How to Apply Your New Graphics / Decals

Sticking on your fresh decals can be a scary task if you've never done it before, but never fear – we provide some tricks and tips to help you get the job done without getting stressed.

For working on your motorcycle, preparation is key. Have a neat and tidy area with plenty of space. Ensure the bench is clean and not covered in anything that will cause your decals to fail to stick, such as oil or dirt.

Ensure your surfaces are clean and free of any clue. Even if they are brand-new side panels or freshly painted fuel-tank, it's important to clean them before sticking your decals on. The best to clean with Isopropyl alcohol. Also, make sure that the back of your panel is clean. If you touch it and then the decals, you'll affect the way they stick to the surface.

There's no point sticking on a decal and getting almost to the end only to realize it doesn't fit. Check that the graphics will in fact fit; if they don't, you may be able to return them if they are from a decent motorcycle store. Check that you haven't given the custom company the wrong model to work on. They may have even made a simple mistake. It happens.
Depending on who you ask, you will be recommended to stick on wet or dry. I've always found wet easier. If you're fitting wet and don't have access to an application fluid, put a very small drop of dish-washing liquid in a spray bottle of water. Spray a very fin mist on both the surface and the sticky side of the decal with the moisture, then apply. You can slide it around until you're happy with the fit of the decal.

When you're happy with where it's placed, work the moisture from the middle out, forcing as much of the water out from under the decal and doing your best not to trap any moisture. It's best to use an applicator or squeegee to do this – these are available from companies that make advertising signs, signwriters and some handicraft supply stores. Otherwise, a thick card like a ATM or credit card and a rag will work fine.

Once you have as much moisture as possible out, leave them in the sun or even in a car with the doors closed for an hour or so to help the moisture evaporate. Once that's done, get them back on the bench and work any remaining moisture out. Use the heat gun to help mold the decal to the right shape. Not have a heat gun, try a hair dryer on the highest heat setting...

If you're sticking your decals on dry, everything as regards preparation stays the same. Ensure your graphics is aligned and then peel back one section, preferably a corner, and apply. Slowly remove more backing paper, working in the middle and working your way out is the best way to work here.
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