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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Third Brake Light Decal How-to (Updated 2.28.06):

Okay, after posting an idea on this thread, someone asked me to make them a decal for their 3rd brake light, but they wanted it to say something other than 'ACURA.' I'd be happy to send out duplicates of the 'ACURA' decal, once I finish my own, for a nominal fee. However, since I don't have the time to design any other logo decal, I figured I'd post this.

Step #1 - Choose a graphic, logo, word, whatever. Re-size it to fit the lens using Paint, etc.

Step #2 -
Option A) (Best bet for color logos.) Print the logo on sticker paper - Walmart and Staples carry it - and cut out the lettering. You could print it green on white, and then cut out and apply the green letters (light shines *around* letters), or you could print it white on green, and apply the green backing with the letters cut out (light shines *through* letters).

***I've had horrible issues finding sticker paper at either source recently - instead, go to the mailing label section at Staples, and get the Avery Full Sheet Label paper - this is the same as the sticker paper, I presume, but in a bigger package (read: bigger price.). Other than that, try the net, you're already logged on, dammit!***

Option B) (Best bet for black logos.) Print the lettering on Window Decal paper - basically transparency paper with a clear adhesive backing - white on black if you want glowing letters, black on white if you want the area surrounding the letters to glow. Colors will allow the light to shine through to varying degrees, depending on how dark the color is, so this works best for black. Also, since it doesn't involve cutting out the lettering, this is the method I plan to use.

***Same source issues as noted above: Both seem to have discontinued the items! So - same section of Staples - Avery Full Sheet *Clear* Labels - these are pricey, 24 sheets ~ $23. Also, they aren't as clear as the others, so it leaves the uncolored 'clear' section with a frosted glass color and texture, sorta. It doesn't look bad, if you want the logo to stand out when you're off the brakes.

Also, I printed 6 logos on one sheet, allowing for error, and cost of reprinting on a new sheet.

With one decal layer, the light shines through the black portion noticeably, but the logo is still legible. Looks good, in its own way, like a 'ghosted' image. I placed another decal over the first, and this blocks out the light almost completely.***

Option C) (Best bet for the lazy.) Take your saved image file to a sign shop, and have them make a vinyl decal for you. Tell them how you want it to light up, what color, etc. And bring the lens in with you, so they can get the size perfect.

Step #3 - Place the decal over the lens, centering the logo, and trim the edges to fit. I found this to be easier than centering a pre-cut sticker.

Step #4 - Using a black paint pen (Walmart, hobby store, craft store model section) paint the outer trim of the lens that doesn't poke through the surround - light bleeds out around the edges and it doesn't look great.

Step #5 - (Optional) I don't want my 'ACURA' logo to be visible unless the light is lit, so to do this, I plan on spraying the top decal with a few light coats of NiteShades to give the lens a 'smoked' finish. (Hopefully, this will seal and protect the printer ink, as well.)

***I'm still not positive about the 'ACURA' logo - I'll have to get some pics soon - so I didn't spray the decal with NiteShades, only the lens itself (in case I decide to go logo free - if I decide to do a more permanent sticker, I'll strip this layer of NiteShades off.)

But then, after seeing how much the light shows through a single decal, I thought about this:

If you print one logo as black over clear (white), and another as black over, say 50% gray, then use the black/gray one as the top decal, it would hide the lettering a little better, but still allow light through.

I'm gonna re-do mine, and I'll experiment a little. Since I'm now equipped with a digi, I'll take pics...***

Step #6 - Reassemble, reinstall, enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
2low2go - As I mentioned in the above link, I didn't want to do an 'INTEGRA' decal, since it already says 'INTEGRA' on the bumper. Glad you're happy with your results, though!

Also, you probably shouldn't talk about the sticky film in your drawers! *LOL*
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You can pick up NiteShades at most specialty auto stores - think 4x4 and rod shops - even some stereo places. Make sure to ask for it - lot's of places don't stock it or keep it on display.

Keep calling around, if you still don't have luck, there's always the internet!
 
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