Finishing: Home-made decals

This is the place to get answers about painting, weathering and other aspects of finishing a model.

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Finishing: Home-made decals

Post by TER-OR » Mon Oct 02, 2006 6:36 pm

This has become such a large part of the regular decals thread, I thought we should make a separate one.

Have at it!
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Post by bmagee » Mon Oct 02, 2006 6:47 pm

Well, I guess I'll kick this thing off by asking if anyone knows of an online tutorial concerning the creation of your own decals? Best software to create them in, papers available, methods of application.

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Post by DocTor » Mon Oct 02, 2006 9:14 pm

.... or what is the best inkjet paper and where do you get it?

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Post by zaphod » Wed Oct 11, 2006 3:14 pm

I've seen something called Lazertran in the Dick Blick catalog. Has anyone tried it?
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Post by woozle » Wed Oct 11, 2006 5:47 pm

I've been using Testors decal paper, printed from WORD or PAINT, with my inkjet and I'm starting to lose patience, anybody actually like it?
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EPSON DURABRITE INKS and DIY De Kal paper

Post by en'til Zog » Fri Oct 27, 2006 12:36 am

Has anyone tried EPSON DURABRITE inks on ANY kind of DIY De Kal paper? How's the durability? Does is smear? What overcoating (if any) have you used?

From the ads I'd think that just using Durbrite inks on just about any kind of De Kal pape would work and be water resistant. But...

I've used JetCal paper from the UK successfully with my old EPSON printer. The 'secret' is setting the EPSON to "Film" rather than "paper" so it applies very little ink so it doesn't smear or bleed too much.

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Re: EPSON DURABRITE INKS and DIY De Kal paper

Post by Kylwell » Fri Oct 27, 2006 11:37 am

En'til Zog wrote:Has anyone tried EPSON DURABRITE inks on ANY kind of DIY De Kal paper? How's the durability? Does is smear? What overcoating (if any) have you used?

From the ads I'd think that just using Durbrite inks on just about any kind of De Kal pape would work and be water resistant. But...

I've used JetCal paper from the UK successfully with my old EPSON printer. The 'secret' is setting the EPSON to "Film" rather than "paper" so it applies very little ink so it doesn't smear or bleed too much.
I have. The key term is 'water resistant'. Meaning fingers usually won't smear it. The inks seem to lay better on decal paper than the pevious inks did, with less bleed-out.

I used the usual Krylon UV resis matt to coat them after a day's worth of drying time.
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Post by en'til Zog » Sat Nov 11, 2006 3:28 am

Thanks Kylwell,

Guess it's time to trade up my ALPS....

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Post by CaptainHawk1 » Tue Jan 02, 2007 4:52 pm

I have been using MicroMark's paper with some success. First make sure that you test your decals on plain paper first (decal paper is costly to experiment with). Second, the best fixative I've used is the Testor's Decal Bonder. I have used Krylon and Rustoleum clear laquers and I havent liked the results as much. I'm going to guess that other manufacturer's Decal Bonder works as well as the Testor's but my point is that I've discovered that if it wasn't specifically made for decals, it doesn't work as well. 5 or 6 passes, let it dry repeat 1 to 2 more times.

On to bigger things:

Ignore the directions that come with the paper. It says not to soak the decal. This is nonsense. Soak the decal thoroughly, work it with your fingers to get the decal to "buckle" (crease), redip the decal to let water permeate the carrier under the crease and then slide it off and apply it accordingly. I am a firm believer in Solva-set.

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Post by bluesman » Wed Jan 10, 2007 4:15 pm

Any off the shelf design software can work...publisher, paint...but a more capable program like Illustrator or corel or Indesign would be better for the creative stuff.
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Post by joey_d1119 » Sat Jan 13, 2007 2:41 am

What if you just want to scan the decals from the AMT kits and print them out on decal paper? Can I do that, and what kind of paper should I use?
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Post by d_jedi1 » Tue Mar 13, 2007 6:35 pm

I DLed the decals on here for the 1:2500th E-D and TOS Enterprise. Downside is that I don't have corel draw and photoshop hasnt allowed me to install it on this PC (my old PC died and I got this one, supposedly better.......)
Are there any programs available to change the corel draw files into jpg or gif?

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Post by d_jedi1 » Wed Mar 14, 2007 5:43 am

scratch that.. photoshop FINALLY decided to play nice. I took care of it

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Post by bobbyfett » Sun Mar 18, 2007 6:47 am

Has anyone used a laser printer to create their decals? Is it more durable than inkjet? It must not need a sealing coat since the ink is not water soluble. I've used inkjet decals before and just haven't been happy with how careful I have to be (have to seal, easily scratched, etc)

Also, how are the Alps printers? They can print white, correct? Do they still sell those printers and how is the accuracy/durability?

CaptainHawk, you may be interested to know that Testors "decal sealer" is actually just their Gloss Coat with a new label. Just thought you would like to know to save yourself a few bucks. :)
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Post by Kylwell » Sun Mar 18, 2007 10:44 am

bobbyfett wrote:Has anyone used a laser printer to create their decals? Is it more durable than inkjet? It must not need a sealing coat since the ink is not water soluble. I've used inkjet decals before and just haven't been happy with how careful I have to be (have to seal, easily scratched, etc)

Also, how are the Alps printers? They can print white, correct? Do they still sell those printers and how is the accuracy/durability?

CaptainHawk, you may be interested to know that Testors "decal sealer" is actually just their Gloss Coat with a new label. Just thought you would like to know to save yourself a few bucks. :)
Laser printers are more durable and less likely to run (toner vs ink based). They can still be scratched.

Alps is no longer being made, or at least the decal version we know & love isn't. Yes, they printed white.
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Post by macfrank » Sun Mar 18, 2007 6:07 pm

bobbyfett wrote:Has anyone used a laser printer to create their decals?
The toner will scratch, but they're much, much sturdier than inkjet decals. One of the main advantages of using a laser printer is being able to print on thiiner decal paper, like Tango Papa's.

Pulsar has the Decal Pro system that'll let you print white decals as well as color decals (if you have a color laser printer). It requires more steps than an inkjet or and ALPS made decal, though.

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Post by Jason Abbadon » Mon Apr 09, 2007 1:03 am

bluesman wrote:Any off the shelf design software can work...publisher, paint...but a more capable program like Illustrator or corel or Indesign would be better for the creative stuff.
Yup- I use Adobe Illustrator for curving text and making starship (Trek) registries.
CorelDraw! is really good for various textures- literally hundreds are in the pre-generated fill tool.

I use Bell Decals (available through their website) printed on a color copies (Xerox here- it uses plastic toner- not ink- so the printing is allready waterproof).
Great service and quick too (though I do live only 30 minutes from their location) and I only had one instance of faulty product (due to Florida Humidity in the paper) that was replaced at no cost.

Solvaset wouls fine on these decals.
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Post by warcraft101 » Sat Jun 30, 2007 3:08 pm

Im trying to make some original Trek decals for myself. Do you know if JT Graphics uses white or clear decal paper?

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Post by Kylwell » Wed Jul 04, 2007 2:12 pm

warcraft101 wrote:Im trying to make some original Trek decals for myself. Do you know if JT Graphics uses white or clear decal paper?
Clear... but JT also has a printer that will print white.
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Post by bluesman » Sun Sep 02, 2007 11:28 pm

Yep, Jeff uses an Alps for now.

I think Jeff uses paper from Tango Papa.
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Post by MrNobudy » Sun Dec 23, 2007 11:48 am

hows about a place to get decal paper? The local hobby shop dosnt carry it on a regular basis.

Also, still looking for a realitve 'idiots guide to creating your own decals' type guide.
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Post by Bar » Sun Dec 23, 2007 5:31 pm

Ian Walsh(Stargazer) makes up the decal graphic himself and goes down to a local printing store, and they print out the decals for him. He swears by his local place. I was amazed a local printing store would carry decal paper, but they do...
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Post by macfrank » Sun Dec 23, 2007 5:56 pm

MrNobudy wrote:hows about a place to get decal paper? The local hobby shop dosnt carry it on a regular basis.
For laser printer or ALPS compatible decal paper, the best by far is the stuff sold by Tango Papa Decals. His decal material is very thin, but also very strong, so it'll conform nicely to almost any surface without tearing. Unfortunately, it won't work with inkjets; for that you're stuck with the thick, rubbery inkjet decal papers.

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Post by BERT aka MODEL MAKER » Sat Jan 26, 2008 6:36 am

Has anyone thought of scanning the decals , then printing them on a sheet of sticker paper that has an adhesive backing ? I thing that for some decals it would be easier to print, cut and peel then stick the decal into place.
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Post by Kylwell » Sat Jan 26, 2008 10:42 am

Most self adhesive film is quite thick and leaves an edge. Works great if you're putting lifeboats on a 1:1400 starship but no so nice on larger scales.
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Post by Dukat, S.G. » Mon Jan 28, 2008 4:55 pm

Gents,

I decided to tackle another Adversary Set Warbird. It's a decent enough kit except for its horrid lack of windows!

I have tried using a pin vise to drill out windows and fill 'em with oil paints and/or watercolors. The results have been mixed. My rows of windows almost always wind up crooked. I even scanned the Warbird's "tail" piece, used MS Paint to paint all of the windows in there (about 20 rows, and up to 20-plus windows per row), then I printed that out on a packing-label type paper. My windows are tiny -- a perfect fit for a #80 drill bit -- but I thought I lined up the silly drill perfectly to each dot.

The result ... :? :evil: Apparently I didn't. The results aren't terrible, but they're sure as heck not acceptable.

So, it hit me: why not make window decals using a similar approach? "Painting" white windows in MS Paint would be hard, but I could at least do 'em in pale yellow and black, right?

Well, the black came out great, but my pale yellow windows are invisible.

Why did this happen? Is there anything I can do to rectify it and, if not, can anyone recommend a more consistent way to use my pin vise? Short of making a painfully-elaborate template from plastic, I'm fresh outta ideas.
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Post by Kylwell » Mon Jan 28, 2008 5:02 pm

Inks, from inkjet printers, are transparent. Without white to back the colors they just blend into the paint color. So it's like you'd painted them on with clear yellow.

Hence the need for printers that print white ink.
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Post by Lt. Z0mBe » Mon Jan 28, 2008 10:34 pm

I had a crazy idea for getting a printer to print white.

Calligraphy inks are something I've learned to use lately (thanks Terry!!) and they come in white.

Those inkjet refill kits have little pipettes for refilling inkjet catridges.

Here's my evil plan:

Take empty color cartridge
Empty one of the refill pipettes (throughly clean it too :) ).
Fill pipette with white calligraphy ink
Fill black area of color cartridge with white calligraphy ink using pipette.
Create images. GRanted, these will have to be simple as I can't use black. :)
Look at images and hope they look good on decal film. :D

Thoughts?

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Post by Kylwell » Mon Jan 28, 2008 10:43 pm

Lt. Z0mBe wrote:I had a crazy idea for getting a printer to print white.

Calligraphy inks are something I've learned to use lately (thanks Terry!!) and they come in white.

Those inkjet refill kits have little pipettes for refilling inkjet catridges.

Here's my evil plan:

Take empty color cartridge
Empty one of the refill pipettes (throughly clean it too :) ).
Fill pipette with white calligraphy ink
Fill black area of color cartridge with white calligraphy ink using pipette.
Create images. GRanted, these will have to be simple as I can't use black. :)
Look at images and hope they look good on decal film. :D

Thoughts?

Kenny
Let me quick save your printer.

The ink will be too thick and will more than likely clog your print heads.

But, if they're high end enough they might work in the black cartridge. Your second issue will be cleaning the cartridge, as they still hold buku amounts of ink.
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Post by Lt. Z0mBe » Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:03 pm

Kylwell wrote:
Lt. Z0mBe wrote:I had a crazy idea for getting a printer to print white.

Calligraphy inks are something I've learned to use lately (thanks Terry!!) and they come in white.

Those inkjet refill kits have little pipettes for refilling inkjet catridges.

Here's my evil plan:

Take empty color cartridge
Empty one of the refill pipettes (throughly clean it too :) ).
Fill pipette with white calligraphy ink
Fill black area of color cartridge with white calligraphy ink using pipette.
Create images. GRanted, these will have to be simple as I can't use black. :)
Look at images and hope they look good on decal film. :D

Thoughts?

Kenny
Let me quick save your printer.

The ink will be too thick and will more than likely clog your print heads.

But, if they're high end enough they might work in the black cartridge. Your second issue will be cleaning the cartridge, as they still hold buku amounts of ink.
Hmm...what about if the heads are in the cartridge like my Lexmark? I hadn't considered clogging them.

I hadn't considered the leftover ink in the cartridge and cleaning them. Dammit! I need to figure out a way to open the thing up. Thoughts?

Kenny

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