Boat Name and Registration Numbers Installations:
Installing Boat Decals, Graphics and Stickers
1. Remove decal from package. It is very stressed from being rolled up and it may also be stressed from heat or cold it was subjected to during shipping. Now go wash your hands completely to remove any body oil!
2. Lay boat name decal out on a flat table, face down. Using a straight edge (preferably a Rubbermaid Kitchen Spatula (rubber type), stroke the decal backing starting from the center of the decal to the right, and to the left. This will insure the decal is firmly still attached to the application membrane which is the semi clear plastic or paper facing covering the front of the decal. In some cases, elements of shipping can cause a weakening between this application membrane and the letters or graphics it is holding in place and position during installation.
3. Clean your boat completely where the decal is to be applied. Any spec of dirt or other contaminant can cause a "decal pimple" that will not be able to be corrected.
4. Once the decal is fully rested and ready to install, take the whole decal with backing and all to your boat. Tape the decal into position before removing any backing. Use masking tape on the very edges of the decal to hold it in place and make sure there is no "slop" under the decal. Lay it against the boat and tension the left and right side to make the decal lay completely flat. Position the decal perfectly and exactly where you want it. Use tape to hold it in place and stand back and examine your placement.
CHOOSE WET OR DRY INSTALLATION:
There are three types of application membranes we ship with decals. One is a paper style that is opaque and you barely can see the decal underneath it. The other is a plastic type that has a bumpy texture to it as the result of a series of fine and raised lines If you have either of these application membranes, you can use a wet method. The final application membrane is a nearly completely clear and smooth covering. This is a dry only application membrane.
5A WET BOAT NAME DECAL-GRAPHICS APPLICATION... Once you have the decal exactly in the position you want, Place marking tape on your boat in any fashion that allows you to remove the decal ad place it back exactly where you had it. Now remove the decal from the boat and it's temporary position. Mix a solution of 1 glass of water and 5 or more drops of Palmolive dish washing solution. Put this solution in a sprayer and test it on your boat. When you spray the application area, the fluid should not bead up, but form a clear and constant coating of wetness. If you need to add more soap use no more than 10 drops per glass of water.
Next, begin pulling the backing from the boat name decal. Have someone spray the sticky side of the boat name decal as you pull off the backing. This will prevent destroying the decal should it tangle as you pull away the backing.
Next, with the boat wet and the decal wet (soaking wet completely), place the sticky side to the wet boat side and slide the decal around into position. Once it is in position, gently with your hands push out any air bubbles. Starting from the center of the decal to the left, then to the right, use a window squeegee or a Rubbermaid rubber kitchen squeegee and in straight lines squeegee out the remaining air and water always working from the center to the right, then from the center to the left. This action is what gives you a totally professional result - a decal without air bubbles or water bubbles under it.
Next, Here is the hard part. Once you have the decal on, you must now wait. You must give time for the actual decal to dry to the boat and bond to it. If you pull up on the application membrane too quickly and the decal also raises up, stop immediately and squeegee it back down again in the opposite direction from which you were pulling up the application membrane. There is no rule here as in some installs the application membrane can be removed right away, others can take hours to even a day before the application membrane can be removed.
IMPORTANT NOTE: WET APPLICATION MEMBRANES USE WATER SOLUBLE ADHESIVE TO HOLD THE DECAL IN PLACE TO THE MEMBRANE. THIS ENABLES THEM TO BREAK DOWN AND RELEASE THE DECAL. THE PAPER TYPE CAN RELEASE EXTREMELY QUICKLY WHEN YOU WET IT. TEST A SMALL SECTION OF YOUR DECAL BY CUTTING OFF A SMALL CORNER AWAY FROM THE ACTUAL BOAT NAME DECAL. WET THE APPLICATION MEMBRANE WITH THE SOLUTION YOU MADE AFTER PULLING THE BACKING FROM IT. GENERALLY THE MEMBRANE ADHESIVE WILL TURN MILKY AND BREAK DOWN. THIS WILL ALLOW YOU TO TEST HOW QUICKLY THE MEMBRANE ADHESIVE WILL BREAK DOWN DURING THE ACTUAL INSTALL.
5A DRY BOAT NAME DECAL-GRAPHICS APPLICATION...
This installation is the easier method for those that feel they can get it right on ONE TRY.
Now that the decal is in position, tape the decal down firmly in the center of the decal. This is to firmly hold the center of the decal into position on the boat. Make sure your tape overlaps the decal well. You will understand why in the next paragraph.
Now remove the tape from the right side of the decal. Raise the decal by pulling it away from the boat until you reach the CENTER where the decal is taped firmly to the boat. Pull the backing off the right side until you reach the center where the decal is taped down. Using scissors, cut the backing off as close to the center as possible. Now you will have only the sticky decal and sticky side of the application tape in your hands and the backing is removed from 1/2 of the decal. Using a wide rubber squeegee or a Rubbermaid kitchen spatula, starting from the center begin dragging across the face of the decal as you hold the decal away from the boat. The squeegee's job is to uniformly apply the decal at the point of contact as you drag the squeegee firmly to the right. Naturally the decal will follow a straight path. In one single wipe from the center to the right with the squeegee (do it slowly) you will both apply the decal and eliminate any air pockets as the decal feeds down to the boat as you are moving the squeegee.
Next, once the right side is down, un tape the left side and remove any other tape you have used to hold the decal down. Just like before, remove all the backing from the left side and hold the decal away from the boat. Now starting from the center use the squeegee to push down the decal again while holding it. Move from the center towards the left and let the decal feed down as necessary when dragging your squeegee across the decal. Again, in one long slow swipe of the squeegee, you will apply the decal and eliminate any chance of an air bubble.
6. Now that the decal is installed, take a towel and more firmly rub in the decal to insure a great bond between the actual decal and the boat. If using a dry method, you can begin to remove the application membrane from the left or right side. Just pull it across the decal to remove, don't pull UP!!!! Pulling across will insure you don't pull the decal right off the boat. PULL SLOWLY AND IF YOU NOTICE THE DECAL COME UP AS YOU PULL, STOP IMMEDIATELY AND PUSH THE DECAL BACK DOWN AGAIN FIRMLY AND TRY AGAIN. If using a wet method, all the same still applies, but you can't remove the membrane now. Don't even try sooner than 1 hour if using the plastic application membrane. You can test removal sooner if we provided the paper membrane, but test carefully and immediately stop if the decal begins to come up.
NOTE: These instructions may seem complicated. Basically, if you break all these rules you might still have a perfect installation. If you should happen to ruin part of the decal, a letter or two, we can and will gladly make the replacement letters necessary to fix your installation. Don't worry!
TINY Air or water bubbles: Air or water bubbles are a common problem and tend to be made into bigger problems by incorrectly trying to remove them. IF YOU HAVE SMALL 1/8" or smaller air or water bubbles, just leave them alone! Vinyl does breathe and if you can just be patient they will fix themselves without any help from you or your installer. If you have a layered decal (multi-color) there could even be tiny air or water bubbles left in-between the layers during manufacturing. Chances are, you will end up with a few small bubbles and it is best to leave alone.
LARGE (1/4 inch) Air or water bubbles: These bubbles do require a little help. Absolutely do not just push down on them. This will stretch and damage the vinyl. Instead, use a very fine sewing needle and simply poke the edge of the bubble and from the opposing direction wipe out the air or water with a Rubbermaid kitchen spatula or window cleaning squeegee.
FILM or CHALKY LOOKING SURFACE: This is very common and results from the adhesives used on the application membrane. You really need to do nothing with this. Weather and rain will remove it. However, if it bothers you, simply allow 48 hours for the decal to fully adhere to the object to which it was applied and then simply wax the decal with any car or boat wax or polish. The Chalky looking film is easily removed.
FOLDS or FLAPS: There isn't much you can do with these. The only cure is to avoid them from the beginning. You can cut out a fold with a razor. However, if this does not provide the look you are after, it is best to remove the decal immediately and reinstall a new decal.
PIMPLES: Pimples are different from air or water bubbles. A pimple looks like you have a grain of sand under the decal. There is nothing you can do to fix this. Make sure you apply the decal to a totally clean surface and make sure you don't contaminate the sticky side of the decal when handling it.