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"Can vinyl decals go between the base coat and clear coat?"


I am about to paint my car with 2 stage paint. Base coat then clear coat. I understand that clearcoat actually aids in the stabilization of the base when applied within the manufacturers time frame (in this case clear may applied within 12 hours) My question is; Should I put my base coats on the car, then the stickers (decals), then the clear coat? What about the paint (base coat) under the stickers? It never comes into contact with the clear coat. Will it be OK? Should I put a thin coat of clear then my stickers, then more coats of clear? Hope you can help. Thanks!

Richard Roach
Hobbyist - Lakewood, Colorado


Stickers go on AFTER the clearcoat.

Marc Banks
- Shiloh, North Carolina


Richard: Best advice? Clear coat before the graphics are placed. Why? Years ago paint was paint. Today we use Paint Systems and they depend on the substrate layers for proper adhesion and binding of the layers to complete the "system". When/if you become tired of graphics that have been installed over just the base color there is a high risk that when the graphics are removed some of the base color may come off with the graphics because the base color might still be soft (base coats don't harden unless catalyzed). The clear coat that should have been installed over the base color will bind to the base color and create a uniformly hardened paint surface. Graphics will be easier to remove from a clear coated surface. Do you have any way of knowing if the graphics will be resistant to the clear coat? Nothing would be worse than spending the required time and money to complete your body work, lay on the sealer, lay down the base coat of color, shoot a couple wet coats of clear, install the graphics then spray on some more clear just to watch your graphics wither, melt, distort, peel and/or otherwise bring you unwanted grief. Prove compatibility to yourself. Shoot a little color coat on a scrap fender, door, whatever. Then lay on some clear. Install a scrap of your graphic and shoot some more clear on top of the graphic. Wait a day or two until the clear has hardened to make sure the graphic will survive the clear coat and then proceed with caution on your project. A little pre-planning can save you a ton of trouble. Hope this helps.

Bill Miller
- Shinnston, West Virginia


Removing decals under clear coat.

I've got a motorcycle gas tank that has the decals clear coated over. Can someone tell me the best way to remove them with ruining the underlying paint?

I thought about making the tank and wet sanding through the clear coat to the decal and trying to peel it off.

John Jolley
hobbyist - Port Saint John, Florida

March 9, 2009

I had a gas tank with a clear coated decal once. The best solution is to sand the tank and spray flowable filler (a sprayable body filler for finishing bodywork) over the area with the decal. Lightly sand over the filler, briefly, because it is soft and will disappear easily. You almost don't have to sand over it at all after spraying it on. Then paint it as usual and the decal will be gone without a trace!

Allen VanBibber
- Charleston, West Virginia

August 27, 2009

I have a motorcycle tank that has a wonderful power coating finish and I wish to install harley decals on it and protect it with a clear coat. What type of paint should I use. I inquired at a automotive paint supply and they told me not to use automotive paint because it would get too hot. What should I use? Thank you!

Wayne Davis
hobbyist - Albuquerque, New Mexico USA

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