When I recently slapped some new graphics on my CRF250X, I asked my friends for tips as I'd never applied fancy graphics before, just stickers. I had heard about using Windex before, but I didn't fully understand how it worked. My friends said to spray the plastic with Windex, then slap the sticker on, position it, and let the Windex dry and the sticker will set perfectly.
The first sticker I tried was the front fender sticker. I slathered the fender up with Windex before applying the sticker. I couldn't get it to stick at all! It was just sliding all over and it wouldn't even form to the fender's curve. I pulled it off and sopped up some of the Windex and tried it again. It still wouldn't stick; there was just too much Windex on the fender and sticker. I sopped up as much as I could, reapplied the sticker, and went to get a hair dryer to try to help the drying process. BAM! This did the trick. The heat from the hair dryer warmed the sticker up even more so that it was much more pliable. It also made the glue tackier and the Windex dried faster.
After experimenting on the front and rear fenders, I learned the real trick to using Windex to apply graphics.
- Spray your hands with Windex and wipe down the plastic with your hands. The reason for doing this is that you get just the right amount on the fender. If you spray it directly on, you have to use too much to get good coverage.
- Apply and position the sticker. Don't worry if it doesn't lay along all the curves and shapes of the plastic, just get it aligned correctly.
- Use a hair dryer and start at one edge of the sticker, smoothing and shaping the sticker to the plastic with your hands as you go. The heat will let the graphics mold to the plastic. Alternately, you could probably start from the middle and work your way out. The important part is that you start in one place and work across so as to move air bubbles with your hands out to the edges.
- Go back and reheat and work out any bubbles with the hair dryer and your hands. If you really can't get one out, you can use a needle or the edge of a razor blade (CAREFULLY!!!) to puncture the bubble and get the air out. Use LOTS of heat from the hair dryer if you are trying to work a bubble out.
Just know that your hands are going to hurt...a lot, especially if you are doing a full graphics kit, not just shrouds.
I was also advised to use clear nail polish along the edges of the graphics to keep them from peeling and keep dirt out from under the edges. I didn't do a particularly good job and I didn't find great nail polish, but this seems to be helping so far.
I also put on a new seat cover, but I'm not happy enough with how I did it to give any tips. It's a pain in the butt to get all the wrinkles out.