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Home made decals.

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Home made decals.
Posted by SouthPenn on Monday, September 14, 2015 9:42 PM

I've tried making decals using an ink jet printer and various brands of "water slide decal paper" with so-so success.

The decals that I make are almost transparent. They don't stick well. And you can't use a setting solution on them or the ink bleeds.

How can I make decent decals witout spending a ton of money on specialized equipment?

Thanks,

South Penn

 

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Posted by PennCentral99 on Monday, September 14, 2015 10:13 PM

What kind of paper are you using? I use Testors Decal paper. After the ink dries, hit it with a layer of dullcoat so the ink won't bleed.

I also use Micro Sol and Micro Set.

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Posted by "JaBear" on Monday, September 14, 2015 10:59 PM

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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Posted by cedarwoodron on Tuesday, September 15, 2015 7:23 AM

Decalpapers.com has excellent clear and white decal paper, which I have been using for over 4 years now. I print with an HP ink jet (mine has 6 colors- black, lt cyan, cyan, magenta, lt magenta and yellow). I print, allow the ink to dry for several hrs, then cover with a gloss clear coat of Krylon Acrylic Color max Crystal Clear. After applying to the model (glossy surface), I then Dull Cote. There is a wider choice of colors I use on clear paper when applied against a white or light gray backround, but when using white decal paper, with any color backround, you must blend the resulting white edges of the decal into your model color with a touch up manually before dull cote is applied.

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Posted by Hobbez on Tuesday, September 15, 2015 8:24 AM

PennCentral99

What kind of paper are you using? I use Testors Decal paper. After the ink dries, hit it with a layer of dullcoat so the ink won't bleed.

I also use Micro Sol and Micro Set.

 

I will second this.  I have made my own decals with great success using several different brands of decal paper and a cheap HP inkjet printer.  I tell the machine thats it's printing on glossy photo paper and dulcote when dry.  Give them a day or two to set up and apply like any other decal.  I use Micro Sol as my setting solution.

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Posted by RR_Mel on Tuesday, September 15, 2015 9:13 AM

Hi guys
 
I’ve been making decals for years, many of those years were a learning curve.  All decal paper is not alike!  Even deferent batches from the same manufacturer are different.  I have had better luck with clear gloss on blue paper.  Flat finish decal paper never seems to work as good as gloss finish.  I have also tried many sealers, most work, some better than others.
 
When I’m making high profile “Perfect” decals I go with clear gloss finish on blue paper and use 3 thin coats of Testors Decal Bonder for the sealer.
 
The Krylon/Rust-Oleum and like clears won’t mold or conform to rough surfaces with Micro-SOL or Solvaset, Testors Decal Bonder does.  When I’m out of Decal Bonder I use Dullcoat, it’s not quite as good at conforming to rough areas as Decal Bonder but much better than the alternatives.  Stay way from Tree House Studio Matte Coating, your decals will look like colored rivers.  I haven’t found anything it won’t screw up.
 
After many years I finally broke down and bought a used Alps MD1000 off eBay in 2008 for printing decals and I’ve never looked back.  The Alps MD1000 is a dream come true for printing decals but even it has it’s problems.
 
1)   No Factory Support since 2004. (No Parts availability)
2)   Possibly no ink cartridges in the future. (Not a problem now)
3)   The MD1000 requires a parallel printer port.
4)   The last printer driver was for XP.
 
I kept my old XP computer specifically to make decals on my Alps.  There is absolutely nothing better when you can print WHITE on decals.  The Metallic Gold & Silver look great too.
 
I keep a stock of Laser decal paper for multi color Alps printing as well as Ink Jet paper, the Alps will print very good on Ink Jet paper using single color printing.  For multi color printing the print head heats up Ink Jet paper and burns the decal surface.  I still use my Ink Jet HP 7960 with it’s 4800 dpi print for some decals, no white ink though.
 
Mel
 
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
 
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Posted by G Paine on Tuesday, September 15, 2015 9:36 AM

I have an Epson XP-610 3-way printer and make decals from time to time. I use MicroMark ink jet decal paper.

Clear - 5 sheets per pack
http://www.micromark.com/clear-decal-paper-for-ink-jet-printers-5-sheets,7942.html

White - 5 sheets per pack
http://www.micromark.com/white-decal-paper-for-ink-jet-and-laser-printers-and-copiers-5-sheets,7945.html

They also have 25 sheet packs.

Have you tried adjusting your printer settings to a photo paper or transparency paper setting? These add more ink to the paper, and can reduce the transparency problem. Certain ink colors are just transparent, and need to be printed on white decal paper if they are going on a dark background.

George In Midcoast Maine, 'bout halfway up the Rockland branch 

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Posted by hornblower on Tuesday, September 15, 2015 3:52 PM

I recently gained even more experience with the Evan Designs decal paper since my comments in the thread that JaBear linked to.  I have made several more white lettering on colored background decals to replace the ones I goofed up using the "spray can" acrylic clear coat.  Once again, the special coating on this paper means that no ink sealer spray is necessary: simply allow the ink to dry for at least 30 minutes before you apply your decals.  I made a slight correction on the "oxide" background color from the previous decal set and now the color match is perfect. I just happened to find myself standing in front of a store shelf with Ronson lighter fluid so I bought a 5 ounce bottle to try on the Evan Designs decal paper as recommended by the manufacturer. Wow, this stuff works a lot better than Solvaset on this brand of decal paper.  Cheaper, too!

Great paper.  Easy to work with.  Good inkjet printing results.  Full sized 8 1/2" by 11" sheets of paper.  $19 for five sheets.  No sealer spray needed (save a little money there).  Both opaque white background and clear background decals can be made from the same sheet of decal paper!  Use an acrylic clear (preferably airbrushed) to seal your model when you want the decal background to remain white or a solvent based clear when you want the decal background to turn clear.

If you are having problems with other decal papers, I recommend trying the Evan Designs decal paper.  It really does work as the manufacturer claims and I continue to use it to make great looking decals.  Now that I have tried it and seen how much better it works, follow the manufacturer suggestion of using lighter fluid to set these decals.  Sounded wierd to me but darned if it didn't work as claimed.

My only complaint, and a minor one, is that the white backround turns clear when you wet the decal sometimes making it difficult to see whether you applied the decal correctly until it at least partially dries (the backround returns to opaque white as the decal dries). Fortunately, the decals are robust enough that a crooked decal can be re-wet and repositioned once or twice without damage.

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Posted by chutton01 on Tuesday, September 15, 2015 11:26 PM

hornblower
I recently gained even more experience with the Evan Designs decal paper

I think I asked this question before, but how thick are the Evan's decals?  I realize having used them that both MicroMark and Testors decals are not excatly whisper thin, but what about Evans?
What I do like is you can cut the decal out right next to the design (indeed, the tutorials specificallly mention that) as opposed to having to leaving a wide border of decal film to prevent water seeping under the clear coat which in turn causes the dreaded ink bleed.
One of the tutorials (the one on turning the decal clear with canola oil) did mention you can lightly spray a clear coat (dullcoat) like Testors or Krylon - didn't say anything about acrylic clear coats though.

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Posted by hornblower on Wednesday, September 16, 2015 2:45 PM

chutton01

I wouldn't describe the Evan Design decals as whisper thin either although the lighter fluid tends to flatten out the decal edges far better than Solvaset does.  However, the final flat clear coat over the model tends to help the decal edges disappear.  If your decal design can use a clear background, you could certainly trim the decal edges right up to the image.  However, I find this paper most useful for printing white lettering on colored background decals for adding (or changing) road names and numbers on rolling stock. This type of decal requires some area of background color around and between the white lettering to make it work, especially when applied over an old road name or number.  At worst, the decal looks like a patch-out repaint but I have found that trimming the backround decal borders to match panel seams and/or rivet lines allows you to truly make the decal edges disappear.

The written instructions that came in the new package of Evan Designs decal paper have apparently been updated from those included in the package I purchased several years ago.  The old instructions did not include the tip about using canola oil to turn the decal background clear.  Instead, it mentioned that solvent based clear coats would turn the background clear permanently and that acrylic clear coats would maintain the white background. However, I must warn that I accidentally turned a group of white background decals clear when I used a spray can acrylic matte clear as the top coat.  All I can figure is that something in the spray can propellant turned the decals clear.  Prior to those decals, I had always airbrushed or brush painted Model Master Acrylic Flat Clear over the decals and they stayed white.  An application of a solvent based clear such as DullCote over decals you want to dry clear will turn the white background clear permanently (I did this for the nose numbers on the fronts of a pair of Southern Pacific F7 locos in black widow paint scheme).  Since the lighter fluid tip worked so well, I guess I'll have to try the canola oil trick as well. However, I usually need to put a coat of acrylic flat clear on all of my rolling stock to provide a uniform sheen (or lack of sheen) across the surface of the model so I will also continue to apply the appropriate clear coat for the desired background effect.

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Posted by SouthPenn on Thursday, September 17, 2015 6:37 PM

Does the dullcoat paint stick to the canola oil?

South Penn

 

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Posted by hornblower on Friday, September 18, 2015 5:45 PM

South Penn

I don't know whether DullCote will stick to canola oil as I've not yet tried the canola oil technique.

 

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Posted by SouthPenn on Thursday, October 1, 2015 10:21 PM

I tried the Evan Design decal Paper. Works as advertised. The only problem I had was the lighter fluid attacking the paint. I used Zippo lighter fluid and the paint was Krylon Ultra Flat white primer.

South Penn 

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Posted by farrellaa on Friday, October 2, 2015 9:37 AM

chutton01
 
hornblower
I recently gained even more experience with the Evan Designs decal paper

 

I think I asked this question before, but how thick are the Evan's decals?  I realize having used them that both MicroMark and Testors decals are not excatly whisper thin, but what about Evans?
What I do like is you can cut the decal out right next to the design (indeed, the tutorials specificallly mention that) as opposed to having to leaving a wide border of decal film to prevent water seeping under the clear coat which in turn causes the dreaded ink bleed.
One of the tutorials (the one on turning the decal clear with canola oil) did mention you can lightly spray a clear coat (dullcoat) like Testors or Krylon - didn't say anything about acrylic clear coats though.

 

 

I just tried the Evans Design paper and it had some issues for me. First, I had to set my HP inkjet to normal matte paper or it would put too much ink out that the images were blurred and bled all over.

I like that you don't need to overspray to protect the ink.

I don't like the thickness of the decal as I haven't been able to completely hide the edges. It also didn't conform to the brick on the building like the Testor's did. I used Solvaset for setting my decals.

I will go back to the Testors paper as it worked better for me and didn't show the edges once sealed.

Just my experience.

  - Bob

Life is what happens while you are making other plans!

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Friday, October 2, 2015 11:47 PM

I bought a Canon Pixma printer a few years ago to replace my aging HP 722C, which was getting hard to find ink for.  I like the Canon printer a lot better.  For one thing, I don't get any bleeding like I always did with the HP.  I've also had trouble finding any inkjet decal paper, so I bought a package from DecalPaper.com and it's worked very well, too.

I use Microset and Microsol to apply my decals, and Krylon clear satin finish to seal them to the model.  It's a good idea to have a gloss or at least satin finish on the model before you apply the decal.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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