DIY Guide: Placing Cuckoocaster Logo Decals on a Guitar Headstock

My Step-by-Step Tutorial for Cuckoocaster makers and other guitar modders

(The German term for decal would be Nassschiebebilder oder -folie.)

The decal on the headstock has no effect on the sound of your instrument – if you think in mere physical terms…

As a musician you are open to the metaphysical, a level on which the decal makes a huge difference to the way you play your instrument. It’s not just a logo, it’s an identity. If you’ve spent blood, sweat and tears during and enduring your Cuckoocaster conversion, placing the Cuckoocaster logo is sealing the deal, making you part of a larger crowd, it’s like a tattoo on your guitar, telling a story and displaying identity.

How to get the logos printed?

You can make them yourself by ordering a plain sheet of decal foil (German: Nassschiebefolie), download the PDF and print it on a laser printer (better to have it printed in a copy shop). Every PDF from this site MUST be printed in actual size, no scaling to fit printable area! If you are not printing on A4 paper, you also need to keep the actual size. This might result in some things being cut off or excessive white space on the printout, but at least it’s in the right size :)

Here you can download the logo sheet as a PDF file.

Step by step guide for applying decals

You will also find many good videos on the web, just make sure it’s really about decal and not stickers.

Materials Needed:

  • Guitar headstock decal/logo
  • Small bowl of warm water
  • Tweezers or a small craft spatula
  • Soft cloth or paper towel
  • Scissors, craft knife or razor blade
  • If you use a spray can: masking tape or painter’s tape
  • Clear coat or lacquer for sealing the decal

Step 1: Preparation

Cut out the logo or image from the sheet. Cut it out with round corners, because edges sticking out don’t stick as well and can crumble more easily.

Do not cut the decal once it’s on the headstock. That will create scratches. All cutting is done prior to watering the decal.

Clean the headstock surface with a soft cloth or paper towel to remove any dirt or residue that may interfere with the adhesion.

Step 2: Placement

Position the decal gently on the headstock without removing the backing paper. Experiment with different placements until you find the position that works for you. There is no style guide. In the case of building a headless guitar, the decal might even move to the body.

Step 3: Wetting the Decal

The following benefits from a test run. Because the best time of placing the decal paper in the water varies. Try a little piece just to find the sweet (or wet) spot.

Fill a small bowl with warm water. Submerge the decal, still attached to its backing paper, into the water until the thin foil starts sliding on the paper. You can see that, feel it and tenderly try it with a small nudge. Carefully remove the decal from the water, ensuring it remains attached to the backing paper.

Step 4: Applying the Decal

Hold the decal by the edges to avoid touching the adhesive side. Gently slide the decal onto the headstock, aligning it with the desired position.

Once in place, use a soft cloth or paper towel to gently press the decal and remove any air bubbles or excess water.

Start from the center and work your way outward to avoid trapping air bubbles.

Step 5: Drying and Sealing

Allow the decal to dry completely. This usually takes around 24 hours, but follow the manufacturer’s instructions if specified.

Once dry, you may choose to seal the decal with a clear coat or lacquer to protect it from wear and tear. Follow the product instructions for the application process.

Allow the clear coat or lacquer to dry completely as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Congratulations, now you are one of the Cuckoocaster crowd!

Take pride in your craftsmanship and enjoy the genuinely unique instrument you built and the free membership in the Cuckoocaster Club.