It’s not clear to me whether this how-to story will be met with ridicule, or with nods of approval, largely because I have no clue how many people know how to install decals correctly. However, I do see a lot of bubbled stickers when I go to the track, and it sure took me nigh on forever to get a handle on installing decals, so here goes nothing.
If you try to install decals without something to lubricate the adhesive side, you will get air bubbles underneath them. When I try to cheat because I’m in too big a hurry, I always get air bubbles.
I have been using Windex to lubricate the decals, but some say soap and water works, too. The only reason for wetting the decals is so you can adjust the position of the decal quickly and easily and so you can squeegee out all the air bubbles once you get them where you want them.
Materials and tools for the job are minimal. You’ll need some Windex, some painter’s tape to align the decals so you know they’re straight, some paper towels and a plastic squeegee. A rubber squeegee works, but not as well because it’s more apt to cling to the transfer. A credit card works in a pinch, too. However, probably the most important detail for installing decals correctly is patience and self control.
See, when the decals are in place and squeegeed to your satisfaction, the penultimate step is to walk away from the car and stay away until the decals are dry. If you don’t walk away, you’re going to want to peel off the transfer before the Windex has dried and you’re just going to peel off the whole thing. It’ll be a fight if the decals are wet, and like nearly any fight, it’s best to just walk away. Come back later, peel the transfer film away slowly and you’ll achieve better results.
What you need
- Painter’s tape
- Paper towels
- Plastic squeegee
- Credit card
Here’s a quick video, with a lovely acoustic guitar track, from the NASA Pro Racing TV channel on YouTube that walks you through the process.