Are Print-Yourself decals any good? Fair?

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RexHea

RAIL BENDER
Just wondering if any of the print-yourself decal kits are any good with an ink jet printer. If so, which ones? Are there any quirks about using them?
Thank you.
 

JeffShultz

Stay off the tracks!
Biggest quirk, unless you have an ALPS printer where other rules apply, is that you can't do white.

You also have to "fix" the ink on the paper after printing - I understand hairspray is useful for this, but I've never tried it myself.
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
Jeff, is there one that is better than the others. Also, can you purchase the kit at one of the craft stores like Hobby Lobby, Michael's, Wolly World?
 

JeffShultz

Stay off the tracks!
I honestly don't know - you can pick up the decal paper from hobby shops and stuff or order it from Microscale. As for the ink, you just use the stuff in your printer.

Some decal paper will work with laser printers as well - I understand they don't need the fixative.
 

RCH

Been Nothin' Since Frisco
I haven't used the paper I bought yet (trying to maximize the decal paper and don't have all the artwork for every project done yet), but Bare Metal Foil's line of decal paper is what was recommended to me by someone whose results were fantastic. They offer both inkjet and laser decal paper.

As an aside, my Epson inkjet printer prints a sharper image from CAD artwork than any of the dozen or so high end laser printers we have at work. Go figure...
 

CP9302

Member
I've had very good results printing my own decals. I've tried several different makes of decal paper and found Bare Metal Foil's to be the best.

What kind of decals you can make will be determined by your printer. If you have a wax printer (like ALPS) you can do almost anything.
Colour Laser printers give better opacity to light colours and don't need fixatives.
Colour inkjet printers make nice decals, but you can't do light colours on a dark back ground (eg. yellow lettering on a black engine) and the decals need to be sprayed with a fixative.

I use an Epson Photo Ink Jet printer for my decals. Epson has a water resistant ink that doesn't bleed when you spray the fixative over it. Decals from my HP printer sometimes bled a bit. I use testors satin finish from a spray can as a fixative.

I've attached two photos to illustrate some of the decals I've made.

Photo 1: I used clear decal paper to do the cab number and printed the Spiderman 2 logo on white paper to get the shading and white lettering.

Photo 2: I used clear decal paper to make the hood logo and cab side info. The safety stripes and stickers are from commercial decal sets.
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
Testors used to have a kit available at Walmart, but its a small kit. If you're lucky you might find one in Wal*mart.
 

Larry

Long Winded Old Fart
I bought 2 paks of decal paper from Micro-Mark last year. 1 white & 1 clear.
I made some decals using both sheets & they came out real good on my printer. I have a Lexmark. Then I sprayed over them w/clear spray paint.
You can go on the enternet & look for "Decals" & it shows You what to do to make them last forever & has a bunch of different places to buy them.
Leghome has a friend that makes decals in quanity & he does an excellent job from your art work & doesn't charge much.

Larry
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
Thanks all for the excellent input. I guess I should have put this thread in another topic heading. Maybe Bob or Grande man will move it over to "Detailing" since it contains some very good info for the record.

I have a Canon S900 that does an excellent job with photos, so maybe it will do well with the decal paper. The big concern would be with the ink. I use PrintPal refills which are fine for my use and only $4.95/cartridge, but I'm not sure how the ink will stand up to a fixer/sealer. I will just have to try it.

It's time for me to make another Internet order (LHS sucks!), so I will just add this to the list. I will try Bare Metal and see what happens. This is 'Bare Metal Foil's' web site for anyone else interested http://www.bare-metal.com/decals/decal_paper.html
 
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RexHea

RAIL BENDER
Colour inkjet printers make nice decals, but you can't do light colours on a dark back ground (eg. yellow lettering on a black engine) and the decals need to be sprayed with a fixative.
CP, are you saying that the light colors (inks) are too transparent?
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
CP, are you saying that the light colors (inks) are too transparent?
Rex, I'm afraid so - that's exactly what he said...:( Inkjet printer manufacturers have always assumed that the print surface will be plain white paper, and of course light-colored (yellow, cyan, etc.) inks show up normal against that background.

I experimented with some workarounds on an old Athearn BB GP40-2 shell painted for CSX. I needed some yellow digits on a dark blue background, so I bought testors white decal 'paper' (specially made for inkjets) and printed a large (hi-resolution) image of the digits on the blue background*.

Here are some images of the shell I'm talking about. The bright-green 'circles' are drawn around the areas covered by dark blue decal instead of paint:


gp40-2_decal_paint_job.jpg


* Lots of trial-and-error before I got a good match on the background color...!

As you can see, there are ways of doing light-colored print-it-yourself decals, they just require fair amounts of experimentation and patience!:D
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
Got it! Good idea with the background, Ken. I can bet that it is tough to match the loco color. Guess I will soon see. Ha!
Thanks
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
... I can bet that it is tough to match the loco color...
Here's a sample set of color swatches I used:

decal_bg_color_match.jpg


First, I [digitally] photographed a brightly-lit surface area of the paint color I wanted to match, uploaded it to my PC, then opened the image file with a Photoshop "wannabe" graphical editor.

Next, I zoomed into the part of the paint I wanted to imitate, clipped a square of that and pasted it to another corner of the photo image, then noted the R/G/B values (Red/Green/Blue color components).

Then I made 4 copies of the swatch, made each one progressively lighter, and
noted their RGB values.

Next, I copied the set of 5 blue squares into a new image file, printed that on white decal paper, then sprayed it with decal bonder. (This is very important, in order to see what the decal will look like with the protective sealer on - usually somewhat darker/deeper than without it.)

After the decal bonder dried, I held the swatches up against the painted surface I wanted to match, noting the RGB values of the closest matching square.

Returning to my graphical editor, I set the background color to the selected RGB values, and - voila! - decals.

Hope this helps, I probably need to write-up a more detailed version of this process (including more pix)...

Good luck!
 
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RexHea

RAIL BENDER
Ken, that is a very good method.
Yes, any and all info that you can add would be of great value to all that are interested. Thanks
 




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