Tinting the back of your aquarium - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-27-2008, 01:47 AM Thread Starter
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Tinting the back of your aquarium

This is how I tinted the back of my aquarium. First though, I attempted to paint it and the results were less then outstanding . Hope this helps someone. Pardon the image quality, I used my Env2 to take the pics.. camera was dead.

Things you will need
- Two spray bottles
- One roll of tinting film
- One piece of glass that is larger then tank side
- One tank (obviously lol)
- One bottle (or at least a cap full) of baby shampoo
- One credit card
- One roll of scotch tape
- Razor blade or box cutter

The first thing I did was go out and pick up two spray bottles from home depot. Unfortunately they only two they had were 4 bux a pop.. what a deal huh . In one I put filtered water (not sure if you need it) and in the other I put 1 lid full of baby shampoo and filled it up about half way with water. I think any kind of soap would work that didn't have any kind of ammonia in it. The guy at the tint shop recommended baby shampoo so I used it.

The next thing I did was unroll the tint and cut it to the width (or close I guess) of the tank. The height of it was within probably an inch or two. I laid the tint on the tank to verify the fit (do this while its dry please).

Ok, now you want to clean the back side of the tank and while you're at it clean the spare piece of glass. I used glass cleaner and then cleaned it with the baby shampoo mixture.

Now take the spray bottle of just water and spray it on the piece of glass that you have. This will help the piece of tint stick to it while you prep the tank back.

The next step I took was to put a piece of scotch tape on each side of a corner of the tint. Sorry I didn't take a pic of all these steps because I didn't have my superb picture taking girlfriend to help me. Anyways, once you have the two pulled apart you need to figure out which is the tint and which is the protective backing. The protective backing will not stick to itself. The tint has an adhesive on it to stick to the glass. Once you get the corner separated and know which is which you put the tint side (it is still being protected by the backing!!) on the piece of glass (not the tank). Once it is sticking to the tank you can take the protective backing off. Spray some of the shampoo mixture on the tint to keep it from sticking to itself incase if you make a mistake.

Now you need to dampen the aquarium glass with the shampoo mixture. You should be able to see bubbles on the glass or the mixture could not have enough shampoo in it.

Now that the tank is damp you want to pull the piece of tint off the glass piece and lay it on the back of the tank. The shampoo mixture will allow you to move it around to get in the proper position. I guess you can use this technique for stickers on cars as well I believe.

Once it is where you want it you need to take your credit card and start pushing (works better then pulling) the shampoo mixture out from under the tint. I found that if I sprayed a little bit of the shampoo mix on the tint it helped to keep me from wrecking the tint. I worked the card from the middle out from top to bottom.

When it looks like you removed pretty much all of the mixture out you can cut the film. I cut the sides first. I did this on top of the side panes of glass that lay next to the back pane so that it would hide the cut. Next I cut the top and bottom edges. I would recommended spraying a little bit of the shampoo mixture on here too to lubricate the blade. I used the credit card as a straight edge to try to keep the blade from cutting to low on the tint. That would allow light to pass by.

As you can see on the top I cut the tint a little low and light is visible above the tint. That happened due to the fact that I didn't have the mixture on it to lubricate the blade I believe.. but not bad for the first attempt I guess.

After the tint is on and it has been cut and ALL the water has been removed from under it I put a piece of paper towel on the credit card and went across the tint a few times. After that I put the tank aside and let it fully dry.



And the final product with water, plants and everything else in it.



This was my first planted tank so pardon the tanks overall look. Still learning . Like I said earlier I hope this helps someone who is wondering how to tint the back of their tank.

MattD

ps sorry about the large pic size admins... I tried to shrink them down but photobucket wasn't agreeing with me
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-27-2008, 02:09 AM
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I think that's a great idea! Where did you get the tinting?

Just keeping on keeping on....


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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-27-2008, 02:42 AM
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you can buy it at any auto parts store or walmart


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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-27-2008, 03:45 AM
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There's no pic of the completed tank.

Love the idea ............ thanks! This would get my respect!


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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-27-2008, 02:55 PM
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You should use dish soap instead of shampoo. Make sure that it's plain sopa & not detergent. You don't want any grease cutters, fragrances, etc. in it. You only need a drop or two in the water. Make sure you saturate the glass & both sides of the film as well. You can have too much soap in the solution but you can never have too much solution. Also make sure whatever you are using to cut the film (razor blade, x-acto knife) is nice & sharp. You can also use a squegee to lay the film. You use the same method for applying sign vinyl. Just applied a 4' x 10' piece of it yesterday using the same method.

HEY! Your sleeves are wet.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-27-2008, 03:28 PM
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Thanks for the write-up, I am sure you have inspired a few of us!

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Love the idea ............ thanks! This would get my respect!
Hint... there is that "Rate Thread" button towards the right in the menu. Try it.


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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-28-2008, 12:33 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Tex Gal View Post
I think that's a great idea! Where did you get the tinting?
I got my piece at dukes car stereo (specialty shop) but it was kinda expensive. Meijers had a whole kit for 10 bucks.

MattD
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-28-2008, 12:35 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by lnb View Post
There's no pic of the completed tank.

Love the idea ............ thanks! This would get my respect!


Here it is empty sorry. Thanx for the nice comments!

MattD
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-28-2008, 12:38 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neonmkr View Post
You should use dish soap instead of shampoo. Make sure that it's plain sopa & not detergent. You don't want any grease cutters, fragrances, etc. in it. You only need a drop or two in the water. Make sure you saturate the glass & both sides of the film as well. You can have too much soap in the solution but you can never have too much solution. Also make sure whatever you are using to cut the film (razor blade, x-acto knife) is nice & sharp. You can also use a squegee to lay the film. You use the same method for applying sign vinyl. Just applied a 4' x 10' piece of it yesterday using the same method.
Always a nay sayer LOL jk. Baby shampoo is pretty basic stuff I imagine so that it doesn't irritate the babies skin and eyes. The dude that worked there for years swore it was the best and the place makes BANK doing custom installs and what not so I followed his steps 100% . Thanx for the clarification of some of the steps though bro.

MattD
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-28-2008, 05:27 AM
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it really is a great idea.

i am using a tape on black background now because i put it on before i thought of this. oh well, the tank is full now, so it would be a bit hard..

now go out in the driveway and squeegee the remainder of that stuff onto your front side windows and get a nice lenghth of 35% for the windshield

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-28-2008, 06:14 AM
 
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Thats what I did to a 75 a few months ago. I got the darkest "limo black" I could find,$11 for a 6ft roll,a spray bottle with baby shampoo and my dl for smoothing it out.I think it looks great;easier and less stinky than paint.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-28-2008, 01:47 PM
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Quote:
Ok, now you want to clean the back side of the tank and while you're at it clean the spare piece of glass. I used glass cleaner and then cleaned it with the baby shampoo mixture.
Not everyone has a spare piece of glass. Is this necessary and what can one use in place of it?


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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-29-2008, 01:04 AM
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Not a naysayer, just 30 yrs experience. Baby shampoo has fragrance, which is why fresh bathed babies smell so nice. lnb, you can use any hard smooth surface that can get wet & is large enough, table, counter top, floor. As Matt has said, just make sure it's good & clean. A lot of times I'll wet the surface that I'm going to cover, lay the film face side down, peel the backing, wet the sticky side & flip it over. As long as you get plenty of solution on the film, it won't stick until you squeegee it.

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-29-2008, 01:05 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by lnb View Post
Not everyone has a spare piece of glass. Is this necessary and what can one use in place of it?
Just clean a window and use that. Sounds stupid but works. It won't leave anything behind besides the soap/shampoo mixture that's easy enough to clean. Hope this helps.

MattD
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-29-2008, 01:11 AM
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Very cool, good stuff...
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