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Making water slide decals

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I'm building the 1/48 Kittyhawk Huey for a neighbor and am making my own decals for the 1st time.  I have the images all ready to print on an ink jet printer using Micro-Mark clear ink-jet paper.

My question is:  If I cut off the portion of the sheet with the images before coating it with Testor's clear acrylic lacquer sealer, can I use the uncoated portion of the sheet that has nothing printed

on it for future use?  The paper is a little pricy to discard, or does running it through the printer render it unusable.  

 

Thanks in advance for your help.

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I haven't had problems using unprinted/uncoated portions of ink jet paper aside from the ability of the printer to feed the smaller page--but this is key.

 

For something unfeedable, you could also paint the decal on the paper. I've done some decals by cutting masks and airbrushing water-soluble acrylics.

 

Also, welcome aboard! :cheers:

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It would be easier if your printing software allowed for setting the left and upper page margins. In such a case, you could print the first needed decals close to the upper left, the next batch further toward the center, etc. and/or set the top of the margin further down as useage of each page progresses. I use an Epson printer and an old copy of photoshop (CS4) and that's the way I do it.  Every now and then, you'd probably need to trim the top of the sheet level again...

 

Ed

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I can't speak for certain regarding your specific decal paper and printer, but in general running decal paper through a printer doesn't hurt it at all. I would definitely cut the printed image from the sheet before sealing and keep the remaining decal paper for future use. A couple of other tips: To minimize waste, format your graphic design(s) to print near the leading or trailing edge of your decal paper (not in the middle). (2) With each use, your sheet of decal paper is going to grow smaller. You can tape a partially-used sheet of decal paper onto a full-size sheet of regular paper to facilitate it feeding through the printer. Just be sure to secure the edges well (so the two sheets don't come apart and jam) and format your image to print on the decal paper area. My limited experience printing decals is that it takes a few tries to get an acceptable decal and some waste is inevitable. But in the end I've always been satisfied with the results.

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Thanks, Guys

 

dnl42:  Glad to hear that my inkjet won't affect the unprinted portion.  It seemed reasonable that unprinted areas should pass through unaffected, but we all know what happens when we assume something.  There is one small portion of the image that I'm going to have to paint white.  My plan is to print and seal the decal(s), then trim to the edge of the image, apply the decal to the model, seal with a couple of light coats of Future, then mask and airbrush the white.  The great thing about making my own decal is that I will have some to experiment with

on a sacrificial model.

 

MrEd:  I don't have photoshop, but have found that the Word program will let me do just what you are describing.  I'm using a Brother printer and the test images have come out with nice crisp lines and the colors look very good to my eye.  This is on plain printer paper so I hope the color density is as good on the decal sheet.  

 

David:  I have been wondering if taping smaller decal paper to a piece of regular paper would work.  Now I know!

 

Hope you are all able to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends.

 

Larry

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I wouldn't allow anything with even the least adhesive qualities to touch a decal once it's been applied, even with clear coats. I've been scarred for life on this point.:bandhead2:

 

You could lay paper atop the decal, but I'm not sure that would be effective for masking a sharp edge.

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One other word of caution. When printing decals on either clear or white decal film, if you have to trim the decals real close, then it's not uncommon for the edges of the decals to lose a few pixels of color from the edges of the printed part, due to the water seeping under the final top sealer.  One solution for this problem is to try and make the background color try to match the paint color of the model. Then, you can trim a slightly larger edge of film, and if you lose a little, it will not be as obvious. As I build US aircraft, I found a color swatch of many of the FS numbered colors that I merged into my Photoshop copy.

 

Another possible solution to this would be to paint a piece of white plastic with your needed background color of paint, and then scan that into the computer,  You could then sample that scanned item as a color source for your decals' background.

 

Hope this makes sense.

 

Ed

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Thanks to all for your responses.  Using the Word program that is on my ancient Apple computer I was able to work up a sheet with various sizes of the two images I want to put on the model.

All strung out in a row across the very top of the page to limit waste.  I printed them on clear inkjet paper and they came out looking good.  After letting them dry for about an hour, I applied a couple of  light mist coats of Krylon Crystal Clear acrylic coating and let them dry over night.  So far, so good.

 

My test piece had black and medium grey areas that I have glossed with future.  Now what I was afraid of happened.  Both decals disappear on the black (didn't have an area painted

with the green that is on the aircraft--figured that the results would be the same).  They both showed ok maybe a little 'faded' on the grey.  I adjusted the color density on the printer to the max, but the results were the same.

 

Ed, I think I get the gist of what you suggest but I don't have Photoshop and I haven't figured out if Word will let me make a green square then drag the yellow sword image on top of it, and the same approach with the emblem on a black background.  

 

I saw a reference to a program called GIMP, and since this computer is on its last legs, I'd download that since it's free. (I know, there's no free lunch).  Any thoughts? 

 

I think I could use white paper for the emblem, but the swords are too detailed to trim for the size going on the pilot/copilot doors.  Maybe a simpler design for the swords that I've seen on many pics?  Still, mighty small. 

 

Sorry, pics are too big for this file.  I did load them as tests in the FAQ forum.  Of course they have been downsized for the decal sheet .

 

Comments and tips welcomed.

 

Larry

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GIMP is an extremely powerful program, but it isn't the easiest to use. I've used it to create GB banners here on ARC as well as bases for some of my models. GIMP tutorials are available at https://www.gimp.org/tutorials/

 

As an aside, for the base, I take the image file to Costco, have the "photo" printed, and glue it onto the base.

2017-completed2.jpg 2016-completed3b.jpg

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7 hours ago, LVT said:

My test piece had black and medium grey areas that I have glossed with future.  Now what I was afraid of happened.  Both decals disappear on the black (didn't have an area painted

with the green that is on the aircraft--figured that the results would be the same).  They both showed ok maybe a little 'faded' on the grey.  I adjusted the color density on the printer to the max, but the results were the same.

 

Ed, I think I get the gist of what you suggest but I don't have Photoshop and I haven't figured out if Word will let me make a green square then drag the yellow sword image on top of it, and the same approach with the emblem on a black background.  

 

I saw a reference to a program called GIMP, and since this computer is on its last legs, I'd download that since it's free. (I know, there's no free lunch).  Any thoughts? 

 

I think I could use white paper for the emblem, but the swords are too detailed to trim for the size going on the pilot/copilot doors.  Maybe a simpler design for the swords that I've seen on many pics?  Still, mighty small.

 

Whatever programme you use to create and ultimately print your images, it works on the basis that the background colour is always white - that's why the decals disappeared when applied to the black area. If you're applying onto a coloured surface that isn't a very light shade, you really need to print onto white decal paper - I use the technique mentioned above, of printing a background or surround as close to the paint colour as possible. If the area it's going onto is a light colour, you may get away with it, but would need to adjust the colours of the decal to take account of the variance...

 

I use GIMP - takes a little getting used to, but does pretty much everything I need it to...

 

Most of the decals on this were home-printed - you can see the slight difference in shade of the blue chequerboard squares on the Light Gull Grey:

998445202_o.jpg

998445247_o.jpg

I use an old HP2600N Colour Laser picked up on eBay very cheap, complete with cartridges - have since acquired two more even cheaper as back-ups/spares!

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Ditto what andyf117 said about printing on dark -- just about HAS to be on white decal sheet. If you were printing on lighter-colored backgrounds of a model, you could make two sets of decal, and put the second one atop the first (when dry) to double the color intensity, like I did with the "FS-059" on the XF-84H below:

 

2v2EvFQYCxfzdhW.jpg

 

Ed

 

 

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On ‎11‎/‎21‎/‎2018 at 11:32 PM, TheRealMrEd said:

It would be easier if your printing software allowed for setting the left and upper page margins. In such a case, you could print the first needed decals close to the upper left, the next batch further toward the center, etc. and/or set the top of the margin further down as useage of each page progresses. I use an Epson printer and an old copy of photoshop (CS4) and that's the way I do it.  Every now and then, you'd probably need to trim the top of the sheet level again...

 

Ed

Or you could put your artwork at the bottom right of the page, then just trim up for each subsequent print as the leading edge that feeds into the printer would remain straight and level each print run. :rolleyes:

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Thanks to all who have offered their help.  I'm back working on trying a couple of things while I wait for the white inkjet paper to arrive.  Since the decals I made on the clear paper turned out pretty good, I'm going to see how laying one over the other as Ed suggested works.  The colored part (the crossed sabers) is pretty small and the outline complicated so alignment will be iffy, I think and an edge will probably be noticeable unless trimming the top layer slightly smaller so as to 'step down' the edge might help.

 

In the meantime, a neighbor is letting me use her computer with Corel.  Good thing I'm not being charged for the learning curve time.

 

Some mighty fine looking models in your pics.

 

Remember Pearl Harbor!!

 

Larry

 

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