Decal Woes

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by 2-8-2, Jan 4, 2007.

  1. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

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    I bought some decal paper (Walther's Decal Line, Matte Finish) and I can't print my own decals. Apparently decal paper and ink jet printers don't mix. So what can I do?

    Will it work with a laser printer?
  2. Thoroughbreed

    Thoroughbreed Member

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    Inkjets will work, just have to spray them with sealer about 3-4 times lightly though.:thumb:
  3. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

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    What kind of sealer?
  4. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

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    I am using Testor's decal paper for ink jet printers. They make a clear sheet and a white sheet. After printing it, you have to let it dry for about 30 minutes, then you give it two light coats of Testor's Decal Bonder and let them dry, about 2 hours. After that, they work pretty good. I am satisfied with them. One thing to consider is that ink jet printers don't print white ink.
  5. Thoroughbreed

    Thoroughbreed Member

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    Testors has their own version, but I beleive its nothing more than clear coat.:D
  6. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

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    I agree. It looked like clear coat to me...
  7. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

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    Still no luck.

    I bought some matte finish sealer, and the ink still beads up and smears when touched. I even tried applying some BEFORE printing, hoping that the ink would "stick" better, then applied another coat on top of it. It still beads up and smears.

    My printer isn't the latest and greatest, but it's still a decent printer, so I don't know what the deal is. Maybe I'll just have some custom dry-transfer decals made or something. It shouldn't be too difficult to find a source for those.
  8. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

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    I had a similar expereince with microscale paper and my ink jet. The instructions advised spraying it with Dulcoat to give the paper some tooth and then spraying it with a sealent after printing. One time the decals seemed too washed out and the second time the sealent actually made them run. I've purchsed the Testor's decal kit online and am waiting for it to arrive. I didn't buy it from this site but it has a nice description.

    http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXESK4&P=M#tech

    Ralph
  9. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

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  10. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

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    I think the problem you might be having is that the Walthers paper is for silkscreen printing.
    You have to get paper specifically designed for inkjet printers. Like the Testors mentioned in above replies. Vita Cal, makes a kit which comes with a fixative and a couple of sheets of sample paper. There are other makers of inkjet decal papers, and if you read the article Ralph mentioned(Thanks for the Kudos Ralph!), I tested the Testors and Vita Cal papers.
    Both are pretty good. But I prefer the Vita-Cal.
  11. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

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    Thanks for the help, guys.

    I put a lot of time into making my freelanced road "real", and there was quite a bit of work involved in setting up these decals to fit correctly on an N scale engine. I hate to see all of that go to waste.

    I'll definitely look into trying some different decal paper then. I'm sure it's not my printer, since it was capable of handling a sign for my Mackenzie Fuel & Oil that was even smaller.
  12. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

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    Can you get these decal kits at local retailers like Wal-Mart, or do they have to be ordered online? From what I've read, the Vita-Cal kits seem to get a lot of praise, so maybe I'll just order some of those.
  13. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

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    Nevermind...I just ordered the Vita-Cal set from Walther's.

    My only issue there is Walther's seems to be pretty "old school" on their delivery. They're pretty behind the 8-ball compared to other companies who deliver much faster.
  14. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

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    Testors uses UPS ground. I ordered 12/31/06. Of course the holday time slows deleivery. Patiently waiting to create decals. :)
    Ralph
  15. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

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    My Vita-Cal kit came today!

    I've printed off the graphic on clear decal paper and applied the first coat of fixative. I'll probably wait a couple hours, then apply another coat. The instructions say to let it set overnight, which is probably overkill, but I'll wait until tomorrow night after work to apply the decals to my 2-6-6-2.

    Can't wait!
    :thumb:
  16. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

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    Good luck with your decaling. We'll be patiently waiting for photos!
  17. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

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    :oops:

    I guess I didn't get enough fixative spray on the decals. When I tried to apply one, most of the ink had washed off, and you couldn't even see the lettering against the black engine. Back to the drawing board.

    How many coats of this stuff should I put on?
  18. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

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    What color are the letters that you are printing on the decal paper?
  19. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

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    I I didn't spray much of the Testor's bonder at all to get a good seal. During an earlier attempt with Microscale paper I found that the fixative spray actually ran the letters as I sprayed it on! I guess I hadn't let the ink jet print dry enough. Maybe that was an issue for you as well 2-8-2?
    Ralph
  20. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

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    Gary - I'm printing yellow letters on clear Vita-Cal paper.

    Ralph - The instructions in the Vita-Cal kit say to let the ink dry "for a few minutes" before applying the fixative spray. Then, you should apply a few coats and let dry overnight.

    I did as instructed, and when I rubbed my finger over the decal, nothing smeared. I let the decal soak in water for 30 seconds (per instructions) and then the ink smeared off.