Building a Fender Telecaster Guitar – Part 14 – Waterslide Decal

Decal on!

I found this website where they sell all sorts of Fender decals, also for Telecaster models. Sticking to my ’73 theme, I chose this period correct “custom” decal, because I’m building somewhat of a custom thingie here.

These are called waterslide decals. You can order laser- or inkjet decal paper from eBay, but that won’t give you the opportunity to print gold or silver. This decal has gold flake paint in it and looks the part.

I cleaned the headstock with alcohol, took off the high E tuner to have more room, put some water on the headstock and soaked the cut out (cut it around it’s image with like 1.5 mm to spare) decal in water.

Within 2 minutes it’s ready to come off the backing paper and I found it very easy to slide off into position. I used googled images to pinpoint the exact position of the decal and I think it looks great! Now all I have to do is take all the hardware off (again) and spray it with some satin finish lacquer in order to fixate the decal in place, then some light wet sanding and that should do the trick.

Satin finish and wet sanding

Bought a can of satin finish lacquer at the DIY store and sprayed the headstock a couple times during the day; many thin layers.

After drying I wet sanded it using an eraser and some 1200 grit automotive waterproof sandpaper. I didn’t know how much I had to sand off without ruining the decal so I quit while it was still intact and the headstock felt smooth and flat.

After that remount the tuners and the string tree back in place. Almost done!

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