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White (decal) logo on headstock?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by roberthabraken, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. I want to apply my headstock logo as a decal, or better said, not using an inlay. Painting, stamping, any technique that can be applied over a clear coat finish would be okay in fact. Does anyone have any experience with that or suggestions where to look, what technique and what material to use?

    I found waterslide decal printing paper, which I could even fill on the back with a silver marker, but that would only allow me to print a black logo, which wouldn't be very clear on a darker red headstock. I also asked a sticker company for a white cut out decal, but the price was huge and they didn't even answer any of my questions. I know I could look for another company, but I thought I'd ask for expertise on TB first...

    Some examples of what I had in mind. Any ideas how they achieve this result?


  2. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Silver or gold show up well on red. Print the image in reverse, drawn in white with a black outline, so it prints clear with just a black outline. Hit it with the bonder so the water doesn't dissolve the ink. Then when the bonder dries, fill it in with the silver or gold paint pen. You fill it in after the bonder because the bonder will dissolve the paint pen. After everything dries, you simply apply the decal with the ink side down, so the now non reversed image is facing up.
  3. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Here is an extra decal I used on a Strat I built for a good friend. I have no use for it, because it is someone else's name, so I may as well use it as a demonstration.

    Here is what it looks like before application

    Here it is applied to a piece of black PG material.

    Here is one of my logos on a red headstock.
  4. wcoffey81


    Feb 3, 2012
    S/E Michigan
    look in the yellow pages, or google, for a sign shop. or stop in a local bodyshop and ask who does their striping/decal replacement.
    a sign shop may charge a small set-uo fee but after that they can cut your decals in any color of the rainbow. a headstock logo cut with some of the newer ghost vinyl would be cool in my book.
    unless things have changed greatly in the past couple of years i would guess $20 or less for the set-up, $5-$8 for the decal and $5 or so for them to apply it, with the strings removed. two tone decals would/could be a little more and the ghost probably would be too.
  5. Thanks Hopkins, I know that technique, but besides the fact that it produces a black outline around the silver logo, my logo is too small (referring to the letters of my name) to use that technique I guess. I could still give it a try though, this looks like a very cheap way of applying logos. Thanks for the details on this method!

    Thanks, I did and emailed a signing company that does both sign applications (cut vinyl) and stickering (decals). I asked them for advice on the type of application. If I got an answer I let you know.
  6. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Hey Robert, I just thought of something. I know a guy that has a plotter, I bet I could get him to cut your logo out for a minimal cost.

    The only problem with a vinyl decal is that I will require a pretty thick finish on top of it to make it completely level.

    You may want to look in to buying the materials to make a print screen. Its pretty cheap, and you will have it for future use.

  7. Thanks, I'll wait for the quote I requested, but thanks for the offer.

    About the print screen set: how does that work? Never heard of it and the image with the article doesn't ring a bell either...
  8. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    If I understand it right its like developing a photograph. You put a light sensitive chemical on the screen, with your image on top of it. Then you expose it to light. Everything around the image cures leaving a negative of the image. I'm pretty sure its exactly how it was done on that Yamaha and Ibby that you posted in the OP

    I have never done it personally, but I have a friend that has a screen with his bands logo.

    Then it works just like a stencil.
  9. That's a very cool procedure! Just what I was looking to learn with this thread, thanks!!
  10. Found the Dutch term for screen printing ("zeefdruk") and happen to actually know it as in 'know it excists', but never looked into it. I read some articles and viewed some vids. I am going to try it for sure, it's a cool technique to master for a number of applications. If I am able to produce satisfying results, I'll proceed to the bass itself. Any findings will be posted here of course.
  11. Smilodon

    Smilodon Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2012

    I didn't know they made photosensitive silk screen masks. That's brilliant! :)

    I'll have to do some research into this now.

    I Was going to suggest using photosensitive PCB sheets to create a "stamp", but that could be very difficult to get right. (And probably much more expensive and include using much more nasty chemicals)
  12. Photo developers arent that nasty.

    1000s of school kids used to use them every day in art class before digital photography
  13. TonH


    Jan 26, 2011
    The Netherlands
  14. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    This works great for your decal, but his would have to be cut out in individual letters, which would be hard to cut out cleanly and would make lining it up difficult.
  15. Thanks Ton! I found the transparent paper at that webshop, but didn't know this type. I must say I am amazed by that build you're referring to!!!! That's something to be proud of, real craftsmanship!

    I am really interested in a picture of the headstock and the decal, as I think this might be one of the best alternatives.

    Thanks for chiming in, love your builds! Are you a professional?

    That's true. I could use masking tape as a baseline for the letters and mark the positions between them on there too. Sounds difficult but may be doable..
  16. TonH


    Jan 26, 2011
    The Netherlands

    Here a close up of the decal:

  17. Thanks! I guess I could just cut my logo out of that material, using no ink at all. In that case I would only apply the H symbol and not the text.
  18. ps10black


    Jul 21, 2012
    The best method is to use an Alps Style Printer, The look similar to a bubble jet but they use ribbons and a heat transfer method, They can print in Metallic colours as well as opaque white. Alps to My knowledge are the only printer that does this with extremely high quality, some of the larger plotters in sign shops are starting to print a white but I havent seen one yet that can compare with the result from the Alps printers. Worst luck they are put of production now but they still pop up online from time to time, I got Mine Brand new NOS from a a guy in Argentina

    The end result is very thin not much more thickness than the base waterslide stock, and can be easily cleared over to hide the edge of the decal

    I would happily help you as I have one but I am in Australia

  19. Thanks, never heard of that kind of printer, interesting technology. Still have a hard time finding an industrial decal supplier (most of them don't seem to reply to email, or not anymore after hearing I'm only looking after about 5 pieces in total). Postage wouldn't be a lot from Australia to the Netherlands, would it? :smug: :D Anyway, I will keep you posted if I've got any news on the decal quest.

    I did a DIY screen print test this weekend. The technology worked more or less, but the results of the edges weren't sharp enough to my likings. No real screen printing, but made a screen from a small piece of organza over a small embroidery frame, making the negative by painting with a very small brush using white PVA (seen somewhere on YouTube). Cost me a few bugs only and works surprisingly well, but accuracy isn't very high. For making t-shirts or so, it's cool.. for making guitar logos I need the real stuff. Not sure if I want to invest though (or not right now, as I'm on low budget currently).
  20. CavinTan


    Mar 1, 2011
    Will the decal stick if you're using the reverse side with paint??