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Creating my own decals

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  • Member since
    September, 2017
Creating my own decals
Posted by Pinkbooger on Monday, October 30, 2017 12:26 PM

Hi! After reading some posts on the decaling portion I am thinking of creating my own decals. Seems better than having to buy them since you can make exactly what you want instead of buying someone else's. Besides having a vector based program, what do I need and how do I create/print them?

"You underestimate the power of the dark side"

-Darth Vader

  • Member since
    December, 2013
  • From: Orlando Florida
Posted by route62 on Monday, October 30, 2017 3:33 PM

A basic search on google and youtube will yield tons of how tos on the subject.  A vector based drawing program is helpful but not mandatory.  I have printed plenty of decals using MS paint, Word, Photoshop, Publisher and others.  Any software that will produce high quality artwork will work.  I have even used images from google and used them to print decals.

A basic ink jet printer, white and clear decal paper are all you need.  The only limitation is white.  Ink jets do not print white and printers that print white are very expensive and not worth the cost.  There are some very convincing tricks to get around the white issue.  Again a search on this forum and the aformentioned will get you plenty of help.

  • Member since
    May, 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Monday, October 30, 2017 5:49 PM

Hello!

I always recommend contacting a company that prints custom decals - they can get you a nice set from your pattern and have no problem printing white, silver, gold and stuff like that. In effect if you can find a good company tah will do it for you, it's a lot cheaper than estabilishing your own process, using up a lot of materials on the way.

Good luck with your custom decals and have a nice day

PaweĊ‚

All comments and critique welcomed. Thanks for your honest opinions!

www.vietnam.net.pl

  • Member since
    September, 2016
Posted by Retired In Kalifornia on Monday, October 30, 2017 8:00 PM

In 2005 I'd designed special decals for the third and absolutely last 1/72 Airfix B-29 model I'll ever build, no problem inkjet printing images on clear & white decal film though a pain to trim around the white. Fortunately I shouldn't have need to make my own decals though if I did again would hope their'd be any kind of printer that'll print white.

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 8:53 AM

Most inkjet printers use ink that is soluable in water.  This is not good for waterslide decals, so you need to overcoat the printed decal before using it.  I overcoat in testors glosscoat, but there are other clear overcoats that work: enamel, acrylic spray, and polyurethane, among them.  If you have a glossy printing paper, such as photo paper, you can test your printer ink by printing something, then spraying it with the clear coat. If no photo paper, by as small a package of decal paper as you can.

If it does not run or show fringing at the edges, you are okay.  If it runs, you may need a different printer.  The printer I used to have had a lousy ink, so I bought a cheap forty buck printer just for decals. I made sure I could return it if it would not work for decals, but that cheapy printer worked fine.  I have since bought a more expensive printer for photo printing, that also works fine.

To make a decal with light colors or white, you need white decal paper.  If the decal you need is large, and a simple shape, print with a dark background and cut out the light decal with a hobby knife.  If the design is complex, then you need to match the background color very closely, and this is an acquired skill.  That background matching problem means that making a light colored decal to print over camouflage is a super challenge and may not be practical.

Like learning any new technique, start with a simple project, like black lettering or numbers.  This is a pretty easy job.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 9:34 AM

Don, do you have any tricks for getting mu,tiple uses out of a sheet of decal paper? The smallest paper I have is 8 1/2" x 5 3/4". It's hard to fill it up at smaller scales, and at $ 1.50 a sheet I hate to waste it.

The one thing I've had to work at is not running color with the clear coat. I use the Testors, and it works best if three or four coats are REALLY lightly applied.

  • Member since
    January, 2013
Posted by BlackSheepTwoOneFour on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 9:42 AM

Micromark sells Decal paper Try out sets for both inkjet and laser printers. Both come with decal paper and a sealer you spray on the printed decals.

  • Member since
    September, 2016
Posted by Retired In Kalifornia on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 10:21 AM

BlackSheepTwoOneFour

Micromark sells Decal paper Try out sets for both inkjet and laser printers. Both come with decal paper and a sealer you spray on the printed decals.

 

That's what I'd used in 2005, printing was just fine, spraying sealer on with rattle can problematic, had to be sure spray was far enough back from film to avoid streaking.

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 11:19 AM

GMorrison

Don, do you have any tricks for getting mu,tiple uses out of a sheet of decal paper? The smallest paper I have is 8 1/2" x 5 3/4". It's hard to fill it up at smaller scales, and at $ 1.50 a sheet I hate to waste it.

The one thing I've had to work at is not running color with the clear coat. I use the Testors, and it works best if three or four coats are REALLY lightly applied.

For what it's worth, I usually do a 'position shot' of the decal I'm printing on plain paper, then tape an appropriately-sized piece of decal paper over that image, and run it through again to actually print the decal. It's easy to do even single small decals, and cuts way down on wastage.

Important 'trick': with my inkjet printer I have to be sure to tape down the sides of the decal paper section; otherwise the carriage return will catch on it going back and forth, and either knock it out of alignment or smear the ink.

I might also recommend Testors Decal Bonder as sealer. It seems to cause less running or blushing than anything else I've used---and I've used most of them.

Good luck!

Greg

 

George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."

 

"

  • Member since
    April, 2006
  • From: ON, Canada
Posted by jgeratic on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 12:05 PM

GMorrison

Don, do you have any tricks for getting mu,tiple uses out of a sheet of decal paper? The smallest paper I have is 8 1/2" x 5 3/4". It's hard to fill it up at smaller scales, and at $ 1.50 a sheet I hate to waste it.

 

 

My method is to do a test print first on regular paper.  Now that you know where the image is on an 8x10 sheet, just cut enough decal so you have about a cm surrounding it, and center this with scotch tape on the original test sheet.  You can also give it a wipe with tissue to remove an oils from fingertips, and is ready to go.

regards,

Jack

 

 

  • Member since
    September, 2017
  • From: bishopville,sc
Posted by FLYING T on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 3:04 PM

what I do is first snipe a pic of what you want.set printer for 4x6 and glossy

paper. print it out with high quality.put it in a scanner,i use a cannon,set for

pdf.scanne and place card in middle.get pdf and go to adobe reader.bring up,

the % is 100%. resize to fit scale and measure from screen,use that % in

custom %.use a 4x6 paper size and print on glossy paper.or cut the decal

paper to a 4x6

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Wednesday, November 01, 2017 9:14 AM

GMorrison

Don, do you have any tricks for getting mu,tiple uses out of a sheet of decal paper? The smallest paper I have is 8 1/2" x 5 3/4". It's hard to fill it up at smaller scales, and at $ 1.50 a sheet I hate to waste it.

The one thing I've had to work at is not running color with the clear coat. I use the Testors, and it works best if three or four coats are REALLY lightly applied.

 

I try to lay out the decals along the top edge of the sheet.  Then I cut off that top portion with a good paper cutter to get a nice square edge.  That is needed to feed the paper through the printer I use.  As long as I have at least a half sheet remaining it will feed okay. Also, I like to do decals for upcoming projects ahead of time so I can print the decals needed on a couple of kits, to use those half sheets.

My graphics program, Paint Shop Pro, has a function they call a photo layout, where you can open several seperate images, and place them on a single page for printing, and including multiple copies of any image.  This means sticking them up along the top edge is easy, as is printing muliple (spare) copies of each decal.

As I mentioned above, I used to have a printer with inks that ran with every type of clearcoat I tried, even with a very thin first coat, but inks have improved a lot in their ability to withstand clearcoats.  Still, I do it in two  coats- a very thin first coat and a heavy second coat.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

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