This step is entirely up to you, but I like to have some sort of branding on the guitar neck whether it be a logo or a name, or both.
I have used many different types of guitar decal in the past, from self-printed transfer paper to custom made decals and although the finished product looks good, it is expensive and if you don’t get it right first time its money down the drain.
Now, the whole philosophy of cigar box guitars is that it’s meant to be about using stuff you have lying around your house, or that you can easily pick up from a hardware store. Spending up to £20 on a custom decal, when the guitar itself costs about that is a huge waste of money, so I decided to look for an alternative.
Looking around on the internet I came across a technique of transferring images to wood that doesn’t break the bank and can be repeated again and again. Wood Art Transfer has been used in the arts and crafts scene for many years and uses something called gel medium to transfer your image onto the wood.
What you’ll need for a Wood Art Transfer:
Gloss Gel Medium – I use a brand called Liquitex, but similar brands should work. I got a small tub (237ml) for around £7.50 and it will literally do hundreds of transfers.
Laser Printer – For the wood transfer to work you have to use a laser printer; I have read somewhere that using a photocopy works too, but I haven’t tried it.
Cheap printer paper – Cheap printer paper is better to use instead of high quality paper as its thinner and easier to remove.
Clear Spray Lacquer – Use the clear lacquer to protect the design and give the wood a nice gloss look. You can use automotive spray lacquer, but I prefer to use nitrocellulose lacquer as it sprays thinner and is more controllable.
Your design – Whether it’s a name/logo or both, you must make sure that the image is mirrored (most drawing packages have a mirror option) before it’s printed or it will be the wrong way round when transferred to the wood.
Once you have all the supplies it’s time apply your design to the neck.