Water transfer decals are an easy way to add a professional look or logo to a wide variety of custom paint applications. They can be produced with a color printer, Aerosol Clearcoat, and Water Transfer Paper.
The paper needs to be purchased specifically for either a laser or Inkjet printer. Most of the videos shown on Refinish Network have been completed using this Paper for an Inkjet Printer:
Once your image is printed onto the paper, it needs to be sprayed with a 1 part clearcoat. This will hold the decal together and allow you to apply it to various surfaces. You should apply two coats with 5 minutes wait time in between coats. It should be allowed to dry for 1-2 hours before the next step. If you allow the product to dry for longer than a day, it will become too hard and brittle to transfer. The product below is what has been used in most of our projects by Duplicolor. Any 1K acrylic clearcoat should work fine.
Next, trim the excess material around your decal and place it in water for about 30 seconds. Remove the decal and you will notice the backing coming away from the image. Carefully slide the image onto the surface. Once it is in place you will have about a minute to position it, you will need to work quickly to remove any wrinkles or air bubbles. You can carefully use a credit card or squeegee to assist with placement. Once you are satisfied with the positioning, it should be allowed to dry for a few hours. If you notice any more air bubbles, you can puncture them with a pin and press down the area to avoid adhesion problems.
**Important Note **
Your printed decals require a white background similar to paper. If you place these over a dark surface, you will not see the image. In some videos, we use silver. Silver will not give a genuine representation. Sometimes it is preferred to allow for metallic paint to shine back through and produce an abstract effect. If you want a true representation of your image, use a white surface.
A variety of automotive and general-purpose airbrush paints have been used in our videos. They are all topped off with a 2K clearcoat. This is an automotive/industrial grade product that provides an incredible gloss and durable finish. It is a 2 part can that needs to be activated by pressing in a button before use. This adds a hardening component to the can and it must be used within about 12-24 hours. We often use spray max products: