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Vinyl wraps? Anyone?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Bass Hole, Dec 20, 2010.

  1. Bass Hole

    Bass Hole

    Nov 27, 2010
    They are popular for vehicles etc, but has anyone used one on a guitar? I have a vinyl plotter to custom cut decals, but cannot print on vinyl. Lots of sign shops around who have that kind of equipment though.
    My concern is that urethane or other clear finishes over a large vinyl decal will have adhesion problems. I think many people have done small vinyl decals without a problem, but a large decal may present a challenge. Either with solvents messing with the inks or the heat from the curing causing the vinyl to go soft.
    My thought was to cover the front, clear coat, then blend in the edges with paint, then clear coat. That way, the edges of the decal would be blended in. Getting vinyl wrapped around the compound curves makes my brain hurt-
    Anyone done fairly large vinyl with a clear coat?
  2. Hawkbone


    Mar 23, 2009
    Saw a bass for sale recently in the UK. Dude had had the same idea, and he claimed to have modded the process so that you could do a wrap on a guitar and remove it later with no damage to the original finish. In fact he claimed the wrap would protect the finish from normal wear and tear. Don't recall if it was here on TB or on ebay, but it was a Union Jack bass, maybe an Ibanez? If I find it I'll post a link.
  3. Bass Hole

    Bass Hole

    Nov 27, 2010
    I've done a lot with vinyl and yes, you can use vinyl on the front like the axe wraps... but you will never get vinyl to wrap around the compound curves perfectly. There will always be an edge to the vinyl, which is why I was thinking of clear coating it.
    The vinyl also won't shine like a nicely polished guitar unless top coated.
    If all else fails, I'm probably just going to paint it and vinyl wrap my pick guard with a carbon fiber looking vinyl. There's nobody around here who could airbrush what I want for anywhere near a reasonable cost.
  4. tjmdetroit


    Jan 27, 2008
    Detroit, MI

    Bass Hole,
    - As a former sign maker, I also have cut and installed a variety of graphics on my bass. After reshaping my bass headstock I added a graphic and also made a number of ramps with different graphics.
    - Using white matte vinyl and spraying it with "Krylon for plastic" to achieve the desired color/colors. Apply it... spray it with "Frogjuice" or clear poly... then rub it out.
    - I also "wrapped" my truss rod cover with black gloss vinyl and was surprised how easy it was and how nice it came out!
    - I'm going experiment with printing a photo quality graphic onto vinyl label stock. Then trim it, apply it, and finish it with Frogjuice. Or I'll get some digital printing vinyl and try that.
    - About wrapping a whole bass body with vinyl? Well, should you try it... let me know how it works out for you.... lol
    - This is a very bad quality photo of a ramp and graphic.

  5. Nic.


    Aug 28, 2009
    I've a bunch of carbon fibre print vinyl that would look really sick on a bass. I just don't dare to put it on.
  6. The company I work for has just purchased a Hydro-Dip type machine. It can wrap around almost any contour. It's designed for non-porous surfaces as you have to completely imerse the object in water to complete the procces. I will have to try it on a few throw away basses before I dunk a real one but I'll subscribe and try to post some pictures when I get to it. Here is a link to some samples patterns:


    I'll also need to check the durability of the finish, but I'm sure I could give it a thick clear coat the same as any other paint finish and it would be fine.
  7. Bass Hole

    Bass Hole

    Nov 27, 2010
    I wouldn't try to wrap the whole thing- that's why I wanted to paint over the edges and clear the whole thing so it's not apparent where the edge of the vinyl is. I'm really curious if the printed vinyl can be encased in a clear finish.

    I'm familiar with the hydro-dip. As long as you have the technique down, they are easy to use. I had some parts for a motorcycle hydro-dipped and they came out awesome. I'd love to dip my Spector in carbon fiber HD.
  8. tjmdetroit


    Jan 27, 2008
    Detroit, MI
    Wow trevcda... that is some nice stuff... you gotta try it on something and tell us about it...
  9. Do it small scale (so it's cheap). Buy a little printed vinyl decal/sticker that will cover the front of a 3"x3" piece of wood and try the whole process.
  10. Bass Hole

    Bass Hole

    Nov 27, 2010
    Thanks for the link- I have no idea why that didn't come up when I searched before. I blame margaritas.

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