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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:08 pm 
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I've had a couple of requests for more information on using the film free decals that I use on my guitars. I use the decals for my Country Roads logo.

As a background, I was looking for a logo for Country Roads, which would look nice, but without the need for extensive cutting and inlaying. I'm don't particularly like decals, because you can see the thin plastic decal and it takes a lot of finish to cover them. I wanted something I could design, setup, and make myself. While looking at decals systems on Amazon, I ran across Sunnyscopa, a Korean company, and their film free system.

In essence, the film free decal system is what it sounds like: decals, but without the plastic film. The equipment required are:

1. A laser printer, monochrome is fine
2. A laminator.

According to Sunnyscopa, a 4 roll laminator with temperature control is required. I have a 2 roll laminator with temperature control. Also, the glue provided with the system is aimed at nonporous substrate. Wood is porous.

But, I decided to order a system, to see what I could do with it. It comes in a couple of colors, as well as 2 metallic versions, silver and gold. Later, I found that it also comes in 2 holographic versions, regular and textured.

I initially ordered the gold. I also ordered the holographic. The kit comes with 10 sheets each of blue sheets, white sheets, and gold sheets, as well as 2 ounces of clear glue and an optional squeegee.

This is how it works:

1. You make your logo, or label on the computer and print it in black on a LASER printer. An inkjet printer will NOT work with this system. You must print your label on the shiny side of one of the blue sheets of paper.

2. The blue printed sheet is laminated to the color (in my case gold or holographic) with the color side up. This is where I departed from Sunnycopia's instructions. I increased the temperature to 325° F. This enabled me to use the 2 roller laminator* (more on the laminator later).
To hold the thin metallic sheet in place for lamination, I used a stripe of glue stick across the top of the printed sheet, then placed the color sheet. That way, nothing shifted while being laminated.

3. After the color sheet and blue sheets are laminated, and cool, you carefully peel the color sheet away, leaving the ink on the original black laser printing.

4. Now, the white sheet is laminated to the printing on the blue sheet. The white sheet, like the blue, has a shiny side. The shiny side is placed down against the printing on the blue sheet, and is laminated the same temperature as the color sheet.

In my case, I made several potential labels per sheet. I cut them apart.

I knew that I needed a non porous surface to put the label. I decided that CA glue was a good start to seal the wood. On Ebony, I spread 3 layers of ca glue, lightly sanding between each coat.

Before using the label, water is brushed or blotted onto the BLUE paper. The paper will loosen and slide off of the label, revealing your label on a plastic decal.

Before using, the white decal is placed in water for about 30 seconds, which will start to loosen the paper from the plastic. While in the water, I generously applied the provided glue, using a soft paint brush, onto the ebony surface. The label will curl up in the water, then unfurl. When it straightens out, remove it and place it on your surface, plastic side down. When your satisfied with positioning, slide the white paper off of it.

You can further position the label, very carefully. If it doesn't want to move, you can put a little more water on it. Once positioned, gently squeegee the water out from under the plastic. You can use a paper towel or small soft squeegee.

Use a hairdryer for 2-3 minutes to heat the plastic decal. I continue to work water out by gently smoothing the decal with a paper towel. When good and dry, allow it to cool.

This is where these decals depart from regular decals. Once cool, gently peel the plastic from the decal. All that's left is the ink, which sticks to the glue.

Again, using a hairdryer, heat the ink for 2-3 minutes. The decal is now permanent. It can be taken off by sanding.

It is impervious to polyurethane. It's also unaffected by alcohol so you can use shellac over it. I've not used nitrocellulose finish, but I will experiment and let you know.

The kits cost ~ $39 including shipping. The sheets are letter sized.

*more about the laminator.

I contacted Sunnyscopa about my laminator, an Apache AL13P. My laminator has only 2 rollers, but does have temperature control. They wanted to know how I used the labels on the porous wood and with the laminator. I explained my changes to their instructions. They said they would experiment with what I told them.

Most cheap laminates only have 1 roller and no temperature control. If you have one of these, I don't know that it would work. However, I picked up my Apache from Ebay for $50 delivered and it's in great shape. They're on there all of the time.

I also saw new, albeit Chinese made laminators, with 2 rollers and temperature control for under $75.

http://mobile--shop2.sunnyind.cafe24.com/


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:24 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:35 pm 
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Another look at the Country Roads logo, before I inlaid the shape. The background coloration evens out when finish is applied.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 7:54 pm 
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Location: Fishers, IN
Thanks for posting, and thanks for the pics - they help a lot! The decals look great - is the material pretty compatible with finishes? I can see myself dissolving a few along the way...

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"The difference between theory and practice is that in theory there is no difference." - van de Snepscheut


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 9:57 pm 
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The ink is safe under shellac and polyurethane. I'm not sure it's safe to use nitro, but I'll find out.

I believe acetone may remove it. I know alcohol won't. I'll find out about the acetone and nitro. I have nitro in the shop.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 6:45 am 
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Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 8:03 am
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Location: Chestertown Maryland
Diane

Can you do 2 color decals, such as gold with a black outline like the Martin logo? Thanks for making this complex procedure more clear.

Ed


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:40 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
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ruby@magpage.com wrote:
Diane

Can you do 2 color decals, such as gold with a black outline like the Martin logo? Thanks for making this complex procedure more clear.

Ed

That's a really good question.

If you use their regular film free waterslide decal paper with a color laser printer, you can print any image, in any colors, and transfer it. You're only limited by the colors of laser toner. I don't know if they make metallic colors in toner.

The only way I can see that you could do something like the Martin decal out of metallic, is to make 2 transfers.

I think you'd have to use their regular film free, print your lettering in a larger size, in black. Then, you'd have to use the metallic system and print your lettering a bit smaller, using the directions. You'd have to place the black first, then place the metallic on top.


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