Sunday, January 20, 2013

How To Apply Decals To A Kayak

One of the fun things about kayak fishing is customizing your kayak. Everyone has their own way of doing things, no two setups are alike!
Being that it is winter and I cannot seem to find the fish this winter, I have been working at perfecting my kayak. One thing that I have been putting off doing is applying some custom made decals to my Trident 13.
Applying decals to a kayak is a little harder that applying them to a window, but not much harder.
Some kayaks have a bumpy surface that makes it almost imposable for decals to stick. The trick is to sand these bumps smooth. Use fine grit sandpaper.
 Fortunately for me, the Trident 13 has a smooth area on its side that is perfect for decals. I simply sanded a few bumps and scratches down.
After the sanding was complete I cleaned the hull with alcohol. Be sure is is spotless, any dirt or dust will cause the decal to not stick.
After I cleaned the hull, I heated it up with a heat gun. This step is unnecessary in the summer, but in the winter it is very important. The decal will not stick well to a cold hull.
Then I took a very wet rag and wiped the surface down, making sure it had a thin layer of water on it. A spray bottle would have worked better.
This gives me a little wiggle room to position the decal. Otherwise, it would tear if I tried to reposition it.
I carefully applied the decal, working slowly.
Then I used a squeegee to flatten it down as much as possible. You could just use your hand or fingers.
Working one letter at a time, I peeled off the backing paper. I took my time, going very slowly. If you are going to mess up, this is where it will happen.
As I went along I went over each letter with moistened fingers and popped any bubbles with a pin. This process took almost an hour, as I was very meticulous.
Last, just to be safe, I outlined each letter with a very thin layer of supper glue. This is probably unnecessary, but helps ease my mind.
The final product is awesome!

Keep in mind that some kayaks are treated with a chemical that resists things from sticking to it. Contact your kayaks manufacturer to see if that is the case. If it is, some extra sanding may be required.

Custom decals are cheap. I paid $8 for each of mine at It is a great way to jazz up your boat!

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