|One thing I discovered while doing this job is that the pin striping
pattern on the motorcycle tank varies slightly from side to side and probably
from bike to bike. In other words, humans must have
My patterns are set up for my bike and the left side pattern
is slightly different from the right side, so everyone should check their
own bikes against my patterns before using my patterns as an absolute guide.
The 3M kit includes
1 square foot of film,
1 pint of premixed isopropyl alcohol/water
1 spray can of adhesive and wax remover,
1 squeegee w/smooth cover to prevent
scratches and some special wiping cloths.
The kit, can be purchased through http://www.autosupermart.com at
a very reasonable price.
1. When cutting the patterns always cut inside the line.
Don't leave any of the line showing or the
pattern won't fit properly.
2. As a shortcut, tape the pattern to the 3M film using
masking tape, making sure that you align the
pattern so that all 3 patterns will fit
on the one sheet of film. Using this method you can cut the
pattern and the film at the same time.
3. Use very sharp scissors and cut very carefully.
4. Check and make sure that the patterns fit within the
pin striping. They might need to be re-cut
according to the striping on each bike.
5. Remove seat.
6. Use the wax and glue removal spray that comes with the
kit to clean off the tank in the areas
where the film will be applied.
7. Pour the isopropyl alcohol solution in a spray bottle.
8. Place plastic trash bags or other form of plastic sheet
under the gas tank on both sides to fully
protect the engine and chrome from the
9. Very carefully, doing one piece at a time, peel the backing
off of the film. With the alcohol
spray, spray the adhesive side of the
film liberally and then spray the area of the tank where the
film is being applied. I would
suggest doing the top piece first, as it is the hardest and the
alcohol runoff might affect the side
10. After spraying both surfaces, film and tank, quickly
align the film as close to the center of the
rear lip of the tank.
There is a mark on the top pattern
where the center of the lip is at.
Place the film on the tank and
slide it into place using the tank lip as the guide.
Time is of the essence because
the alcohol will rapidly evaporate.
I estimate that within 30 seconds
the film will no longer slide around so it is critical to
11. Using the squeegee that is provided with the kit,
start at the center and start working the film
outward in all directions.
Do one edge at a time,
as this is the hardest part of the job.
When you get to the
curves on the side of the tank the film will initially buckle.
Keep working it gently
outward and down with the squeegee and the buckles will work
themselves out and
Keep a close eye on
this area and make certain that the film is firmly adhered to the tank.
If a bubble appears
try to work it out towards the nearest edge.
If the bubble won't
move take a pin and prick it and work the liquid solution out through the
After doing the curve
on one side, the film should come right up to the upper pinstripe
and around the rear
curve of the outermost pinstripe at the rear of the tank.
In my opinion the film should
not overlap the pinstripe because there is a ridge at the
pinstripe and the film
might not adhere properly.
That is why I designed the
pattern to abut, but not overlap the pinstripe.
When finished with the first
tank edge go to the other side.
You might have to carefully
lift the film that has not yet been squeeched and spray
more alcohol under it.
The alcohol will dilute the
glue on the film and the squeegee will work the glue out
along with the alcohol.
This makes for a very clear
12. Using the same process, peel the backing off the
side pattern film, spray it and the side of the
tank with alcohol and
apply the film.
Slide it into place
and work it flat with the squeegee.
Keep a close check for bubbles
and try to work them out quickly.
Wipe all excess fluid up
with the special cloth provided in the kit.
Do one side at a time and
then wait for about 30 minutes before replacing your seat.
I let the bike sit for a
couple of hours in my garage before taking it out for a ride.
It takes a few hours for
the film to cure and I noticed that after it cured it had shrunk
slightly which removed some
imperfections on the surface
of the film. By the following day it was thoroughly
cured and looked really good.
For a novice with no decal
application experience I would highly recommend
that they buy 2 square feet
of the film and practice on a smooth curved metal
surface other than the bike,
until they get the process down pat.
The whole job, from beginning
to end took about 2 hours and that included
designing, making and cutting