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Technical Decal apply tricks??

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Groucho, Apr 16, 2014.

  1. I have wood grain decals for my early 60's Pontiac dash to apply, and I'm getting bubbles. So, before I go for the other pieces, what's your tricks? I've heard about spraying soapy water, but it seems like that's affect the adhesion. THX
  2. VoodooTwin
    Joined: Jul 13, 2011
    Posts: 3,455

    from Noo Yawk

    Spraying with soapy water, or Windex is the way to go. I've found that it doesn't affect adhesion. Apply the wet decal after spraying on the surface of the part it gets applied to, move it into position, then squeegie the fluid and air bubbles out with a credit card or other soft straight edge.
  3. It's not a wet decal, it's peel and stick. R U sure on the Windex? If so it sounds less risky than putting the wrong amount of soap in the water. How long before the liquid evaporates? Any other's THX
    Joined: Jan 18, 2011
    Posts: 1,262

    from alabama

    NO TO WINDEX.......It has an alcohol base and doesn't do good with decals.....I've been in the sign business 43 years....hire you someone that installs wraps to do it for will be cheaper than ordering another set of decals.
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  5. fordcragar
    Joined: Dec 28, 2005
    Posts: 3,180

    from Yakima WA.

    I always used soapy water and you'll need a heat gun too. I'd take the decal, peel off the backing and then using the soapy water coat the decal and then place it on the car. Then using a squeegee work out all of the air bubbles. If you get to a point where you need to form/shrink the decal you can use the heat gun. If you get to the point that you can't get all of the bubble out, you can use a razor blade to break the bubble and squeegee out the soapy water.
  6. unkledaddy
    Joined: Jul 21, 2006
    Posts: 2,864


    I'm no signmaker but here's what I use, and have used successfully for years;

    1 tbsp isopropyl alcohol
    1 drop Dawn or other liquid dish washing detergent
    1/2 cup water

    None of the ingredients affect the adhesive................the Dawn only makes it
    slippery and the alcohol speeds up evaporation.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2014
  7. czuch
    Joined: Sep 23, 2008
    Posts: 2,756

    from vail az

    A vety tiny wire or pin. Pop the air bubble and squeeze the air out.
    Not a fail safe idea, however. It might leave a reverse crease.
  8. oldsjoe
    Joined: May 2, 2011
    Posts: 2,516


    Always have had good luck with soapy water and a new body filler squeegee. Move the decal to the location needed squeegee out the liquid let it dry thoroughly and call it done. The squeegee can be cut to fit in tight places if needed.
  9. studedudeus
    Joined: Jun 11, 2008
    Posts: 141


    Most window tinters use some form of wetted water solution to set the window tint film. Works same as what you're talking about. If in doubt, go see a place that does auto window tint.

    Lowes & Home Depot both carry a professional version of soapy water in the window tinting area.

    I've successfully used just soapy water, a few drops is all the soap it takes. Don't be afraid to get the surface really wet before putting the decal on. Then simply squeegee out the water. Works great. Good luck.
  10. VoodooTwin
    Joined: Jul 13, 2011
    Posts: 3,455

    from Noo Yawk

    Good advice and info. That said, I've never had a problem using windex. What does the alcohol content do to decals? Melt it?
  11. DaPeach
    Joined: Apr 22, 2009
    Posts: 257

    from NE OH

    I've used windex in the past w/ no problems, but it's the ammonia that's the issue (damaging the adhesive) not the alcohol so much. Alcohol evaporates quickly, aiding drying. Soapy water is a much better/safer way for the adhesive though.
  12. txturbo
    Joined: Oct 23, 2009
    Posts: 1,771


    I've always used a couple drops of Dawn in a windex bottle full of water. I use to install the decals on Jet Skis this way. Also used it to put stripe decals on cars and window tint.
  13. When I used to tint cars back in Hawai'i it was dawn dishwashing liquid and water.

    We would have cars come back after 10 or 12 years because the tint had faded, but no problems with adhesion.
  14. Sometimes its the other way around, i have been with drag racers where they have to have some stickers and you dont want them to stick good, just for the weekend, we then do something called "byxa!, its a highly scientific method, just put them on your much used garage pants a couple of times before you put them on your car, it will stick a while, but easy to get off!
    Joined: Jan 18, 2011
    Posts: 1,262

    from alabama

    I've ran into it a couple times when the paint was fresh...couple weeks old....had problems with thinner getting trapped behind the vinyl....alcohol is really just a mild thinner and sometimes doesn't react well with application....don't get me wrong, I've used windex before, but when you have a job that takes the profit out of your pocket plus having to completely redo it, it kinda sticks in your mind........also, if the decals are made with a vinyl called conform and you use soapy water, you can come back and pick it up off the ground the next morning.........I've done it for years and my advice is....hire someone that does it every day.....but it's your car and it's just my opinion...sometimes its bad advice and sometimes I'm right...............your money..your decals and what you want.

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