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How to water transfer old NOS decals.

fullmetaljacket

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First and foremost, I've applied water transfer decals back in the 70's on model car bodies and on real car glass later on in the 80's and 90's, so I more or less know the procedures.

My question is: When applying vintage NOS water transfer decals onto glass on a real car, is it better to perform it in warmer weather or does the modestly cold temperatures or cold surfaces affect it in a bad way? I'm open to waiting for warmer weather if that is an important factor in their successful applications.

What is a best sealant to apply on top to protect them if need be?

I ask because some of these decals that I am about to apply on my glass are in excellent shape and are super rare. I don't want to ruin them or apply them wrong.

Thank you.
 
If it was me, I really would wait until it was a little warmer. Decals, especially older ones, can crack and fall apart in cool water
or when applied in the cold. As well, do not use hot water as the decal may want to fold up on itself. The best way I have found is the water should be lukewarm. Remember that air can get trapped under the decal between the glass as well. To get it to lie flat, after you slide the decal onto the glass from it's backing, gently blot the decal with a slightly moist Kleenex or a very fine micro fiber cloth. If any small air bubbles remain, wet a Q tip slightly and push down on the bubbles gently from above. After that everything should lie down. There are decal softeners that modelers use, but I would avoid them in this case as they can lift the decal and also may make it so soft that it could wrinkle or crack later. I would not spray anything on the decal. When it is dry, it should be OK. Another trick is on the outside of the glass before you start, measure and run some tape lines where you want the decal to sit. That way you get the decal almost where you want it to sit and don't have to move it around too much to position it. That also will make it easier to have 2 decals, say on the opposite rear windows, end up in the same place on both sides. PM me if you have any questions. GOOD LUCK!!
 
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If it was me, I really would wait until it was a little warmer. Decals, especially older ones, can crack and fall apart in cool water
or when applied in the cold. As well, do not use hot water as the decal may want to fold up on itself. The best way I have found is the water should be lukewarm. Remember that air can get trapped under the decal between the glass as well. To get it to lie flat, after you slide the decal onto the glass from it's backing, gently blot the decal with a slightly moist Kleenex or a very fine micro fiber cloth. If any small air bubbles remain, wet a Q tip slightly and push down on the bubbles gently from above. After that everything should lie down. There are decal softeners that modelers use, but I would avoid them in this case as they can lift the decal and also may make it so soft that it could wrinkle or crack later. I would not spray anything on the decal. When it is dry, it should be OK. Another trick is on the outside of the glass before you start, measure and run some tape lines where you want the decal to sit. That way you get the decal almost where you want it to sit and don't have to move it around too much to position it. That also will make it easier to have 2 decals, say on the opposite rear windows, end up in the same place on both sides. PM me if you have any questions. GOOD LUCK!!
Thank you Fury.
I like the positioning trick on the outside of the glass since I have only two of the same, but rare decals.
 
As well as full size cars, I build model cars. I have had old model decals come apart when trying to apply them; a real PITA. My trick now is to spray them first with clear enamel model paint. This holds them together. Carefully cut around decal and apply. I would do it when glass is warm, but not hot. Good luck.
 
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As well as full size cars, I build model cars. I have had old model decals come apart when trying to apply them; a real PITA. My trick now is to spray them first with clear enamel model paint. This holds them together. Carefully cut around decal and apply. I would do it when glass is warm, but not hot. Good luck.
But if you spray them first, (I presume on the face side because you can not get on the back side being that the host paper is there,) wouldn't that prevent the decal adhesives to be activated by the water in order to adhere to the surface?

You are right 6T4, I've had rather newer decals break apart in mid application. Strange fault line creveses I guess.
I've always used lukewarm water as the activator. The glass surfaces are indeed cold, so I am going to wait till warmer weather.

By the way, these decals are near to perfect condition with a slight discoloration towards a yellowing which makes them look even older.
 
I have also used Dave's trick with much success, FMJ. (BTW, he builds some really nice models!) But you are right. Since you are applying the surface of the decal to the glass, not the backside, spraying might block the adhesive. Just wondering, what are these amazing, rare and ultra cool decals? :p
Interested in posting a photo? :)
 
Yeah, you are right about decals that apply to back side of glass. I guess I would spray the back side of the decal a couple of times. Then you could trim around letters, etc. as closely as possible through front carrier paper and remove it as gently as possible. Maybe leave in lukewarm water until it is almost floating off the carrier paper. Then use the carrier paper to move it to where you want to apply it, and gently slide it off.
 
Yeah, you are right about decals that apply to back side of glass. I guess I would spray the back side of the decal a couple of times. Then you could trim around letters, etc. as closely as possible through front carrier paper and remove it as gently as possible. Maybe leave in lukewarm water until it is almost floating off the carrier paper. Then use the carrier paper to move it to where you want to apply it, and gently slide it off.
Great info guys. Thank you.
I'd love to see an example of your model cars 6T4. Can you post a picture/s?

When I get back home, I'll flick some pictures. Mostly, these decals pertain to local street haunts around town where a lot of action happened over the years. These are real deal NOS decals, not reproduction stickers. I'm going to apply about four different types at specific corners of the door wing glass, quarter glass and rear glass. All lightweight panes.

By the way, the decals are true tattoos for a car that engaged in the action.
 
If the decals are that rare and they were mine, I'd scan them in high resolution and reprint them on waterslide paper. It's available in both white and clear for your inkjet printer and is waterproof after application. That way you'd still have the originals, you can have the decal you want on your car and if you make a mistake while applying it, just print another and start again.
https://www.amazon.ca/SUB-Waterslid...-4-spons&sp_csd=d2lkZ2V0TmFtZT1zcF9hdGY&psc=1
 
If the decals are that rare and they were mine, I'd scan them in high resolution and reprint them on waterslide paper. It's available in both white and clear for your inkjet printer and is waterproof after application. That way you'd still have the originals, you can have the decal you want on your car and if you make a mistake while applying it, just print another and start again.
https://www.amazon.ca/SUB-Waterslid...-4-spons&sp_csd=d2lkZ2V0TmFtZT1zcF9hdGY&psc=1
Good idea to make copies, but the adhesive would still be on the rear of the new decal. Perhaps the image to be copied
would have to be reversed?
 
Good idea to make copies, but the adhesive would still be on the rear of the new decal. Perhaps the image to be copied
would have to be reversed?
Isn't the adhesive always on the back of a waterslide decal? I know that sometimes the sticky side is the printed side when it comes to peel'n'stick decals for the inside of glass.
 
Great info guys. Thank you.
I'd love to see an example of your model cars 6T4. Can you post a picture/s?

When I get back home, I'll flick some pictures. Mostly, these decals pertain to local street haunts around town where a lot of action happened over the years. These are real deal NOS decals, not reproduction stickers. I'm going to apply about four different types at specific corners of the door wing glass, quarter glass and rear glass. All lightweight panes.

By the way, the decals are true tattoos for a car that engaged in the action.
Here are some of my Super Stocks.

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Here's the first one. The infamous Connecting Highway. It was a place of lore and legend. 1 to 2000+ spectators on any given night. Probably the most active street racing haunt in the country besides Woodward.
It's a real deal water transfer decal from back in the 60's-70's. Two of these will be applied to the quarter windows.
The car saw action there way after the heyday, but nevertheless, saw action.

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Here's a current day replica sticker, not a decal, but a real fake. Colors are off and so is the type of paper and cut out. One can see the holes in the sticker. Not my cup of tea.

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Here's a really rare one from another world renown haunt known for high $take$ racing.
Two of these will be applied to the door vent wing glass.

Car saw action here as well. I myself witnessed big $$ runs here over the years since the 70's.
Even Big Willie RIP didn't want any part of this place because of its reputation for very fast cars and money. He told me that himself. Legitimate Pro Stocks and AFX Gassers were a norm here.
Ex Sox and Martins and Dick Harrell prepped cars ran here.

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This one is more known throughout most of the country, but still rare as a real deal decal. The car saw its first runs both at the strip and street wearing a pair of rock hard Caslers left over from a RoadRunner that ruled the nest for some time.
This one will be applied to the rear window.

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This one is an old NOS sticker. Though I obviously wasn't around in Michigan back in the heyday, I managed to purchase fasteners and a part or two from this original Troy, Michigan facility in the late 80's into the 90's. It was where Ted Spehar and others were frequenting for their secret Pro-Stock programs.
This one will go on the underside of the trunk. Easy peasy, just detach and stick.

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