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 Tutorial: Need a Hard to Find Decal? Make Your Own!

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Posts : 321
Join date : 2017-02-18
Location : Somers, Connecticut, USA

PostSubject: Tutorial: Need a Hard to Find Decal? Make Your Own!   Tue Feb 21 2017, 08:35

A quick tutorial on how to make your own decals.  I personally don't go this route too often, but there are times when making my own decals can save me time and money and can allow me to make schemes I normally could not find through more traditional means.

Probably the most important material one needs is decal film.  There are several products available out there, but the one I have access to is a product produced by a company called Experts-Choice Decal.  The film comes in a rather large sheet in a thick plastic envelope type bag.  One is a white film that can be used with an ink jet printer or another type that can be used with laser printers.  

This film is ideal for when you need a white background or if you are making a graphic that will be applied to a white base color.

The other film I use is clear film.  This film also has two versions available depending on whether you are using an ink jet or laser printer.

Making decals is rather easy and straight forward, especially today when we have access to so many images on the internet.

1) Find an image, graphic or scheme you want to replicate.  For lozenge or checkerboard patterns, you can use a normal spreadsheet or imaging software.  I use a spreadsheet for checkerboard patterns.  I make the cells small and fill the cell colors alternating the colors I need.  Then I print out the pattern onto the decal film using the appropriate printer (black and white or color, laser or ink jet).

For other images, I either cut and paste a graphic from the web onto a Microsoft Word document, or if I'm doing letters, numbers, or stripes, I type them into the Word document and then print.

For graphics I design, I either create my image using a graphic software like Microsoft Paint and print it, or if the mood strikes me, I draw my image directly onto the film using a drawing pen.

2) Once the graphic is printed / applied to the film, I give the image a light coat of Krylon Spray Fixative.  This is the same spray that artists use to protect pencil and charcoal drawings.  This product can be found at any hobby / craft supply store.

3) Once dry, I over spray the decal film with one or two coats of Krylon Gloss (or matte if you prefer) acrylic spray.  This seals the image to the backing and prevents it from bleeding when put into water.

4) Once dry, trim as close to the image as possible and then put the decal into warm water.  Wait a few seconds and then apply the decal to the model using the standard methods you use for kit supplied decals.  All the "Micro" products work quite well too.

As with most products and techniques, experimentation is the key.  Just have fun and let your imagination guide you.


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