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1:37 pm | 08 July 2004 | bike curious

The only thing that sucks about my new bike is that it's hard to eat trailmix while I ride it because I'm going so fucking fast. Seriously, y'all would weep at the sight of my ass, getting up all early so I can ride my bike to the pharmacy a mile down the road. Am I sick? Did I need meds? No! I only fixed on the pharmacy as a destination because it would be open when I got there and they have candy! I'll go ANYWHERE--! I love the shit out of my bike!!!

To make things even more violently rad, I customized that bitch. Oh yes. My bike is a metallic lipstick red in the front that fades into a sparkly dried-blood colour in the back, which is the hotness (in fact, I can scarcely think of two things that better suit me than lipstick and blood), and it's all rife with chrome, but the stupid decals it came with HAD to go. So go they did. But then it was almost too plain. It was all, "Look at me, a red bike. Uh....yeah." So I devised my little project, which I will now share with you step-by-step, should anything you own* need a little extra flair.

Things you will need:

-Contact paper (I like woodgrain best, but any kind will do)
-2 Nail polishes--one clear, and one in the color you're using**
-Tiny scissors or X-Acto knife
-Bike or other object that needs lovin' (shoes? Radio? Computer?)

Let's make crafty time!

Step 1.*** Figure out where you are gonna put your name or awesome design or whatever, and wash that part of the object with dishsoap and let dry (dishsoap will cut the grease and make sure the polish stays on).

Step 2. Prepare your stencil by drawing on the contact paper and then cutting the negative part out. A couple things to remember: First, make sure it will fit where you plan to put it (duh). Secondly: If you are a neat-obsessed precision master (VIRGO) you can print directly on the paper backing of the contact paper and then cut it out, doubtless while your little hand quivers with the combination of intense concentration and fear of messing up, but remember it will have to be REVERSE of what you want to appear on the stencil, which requires photoshoppery (that was how I made my rad Representing Long Beach bag). Thirdmost: if you are doing lettering, you will have to save any interior parts, like the insides of Os or whatnot (unless, like me, you feel "fuck it" about that stuff and kind of prefer the look of blobulous, filled-in letters).

Step 3. Using whatever tools you have, cut out the stencil. This part can be fun! I like to yank out the grotty built-in cuttingboard that came with my apartment (yeah, like I am going to cut my own actual personal food on a wood plank used for a century's worth of meat OH GOD BARF), but so anyway I toss that bitch down on the rug and stretch out to cut out stencils (I cut out a LOT of stencils). This is time-consuming work that requires good music and trailmix, so be forewarned since I forgot to put that on the Materials list.

Step 3. Make one last wipedown of the target area on your object, and then carefully apply the stencil. The contact paper, once divested of its paper backing, can be floppy and shitty; sometimes I like to use little leftover strips of the stickup to sort of cross-brace the stencil during application, which is a confusing way of not getting my point across. Sorry. Rub the edges of the stencil down well, since you don't want paint seepage.

Step 4. Using your primary colour, carefully fill in your stencil with nailpolish. I used Sally Hansen Chrome Effects (or something like that) which is very shiny and metal-y, and looks quite good on bikes as well as fills in dings on the Taurus quite effectively. Maybe you are all smooth with your paws and can make the polish go on smoothly, but I am a hamfisted assclown with no patience, so my paint took on a sort of "brushed metal" effect what with all three coats of polish heading in different directions. Dude, I totally got low scores on my coloring skills in elementary school. Then in seventh grade art class they taught us about "crosshatching" and I felt all gypped. Anyway, paint or crosshatch your stencil in, using several thin coats as needed for optimum effect. Let dry (duh).

Step 5. Carefully peel away your contact paper, being sure that the polish doesn't flake off and go with the stencil (this can happen if you got globby with it). If any seeped under the stencil edges, you can either scrape it off, or correct with a Q-Tip and acetone or nailpolish remover (make sure the remover won't mess up the object's original paint!!)

Step 6. Eyeball your design and make sure it's done. I decided mine needed a little extry flair, since I am personally so flairful, so I added a totally mod arrow on there.**** You could also do some fancy shit with two-colour process and drop-shadows or something, if you want to get all bad.

Step 6. Brush clear polish over your design to seal it down. It's not necessary to coat the entire object, but I prefer to go a little outside the edges of the original stencilled design to sort of seal them down.

Step 7. Let the whole thing dry overnight, preferably where it is cool-ish and there's no flying dust (duh), such as the kitchen.

Step 8. Hit the trail, dawg! Show your awesome shit off all over! Or just ride to the pharmacy all fast, littering your path with spilled trailmix! Word!!!! clm.

*Might not work so well on watercraft or ovenware, but if I owned a firearm there'd be stencilling on it, no question.

**If you want to get all fancy and nutso you can get actual lacquer from the hardware store, but it was late and I'm bootleg.

***As I typed this, NKOTB sprang into my head without even giving me the chance to fight it: "We can have lots of fun... STEP TWO (echoing: two two) (Joey falsetto): There's so much we can do!" etc. So, so unfair.

****This will look super-good when I finish Phase 2 of the custom process, which is to have lots of round mirrors attached to the handlebars, Quadrophenia-style. Oi!


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