I have seen several campers on youtube that have a graphic on the galley hatch and on the lower back end. i was wondering if these are done after fiberglass and applied on top for future replacement, or are they permanently under the fiberglass. Has anyone done a graphic? it seems to me that it would have to be on top, or the resin will have a hard time.
I’m pretty sure these are mostly custom automotive decals. You can see Waterlust apply their decal on Youtube, “Building a Teardrop Camper – Episode 12” at approx. 8min. Plastic decals between wood and fiberglass would certainly be a bad thing. I’m thinking about a “countries travelled” decal (I live in Europe) for the hatch, where I would gradually add those countries we’ve been to, but somehow the camper isn’t finished yet…
We painted our graphics over the epoxy and under the varnish. Once the epoxy is nicely sanded and ready for paint/varnish this was our process:
We cut out a template, stuck it to the hatch, painted a couple of coats (Interlux Brightsides) using the template ,and then pulled the template off. We then had to carefully, manually, clean up where the paint went under the template using acetone and q-tips which was a huge PITA, but patience persevered.
Then we very lightly sanded the paint to give it something for the varnish to stick to. Wiped it all down really well with denatured alcohol, and varnished right over everything using Interlux Compass Clear.
I think it came out really well. By having the graphics beneath the varnish it gives you a perfectly smooth finish and “deep” look to the graphics which I love.
I think you need to make sure your varnish is compatible with whatever paint you use if you choose to go this route. My superficial understanding is that Compass Clear is a polyurethane and so is the Brightsides, so they should work together… time will tell.
Lot’s of ways to do graphics, this is just what we did.
I used custom decals like those readily available online for boat transoms. They are applied over the top of the final coat of varnish. Pretty easy to apply with the proper rub-on tools and can be changed later if necessary.