"How To Apply Graphics" - Transfer Tape Method

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Application Process:

Guarantee Notice:

Do to the many variables of "Custom Painting" we can not guarantee the success of any paint project in anyway using our Graphics Under Clear Motorcycle Graphic Images.

High Speed Autographics / is not responsible for any problems during or after the Clear Coat Process. The customer will assume all risks.

Use Clear Enamel Paint Only:

Use any kind of enamel paint. Acrylic, Poly or Urethane. Never use Lacquer Clear Coat Paint (it will lift and wrinkle any vinyl graphic).

On the larger graphic kits we do supply a free test graphic to insure the compatibility to any Clear Enamel to our Graphic Inks before the actual Bike Parts are painted. We've never had a problem to this date, but it's good to get some experience and milage with a paint test panel. Also helps pin point cure time before final clear coats. Varies with location and seasonal time weather.

Tools Needed:

Scissors, X-acto Knife with new blade, 3/4" roll masking tape, small tape measure, 8 oz spray bottle with water for wet application. See our "Graphics Accessories" page for all the Tools you need.

Transfer Tape:

Our graphics come complete with transfer tape (a low-tack masking tape type material) and is the transfer devise for your graphics.

Tape Registration Method:

We recommend using the tape registration method and not any type of hinge method.

Wet Application:

Graphics are applied wet with clean water only (no soap as it would leave a residue). Mist with spray bottle and use as little as possible.

Installation Temperature:

The best temperature for installing vinyl motorcycle graphics is 70 degrees. Don't do it in the 80s or 90s - that's too hot.

Preparing the Surface:

Wet sand between color coat and final clear coats. Only mount graphics to a flat, well sanded (color sanded) surface. Otherwise the graphics will show the orange peel texture of the paint in your completed job. Even if you do sand and polish the final clear coats.

The tranfer of the graphics must be a clean process as the graphics can not be wiped with any Prep Solvent or fast dry enamel reducer before the clear coat process.

Clean all of the surfaces where you'll be applying the motorcycle graphics. Use Isopropyl Alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and a clean, lint free, soft rag or towel. Use caution with the alcohol around plastic parts, such as tail light lens. Make sure all surface areas you'll be applying your graphics are completely free of any oil, grease, or wax, before you apply your graphics.

Choose the graphic order of installation:

For larger kits, decide which graphics you'll apply first. Never install the front fender graphic first, as the front fender has the greatest compound curves that you'll need to conform to. Leave it for last after gaining experience on the flatter areas of the bike.

Separate Graphics:

Separate all of the motorcycle graphics by cutting them with scissors (i.e. tank graphics, fender graphics, etc.).

Place Graphics in position:

Using masking tape (blue masking tape works best) to place graphic in position. Use two points of registration. Pull out graphic and some of the masking tape registration points and cut with X-acto knife. Use caution not to scratch the paint. After cutting to two tape registration points - you have a two reference point to return the graphic to after the graphic backing is removed.

Remove Graphic From Graphic Backing:

Carefully remove the graphic from backing by separating the graphic backing from the transfer tape / graphic. Spray water on the sticky side of graphic.

Wet The Glue Area:

Lightly wet the area where you'll be applying the graphic with clean water only. Never use any soap / water mixture.

Position The Graphic:

Position the graphic at the two tape registration points. Smooth out using your thumbs and / or squeegee. You can reposition the graphic or parts of the graphic, as long as it's still wet. If you need to, reapply water. Keep your project wet until it's ready to set in place.

Remove Water And Air:

Remove as much air and water as possible, using your thumbs or a squeegee. Never use a squeegee directly on the graphic itself, or you could damage the digital print graphic on top of the vinyl material. Instead, use the slick side of the (left over) graphic liner backing for any squeegee process.

Removing Transfer Tape:

Tear away the Transfer Tape in pieces making sure to pull Transfer Tape off in direction of graphic design. Any wrinkiles that occur simply lift the area up and re-smooth with your thumbs. If you stretch the vinyl a bit in this process it's not a problem. Our vinyl is very high tech and has "Memory" built into it. Any minor stretches can be fixed by allowing the vinyl to sit on it's own for 4 to 5 minutes and let it "Shrink" back into shape. When your project is complete let stand in warm sunshine (if possible, (if not use hair dryer or heat gun, both on low setting).

Cure Time:

Let the graphics cure for at least 72 hours. Any air bubbles left behind can be poked with a fine needle point before final paint process.

We supply a free Test Graphic:

On the larger graphic kits we do supply a free Test Graphic to insure the compatibility to any Clear Enamel to our Graphic Inks before the actual Bike Parts are painted.

Custom Paint Tips:

Painting Drop Shadows - You can try to lay down a drop shadow before you lay the graphics down but that may not work on some designs like flames for example. When it comes to larger, more detailed designs, you might want to apply the graphics first and then seal the graphics down with one clear coat. After dry time nip sand any specs in the paint. Using a "Back Tape Method", use masking tape to tape up to the lower edges of the design . This may take more than one lay out of tape and paint drop shadow process, doing a section or object at a time to achieve the desired effect.

Back Taping - There is two methods of Back Taping. "Soft edge" is taping off an area for spot painting. The tape is laid in a general area, rolled back and then masking paper is used to mask whatever doesn't get painted. Giving a softer edge for blending some spot painting processes. The other is the "hard edge" method. Where the tape is applied at the edge of a design, following the design edges that will be painted. This is the method you want to use for drop shadows and highlighting pearlesent paints. This will also leave a hard paint edge, so apply paint lightly.

Painting Pearlescent Highlights - Because Digital Print Systems use standard colored inks, the system can't create pearlescent, candy, reflective gold or silver colors and is more like a photo. A digital vinyl graphic can be super precise in art and definition quality but does lack the abilities of custom airbrush images because of the great specialty paints airbrush artist have built their world on. But when the two worlds can be combined the end result can be a great piece of art without having an extensive art background. Using pearl paints you can highlight areas in the design. Making metal objects have reflection, star shaped twinkles on sharpe points of objects and so on. Using different colors of pearl paints gives even more interest and detail. Another great trick is pearl highlights with our Lightning Colored Graphics. Use hard edge Back Tape Method and or stencils to paint all the areas needed or use "old school" free hand.

Painting Overall Pearlescent Paint - Use pearl in your first clear coat or two to get your desired effect and then apply your final clear coats that will be sanded and polished without pearl. The overall pearl process is great for our Lightning Colored Flames making the lighter colors of the Lightning more brilliant than the other colors.

Painting Candies - You can use Candy Paints in the same way for an overall Candy look. For example use a silver base with green or red candy to create killer eyes on your favorite character graphics. Using a silver and gold base coat with Candy Colors or without base coat colors, you can create great depth and realisim to your graphic projects.

Extra Paint Trick Tips:

Nov. 28th 2009 - When painting pearlescent paint in a well lit enviorment maybe deceiving when estimating how much pearl you should use. It's a different look when direct sunlight hits the pearl. You can over use or not use enough pearl with your project. Most experienced painters learn the amount to use by having a lot of mileage doing the process. Whenever your not sure, you can carry your painted part out to the sun but your leaving your clean enviorment and there maybe a chance 0f getting dirt specs in your paint or bangin' it on the way out the door. Another way is you can paint a test paint and simulate your projects paint process, which works great but cost time and material. The best bet is to purchase a light bulb that has the same light temperature as the sun. It's a regular 60 to 100 watt incandesent bulb that most body and paint supply stores carry. Of course use caution in your paint booth with a non-sealed lamp fixture and fresh paint fumes! You'll be able to see exactly how much your pearl will reflect in the sun for perfect results...................Call me if any questions.

Any technical problems or questions email or call Gary M-F 10 to 5 pm Moutain Time @ 303-422-2613.

Click Here For A Printable Page Of The Above Application Instructions