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italianstallion303
01-19-2015, 10:57 AM
Hi there, I know this topic has been explored a few times here on UU but after my exploring on these forums and google, I can't help but feel like I'm in the dark on this topic and that I am in need of guidance.
So to start, I want to paint an Italian flag onto a cheap ukulele I'll pick up from the local music store. The design will only be done to the front of the body of the uke.

Here's the uke I'll be using:

https://www.long-mcquade.com/22772/Guitars/Traditional_Folk_Instruments/Yorkville_Sound/Soprano_Ukulele_-_Black.htm

Now these are the steps I understand so far and my questions about them:
1)I need to first sand off the old finish (what kind of sandpaper should I use and when? What tips do you guys have about this sanding step?)
2) I then need to apply some sort of wood filler (What kind do ya'll recommend?)
3) I then need to paint the uke (What kind of paint is recommended? Should I even consider spraypaint? Also how many layers would I need and would I need to sand those layers back down?)
4)and lastly, I need some sort of paint finish to prevent ware or chipping (What kind is the best for a ukulele)

I do intend to play this ukulele and would like to not alter the sound as much as possible.

It would be kind of neat if under the paint you could still recognize the wood grain but I don't know if that'll look as good with the rest of the Uke's finish, otherwise I could sand the whole thing and repaint it.

Any other insight would be much appreciated thanks!

Thanks in advance!

OregonJim
01-19-2015, 11:21 AM
2) I then need to apply some sort of wood filler (What kind do ya'll recommend?)

That uke is made of laminated basswood. I doubt you'd need any filler unless you find some serious defects under the existing paint. Filler would be needed if you wanted a glass-like finish over a more open-grained wood like mahogany.

CeeJay
01-19-2015, 12:57 PM
"It would be kind of neat if under the paint you could still recognize the wood grain "

Then I would not use a paint but a coloured or stained varnish....the colours would muted but the grain would show through..Ikea ,or your average DIY shop will have these ...or try google...

I would also take the top coats of paint off with NitroMors ..paint stripper rather than sand down through the dry paint ...you will not stand so much risk of scuffing up the base wood so much....Just make sure to mask off the sides and any other parts that you may splash with the stuff, it's effective !!

I would do the headstock as well...just a thought .....or a crest of some sort...

Inksplosive AL
01-19-2015, 01:27 PM
Viva los Mexico! Aiiieeeeeeeeya hah hah! http://www.amazon.com/Kala-KA-SMEX-Ukadelic-Soprano-Ukulele/dp/B004Y5YGCK

75193

So start with this little Mexican and add a bit of White to get an instant Italian eh? ;)

Don't worry my last name ends in O and I've worn the horn in my youth I think that gives me the OK to joke around. Have you seen true romance?

1. Depending on the finish, what you are trying to use over it and even the desired effect you are going for you might not have to remove all of the old finish.

2. Wood filler repairs holes and gouges, it will also block all natural grain from showing through. I have a tube of Elmer's carpenters woodfiller here I just used to fill a small hole in the back of a ukulele. It is white very white.

3. Spray paint? I guess you can get any type of paint put into a spray can nowadays from what I hear. Krylon? I wouldn't go that route.

4. I bought a can of Spar Urethane to cover the back of a decoupaged ukulele. Ive read so many conflicting opinions I'm running a test piece first.

I do not think painting a $150 ukulele is going to change the sound very much unless you paint it like a house.

~AL~

sequoia
01-19-2015, 06:33 PM
Why not just paint the flag right on the surface of the finish and save yourself all that work and potential disaster? I mean, the uke costs $29.95. If it doesn't work, buy another one...

tangimango
01-19-2015, 06:41 PM
Yeah just paint over the exiting surface. couldnt you just buy a sticker of your flag and practice instead and save money on sandpaper, filler, paint , sealer, clearcoat ?

But to each there own.

Brian1
01-19-2015, 07:02 PM
I recently e-mailed a company that does airbrushing on guitars. I was honest in reply to their estimate saying that it was my first go around with painting and their ballpark estimate was more than I expected. Because I replied he gave me this helpful advice :

...you may consider having a Pinstriper or sign painter put it on there with sign paint ....that's direct to surface and doesn't require a clearcoat finish....just make sure he at least puts a hardner additive to the paint....just an idea.

I don't know if this would work or not but there is this option :
http://www.unexpectedelegance.com/2011/09/01/wax-paper-transfer-tutorial/

^ I don't know if it'd work for white basically you can transfer onto wood by printing on wax paper.

I am exploring another option tomorrow if it works out I will report back.

OregonJim
01-19-2015, 07:13 PM
Here's the uke I'll be using:
https://www.long-mcquade.com/22772/Guitars/Traditional_Folk_Instruments/Yorkville_Sound/Soprano_Ukulele_-_Black.htm


That one's black - if you got a white one instead, you'd already be a third of the way done. Just add the red and green stripes. A thought?

Brian1
01-19-2015, 07:36 PM
the waxed paper thing reminded me of another option I explored a few months ago looking into this project there is a product in craft stores that would probably transfer the colors onto a white ukulele. (that wasn't expensive) If you want wood grain to show you might want to watch this:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eN89-ceFJ-U

Titchtheclown
01-20-2015, 02:29 AM
Other options would include print on water transfer or iron on transfer papers.

Brian1
01-20-2015, 12:08 PM
Other options would include print on water transfer or iron on transfer papers.

Searching for those I came across this process from a handmade guitar company (?) YT channel


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSfj6eiNzew

It does seem to leave a clear outline around the image though. ^ much like using window decals on gloss finish guitars/ukuleles for an image that can later be removed.

Titchtheclown
01-20-2015, 03:09 PM
That is all a bit involved for the likes of me.
Ask at your local stationary store for
Water slide decal transfer paper
Or
Clear iron on transfer paper.
I have used the iron on stuff on my boat, it worked a treat. It faded in the sun a bit but ukes don't live in the sun and I was using cheap nongenuine ink.
A number of people in the cigar box guitar making world use the water slide decal transfer paper for personalised logos and other artwork. Hiding the edge of the decal can be achieved by careful trimming and having borders or boxes around things as part of the design.

Brian1
01-20-2015, 04:18 PM
That is all a bit involved for the likes of me.
Ask at your local stationary store for
Water slide decal transfer paper
Or
Clear iron on transfer paper.
I have used the iron on stuff on my boat, it worked a treat. It faded in the sun a bit but ukes don't live in the sun and I was using cheap nongenuine ink.
A number of people in the cigar box guitar making world use the water slide decal transfer paper for personalised logos and other artwork. Hiding the edge of the decal can be achieved by careful trimming and having borders or boxes around things as part of the design.

Decal paper would probably work on gloss serfices without having to sand anything off. White decal paper is very time consuming to cut out. (at least for me) But that doesn't disclude it as an option.

At this point I am just adding everything I run across on the internet about after market painting/decorating guitars or ukes because I have thought about it a lot over the last few months. I haven't had much success but I have had a few amazing failures.

So here is another step by step of how someone painted a ukulele this one has pictures:
http://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Paint-A-Ukulele/?ALLSTEPS
there should be a link to them painting a guitar where they also sanded everthing off.

Brian1
01-22-2015, 11:34 AM
I have been looking into this while the site was down I noticed their is a marketed ukulele that is designed to be painted or decorated with paint with no sanding or even magic markers:
75221
(Kahala w/ Matte White markable surface) It is a little hard to tell from the poor descriptions most have for this item the picture I posted seems to have the best description, when I first saw it I thought it was a ukulele for dry erase. But, I think the idea is for people to sign like they would a cast for a broken arm or paint the surface like it is primer.

Caukulele has also posted her method in another thread:
http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?86281-Painting-my-Ukulele&highlight=caukulele

And someone has said their lanikai sounds better w/ this amazing paint job in this thread:
http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?53762-Custom-Ukulele-Paint-Job&highlight=paint

In the realted thread some have suggested going to people on Etsy where there are a few people who paint on Ukuleles starting at $75 and that I believe includes the ukulele.
Others on Etsy have used wood burning tools with verying results.

Matt Clara
01-22-2015, 04:03 PM
I'll bring the ladder!

Matt Clara
01-23-2015, 12:54 AM
Searching for those I came across this process from a handmade guitar company (?) YT channel

It does seem to leave a clear outline around the image though. ^ much like using window decals on gloss finish guitars/ukuleles for an image that can later be removed.

DASS Supersauce (https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&es_th=1&ie=UTF-8#safe=off&q=dass%20supersauce) for inkjet transfers...

Brian1
01-23-2015, 08:07 AM
DASS Supersauce (https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&es_th=1&ie=UTF-8#safe=off&q=dass%20supersauce) for inkjet transfers...


DASS is good ! :) Thanks Matt If you have the transfer sheet you don't need to wait like with the other mediums
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWJx86ZxK5A
All the video demonstrations I have been seeing show the prep of the surface and then bring out an image of a clear transfer sheet that has already been printed to apply to the surface and make no mention of what that film is. Some videos even use Purell hand sanitizer to coat the surface. Does the clear transfer sheet have a sealing coat on it that protects the image ? Also some spray clear coats have solvents that can cause problems with ink on surfaces. Have you had experience with this product ?

Matt Clara
01-24-2015, 05:49 AM
DASS is good ! :) Thanks Matt If you have the transfer sheet you don't need to wait like with the other mediums
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWJx86ZxK5A
All the video demonstrations I have been seeing show the prep of the surface and then bring out an image of a clear transfer sheet that has already been printed to apply to the surface and make no mention of what that film is. Some videos even use Purell hand sanitizer to coat the surface. Does the clear transfer sheet have a sealing coat on it that protects the image ? Also some spray clear coats have solvents that can cause problems with ink on surfaces. Have you had experience with this product ?

No, I haven't tried it myself, but I keep meaning to, and have heard nothing but good things about it.

Inksplosive AL
01-24-2015, 08:17 PM
Inkjet ink isn't very UV stable. I'm beginning to believe coatings with UV protection do not protect the ink underneath only the finish they are added to.

~AL~

Brian1
01-24-2015, 08:56 PM
Inkjet ink isn't very UV stable. I'm beginning to believe coatings with UV protection do not protect the ink underneath only the finish they are added to.

~AL~

You may be right I remember clear coats used to get a yellow tint to them back in the day. I was thinking about protecting the ink from getting smeared off.

You've mentioned you are a tattoo artist, I have been in a tattoo parlor (do they still call them that ?) once in my life. If I recall correctly, after the image was picked from the book, it was printed on some sort of transfer sheet and positioned for the person to approve the tattoo's size and location, would that sort of transfer work on a ukulele ?

Edit:
I just found a much easier transfer technique that I assume would work on wood as well as it does paper (but don't know) there is a marker that will instantly transfer an image from a laser or photocopier shown at 1:45 in this demonstration. (pretty cool) according to another video this will work on metal and glass (no word on wood) and if you don't have access to the marker they say Vodka works too. :)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FA7PxtmR47w

Matt Clara
01-25-2015, 03:02 AM
Inkjet ink isn't very UV stable. I'm beginning to believe coatings with UV protection do not protect the ink underneath only the finish they are added to.

~AL~

That's true to a certain extent, depending on conditions. If you keep your ink jet prints in direct sunlight, they will fade and lose color. That's less true today than it was 10-15 years ago, particularly for inks like Epson's Ultra Chrome K3. Under proper conditions, K3 inks are rated for over 100 years for color prints, and over 200 years for black and white. Mind you, proper conditions include being displayed under glass, and who knows what displaying them under nitrocellulose lacquer will do. However, for a uke primarily kept in a case--even if it's regularly brought out to play--I suspect the print's stability would be indefinite. Certainly longer than one hung on the wall like most ink jet prints are.

Inksplosive AL
01-27-2015, 12:34 PM
Funny back in the late 80's sitting around a table discussing the very same thing is it a shop a store or a parlor? A few joints in and a customer calls (shop was closed with the phone forwarded) The store owner answers the phone and in a conversation with the customer (clients today to not hurt feelings) he told them to meet him at the store. He then said he will be at the shop on this day, the parlor will be open again at this time using all three in various places in one sentence. That is all I think of when its brought up now but shop, store or parlor all work with the public.

The stencil used in tattooing was originally cut into hard acetate and carbon powder was rubbed into this cut design and wiped off leaving carbon in the cut groves. The artist then put a very thin layer of Vaseline on your body and placed this stencil carefully on this area allowing the Vaseline to pick the carbon out of the grooves and leave this design on your skin. Modern stencils are much more forgiving but like anything else technique is what makes a stencil stay put. They still can rub off during a long tattoo but if you know what you're doing they will stay strong enough to use as a guideline. Even a bad stencil is fathoms better than powder on Vaseline. But no it would not even be good to transfer a design for wood burning though it is closer in purpose than a finished design.

When I opened my shop I started something different by putting 6-8 framed pictures of completed tattoos in my window. The pictures I print using my brother printer with their ink lasts about a year in the windows in indirect sunlight. The black fades into a greenish hue not very pretty. Florescent lights from what Ive been led to believe cause the highest risk of skin cancer due to UV light emitted from them. Still using those curly bulbs so big a few years ago or have you switched to LED's as I in my home at least. They sell UV filters that slide over the long tube bulbs in my shop but I would need 16-20 of them. The picture transfer process seems to have hit big with the mod podge followers and Ive read about blacks turning to green in those projects from inkjet ink. The more you know. ;)

~AL~