I am in the process of restoring an old road bike and want to give the bike a fresh coat of paint. I plan to sand it down, prime, paint and than add some sort of clear coat finish to protect the paint and give the bike a nice shine. I want to place custom decals on the bike and was wondering at what stage of the process should I apply them? In particular, should they go on before or after I apply the clear coat finish? I think I have seen it done both ways (on bikes I have bought from stores) but am not sure what is the preferred method.

  • Note that there are special coatings (often used by model-building hobbyists) which are designed for coating decals. Commented May 24, 2017 at 22:05

1 Answer 1


I would put them on before the clear coat. That way the clear coat helps to protect the decals as well as the paint.

  • This. The only reason you'd put them on after the clear coat is if for some reason you might want to take them off.
    – RoboKaren
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 19:39
  • 3
    Or the clear coat dissolves the decals. It happens. Remember that from building model aircraft! ;-)
    – Carel
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 19:55

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