I want to start this by saying that I really like collecting logo golf-balls from courses that I play and sometimes just visit. I find it a complete bummer to play a new course and they don't have a logo ball. In additon to new course play, I also have a goal to play at least 9 - 18 holes in all of the 50 states and of course I collect a logo ball from each course. I've covered 10 states including my home state of Texas. And my evidence that I played is a logo ball. But there are times when a course does not have a ball. Like last week, I was working in South Carolina and played two course around the Greenwood area. I played 18 on one course that I was looking forward too, but once I got there I found out no logo balls. Fortunately the other course (played 9) did have a ball (so SC was covered). But still kept that feeling that I needed a ball from the first course I played there.
I also collect balls for the companies I have worked for other special places/companies/projects, etc. Through spin-offs mergers or changing jobs, I have managed to work for 6 companies. Five of which I was able to get a ball for while I worked there, but for one I could not find a ball. I did a lot of searching the web and their company store, but no evidence of a ball was found.
This got me thinking, "could I use printable water slide decals that the model builders use, to print my own logos and apply them to a ball". I saw this product once while perusing the model car section of Hobby Lobby. I used to build models cars as a kid and the water slide film is very thin.
As you will see it can be done and quite easily. The process starts with some Testors Clear Printable Decal paper and spray decal bonder/set. The decal bonder locks the ink to the decal paper and prevents it from running once wet. If you buy it from Hobby Lobby, make sure you take a 40% off coupon for one item. The paper is on the expensive side at $12 for 6 sheets of 5.5 X 8.5 paper. But you should be able to get a bunch of logos from that material.
This is a clear plastic paper that will take printing via an inkjet printer. I am a photographer by hobby and have a nice photo printer that I print photos with. But you can use any good quality inkjet printer. Also there are a number of companies that make printable decal paper (search Amazon or eBay). All you need is a app to allow the capture and editing of a graphic and printing of the graphic.
To find a logos, I simply do a google image search for the golf course or company, etc. Many will have some sort of logo that you can download online. However one of my old favorite courses (but now closed) did not have a logo. I did find a picture of a flag from the course so I decided to use that as a logo (assuming that if they ever had a logo, that would likely be it). Fortunately it is a simple 1 color graphic that I was able to recreate in Power Point. But again, you wont need Power Point if you have a digital graphic.
Once you have an image its a simple matter of editing the image and shrinking it down to fit on a golf ball. I found from some searches that 3/4" - 1" is a good size for a ball logo. So I set all my logo's to be about 7/8" to 1" wide (they looked the best to my eye, but do test prints, as one size does not work for all logos). I highly suggest that you print them out on plain paper first. Cut them out and test fit them to the ball. If too small, make it larger and test print again. If too big, then make them smaller and repeat until you get them to the size you want. But don't waste your decal paper trying to get the sizing correct, test on plain paper first and in black and white to save ink.
To print them I used MS Word and built a page 5.5" wide by 8.5" long, the same size as the decal paper (but others sell it in 8 1/2" X 11") and Word is very easy to use. Once I had my image in MS Word, it was a simple matter of sending the print to the printer. I used photo paper settings with the highest quality. And print out 2-3 images at a time for each logo, as you might mess up the first decal and have to start over. Having extras means all you have to do is cut out another.
Once printed, I let the print dry. For some printers this can be a few minutes (like mine) or many hours for others. In order to save on the paper, I cut the printed strip off. Then sprayed the cut off with a couple of light coats of the decal bonder. You don't want to spray the entire blank page as I assume you cant print on it again once sprayed (this was not tested by me so I don't know if its true). I found that I can print on the cutoff remainder just fine down to about 4 inches long.
The bonder didn't seem to need more that 30 minutes to dry, but there were not instructions on the spray can or the paper package. I waited 30 min to 1 hour each between coats. Once the bonder was dry, I cut out the decals and trimmed them close to the edge. This is not critical since the balls I used were white and any un-printed edge did not show (note, use white balls as you can't print white on most consumer printers and if your logo has a white background it will have to show through the clear). Also use some cheap balls, unless you have money to burn I wouldn't do these on ProV1's. I had a bunch of Callaway and Nike balls that I got free that I don't play, (stuff I hit at the range sometimes).
Finally take small bowl of warm water and let the decal soak to loosen the backing paper. While soaking I take this time to go wash my hands and the ball with some warm water and hand soap to remove any oils. I dried my hands but left the ball wet. This makes it easy to move the water slide decals around. At this point I gently slide the decal off the backing on to the ball, not using my hands on the sticky side. You can move the decal around and make sure its in the correct position. Then gently pat dry with a dry paper towel.
Once pressed in, I take a q-tip (cotton swab) and roll over the surface to get any excess water out and press in the dimples to push out water as well, then let them dry over night. The final step is to spray with a light misting of decal bonder to seal the edges (not sure this is called for, but made me feel better anyway).
Below are the first 4 balls I did are from courses I have played and the other is one is of a company where I worked. Looking at the balls its hard to tell that they are decals. But you can feel them slightly with your hands.