I've got my tank all stripped, sanded and, painted and ready for the Prest-O-Lite decal. But I'm not sure what the best way is to apply it without ruining a $25 item.
I've looked back on the forum and see how nice you've gotten the decal applied.
How did you do it? Start taking off the backing from the top? The side? Take the entire backing off and apply? What is the best way you found to get it on nice and smooth so it looks good and doesn't come off?
Thanks in advance.
My experiences with modern decals is that they come with a variety of different adhesion processes. 3M seems to be involved with many. Can you get any info from the mfg. of the decal.
For example, I just applied a very large decal to a buoy to go offshore in salt water. Believe it or not, it recommended a light soapy / water solution on the decal sticky side and on the buoy before application. Allowed it to be slid around and air bubbles worked out very easily. After a couple hours the decals were stuck like they were supposed to and ready for salt water and ocean spray. NOTE - this is my story and may not apply to your decal so don't assume these are your instructions. But hopefully it will be this easy as I fully understand the stress of trying to apply a large decal to anything.
If it is a heavy vinyl decal, like car striping, then soapy water works well to allow some adjustment of the decal after application. Don't worry, once the liquid dries, the decal will be stuck fast!
There is a special solution available if you don't want to go the soapy water route:
https://lmr.com/item/AT-06032/Auto-Tech-Decal-Graphic-Solution-32Oz-Spray-Bottle ?gclid=CjwKEAjwgtTJBRDRmd6ZtLrGyxwSJAA7Fy-hG2LgEeJ9x_F4eRh8Hp92xTIOQv3MqfGn7dmO3 SrtfRoCyjzw_wcB
Thanks! The decal is clear with a removable paper backing. It already has adhesive on the back clear part.
Is the backing 1 piece or 2 ?
If 2 then start at the split and work outward. I use a plastic body putty spreader
I'd suggest you carefully measure and eyeball where you want it to be. Take into account the location of the brackets. Then get some blue painter's tape and put it on the tank as a guide. Then take off the removable backing, line one edge up where you want it to be, be brave, start on the one edge, then carefully "roll" in into place. Then get a teaspoon to carefully get out any bubbles and fully seat it on your tank. You might even try to carefully warm the sticker with a hairdryer before you stick it on.
Make sure you have the offset valve in the right position, so you can get the label with the "this side up" up. I have mine lined up so one edge of the sticker is just under the bracket. Mine is a later type tank with the Prest-o-Lite script in the tank.
Lastly, be sure to post some pictures of your finished product.
: ^ )
That reminds me of a question I wanted to ask. I found my Prest-o-lite tank wrench tonight. Is there some standard way people store them on the car?
Keith, Thanks. I was using your picture as a guide for my application. Did you take all of the backing off and then apply? And I'll post a pic when I'm done.
I have this decal also, but haven't put it on my P-O-L tank because my tank has the P-O-L name embossed in the center of the tank right where the decal would go. Needless to say, it would be impossible to get the decal flat on the tank and also be on top of the embossed name.
Troy, I have the original P-O-L wrench also and I have it on a modern clip attachment. I hook that onto the left windshield post, where it is always conveniently available.
I've never kept the wrench in/with the car for fear I will lose it. Whether that is from the rough ride or someone just snagging it.
We used a body filler squeegee to apply and a needle to pop air bubbles on the decal.
I do not like the original handle (it is too small) so I made a wrench out of some 3/4" x 5/16" stock that was about 8" long. I drilled a 1/4" hole in it then got out an itty-bitty square file and made the hole square. For the finishing touch I got out my 5/16" stamps and stamped, " P R E S T O L I T E " in the same style as on the straps on the handle. I store the handle under the back seat.
: ^ )
On most self-adhesive decals, wet the surface it's going on first with "wet water" (that is water with a little detergent in it). While the surface is still wet, apply the decal, you should be able to hold one corner and peel the backing off. The decal should be able to be moved around on top of the wet water. Once you have the decal where you want it, take a plastic spreader (a credit card works on something this small) or a small squeegee and, starting at the center, work your way out to the edges, pushing the water out. Done carefully (so you don't scratch up the decal surface), you should be able to remove all air bubbles and get the decal to lay down poifictly.
I know, use of water seems counter-intuitive, but it works, and it's how the pros do it. I've tried doing it without the water, and it's just a big mess, air bubbles everywhere! I put one very large one on the side of a railroad locomotive some 20 years ago, it's still there, no problems, so the water doesn't damage the adhesive.
David, although it does sound counter-intuitive, it also seems somewhat logical. But, doesn't the soap and water wash away the adhesive?? I can't afford another decal.
Apparently not, at least I've not heard of it happening. Maybe you could call the decal supplier, just to be certain. I do know that trying to do it without the soapy water is usually a disaster--or a least a lot of poking air pockets out and then it just doesn't seem to stay down where the air pockets were.
This video may help your comfort level. As David said, it's how the pros do it...
You can probably skip ahead until about 4 minutes in.
Dare I post this?
I also am an advocate of using some soapey-water for placing decals.
We used Palmolive exclusively as the soap of choice way back in '82-'83 for monstrous decals on the sides of the Rake-O-Vac's.
With soapy water, one can slide the decal into place and then set it down.
With dry decals, smaller decals can be very successfully set down on the product but like addressed above, think about how and do it carefully and you'll be good to go.
Curved surfaces can bite us in the rear.
Using Windex works well also, you just have a shorter window of time to get the decal on as it evaporates quicker than water. Think of the adhesive on a band aid, ever get one wet and it wiuldn't stick but when it dried out it sticks fine.
Soapy water was used in applying the faux wood decals on car doors years back. Worked quite well too. Allowed plenty of movement on a very large decal. Gently squeeging from the center out removed excess water & bubbles once centered & set the piece.
David and Charlie, thanks for the advice. Peter, you too, and the video was a great help. I'm going to try the soap and water technique.
I'll keep you posted and take pics.
Sorry, Duey, thanks to you too.
For some reason, I can't get the image of you with a Prest-O-Lite decal wrapped around your face out of my head. :-)
(It's something of an improvement I must say.)
Jerry, Just because you can't get the decal off your face that says, "DANGER: Hazerdous Waste" don't take it out on me!!!
Hmmmmm, I think I've been schooled!