The design is on a very thin but durable film and is waterproof , UV resistant and you can over finish with Nitro Lacquer or Acrylic to fully protect the decal .Please note you must use this on a headstock that has been previously lacquered and sanded to a nice flat smooth finish NOT ON BARE WOOD !
To obtain the best adhesion I would advise lacquering the headstock face before you apply the decal and wait until completely dry (a week or more). I often use cellulose on mine which dries really quickly and is in my opinion way better than acrylic. Acrylic is safer to use however as cellulose can sometimes react when spraying over some other lacquers. So if you are not sure what type of finish you have on your neck always try a tiny test amount first on an area that won’t be seen, like the heel of the neck . Whatever you use you must only spray VERY thin mist coats over the headstock. Flatten the surface after it is fully cured with a very fine rubbing paper. Try to get it really flat and smooth as the flatter it is the better the decal will adhere.
1/ Once the surface of the headstock is prepared remove the protective packing tissue from the decal and trim the decal as required.
2/ Next fill a Saucer/Shallow dish with tepid water (not hot – you might end up with something resembling a sad curled up spider otherwise ). It might be useful, if you like, to put a TINY amount of washing up liquid into the water as this enables you to reposition the decal easier until you get it exactly where you require it. Now place the trimmed decal PRINTED SIDE UP onto the surface of the water DO NOT PUSH IT UNDER! This will allow the backing paper to separate from the decal. The decal will curl slightly at first then start to flatten out as the water permeates the backing paper. I also use a water mister to spray a little extra water on to the headstock. Some people have better adhesion using a TINY bit of PVA glue mixed with the water. Usually not needed though.
3/ After about 30 seconds or so you will see the decal starting to lift off the backing paper. Carefully lift the decal and backing paper at the same time and very gently see if the decal moves around a little bit on the paper. If it does place the decal and backing on the headstock roughly where you intend it to go. Place a finger on one end of the decal and slide the backing paper out and away at the other end. At this stage the decal should still be movable. Now position exactly where you want it and now VERY gently dab and wipe with some tissue to absorb the excess water. Remove any bubbles by holding it securely at one end and VERY gently smooth away from where you are holding it with some tissue. Be careful not to rub too hard at this stage.
4/ It will be fairly well dried out in about an hour but wait at least 24 hours before lacquer finishing. I find 2 to 3 THIN coats are enough to seal the design leaving 1 hour or so in between then leave a further 24 hours before lacquering with more thin coats and then you can gradually increase the thickness of those coats – allow time in between for the lacquer to dry and harden .
5/ If you want a completely flat surface it will take a lot more work .Leave for a week or so and then you should be able to carefully rub down the high spot where the decal is with some 400 grit wet and dry paper wrapped around a rubbing block then re–lacquer again . Keep repeating this process allowing plenty of time for the lacquer to harden in between taking care not to rub into the decal of course. This does take a long time but the end results are worth it. Use very fine grit paper to smooth it down before the final coats to get a really great result!