Our Logos vs Decals

This page goes in depth as to why our hand-painted cornhole sets are infinitely better than cornhole sets customized with decals. You are about to be walked through the application of a decal and the application of one of our unique, hand-crafted logos.

When you order a ‘custom’ cornhole set from company that uses decals, this is what they would go through in order to complete your set.

Step One: Obtain a set of cornhole boards and get them their base coats applied. This is pretty self-explanatory and a pretty simple task for anyone in the cornhole business. While the quality of the boards can vary, it’s pretty safe to say that a good set is a good set no matter who built it. Be sure to ask if they’re using the correct materials and if they are built to the correct dimensions. Many people use MDF, particle board, or OSB – all of which are incorrect materials. Some people may use the correct material, plywood, but sometimes the wrong thickness. See the equipment standards section of The American Cornhole Association’s official rules page.

Step Two: Order a decal from a sign shop. There are two types of decals: The first type is a printed decal – a sheet of vinyl comes out of a special foil printer. In extremely poor cases, this sheet of vinyl may even come out of a standard household inkjet printer. The second type is a die-cut decal. A vinyl cutting machine is fed the same type of vinyl but instead of the graphic being printed onto it, it is actually cut out of it. A die-cut decal is far superior to a printed decal in regards to color longevity, but they are both adhered to the cornhole set in the same poor manner.

To help visualize the difference between the two types of decals, lets use the ‘HELLO!’ decal pictured below. If it were a printed decal, the vinyl going into the printer would be white. The red portions would then be printed onto it. This will result in a rectangular decal to be applied to any surface. If it were a die-cut decal, the vinyl entering the machine would be red. The die-cut machine would then cut out the red portions of the decal. This will result in multiple pieces as the red portions aren’t all connected. These portions of decal will either 1) be applied to a surface that is already white to complete the graphic or 2) placed onto another die-cut decal consisting of only the white portions.

example of cornhole decal

Step Three: Apply decal. The backing of the decal is peeled away to expose an ‘adhesive backing’ and is placed onto the surface on your cornhole set.

Step Four: Apply tons of polyurethane over the boards. Done.

What is holding the decal in place? Many people say that the application of the polyurethane ‘seals the deal’ and holds the decal firmly to the surface of the boards – when all it really seems to do is even out the edge of the decal and maybe prevent the corners and edges of it from peeling up. A coat of polyurethane never goes under the decal, so how does it help it stick? Wood breathes. Not only does air get under the decals, but so does the moisture that’s in it. Its like wetting a sticker and trying to stick it to something.

We do our logos in our own workshop to assure you that absolutely everything about your custom cornhole set is done by us. More importantly, keeping the process “in house” assures us that our reputation is based on our performance – not based on someone else’s products.

Here is a walk-through of the hard work we go through in order to complete your custom order. The process is very similar to silk screening because each color of your graphic is applied one layer at a time.

These are the tools that make the magic happen – several measuring devices, an exacto knife, a pen or two, a few types of masking tapes, masking paper, a standard carpet blade and a signmaker’s squeegee. The only things missing in the picture below are a computer and a copying machine.

custom cornhole

Step One: Build some cornhole boards the correct way with the correct materials. They then get primed and painted with the appropriate base color. In the example below, the base color is white.

Step Two: After some digital graphic designing, the graphic is printed onto standard paper from a regular printer.

Step Three: This printout is enlarged to the desired size using a copying machine.

Step Four: The enlargement slowly becomes a stencil by cutting away at it with an exacto knife. In the picture below, the stencil is sitting on the table just beneath the cornhole board.

custom cornhole

Step Five: Masking paper is applied to the area of boards that aren’t to be painted. In this example you can see that this set will have two colored strips along the lengths of the boards and the center strip of masking paper is where the graphic is going to go.

custom cornhole Step Six: Using a tape measure and a square, the exact location for placement of the stencil is determined.

custom cornholeStep Seven: Using spraypaint, the graphic is temporarily applied the masking paper. At this point, nothing has yet been applied to the cornhole boards. This is all prep work.

custom cornholeThe graphic has been transferred onto the masking paper. The stencil’s job is complete.

Step Eight: We begin cutting the transferred graphic out of the masking paper. As a section of the logo is cut out, it is peeled up to expose a strategic part of the cornhole board’s surface.

custom cornholecustom cornhole

custom cornhole When we are done cutting and peeling out every part of the graphic, this is what we’re left with. Only the areas meant to be painted are exposed through the masking paper – in the case, the two strips along the length and the “vast performance” graphic that was just cut out.

custom cornhole Step Nine: Actual logo application begins with a very thin first coat.

custom cornhole Step Ten: Additional coats of paint are applied until the color is rich and even.

custom cornholeStep Eleven: At the precise time, the masking paper is pulled up. If this is done too soon or too late, the graphic is ruined and we need to start all over. Peeling up the masking paper exposes the area of the board that was once protected. At this point, the board starts to come to life.

custom cornholeStep Twelve: Any imperfections are touched up by hand using an artist’s brush.

Step Thirteen: A few clearcoats are applied to in order to protect the hand crafted customizations and provide the slide necessary on a regulation cornhole set.

The set is now complete!

custom cornholecustom cornhole

Here is another example of what a derricksmash.com logo entails. This time the graphics being applied consist of two colors. An extra layer of color significantly increases the difficulty of the graphic because each color repeats the full process all over again…and now we need to worry about alignment issues.

custom cornholeKevin Zurek is in the market for a pirate themed cornhole set. After a number of emails, we came up with this photoshop mock-up.

custom cornhole We went ahead and got it enlarged on a copying machine.

custom cornholeAfter tons of cutting with an exacto knife, the enlargement is now a stencil.

custom cornholeHere it is hung in the doorway to show you the light passing through it.

custom cornholeThese are Kevin’s boards with the primer and black base coat applied. From here, we begin to apply the graphic.

custom cornholeFirst, the borders are taped off with some masking tape to ensure a straight line.

custom cornholeNext, masking paper is applied to the rest of the exposed boards.

custom cornholeThe masking paper is trimmed down to expose the borders that are soon to be painted.

custom cornholeThe stencil is precisely measured and placed onto the center of the cornhole board.

custom cornholeThe graphic is applied onto the masking paper with spray paint.

custom cornhole This is what the transfer looks like.

custom cornholeThe correct pattern corresponding to the board’s first layer of color is cut out.

custom cornholeThe full profile is peeled out to expose the area soon to be painted.

custom cornhole A thin first coat is applied.

custom cornholeIt took several coats to completely cover up the black base coat.

custom cornholeAt the precise time, the masking paper is peeled up. This exposes the first color of the graphic on each cornhole board.

custom cornholeWhen they are dry, masking paper is once again applied to the cornhole boards. The stencil is re-applied in the exact position required for the colors to line up and form the graphic.

custom cornholeThe graphic is cut out once again – this time cutting out the portions that corresponded to the graphic’s second layer of color.

custom cornholeAfter cutting out the tricky pattern, the masking paper is peeled up. This reveals the location of the second color in respect to the already applied first layer or color.

custom cornholePaint is applied to the exposed surfaces. The borders are also painted at this time as they are the same color.

At the precise time, the masking paper is peeled up. This reveals both layers of color forming the two-colored custom graphic.

custom cornholecustom cornholecustom cornholecustom cornhole

After peeling up the rest of the tape – voila! Another hand crafted logo produced by derricksmash.com.

custom cornhole

After a few clearcoats, the job is complete.

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When you order a custom derricksmash.com set, you are getting a lot more than a cornhole set with a sticker applied. Our method, which you were just walked through, illustrates the passion and commitment dedicated to our custom orders.

The paint is extremely strong – infinitely stronger than the ‘self-adhering’ decals many others use. If you were to apply a pink sticker to your wall and a pink splotch of paint right next to it, which one do you think will fall off first? Now start throwing some bags at it. Paint adheres by filling and drying in a surface’s ridges and crevasses, while a decal simply spans over them to create an immediate air pocket and the illusion of flat. What sticks best to paint? Paint. With a derricksmash.com custom set, your base coat, graphic, and clearcoat are all water based products engineered to bond with one another. Cornhole builders using decals provide you with a vinyl decal sandwiched between paint and polyurethane.

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