How To Apply Decals To Your Cub

Sat Mar 04, 2006 1:37 pm

I don't recall anyone posting a how-to on this subject, so here goes, using a method that works well for me.

Here's a decal that is held in place by a "hinge" of masking tape. All outside material has been separated from the graphic using straight edges and a SHARP X-acto knife. The masking tape holds the cut-away parts in place so the decal as a whole can be placed exactly where I want it.


The backer has been removed from the IH logo and it was put in place. The outside has been removed for clarity.


Here's the main part ready to have the backer removed.


The backer is still there, but part of the outside has been removed.


Done! :D Barney doesn't look nearly as nekkid now!


IMHO, the tape helps to get the decal exactly where I want it, and helps me forge ahead confidently. This method eliminates any need to slide the decal around.

Rudi, you may use it on your site if you like.

Sat Mar 04, 2006 2:09 pm

Hey George, is that an actual decal that has to be dipped in water first or is it a sticker? I should be doing decals when the warm weather gets here and will try your method.

Thanks Jack

Sat Mar 04, 2006 2:45 pm

Jackman wrote:Hey George, is that an actual decal that has to be dipped in water first or is it a sticker? I should be doing decals when the warm weather gets here and will try your method.

Thanks Jack


As far as I've been able to learn, there is NO source for the original type water transfers. I investigated getting some made locally by a company that specializes in water transfers. They quoted me $200 per set after the graphics design work was paid for on an hourly basis. NOPE!

So I guess you could call them "stickers". My method wouldn't work with water transfers. I've used a few water transfers for piano and organ fallboards and Edison cabinet restorations. There's a huge variety of water transfers available for that hobby. I wonder who makes them?

Sat Mar 04, 2006 2:59 pm


Glad to hear that they are stickers as opposed to the decals, at 200 a set I also would pass on an decal set. I have seen the sticker sets at TSC I think they are 29 or 39 for a Cub set that includes all the little stickers as well, I plan to buy an extra set and stick one on the back window of my pick up truck 8) ....


Sat Mar 04, 2006 5:37 pm

The hinge method is what I have been using for a few years now. That gives you a good look at placement. If you squirt the surface with window cleaner so you can slide the decals around, in time the paint will be streaked because many window cleaners use ammonia in them.
Gearge, do you remove the face 1st thing? In your description it sounds like that is what you do. I place 3 or more small pieces of low tack, (blue) masking tape, get my placement adjusted, pull the decal away from the surface, remove the backer. Then I squeegee any small bubbles out. Then I remove the face paper. I also may wet the surface with plain water in a cookie sheet with one drop of dishwashing detergent just to help get the air bubbles out from under the decal. I also wrap my squeegee in a paper towel so as I wipe the decal, I remove any water..
Maybe a decal forum at Cub Fest this year?

Mon Mar 06, 2006 9:20 am

Hey George...Your's is the BEST How To Decal a Cub ever posted on the site. NOW...EVERYONE can do it the "Willer Way" ! :wink: THANKS !!!

Mon Mar 06, 2006 4:20 pm


Excellent idea and application!

This is where this topic actually belongs so I hope you don't mind me moving it here.

I have also saved the article and shall upload it to your list of How To's on the server.

Thanks again, and I am always looking forward to your articles...

Mon Mar 06, 2006 5:47 pm

To All :
I always use the idea that George said to do to help keep everything in line. I use a spray bottle with a smidge of dishwashing soap with water. That way you can move around. I have used this for years on fire trucks and police cars. Have never had one come off. The other sprays will eat away at the backing.

Additional tips for applying decals

Thu Jul 26, 2007 9:42 am

Howdy! Thanks for putting together this Forum entry on applying sticky decals. Something that I have found of value is to keep a heat gun or hair dryer on hand when applying these sticky decals. If the surface has any bumps, divots, or has a compound curve, the decal may not be flexible enough to conform to the surface.

A spot application of heat softens the vinyl and you can then push and prod the decal to get it to conform. This also makes the glue a little stickier, so the chances of getting the decal to stick improve.

Another technique to make the glue work for you is to use Naptha. Naptha is a non-aggressive solvent for most of the adhesives found on sticky back decals as well as rubber cement. But it does not attack anything else.

I use a hypodermic syringe and needle from the Feed Store and fill it with Naptha (Lighter Fluid). If I find a bubble that spot heating will not fix, I inject a "billionth of a drop" of the naptha below the decal surface. This softens the glue and I can then push and poke the decal into place. The naptha evaporates in 15 to 20 minutes, leaving only the glue behind.

The graphic artists use a burnisher to smooth items they are gluing down. Whenever you burnish something, like a decal, make sure that your burnisher is softer than what you are burnishing. For instance, to rub out a dimple in the aluminum serial number plate, a popsicle stick works fine. What does this have to do with decals? The vinyl is very soft, so you want a burnisher that is even softer. Go to the fabric store and get a 1/4 of a yard of velvet of plush. Something that is very soft and very fine. Wrap this around a smooth edged burnishing stick. Now when you rub down the decals, you will press the vinyl down and not score the surface.

When you do burnish the decal, pay special attention to the edges. It is important that the decal is rubbed down, but more important that the edges be tightly sealed. If an edge is left a little "proud', dirt and water will accumulate, and eventually your high dollar decals will start to curl and peel off.

Just some thoughts,
Rick (I used to do this for a living) Dulas