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1. Using The Templates
2. Today’s Q & A: Your Questions Answered

1. Using The Templates

I’ve had several people ask me how to transfer the templates onto the guitar, so this will be your tutorial. To transfer the template art to your masked body, you need to use Graphite paper. Graphite paper can be bought at pretty much any art supply store. I bought the one in FIG 6 at Aaron Brothers – which is a framing and art supply store. It cost roughly $2.00.

Let’s start with the templates. I’ve set up each template over two – tabloid-sized pages (11″X17″). To print them, you’d have to take the two images within the template folder, burn them to a ZIP Disk or a CD, and bring them to a Kinko’s or KWIK Copy to have them print them out for you.

If you have an image-editing program on your computer, you could easily open each image, print a portion of it on a letter-sized page, then simply use a window or light table and piece them together as I’ve done in FIG 1. (I have guides running in both directions which makes it easy to line all of the pieces up).

Once you’ve taped your template together, cut around it to remove the excess paper. (FIG 2)

Once it’s trimmed, place it into position on your masked guitar body. (FIG 3) Use a few pieces of tape to secure it in place.

When it’s exactly where you want it, slip some graphite paper underneath the template.

From there, simply draw all of the lines on the template – the graphite paper will transfer the lines onto the masking. (FIG 4 & 5). Once your art is transferred, simply get out your X-acto knife and start cutting.

Keep in mind that you can use this transferring method for ANY design you want to implement; it doesn’t just have to be the templates that I’ve created.

Create your own design on a large sheet of paper. Transfer it using the graphite paper… it’s that simple.

PLEASE NOTE: This newsletter was written in 2005 – before 3M changed their masking tape formulation. You can no longer use blue 3M masking tape with lacquer. Instead, look to use masking paper sold on eBay. It’s sold in rolls – anywhere from 12″ wide to 40 feet in length for a great price.

2. TODAY’S Q&A: Your Questions Answered

Q: I am at the stage where I have sanded the entire body and will start putting on the Bondo to cover all scratches etc. My question is regarding the screw holes from the bridge, the pickguard, the strap holder, etc. – Do I cover them up to later reuse them, or do I somehow plug them or something to reuse them later?

A: For pickguard holes, input jack holes, strap holder holes, you don’t really need to cover them up to avoid paint getting in them. You’ll be putting the parts back once you’re done, so those holes need to be there. As for paint getting in there, yes, some paint will get in there, but it won’t prevent the screws from going in.

For bridge holes, such as holes for a the studs for a Floyd Rose bridge, I always place masking tape over the holes to prevent paint from getting in there and mucking up the threads. (see FIG 7)

Q: I have one question that’s not really covered in the book. What do I do about the pickup holes? My guitar is a strat-type body (no pickguard plate) with a humbucker and two single coils. Do I need to sand off the finish inside the pick-up holes? I doubt that’s even possible. I’m mainly wondering if I can spray over top of the paint and lacquer that’s already in there. The humbucker hole will likely be hidden, but the single coil holes are somewhat visible inside, so I’d like them to blend in with the rest of the body. Do I skip the sanding sealer in these areas and just spray my primer and paint over the old paint that’s already in there?

A: *Before you spray any primer, just go into your pickup holes with a damp cloth and clean out any dust and debris that’s in there. Let it thoroughly dry before spraying. Or, you can use a can of pressurized air and blow out any dust and debris.

What I would do is mask off the entire body so just the pickup holes are exposed. Do this first. Then, spray your primer inside the holes – lights coats… build it up (3-4 light coats should do it). Then, remove the masking and spray the rest of the body with your primer. (No need for sanding sealer.) Then, proceed to spray your body the base color you’re doing.

Primer is excellent for helping paint to stick to any surface. Doing it this way, you should have no problem.

Another thing you could try is to spray your entire body with the primer, paint, and then clear. Once the clear was complete, mask off the entire body except for the pickup holes and spray the holes with a flat black paint – that could look pretty cool.

To your success!

John Gleneicki
Author – The PAINT YOUR OWN GUITAR Book Series