Today I wanted to share a quick little tip on how to apply carbon fibre wraps/decals to your next custom 1:64 scale creation. I have tried various techniques and the one I will share today is by far the easiest and gives consistently perfect results – almost every time.
Now there are 2 basic ways to apply carbon fibre; by cutting the piece perfectly to fit before applying (using a template or tracing it over the body panel or however you want to approach it), or by cutting a piece too large and then letting it dry/set in place before cutting away the excess.
I have tried both methods and found that the first method is too finicky and is often a case of hit and miss fitment wise – more miss than hit in my clumsy experience. I will therefore show you the latter method – a way that is much cleaner and to be honest, boatloads easier too.
It all starts with a diecast vehicle…and a sheet of Carbon Fiber decals
Step 1 – Cut Out Your Carbon Fibre Square
Step 2: Remove any bubbles and imperfections
Using a q-tip, gently rub the carbon fibre decal until all bubbles and imperfections have been removed. A tip that will help is to work slowly and be patient with parts of the panel that may curve a lot. At first it may seem like the decal does not want to bend or shape itself to these areas but continuing to rub the area with the q-tip will eventually allow it to shape itself accordingly.
Once this step is complete the next step (that does not deserve its own section) is to wait for the decal to set in place. I’d recommend leaving it for a few hours AT A MINIMUM! – if you attempt to go onto the next step without letting it set in place you risk pushing it completely off the spot and then you’ll have to wet it and start the process again.
Step 3: Define Your Edges
Using a toothpick (you can use metal but you risk actually cutting the decal so I use and recommend a toothpick since it is sharp but not sharp enough to cut) define the edges of the bonnet or panel you are covering in carbon fibre. *You may need to use multiple toothpicks since the end tends to get blunt relatively quickly.
This step is easier than it seems because even though you can’t see the edges you are defining, the toothpick will naturally follow the slight indent in the diecast – as seen here. In this instance I had no idea where the headlights actually were but pressing firmly and running the toothpick down slowly meant it naturally found the indents in the diecast and allowed me to follow them precisely.
Step 4: Cut the Excess Carbon Fibre Away
The first thing I do is remove the excess from any overhanging areas – this will usually mean the front or side window areas (for bonnet or doors).
The most important tip here is to make sure you are using a brand new blade because it needs to be sharp – I mean like really sharp! If you use a blade that is even slightly blunt then it may grab at the decal and try pulling it off instead of simply cutting through it.
Make your cuts – firm yet gentle is key here. You should also have tweezers handy since that is the easiest and most delicate way of removing the excess carbon fiber once you have cut it off. As you can see from the above image, because we have cut perfectly along the groove lines of the casting there is no white showing on the edges.
If you do find there is white showing on the edges (as is often the case) then simply get a black or grey felt tip pen with a long and sharp tip (I use Artline 0.01 black pens for this purpose) simply run it down the grooves and it will colour the white over and hey presto, perfect edges with no white showing.
Step 5: Seal everything with a final layer of clear coat
Finishing off with a final layer of clear coat will ensure the carbon decals stays firmly in place and also ensures that you can continue to work on the details of the rest of your custom without it peeling up at the edges.
Now you just need to finish the detailing and put the custom back together and you’re done. Alternatively you can do what I do and just put it in the drawer with the other 700 WIPs and start something else that will in all likelihood also not get completed.
Visit the link below to purchase Carbon Fibre Decals