Monthly Archives: May 2014
Some people email asking why they should buy baby helmet decals from us, versus say purchasing stickers at a hobby store. It is a fair question. Hobby store stickers can certainly work if you find a set you really like, but there are cons to using them, and pros to using us.
The pros of using hobby store stickers are:
• They are cheap
• I can't think of another one
The cons of hobby store stickers are
• Getting them off will be a challenge
• They are generally pretty small
• Selection isn't very good
• You get what you get
• They look cheap!
The pros of using Bling Your Band decals are
• They are easy to remove and change out
• Changing helmets? Replace your decals for a penny plus shipping!
• Huge selection!
• Big decals!
• Our decals work with all the cranial band brands
• We make changes for free!
• We create custom artwork for free!
• Personalization is almost always included!
The cons of using Bling Your Band decals are
• It typically takes us two business days to ship
• Polite service
• I guess theses aren't really cons but I could not think of any
Many folks email inquiring about changing the underlying color of their child’s band. You can probably paint the band yourself! We have put together this guide to help parents paint their own cranial band helmet before applying the decals. These instructions apply no matter who's paint you use.
Acrylic paint has the best reputation for durability. It is low in toxicity when wet, and even much less so after drying for an hour. It is possible to use water based latex paints but it may scratch a little easier.
"Acrylic" is used in many paints. Typically you are looking for acrylic paint in a tube or small bottle. Some "acrylic" paint is sold in large bottles for a dollar or two and is very poor quality and meant for porous surfaces and kid crafts. This paint will peel right off a band.
You want good quality paint. Paint sold in smaller quantities and designed for artists is almost always going to be a good choice.
Many store sells 1-oz bottles of acrylic paint. Some is good, some is not. Expect to pay $4-$5 on up for good paint. Be wary of less expensive paint. We sell Deco Art Fluid Acrylics after we tested it ourselves for quality.
Sadly you will notice that Deco Art (and the more expensive brands at the craft store) does not come in light pink or light blue. Quality paints are intended for artists. Artists mix their own paints to generate their desired range of colors.
We reached out to GoldenPaints.com about this problem and they are helping us offer very high quality paints in a full range of colors. These are being added to our website now..
We highly, highly, highly recommend giving the outside of the band a light sanding. We include a square of sandpaper with the paint we sell. You are not trying to dig a hole to China, but you do want to firmly roughen the surface. You should press hard enough to feel some heat with your fingers. I take about 3-5 minutes of vigorous movement to sand a band. I rub in one direction (say up-down) and then the other (so switch to right-left).
Don't miss any part of the band surface that will be painted. Bands are generally very slick. Again, you are not trying to remove material, just don't miss any part. Paint on any part not sanded might pull off with just the decal transfer tape.
The rough surface after sanding dramatically increases the sticking power of paint. Paint may easily flake, rub or scrape off of unsanded bands.
People are tempted to cheat around the outside edges of the band and not really sand there, thinking it won't really matter. Sand every bit of the painted surface! Properly sanding the band is the most important step of the process!
Band manufacturers specifically warn about sanding to the point where the helmet loses some rigidity. That won’t happen with 400 grit or above, and with just roughing the surface.
Good paint needs a good paint brush, but you don't need to pay more for the brush than the paint. Avoid the $12 brushes and get a good but basic brush with nylon fibers. We get good and smooth brush strokes with this style. Expect to pay ~$4.
Stir your paint. Different colors of paint have different coloring agents, and some will settle to the bottom of the bottle. The top of the bottle where you dip your brush will give runny, watery paint and the color coverage will be poor. A good stir will mix things up!
Generally two coats are going to be enough unless the color change is extreme. An hour between coats should be fine, or paint on sequential days. Do not use heat to speed the drying of the paint. You may use a blow dryer just on “blow” and not on heat.
Be careful to keep the paint on the outer shell and not the inside. Tape off the inside to ensure paint cannot accidentally get inside.
Painting might be the end result, or just a prep step before applying decals.
If painting is the end result, use an acrylic varnish to protect the paint from scrapes and dings. Varnish has been reported as much more durable than simple acrylic sealer.
Mom tip! If decals are the next step, we recommend you apply 1-2 coats of Mod Podge over the paint, and then apply the decals on the Mod Podge, Decals still need the recommended 5 coats of Mod Podge to protect them.
If the decals are applied directly on the paint, they will take paint with them if they are removed. By applying on the Mod Podge, you have a fighting chance to keep the paint job intact.
Either way, do expect some dings and scrapes to still show up on the paint. This in combination with the Mod Podge will protect the paint fairly well. Helmets just protected with varnish will still get some scratches and dings. Worst case, sand the varnish to roughen it, and paint again!
Time to move on to the decal application instructions?
I don’t have enough information to recommend this, but will pass along one customer experience. She took the helmet to an auto body paint shop, and their paint+clear coat paint job was reported to be very durable. She reported that they did a great job of masking off the inside of the helmet. She got all that and no charge!
Our customers have shown tremendous creativity in painting helmets. Anai sent me her pictures of the completed band and I had to complement her and ask how she did it.
"Thank you! I did paint it myself :) It’s actually incredibly easy to get the leather look. I used 2 tones of brown, specifically Raw Siena and Dark Chocolate from Americana brand acrylic paints. You put on 2 coats of the light brown, let dry fully. Then you crumble up a plastic supermarket bag and brush a thin coat of the dark brown paint on the bag. Make sure not to have too much and that it's not dripping. Lightly dab the crumbled up bag (holding it like a ball in your hand) around the helmet. Its important not to press too hard. Wait 30 minutes. You’ll pour about 2 tablespoons of acrylic varnish (matte works best) into a paint dish and add a few drops of the Dark Chocolate paint to tint it. With a small foam roller coat the helmet with the varnish. One layer should do it. Thats it! Faux Leather. Someone could do it over 2 days during the hour off."
You should get a proof within one business day sent to your email address of record. If you have not received a proof within two business days, please check your SPAM folder, and then please email us and inquire.
After you see the proof, you can ask for changes, or you can approve printing. You must specifically approve printing (see next paragraph). Responding with "I like it" is not enough for us to print.
After we send a proof, if we don't hear from you for about 7 days, we will print and ship. We have gone to this procedure because a number of folks email after a few weeks demanding to know if their order has shipped.
After printing is approved, we add you to the print queue. We print and ship at least every other day, often every day.
You will receive an email with a tracking number when your order ships. If two-three days go by after you give shipping approval, and you don't see shipping notice in your inbox or spam folder, please follow up with an email.
How do I apply them once they arrive?
We have a detailed, step-by-step decal application guide!
Do I have to have the blue squeegee?
No, but it helps. You can use a credit card to apply the decals. The negative to the credit card is that it is hard so does not flex well, and can have a bit of sharp edge. It can want to dig into the vinyl instead of sliding, while the Squeegee is softer and likes to slide.
The squeegee is also easier to grasp. For $2, you won't be sorry you got it and you are getting a deal with us because we want you to buy it and have a good experience. Try to buy the same squeegee for less than $4 anywhere else!
Do you recommend Mod Podge to protect the decals?
Yes we do recommend Mod Podge to seal and protect the decals, and we have a detailed Mod Podge application guide. So far, we have not had anyone report issues with their decals who followed the application guide and sealed with Mod Podge.
We ship quickly, and we know from our own experience that getting to the store during the week can be really difficult. So we have starting selling Mod Podge and brush so that you have everything you need the moment the decals arrive.
Until early 2014, Coree filled all Blingyourband.com orders. She was also the mother of four small children, and when push came to shove, her family came first.
Coree recognized it was a growing problem, and now Nathen and Kerrie Barton fill orders. They have 7 years experience with personalizing and shipping children's products. They also brought faster equipment and a more capable website, all of which helps your experience with blingyourband.com be a fantastic one!