waterslide Decals

That bike looks amazing, and that is a great tutorial.

Offline

 

#3 2009-11-08 12:12pm

Shodan
Intermediate
From: SW Pennsylvania
Signed up: 2009-02-24
Posts: 327
Bikes: 7
Offline

Re: How to Create and Apply Waterslide Decals

Nice that you included the screw-ups too so people aren't freaked out if it happens to them. Thanks.

Offline

 

#4 2009-11-08 12:52pm

RusT808
Hawaiian Built
From: Hi.
Signed up: 2009-01-16
Posts: 4650
Offline

Re: How to Create and Apply Waterslide Decals

cool


SHOOTS, BRAH!!

Offline

 

#5 2009-11-08 1:27pm

bigbubba
Museum Addict
From: Nashville, TN
Signed up: 2007-08-02
Posts: 1024
Bikes: 14
Offline

Re: How to Create and Apply Waterslide Decals

That turned out awesome. Givesme some ideas for my next project. Thanks and great job. smile


I got a fever....and the only perscription is more cowbell.

Offline

 

#6 2009-11-22 6:50am

Sterling
Member
From: O.P. KS
Signed up: 2009-09-15
Posts: 34
Offline

Re: How to Create and Apply Waterslide Decals

- nice tutorial -


. . .

Offline

 

#7 2009-11-22 7:23am

superdave
Expert
From: Arkansas
Signed up: 2008-06-01
Posts: 510
Bikes: 5
Offline

Re: How to Create and Apply Waterslide Decals

kewl

Offline

 

#8 2009-11-22 8:27am

john4130
Centurion Member
From: Kirkcaldy, Fife. Scotland
Signed up: 2009-10-08
Posts: 114
Bikes: 7
Offline

Re: How to Create and Apply Waterslide Decals

have you tried them on a colored frame?

Offline

 

#9 2009-11-22 8:30am

jay brand
Homeless Bikes Nut
From: Springfield, MO
Signed up: 2008-07-27
Posts: 4026
Website
Offline

Re: How to Create and Apply Waterslide Decals

Iused the same technique to create these decals
http://i293.photobucket.com/albums/mm78/jaybrand1/Show%20bikes/100_0741.jpg


The devil said "Scratch my back and I'll scratch your back for sure"

Offline

 

#10 2009-11-22 8:43am

wired
Pro Member
From: 6202', CO
Signed up: 2009-06-14
Posts: 4490
Bikes: 56
For Sale: 19
Website
Offline

Re: How to Create and Apply Waterslide Decals

John4130:  Not yet on a colored frame.  I just bought some white decal paper and plan to soon.

WOW Jay!  Those look amazing!  Nice paint and color combo.  Show the completed bike when it's done, please!

Offline

 

#11 2009-11-22 9:58am

jay brand
Homeless Bikes Nut
From: Springfield, MO
Signed up: 2008-07-27
Posts: 4026
Website
Offline

Re: How to Create and Apply Waterslide Decals

wiredkel wrote:

John4130:  Not yet on a colored frame.  I just bought some white decal paper and plan to soon.

WOW Jay!  Those look amazing!  Nice paint and color combo.  Show the completed bike when it's done, please!

Its my winter build so I will be showing it off real soon cool


The devil said "Scratch my back and I'll scratch your back for sure"

Offline

 

#12 2009-11-22 6:12pm

80sbikedude
AdminBugs Bunny Bmx'er
From: Tarrant County
Signed up: 2006-06-14
Posts: 16530
Bikes: 71
Website
Offline

Re: How to Create and Apply Waterslide Decals

Looks good.......thanks for the info and the "how to"


ASAP.org ........check it out, I live with it daily
If at first you don't succeed, Do it like your Mom told you!
"Do or do not, there is no try"~~~Yoda
Next time you are feeling perfect, try walking on water!

Hook 'Em Horns

Offline

 

#13 2010-03-16 5:23am

Deacon
"big balls in cow town"
From: Canada
Signed up: 2008-08-31
Posts: 4204
Offline

Re: How to Create and Apply Waterslide Decals

big_smile


Hi ten steel 4 life!

Offline

 

#14 2010-03-16 6:36am

cappy227
Museum Addict
From: Long Island, NY
Signed up: 2008-09-01
Posts: 2765
Bikes: 24
Website
Offline

Re: How to Create and Apply Waterslide Decals

Nice...this should be a sticky...GET IT? A STICKY?


"I'll have the roast duck with the mango salsa."

Offline

 

#15 2010-04-11 10:49am

jsmith10126
Centurion Member
From: Overland Park, KS
Signed up: 2008-03-16
Posts: 233
Offline

Re: How to Create and Apply Waterslide Decals

Wired I have been trying to figure out how to make decals for months!!! Then I found this!!! Thank you so much!! I can't wait to try it out!! The CHB build was awesome BTW

Thanks again!!
Jeff

Offline

 

#16 2010-05-30 11:18pm

GT88
Museum Newbie
Signed up: 2009-10-26
Posts: 17
Offline

Re: How to Create and Apply Waterslide Decals

Awesome! Just what I had been looking for to re-create a schwinn downtube decal.
Did you use any particulr brand of decal paper or are they all pretty much the same?

Offline

 

#17 2010-05-31 6:03am

wired
Pro Member
From: 6202', CO
Signed up: 2009-06-14
Posts: 4490
Bikes: 56
For Sale: 19
Website
Offline

Re: How to Create and Apply Waterslide Decals

GT88 wrote:

Did you use any particulr brand of decal paper or are they all pretty much the same?

I've only ever used one brand from www.decalpaper.com (link is right at the top of the tutorial).  I bought both white and clear and have had great success with both.

Last edited by wired (2010-06-21 12:55pm)

Offline

 

#18 2010-06-21 1:09am

john60441c
Member
Signed up: 2008-07-15
Posts: 56
Offline

Re: How to Create and Apply Waterslide Decals

Thanks.I will most definitely try it.

Offline

 

#19 2010-06-23 10:19pm

D...Nice
Museum Addict
From: Los Angeles, CA
Signed up: 2007-01-22
Posts: 2135
Bikes: 14
Offline

Re: How to Create and Apply Waterslide Decals

[x] mark


> > > Wanted List: MX-60 rims ~  ECKO Helmet - Large ~ Black Schwinn Banana Seat ~ Front 24" Skyway Tuff wheel White or Yellow ~ Patterson Decals ~ Sealed Sunshine Hubs < < <

Offline

 

#20 2010-09-20 7:46am

GT88
Museum Newbie
Signed up: 2009-10-26
Posts: 17
Offline

Re: How to Create and Apply Waterslide Decals

wired wrote:

GT88 wrote:

Did you use any particulr brand of decal paper or are they all pretty much the same?

I've only ever used one brand from www.decalpaper.com (link is right at the top of the tutorial).  I bought both white and clear and have had great success with both.

Have you had any trouble with particular colours on clear decal paper??

I finally tried this the other night by sticking a test decal to the side of my compressor (similar colour to the frame and the only large piece of sprayed metal I could find around the house...)

It attached perfectly, but the yellow outline around the Schwinn lettering is barley visible once applied. I printed them on clear decal paper using a HP Laserjet, and clear coated with Krylon 1305 gloss. I didn't think using toner (laserjet) would make much difference to using ink (inkjet), but maybe it does?

I haven't got my camera at the moment to show the stuck on decal, but the pics below will give you some idea of what I'm trying..


Schwinn red/white are original
Schwinn "Chicago" is original
Schwinn black/yellow are my repro

http://img94.imageshack.us/img94/4331/img1246x.jpg

Uploaded with ImageShack.us
http://img214.imageshack.us/img214/2729/img1255a.jpg

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

Offline

 

#21 2010-09-20 8:21am

mr clay
"Mud"
From: Richmond, MI
Signed up: 2010-08-16
Posts: 473
Bikes: 8
Offline

Re: How to Create and Apply Waterslide Decals

reminds me of building plastic model cars and planes as a kid.


ride it like you stole it as long as its not mine!

Offline

 

#22 2010-09-20 2:01pm

wired
Pro Member
From: 6202', CO
Signed up: 2009-06-14
Posts: 4490
Bikes: 56
For Sale: 19
Website
Offline

Re: How to Create and Apply Waterslide Decals

Sorry, on my phone and your pics didn't load.  With my inkjet, the colors always print candy (clear) and mix with the color they're applied to when using clear decal paper.  White paper tends to blend a little but only when it's really dark underneath.

Offline

 

#23 2010-10-29 7:36am

O.S.T.
Centurion Member
From: Hawaii
Signed up: 2010-07-16
Posts: 106
Offline

Re: How to Create and Apply Waterslide Decals

Excellent work. I've got to try this.

Offline

 

#24 2010-11-23 7:24pm

scottno
Guest

Re: How to Create and Apply Waterslide Decals

Great tutorial!  I appreciate your time getting this posted.

 

#25 2010-11-23 7:42pm

freestyle4me
Museum Addict
From: So-Co
Signed up: 2009-06-06
Posts: 1493
Bikes: 17
Offline

Re: How to Create and Apply Waterslide Decals

Did you use regular stickers on the chrome forks?  I'm not a fan of clear coat over chrome and usually strip it off my vintage road bikes.  But how would you protect the waterslide decals without one?  Clear vinyl over the top of waterslides sounds like a tough application.


Cool, a new bike.  Wait a minute.......where am I going to hide this one.  She's going to catch me...

Wanted: 90 Holmes f/f decals, Odyssey parts in vapor blue

Offline

 

Board footer