CAUTION! Read carefully before applying decals.
This stripe/decal set is printed on a long life, high quality vinyl film. It is very thin, doesn't shrink like cheaper vinyls and conforms well around compound curves without lifting or wrinkles. Unfortunately these characteristics also mean that without practice, it is not easy to handle when cut into large complex shapes. For this reason we strongly advise that they are applied by a professional - not by the end user. Painters develop their own technique when applying graphics. The following procedure is merely a description of how the decals can be applied with practice.
1. Roughly cut out the stripes/decals from the sheet (if not already)
2. 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.
3. The clean part can be carefully marked with low tack masking tape or similar as a guide to correctly position the stripe.
4. Lightly mist with a mixture of water and a drop of dish washing liquid, cover the whole area. Too much dish washing 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.
5. 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.
**NOTE: Many of the 3M vinyls now have a transparent plastic backing which seems to hold the graphics more firmly to the backing. We have found that it is easier to remove the backing from that graphic. Place the decal face down on a smooth, clean surface and roll back the plastic backing slowly, ensuring that the graphic stays on the paper pre mask, exposing the adhesive backing. If it is a little stubborn and still does not want to come off, roll the plastic backing back almost to the point of folding at the decal edge, and it will release.
6. The "exposed" part of the stripe should be carefully aligned to the guides on the tank/panel and gently placed in position. If the positioning is not right at his point the stripe/decal can be carefully pulled off the piece. If too much pressure 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.
7. Peel back the application tape carefully, should the graphic start to lift, push it back down, then continue peeling back the tape. If pre mask (application tape) is difficult to remove, spray some water over it and this will cause it to release.
8. Push out any water or 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 decal to avoid trapping them.
9. Decals should be allowed 24 to 48 hours to dry if applied with water. If you have pushed out all air during the previous steps, the decal should not have bubbles. Small bubbles will often disappear within 24 to 48 hours of drying time while kept warm. Should any remain after drying, use a sewing needle to extract air with a very small hole.
10. Allow at least 2 days before applying a clear coat over your new graphics.
11. The decals should be carefully wiped with rubbing alcohol or a product designed specifically to prepare surfaces for paint or clear coat. This will remove any contaminants and traces silicone from the surface. Allow to dry before applying a clear coat.
12. Applying a clear coat 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 clear coat may attack the decals causing them to wrinkle or lift.
If the paint being used requires the clear coat to be applied within hours of the base coat, you MUST do so before the decal application. Decals applied on a finish that has not properly cured will often develop bubbles. When the clear has properly cured, you must prep the surface to make it ready to clear coat again. When the surface is ready, then apply decals and clear over them following the procedures described above. This may add an extra step but will ensure the finish has properly cured and your decals will look great for many years!
**PLEASE NOTE: We cannot accept responsibility for applications that did not follow all instructions. We recommend that these decals be installed by a professional to insure they are applied carefully and correctly.