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How to Make an Inlay Sticker for a Guitar

Inlay stickers are not permanent.
guitar player image by Snezana Skundric from Fotolia.com

If you want to customize your guitar by adding inlays to the fretboard but you do not want to permanently alter the guitar by routing cavities in the fretboard for the inlays, you can get the same affect by making an inlay sticker for your guitar. Inlay stickers are placed on the fretboard and give the same effect as permanent inlays. When you get tired of the inlay sticker, you can easily remove them and swap them out with a new design.

Things You'll Need:

  • Vinyl Decal Paper
  • Naphtha
  • Photo Editing Software
  • Pen Knife
  • Cotton Towel
  • Inkjet Printer

Design the graphic that you want to convert into an inlay using photo editing software. Using contrasting colors like white ink for an ebony fretboard or black ink for a maple fretboard will help the graphic stand out.

Clean the fret board with Naphtha and a clean cotton towel. The neck must be clean of oils and dirt or the vinyl will not adhere to the wood. This will remove any wax, oil or dirt from the wood. Allow the fret board to dry before applying the vinyl decal.

Place vinyl paper into the inkjet printer and print the decal onto the paper. The basic guitar has an inlay for frets 3,5,7,9,12,15,17,19 and 24 with each decal getting smaller as the first number gets higher. This is because the higher frets are closer together than the lower frets. Reduce each vinyl inlay by 5 percent to ensure they properly fit on the neck.

Cut the inlay out using a penknife or razor blade. Follow as closely to the line as possible to give the inlay a clean look.

Remove the wax packing off the inlay and place the inlays onto the fretboard. Press from the center of the inlay outward to remove any small air bubbles.

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