Can anyone here recommend a local place that can make custom decals for me? I'm building up a bike for my sweetie and I want to put a couple of custom downtube decals in Farsi on it.
Did you ever get worked out? There's a place called stickermule.com where they do custom stuff mail-order if you're striking out.
I didn't. I've found a couple of good online sources for decals, though.
Thanks, Mike. I don't have access to any particularly good printers, but the material may be a good option for hand-cutting decals.
I have had SEVERAL bad experiences. Some dudes who decal as a business think they're some kind of artistic god and try to charge $300 to decal ONE bike. It's a s**t show when you just try to squeeze even a single head tube decal out of these guys.
So if you can play with at least a basic graphics program Semper Fi Printing LLC in Arlington Heights will plot your stuff on white 3mil cast vinyl for a fraction of any specialty vendor. I had to get some jeweler's magnifiers from American Science and Surplus and an X-Acto knife to cut out the white background for my project. The Semper Fi decals came out BETTER than the ones I bought from VeloCals and they didn't bleed like the VeloCals decals did. And the white edges disappeared when the decal was applied (I think - I have a dark grey bike). I used GIMP to redraw the original decals but I would have started with Adobe Illustrator or QuarkXPress if I had known what a pain in the a** the decal guys were going to be... So if you're going to get crazy and grab a jeweler's loop to look at your decals, like a collector of DaVinci masterpieces, use Adobe Illustrator or QuarkXPress. If you just want your freakin' decals back after your repaint, use GIMP, Adobe Photoshop, etc. Either way, Semper Fi Printing will plot whatever you send them for a very reasonable price. If you want your stuff on clear decal media you'll have to go through the decal specialists I mentioned above.
After you cut out your cast vinyl decals, leave the paper backing on the decals and carefully arrange them on CRICUT Transfer Tape with the top of the decals facing the sticky side of the transfer tape. It's low tack and will release your decals onto the bike when properly applied.
Since I powder coated my bike I just used gloss Rustoleum clear coat with UV guard to protect the decals. I masked off the powder coating. Then I just clear coated the decals with a little clear border around them.
As far as printing stuff in my home office, I really couldn't bring myself to trust the process.
If you REEAALY have to know who these decal fanatics are I can give you their info. But be prepared to pay at least $200 for your decals and do A LOT of work for them to get them their decal dimensions and their decal colors. It's just flat out exhausting.
Thanks, Matt. I'm probably not going to get watre-transfer decals. Likely to be vinyl, but if I can find someone to hand-letter what I want that would be ideal.
Most of the people I dealt with recommended 2 mil vinyl. But the 3 mil worked great. The download for Adobe Illustrator is free and then you pay a subscription for however long you want to keep it. Many fonts are available of course for your project. You could embellish the artwork further and hopefully get a really nice product. Good luck!