Guitar Decals

You've spent hours making it, now add the finishing touch with our personalised and custom guitar headstock and body decals. Our extensive range of guitar decals includes designs for the majority of models, and whether you want something personalised or to your own totally custom design we can make it.

Guitar Waterslide Decals

Since the 50s waterslide decals have been used on guitar headstocks for the logo and model name. We've brought these traditional transfers right up to date, with our modern production techniques allowing for single piece custom designs. Gone are the days of needing to order hundreds of sheets - we can make you anything from a single decal for customising your own guitar, through to thousands of decals for your production run. We offer the following:

Personalised Decals in classic designs and layouts, but with your wording and choice of colour combination including metallic gold, silver, and opaque white.

Custom Decals made to your design, for example your company logo. Available in sheets, just upload your artwork and we'll do the rest.

Standard Decals in ready made designs, which covers things like flags, emblems and our vintage paisley body decals.

Why Choose Our Waterslide Guitar Decals?

What's unique about waterslide decals, and why are ours special?

  • ✔ Completely opaque print so decals can be applied to any colour surface, even black
  • ✔ Ultra-thin decal film means the edges vanish under only a few coats of lacquer
  • ✔ Compatible with all popular guitar making spray lacquers
  • ✔ Gold and silver print are truly metallic for a professional finish
  • ✔ Decals are supplied ready to apply, they do not need sealing before use

Artwork for Custom Designs

If you have your own design, for example your company logo, signature, or a special emblem, we can make this into your own bespoke waterslide decals.

Listen up folks, these are our preferred file formats for supplied artwork are listed below. Supplying artwork to these specifications will ensure best results and no further setup charges.

  • ✔ PSD Photoshop File: 600dpi, actual size, separate layers for White, Black, Gold, Silver, CMYK, all fonts rasterised, transparent background
  • ✔ AI Illustrator File: Must contain solely vector data with all fonts converted to paths
  • ✔ PDF File: Provided it is either a 600dpi transparent background export as per the Photoshop file, or an export of a suitably created AI
  • ✔ PNG File: Fine for either single colour of White, Black, Gold or Silver, or a full colour CMYK print. 600dpi, actual size, transparent background (i.e. all unprinted areas should be transparent)

Other file formats aren't good to use for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • ✘ JPG: Compressed images have a lot of artefacts which lower the quality, and JPG doesn't allow for colour splitting or transparency. This will required a complete redraw before printing.
  • ✘ CDR: We do not use Corel formats - please export as a universal format such as PDF.
  • ✘ DXF: This format is ideal if you want us to make a custom cut inlay, but is not suitable for graphics and print. Also, in our experience it doesn't work simply exporting it to an AI format, as the export does not create the required paths or information for printing. This will require a complete redraw before printing.
  • ✘ Word / Powerpoint: Both of these are containers and not suitable for us to print from. If you have an image, instead of putting it in an Office document please send us the image instead. If you would like a particular font please tell us the font and width in mm.
  • ✘ Any of these in any of the good ones: A JPG boshed in to a Photoshop file does not make it usable - it is still a JPG, just in a different container.

Common issues to avoid are:

  • ✘ White background: Backgrounds, i.e. any areas which don't contain design and aren't to be printed, should be transparent. Putting the design on a white background will result in either a printed white background, or mean we need to redraw the design to extract it before printing.
  • ✘ Colours on the same layer: We build up special colours layer by layer, so White, Black, Gold and Silver should be drawn on separate layers, with all unprinted areas remaining transparent. CMYK full colour prints can be on a single layer - no need to split CMY and K for these.
  • ✘ Fonts not rasterised or converted to vectors: You may have used fonts in your file which we do not have installed. This is fine, but to ensure the prints turn out as you expect them to please rasterise (in Photoshop) or vectorise (in Illustrator) your text before sending the file to us. This way we can deal with just the raw pixel or vector data, and it doesn't matter if we don't have the font.
  • ✘ Low resolution: The quality of the print depends on the quality of the artwork, so we ask for bitmap artwork to be made at a minimum resolution of 600dpi, with the canvas at actual size. For example, if your design is 2 inches wide by 1 inch tall, we would expect the image to measure 1200 x 600dpi. 
  • ✘ Enlarged to high resolution: Artwork should be created at its final resolution. Making it small and then enlarging it will not give a good quality result - detail cannot be invented.

Waterslide Guitar Decal FAQs

How do I apply waterslide decals?

We include comprehensive written and illustrated application instructions with every decal order, along with a small sample for you to practice with before applying your decal for real. You can also have a look at our application Youtube video here: How To Apply Waterslide Guitar Headstock Decals

Can you make a decal for x headstock?

Probably, yes. Have a look through our standard headstock designs which cover most styles. If you don't see what you need there, we can print from your artwork or contact us and we'll see what we can do.

I've got my own design, can you make decals for me?

Yes! We sure can. Please have a look here to order sheets of custom decals using your own design: Custom Decals In Your Design

Cool, but what if I can't draw my design in one of the preferred formats?

Our fixed price Custom Decals In Your Design offering includes setup and a small amount of redrawing/rework. For larger jobs where a design needs finishing or drawing from scratch, we offer a professional redraw service at £45 / hour. Please contact us with your requirements for a detailed quote.

Do you offer a discount to guitar builders?

Decal pricing is purely based on quantity. We offer full sheets in all of our options which is the most cost-effective way of buying them, and even on the full sheets there are further quantity discounts for multiple sheets in the same design.

How long do decals take to make?

Typical dispatch time for decals is 3-5 days from ordering. Delivery time will then depend on the shipping service you choose.

Can waterslide decals be used on oil finishes?

Unfortunately not. The decals likely won't adhere to an oily surface. They also need to be lacquered over once applied - only a spray lacquer is suitable, and spray lacquers cannot be sprayed over oiled wood.

Can I wipe poly over decals?

No - wiping any finish over the decal will likely damage it and wipe the decal straight back off. Only spray lacquer should be used over the decal once it is applied.

Do I have to lacquer decals?

Yes. Waterslide decals are a means of applying a professional logo to the surface. We make them as thin and fine as possible, but the result of this is they don't have any real strength to stand up to daily wear. They are designed to be embedded in the lacquer finish, which will both make them look incredible and protect them for years to come.

Can I use x lacquer over the decals?

If it's a spray lacquer then probably, yes. Our decals are tested and work with nitrocellulose, acrylic and the majority of craft lacquers. Some 2K automotive finishes can react with the decal film but this seems to vary from brand to brand and even depends on the particular application method. If you're unsure, always test before using in full production.

Do I need to lacquer the decals before applying them?

No. A lot of how-to guides will recommend doing this. It's necessary with homemade decals, as inks in home printers are water-soluble so have a nasty habit of dissolving when you soak the decals. We use inks specifically for waterslide decals, though - totally waterproof, and the decals are supplied ready to apply.

My decal has gone cloudy. What happened?

This can sometimes happen after applying the decal or when you start lacquering, the unprinted film can go a little milky. This is usually solved with a bit more lacquer and some light sanding, which causes decal magic to occur and the film and edges will vanish.