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how to make decals

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  • Member since
    March 2011
  • From: Los Angeles
how to make decals
Posted by pdsquirrel on Friday, August 12, 2011 2:14 AM

Ok, I'm tired of trying to find squadron markings that are not available, or are in the wrong scale. I'm looking for some help before I go crazy, so a couple of questions.

1. Can anyone give me a link to read up on how to make my own decals?

2. What type of equipment and or software is needed?

3. Is there a way to make copies of decal sheets that are 1/48 scale and reduce them down to 1/72, if so , how?

 

Thank you for your time.

 

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Friday, August 12, 2011 7:49 AM

There is already a thread on this in this forum- look further down the page.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    March 2011
  • From: Los Angeles
Posted by pdsquirrel on Friday, August 12, 2011 3:13 PM

Guess I'am blind as I did not see anything that addresses any of the three questions, but thanks for the info.

  • Member since
    July 2010
  • From: Tornado Alley
Posted by Echo139er on Friday, August 12, 2011 3:30 PM

You can start here.... Make Your Own Decals 101

After that, read the threads to get more details/tips on the steps.  Everything you need  is scattered all over the Decaling forum.

Do us a favor; once you figure it out, and I hope you do, please post how you did it.  Just in case others are wondering the same thing you are.  Good luck bud!

Also, this is a good source for water-slide-decal paper.

  • Member since
    March 2011
  • From: Los Angeles
Posted by pdsquirrel on Friday, August 12, 2011 9:10 PM

First thank you for the link, and then I like your optimism. Well I will research it and will see what happens. I would only be to happy to post my findings to help others. This is why I love this forum, so others can learn. thanks again. 

  • Member since
    July 2010
  • From: Tornado Alley
Posted by Echo139er on Friday, August 12, 2011 9:35 PM

I can help you with the graphics side of the house.  Please don' hesitate to ask for help.  I will do what I can.

One day maybe I'll tackle decals myself.  Right now I am just supper exited about building.

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Sunday, August 14, 2011 2:51 PM

Okay, fair enough- that other thread basically only covered decal paper, which you specifically did not ask about.

So, will cover items two and three.

You need a computer and inkjet printer for inkjet decals- I'll let someone else cover Alps printing, which is becoming rarer and rarer.  Almost any inkjet printer can be used. You need some sort of graphics software.  If you are using Windows, a simple paint program comes with the OS, which is basic but can be used for simple decals.  Regular paint programs do not resize very precisely, but it can be done pretty well with some trial and error.  CAD programs allow precise resizing, and rescaling by scale (paint programs do too, manually, but with use of some math). Cheaper CAD programs may have less colors, and fewer fonts, also fewer graphics tricks like drop shadows, gradient fills, etc.

Adobe photoshop elements is a popular graphics program with decal makers- I use Paint Shop Pro myself.  Both still under a hundred bucks.

I have scanned and resized decals to a new size several times.

One big gotcha is that inkjet decals work fine for darker colors. If the decals have white or very light tones, and are to be applied over dark colors, you have a problem.  You must then use white decal paper.  This means you must cut out the decals precisely, or you will get white borders around them. I have had some success with setting background color in the graphics program to the paint color the decals will be applied over.  This works well with black, but with other dark colors you may have a color matching problem.  Computer systems can be color calibrated, but it is a lot of work, and some expense.  I have not calibrated mine, and have a lot of problems matching common paint colors other than black and yellow.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    June 2008
  • From: Iowa
Posted by Hans von Hammer on Monday, August 15, 2011 8:05 AM

1. Can anyone give me a link to read up on how to make my own decals?

Don't have a link, but I did it by printing them on an inkjet printer.  Using white or clear decal paper, available at Hobby Lobby 40% off coupon applies) just make your artwork a bitmap using MS Paint.  Once they've printed, spray them with Testor's Decal Bonder. Tis is a must.. The ink will wash ff if you don't..

2. What type of equipment and or software is needed?

Just a computer and inkjet printer.

3. Is there a way to make copies of decal sheets that are 1/48 scale and reduce them down to 1/72, if so , how?

Yes... Take them to Copyworks or Kinko's and have them copied at  66.67% of the original on a color copier... Or do it yourself if you have a printer/copier...

 

  • Member since
    March 2011
  • From: Los Angeles
Posted by pdsquirrel on Thursday, August 18, 2011 2:13 AM

thank you that is helpful, now to get into making decals.

dmk
  • Member since
    September 2008
  • From: North Carolina, USA
Posted by dmk on Friday, August 19, 2011 7:59 AM

As far as software you don't have to buy expensive Adobe and Microsoft products:

Gimp is a free replacement for Photoshop (photo editing)  http://www.gimp.org/

Inkscape is a free replacement for Illustrator (Vector graphics) http://inkscape.org/

BTW, you can also use the free OpenOffice instead of Microsoft Office.  http://www.openoffice.org/

 

 Some folks that have been trained to use the expensive products don't like these because they have to re-learn, but if you aren't fluent yet (or don't mind unlearning), these free products are all mature and as fully capable as the costly software.

 

  • Member since
    March 2011
  • From: Los Angeles
Posted by pdsquirrel on Friday, August 19, 2011 2:02 PM

Ok Dave, Thanks for the info, Im not into any of them yet so I won't need to unlearn. Very hepful and I appreciate your time and response.

 

Richard

  • Member since
    July 2019
  • From: Vancouver, British Columbia
Posted by Bobstamp on Tuesday, July 7, 2020 10:16 PM

An old thread! But perhaps this will revive it.

Since becoming a born-again adult modeller, I've been using DIY decals because I've wanted to build models of particular aircraft (and a ship) that I am familiar with, and I've been pleased with the results. But today I ran into a snag.

I nearing the final steps in completing a 1/72 Italeri UH-34 D Seahorse helicopter like the one that took me into combat in Vietnam. I printed yellow stripes, separated by a wider, black stripe, to apply to the main rotor blades. Previously, I made single yellow stripes for the tail rotor, with few problems, but today….

I had great difficulty transferring the decals to the rotor without damaging them. It's not a huge problem, because I am hoping to produce some realistic weathering and aging, and the new decals do look weathered and aged! But what if I want clean-looking decals? 

I used exactly the same technique in making them as my previous decals:

• I printed them on white Experts-Choice decal film.

• I applied three coats of Mr. Hobby Topcoat spray, and allowed the decals to dry for 48 hours.

• I soaked the decals for 30 seconds in in clean room-temperature tap water; I live in Vancouver, and our tap water is exceptionally pure. That didn't work, so I soaked the next one for a full minute. However, unlike earlier efforts, these decals almost refused to slide off the backing paper. Despite taking what I thought was great care, they wrinkled and and flakes of both the yellow and black ink came off. I was finally able to use fine-tipped tweezers to lift a corner of the decals and pull them away from the backing paper, then apply them, using liberal applications of Mark Fit solution and drying them with microfibre cloth. 

It seems that using a sharp Exacto blade and scissors to trim the decals actually welded the decal film and the backing paper together so that water could not easily reach the adhesive. 

I finally had somewhat better success by soaking the decals in very hot hot tap water. 

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I've wondered if Microscale Industries Micro Liquid Decal Film would help, although I don't see how it would help the apparent "welding" of the decals to the backing paper, and I'm concerned that they might become too stiff to adhere tightly to surface irregularities. 

Over to you.

Bob

 

 

 

On the bench: 1/500 Revell S.S. Hope, being built as the hospital ship U.S.S. Repose; Academy 1/72 F-86F Sabre, and a diorama to illustrate the crash of a Beech T-34B Mentor which I survived in 1962 (I'm using Minicraft's 1/48 model of the Mentor). 

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Tuesday, July 7, 2020 11:41 PM

I don't think your cutting them welded them together.

I am not familiar with that paper.

I let the ink dry at least 4-5 days.

1 coat of fix should do it.

My printer does a better job with a cold printer than and hot one.

 

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Friday, July 10, 2020 3:41 PM

Here’s a little toot I was able to put together that shows how I print small decals without wasting decal paper.
This works from either an original on the glass in the printer, or a file on the computer, like this:
Mark a piece of paper so that you put it in the printer both times the same way, it helps just to be sure.
Use the manual feed tray as the printing path doesn’t wrap around rollers quite so much.
Print your art.
Cut out a piece of decal paper the size you need, in this case the two shields in the top corner. Tape it to the print along the leading edge as it goes into the printer, avoiding the area to be printed.
Place the paper back in the manual feed and run another print.

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Friday, July 10, 2020 3:54 PM

I regularly do mine the very same way GMorrison described.

The one addition I'd mention is that -- depending on how your printer functions -- it may serve you well to tape the sides down as well as the leading edge.

On my HPs, pretty much all have been prone to catch or snag on the sides of the decal paper, causing smears...or worse.

 

Greg

 George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
  • Member since
    July 2019
  • From: Vancouver, British Columbia
Posted by Bobstamp on Friday, July 10, 2020 6:36 PM

@grebale: As I mentioned above, I had a lot of trouble getting some small DIY decals to release from the backing paper. Have you ever had that sort of trouble? Overall, the DIY decals I've made have worked quite well, but none have released easily. A couple of days ago I used a decal that came with the Italeri UH-34 D Seahorse helicopter I'm building, and it worked like a charm, much easier to apply than my DIY decals.

 

Bob

On the bench: 1/500 Revell S.S. Hope, being built as the hospital ship U.S.S. Repose; Academy 1/72 F-86F Sabre, and a diorama to illustrate the crash of a Beech T-34B Mentor which I survived in 1962 (I'm using Minicraft's 1/48 model of the Mentor). 

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Friday, July 10, 2020 8:18 PM

Bob,

I am sure the problem you have is your decal paper.

Try cutting a piece of paper with scissors and dropping it in the water. If that doesn't release the film, you'll know why.

You should buy a fresh pack of paper from Micro mark and I think that will do it.

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Friday, July 10, 2020 8:43 PM

Bobstamp
@grebale: As I mentioned above, I had a lot of trouble getting some small DIY decals to release from the backing paper. Have you ever had that sort of trouble?

Bob, the only time I've had that specific problem is when a clear sealer was applied to already-cut decals. Obviously the sealer wicked into the backing paper at the edge, acting just like glue.

For certain brands of manufacturer's decals that have trouble releasing from their backing, using warm or tap-hot water is often suggested as a help. If you haven't already tried that, it might be worth a shot.

If none of the above seems to apply, then GMorrison's advice is sound. The paper might be a 'bad batch' or in some way contaminated. A fresh stock might be in order.

Good luck.

BTW, I'll throw this in for info's sake: I have been a decades-long user of Experts Choice paper and have always been well-pleased with the results. Recently...with stocks running low and none to be had from the usual vendors, and a deadline looming...I ordered a highly-reviewed brand from Amazon, called Kodiak. It was superb! Even a smoother and more professional-looking result with my HP printer, with less of the curling I've typically found with the Experts and Micro-Mark brands.

I'd still have no hesitation about using Experts Choice...but Kodiak would now be my preference, given a choice.

Greg

 George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
  • Member since
    July 2019
  • From: Vancouver, British Columbia
Posted by Bobstamp on Friday, July 10, 2020 9:24 PM

Thank you, gentlemen.

The decal sheets I'm using are about five months old. They've been stored upright in a filing cabinet. We've had fairly high humidity lately, but "high humidity" in Vancouver is nothing like I've experienced in Ottawa and in Missouri.

I don't think that the clear spray is a problem. The particular decals I had a problem with were not closely trimmed to begin with, and I trimmed them close only after spraying them with Mr. Hobby Top Coat spray.

Perhaps I used too much spray — about 9 light passes. And perhaps I didn't let them dry long enough (just 48 hours instead of several days), but they did spend several hours in my spray box with a low-wattage light bulb to help drying.

When my first efforts with this last batch of decals went badly, I tried using hot tap water. It was better, but still not great. 

Next step: Less Top Coat but longer drying time, and water as hot as I can stand. But that can be tricky: one decal I tried floated right off the backing paper and was ruined when I tried to apply it.

I will try to find that Kodiak product. It sounds like a better product.

Thanks again for your suggestions.

Bob 

 

 

 

On the bench: 1/500 Revell S.S. Hope, being built as the hospital ship U.S.S. Repose; Academy 1/72 F-86F Sabre, and a diorama to illustrate the crash of a Beech T-34B Mentor which I survived in 1962 (I'm using Minicraft's 1/48 model of the Mentor). 

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Saturday, July 11, 2020 9:28 AM

It's the paper. Additional info there confirms it, to me.

Get the other stuff, and report back. I'd be curious to here.

 

Bill

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Saturday, July 11, 2020 9:33 AM

I'll expand the resizing procedure to cover any resizing/rescaling.  The amount you need to increase or decrease the size is the ratio of the two scales.  So, you make a fraction of the two scales- that is, writing one scale on top, over a line and the other under the line.  That is the question- which is the denominator and which is the numerator.  Here is a simple rule.

In making 1:48 into 1:72, are you making the decals smaller or larger.  Obviously 1:72 is smaller than 1:48, so the ratio must be less than 1.  The only way that happens is to divide 48 by 72, yielding 0.666.  So you rescale by 66 or 67 %.  Most photo editor software allows you to rescale by percent.

But suppose you are trying to make 1:72 decals into 1:48 scale.  Here you are trying to make them bigger.  So the ratio must be bigger than one.  The only way this happens is if the top number is larger than the bottom (numerator larger than denominator).  So 72 needs to be on the top and 48 on the bottom, or 1.5 (150 %).

This works for any two scales- if going bigger, divide the bigger number by the smaller on- if going smaller divide the smaller number by the bigger one.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

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