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Improving seat-belt decals

Have you ever tried to use decal seat belts and been less than thrilled with the results? Don’t want to pay for photoetched-metal belts? Hate fiddling with them to drape them naturally?

There’s an easier — and inexpensive — solution. Apply the decal to foil, either aluminum or the lead foil from a wine bottle. Smooth out the foil. Apply the decal as usual to the foil; use setting solution if needed. Let the decal dry, then cut out the belts with fine scissors. Drape them as you like and attach them with a tiny drop of super glue. Even after they’re glued, it’s easy to adjust them with tweezers or the end of a paintbrush. The heavier the foil, the better it holds its shape.

If you can see the underside of the belts, paint the back of the foil a matching color. And if you think you can see the metal edges, you can touch them up, too, using the edge of a brush.

I recommend using well-thinned acrylics for any painting, as my experience with thicker paints and enamels is that the paint can crack or flake off when you bend the belts. The belts will still be flat, but now they’re “prepainted.” You can add buckles made from fine wire or spare photoetched metal. 

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