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Water Slide Decal Application


Please note to what decal you have (water slide, not self adhesive)


Prepare your wood surface by applying at least one coat of
hard finish, such as varnish or lacquer, and sanding it smooth
(600 grit) after it dries.
You may also apply the decals to a fully finished instrument
(no need for sanding if the surface is clean and smooth)

1. Gather these materials before you start:

Paper Towels
Bowl of warm water

2. Cut the decal roughly 3mm (1/8”) around the edge of the
image, the edge will be transparent once you slide it off the
backing paper






3. Once the decal is cut out, plan your placement of it on the
instrument. If you are installing two decals on the same instrument,
use a ruler to make sure they are positioned symmetrically.
Use masking tape to mark the positions so you can easily place
the wet decal(s) properly without guessing

4. When you are ready to apply the decal, plunge it into the warm
water and hold it under the surface for 30-60 seconds, until you
can begin to slide the thin film off the backing paper







5. Remove the decal from the backing and place it carefully onto the
instrument. You should be able to slide it a little to centre it properly








6. Use a paper towel to gently dab off the excess moisture and work
any wrinkles and bubbles out of the decal. This takes a little time.
Look at the reflection of light on the decal to help you spot the bubbles








7. When the decal is smooth, set it aside to dry thoroughly,
for at least an hour or more

8. When the decal is dry, you can apply a top coat of clear
varnish to seal it permanently. You must apply several

"dust coats" first and let them dry otherwise you are at risk
of the decal melting.

This is optional, but if you want the decal to be permanent,
you’ll need to put sealer 
over it. If you think you might want
to change the decoration 
sometime in the future, then you
can leave it un-sealed. 
It can be peeled off by lifting one
edge with a razor blade 
and pulling the dry film up and off.





Water slide decals are made from dextrose. They very thin and fragile.
Any clear coat whether nitro cellulose or acrylic will melt the dextrose.
This goes for all water slide decals made by anyone.
Spray very light dust coats over the decal.
We recommend applying at least 15 to 20 dust coats.

Dust coats dry on contact and will not eat into the decal.
After applying 15-20 coats, the decal will be sufficiently coated and covered
to protect the wet coats from eating into the decal and melting it.




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