By: Garry Finlay
A computer and color printer can make easy custom
graphics. In a nutshell; print your graphic on plain paper, cut it out,
and tape it to the model with 3M clear packaging tape.
I photograph what I need in high resolution (2048 X 1536). Get a clean
background, and have plenty of light. Get square with the subject, use a
long (telephoto lens setting), and try to fill the frame. Take several
shots so at least one will turn out good and clear. Load this into a paint
program on your computer. Choose the best shot. Look for lack of
perspective distortion, no glare, etc. A digital camera isn't needed if
you have access to a scanner, the internet or other means of obtaining
From here the picture can be cleaned up, cropped,
resized and the colors changed to suite your needs. Without going into
details of image manipulation, the tool that works best for me is
"gradient fill". Most graphics programs have this, or something like it.
With this, you can replace any color with any other color that you choose
and have control over the selection tolerance (where the boundaries will
be). This will allow you to choose how much "hard edge" to have as apposed
to the natural photo-like smooth, but fuzzy edge. Play around with this,
and remember, always save your file as something other than the original.
When you are happy with the image, check it in a
print preview window with a scale grid turned on. Make size adjustments
and print a test image. Fix the colors and size again if needed. Make the
final print in high quality on white regular paper. Let this dry for a
Cut out the image right on it's outline. Stick this
to 3M clear packaging tape with the colored side against the sticky side
of the tape. Trim the tape to about 1/8-1/4" outside the pattern edges.
Clean the area to be covered then position this in the correct spot. Rub
the tape down on the model being careful not to scratch or dent the
surfaces with your fingernails.
Things to remember:
You can't print white. That is why the paper is white. If you need a white
edge on the outside of the graphic that will go against a colored
background you will either have to match the background (boat) color with
a printed color. Or, trim the outside of the white boarder to the EXACT
Don't try to do this with a graphic that is too big.
The edges should be less than 1" away from each other (or have center
sections that can be cut out so the tape will have a place to stick to the
boat). Don't try to cover surfaces with complex or concave (hollow)
curves. Otherwise it will not lay flat. Keep finger prints off the sticky
side of the tape. Practice on a piece of scrap before doing the real
Be aware that some enterprises don't like to have
their logos reproduced without permission.
This Article was written by
Exclusively for Rum Runner Racing. Use of this article is prohibited without written
permission from Rum Runner Racing.