Using water slide decals
Posted on February 21st, 2017
I have tried various methods to finish off pedals but recently I have been using water slide decals to add artwork to pedals. The process is straight forward and can produce fairly good results and is great if you want to use detailed or photo artwork.
I used water slide decal paper that can be used with an ink jet print. This is available in white backed or clear paper and feeds through your printer as normal. If you are using an ink jet printer you will need to spray a number (I used three) of thin coats of lacquer before soaking the paper in water. This should not be required if you are using a laser jet printer.
Once the lacquer has dried, your decals can be cut out carefully and soaked in water for a few seconds. When the decal has soaked for enough time, you should be able to gentle slide the decal from the paper backing and position it in place on your pedal. To help move the decal around it helps if you place a few drops of water to on the pedal first. Once you have the decal position, a tissue or paper towel can be used to remove excess water. Be careful as it is easy to accidentally move the decal.
I then leave the pedal to dry for a few hours before applying final coats of lacquer. Once finished you can see the edge of the decal when looking closely I need to experiment with different lacquers to see which work best. The lacquer I am using tends to yellow, which shows up the edges quite a bit. I have only used clear decals on light powder coated enclosures as the colours will show up better.
I leave quite a large border around my decals to make it a bit easier, cutting closer to the design could hide the edges once the final layers of lacquer have been applied.
Be careful when moving the decals around, it can be easy to warp or stretch a decal if you move it too much.