Decal tips

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vinyl decal

Since applying a vinyl decal to your cornhole boards can be down in several ways, we're going to feature different methods, as used by different people.

You can either add your own method, or add notes to a method that somebody else has posted!


General Decal Application

Decal Application :: Wet vs. Dry

There are two main techniques for putting on decals. Wet and dry. Wet simply means that you spray a slight (mist it) amount of water on the back of your decal, apply it, squeegee out the water and air, remove the backing tape, and you're done. Dry means the same thing, but without the water.

The wet technique is often the best for a first timer. You can put the decal down, slide it around, remove it, re-apply it, over and over until you're ready. This technique is very forgiving. The downside is that it is difficult to get all of the water out, even with the squeegee. So, the application tape doesn't come off of the decal as easy, and the decal doesn't stick to the boards as easy. The wet technique is much more efficient for glass surfaces such as car windows, where the squeegee will remove all the water in a few swipes.

The dry technique requires more precision. Make sure you have everything measured out perfectly as far as where you want to place your decal. Sometimes you can actually lay the decal out on the boards without it sticking. But some times the application tape and the decal are very sticky, and once it goes on, it's pretty much stuck on. Time and go slowly. Measure 4 times before putting your decal down. Lay it down from one side before adding any pressure, and work your way over, then work your squeegee/credit card from the center out to remove any air pockets.

  • Additional Tips:
    • Run a hair dryer over the decal when you're done. Don't hold it too close to the decal or you could melt it.
    • When you have an air bubble that you can't squeegee out, you'll need to pop it. Make a small puncture in the side of the bubble with a razor blade, then run your thumb over it to squeeze the air out. Don't worry about that small hole you still see, your poly will fill that in and make it unnoticeable. ~Milky

Dry Decal Application

First thing I do is measure every way I can to get my decal centered where I want it.

Second...I tape one edge of it down to the board. You should be able to flip your decal over and back like it's on a hinge. (Use painters tape or something else that won't leave a sticky residue on your boards)

Third...Flip your decal over and peel off the backing paper.

Fourth...Grab the edge of your decal that is NOT taped to the board, flip it over and start rolling it onto your boards. Go slow and keep tension on the edge you are holding and you shouldn't have any air bubbles or at least very little.

If you get air bubbles, take a small needle and poke in the center of the bubble and push the air out. Once you poly over won't see the needle holes. ~TedNWV

I use a top hinge method (sometimes bottom depending on the decal design). Always dry.

With backing on I center it side to side, then determine position top to bottom. Lets say 16" (or whatever) from bottom to a given point on the decal so you can repeat it on the other board. With the decal in place I use 2 pieces of tape at the top. Note: it helps if the app. paper & backing paper are cut straight at this edge.

Press the tape firmly down & use your thumb nail right at the paper edge. Fold the complete decal over & I try creasing the tape at the hinge. Start pulling the backing paper off from the top of the decal (at hinge) till a little of the decal is exposed & flip it back over & start sticking it down, slowly pull the backing paper off around an inch at a time while smoothing the decal down with a credit card or squeegee. Continue pulling & smoothing till done. ~rickster

Wet Decal Application

Leave the backing on the decal to get it set correct, then tape down the top and spray with a water/soup solution, a.k.a. the "wet method". Use a drop of dish soap to say 20oz of water. That way if you fumble it you can still work with it, versus having to struggle to get your stuck decal off to reposition.

Then pull back the decal and lay it down.~rucraz2

Decal Application & Bubbles

  • When applying vinyl using a soap and water spray is a great idea - spray the decal and the board. When I've used this method, I also used a wax pencil before spraying the board. Lay the decal down on the board make a few hash marks. Spray the board, peel of the backing paper from the decal, spray decal and place on the board. Then squeegee (credit card) from the center out. Once done let it dry for a bit. if your in a hurry you can use a hair blow dryer.

Now for the bubbles. All I've ever done was poke a little hole in the bubble right near the edge and working the bubble out from the farthest point of the poked hole towards the poked hole,u sing my index finger or thumb. Depending how big the bubble is will depend on how many holes you'll need in the bubble. For big bubbles I'll but a hole in the center and at the edge of the bubble. Make sure you do take your time when working out the bubbles. ~From Gordo

  • It's not unusual to end up with more bubbles than you expected especially if you're new to decals.

Use a stick pin on the biggest ones, it's really the easiest way. The poly will cover and fill those holes in just fine.

What you can try, and it's really just a shot in the dark, go to the grocery store and pick up a roll of Parchment Paper, it's in the foil aisle. Lay a sheet of that over your decal and using your credit card or even an old CD, start smoothing the decal out from the center to the edge. What this does is prevents you from digging into that vinyl as you're squeegee'ing down and pushing the air out.

If you think you may have problems with air bubbles, mix up a solution of a few drops dish soap and about 16oz of water in a spray bottle, mist your surface and then apply the decal. This keeps the adhesive from grabbing right away, and allows you to really work out all the bubbles and such while you're applying it. Then, let the decal sit for at least 10 minutes or so before peeling off that application tape, and this should help eliminate your problems. ~BillM75

  • First, use a very tiny, very sharp pin. Only pierce the bubble. Don't go all the way into it. Then, when it's pierced, smush down on it with your pointer finger, very hard, and hold for three seconds. Let go, and the bubble should be 99.9999% gone.

Second, many of those bubbles you see will actually go away once the adhesive on the decals "set". Not all of them, but many of them. Give it a day.

Third, I actually apply my decals different from most people I've talked to, or read here. I start on one side, and move to the other side. I don't press very hard the first time, thn I work the bigger bubbles to the sides and out. Then I take a credit card and run from the center out, in many strokes, towards the outsides. Works like a charm. ~Milky

Waiting Time from Decal Application to Poly

Once you have it applied, you can start your Poly. The adhesive on a decal doesn't truly have a "set up" time, it's an immediate bond. ~BillM75

Applying a a Vinyl Decal to Stained Wood

Vinyl Decals on Cornhole Boards

Sanding sealer is typically used prior to stain on any wood surface. My understanding is that it helps the stain go on more evenly in softer woods, but I could be wrong on that point.

If your boards are stained and the surface is clean and dry, the decals can be applied directly to the stain prior to the poly. Sometimes decals have a little trouble adhering to wood, so take your time peeling off the application tape (opaque tape that's on the face of your decals). If it starts to lift the vinyl off the board, lay it back down and rub that area firmly with a credit card to promote better adhesion.

Once they're applied, you can start slapping the poly on. If you plan to finish sand your poly, avoid sanding over the decal area too heavily. It's more a precaution than a necessity. ~BillM75

Tips for applying standard vinyl decals (super sticky)

1. Standard vinyl decals, unlike removable vinyl decals, offer no room for error. Once applied super sticky decals will not come off without damaging the decal. Unless you use the soap and water technique.

2. We recommend using the soap and water application process for standard vinyl decals. This is a very easy and reliable process. Simply use a spray bottle filled with water and a little soap. Hand or dish soap will work fine.

3. Spray the sticky side of the decal with the soap and water solution. Don't be afraid to use a good amount of the soap and water solution.

4. Apply the wet decal at the desired position on the board and use a squeegee to lightly remove the water from the underside of the decal.

5. Let the decal dry for about an hour and if you desire apply some clear coat...

Tips for applying removable vinyl cornhole decals:

1. Make sure your cornhole boards are sanded to a very smooth feel. Use 220 grit sandpaper to attain a smooth surface.

2. Make a small mark on the center of your cornhole board and center the center of your cornhole decal on this mark.

3. Apply the decal smoothly and push out any air that might be trapped under the decal.. A small squeegee works really well.

4. Press down firmly on the applied decal, make sure all the edges are laying flat.

5. Apply two or three coats of clear coat over the decal and entire board if you desire. We prefer "Painters Touch Clear Gloss".

When applying the clear coat you may notice that the coating looks cloudy. Don't worry, it will dry very clear.

Full Wraps

From Edluv96 - I always suggest applying a coat or 2 of poly to your boards before applying any wrap or decal. Vinyl is not made to stick to bare wood. You might think that your board is nice and smooth and clean, but it's nearly impossible to get rid of the dust, etc that on wood...... then after you apply the wraps, apply your top coats as normal.

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