Inkjet Decal Paper?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Gary S., Dec 19, 2006.

  1. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Has anyone made their own decals using their inkjet printer with decal paper? How did they turn out? Is it worth the attempt? And if so, where did you purchase the stuff?

    I found places that sell it on the net, but the shipping charges seem awful high. Twenty sheets of 8.5 x 11 is around 18 dollars, but they are charging another $9 for shipping!
  2. hminky

    hminky Member

    Testor's paper works reasonbly well and is available at more places. I use a Lexmark 3n1 "photoprinter" I got at Walmart for $48. The photo printer ink works better than the regular inkjet ink. Use the white paper as the clear makes a transluscent decal without the "white" in the image.

    Just a thought
  3. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Thanks for the reply. I found a place locally that has testor's brand. I'll give it a shot in the next few days and see how it goes. I'll get back to ya.
  4. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    I'm having some issues with microscale decal paper and my inkjet. To be fair they do say it doesn't work best with inkjets but recommend a spray of dulcoat to give the paper something for the ink to hold on to. Then you have to coat it with a fixitive to prevent the decal image from running when it gets wet. Even so the color is transluscent instead of opaque and doesn't turn out well on my loco's paint scheme.

    Let us know how the testor's goes! Meanwhile I'm trying a couple of recommendations from another thread to work with what I've got.
  5. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    I've tried the Testors paper(in fact, check out the article in the last issue of the at the top). Its OK. The best I've found is the Vita-Cal decal paper.
    I'm always making my own decals.
    Here's my lastest..I did for my companies 25th Anniversary.

    Attached Files:

  6. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Hey 88fan... that's a nice looking car.

    Ralph... I designed my decals today and printed them earlier this evening, let them dry, then lightly sprayed them with Testors DecalBonder as recommended. Let them dry for a couple of hours, and then did the application on one side of my boxcar. So far, it went well, they look pretty good.

    The ink went onto the paper just fine, but for now I have only used black ink and a little bit of orange. What I am doing is a Galveston Wharves scheme on a 40footer, yeah, I know, not prototypical, but what the heck.

    My findings:

    The decals seem to be a bit more "finicky" than factory made jobs, not as easy to position, but that could be because my paint job was a bit less than glossy.

    I used microset to position some, and just water for others. The plain water seemed to be better for positioning the decals.

    Right after application, the decals had mini-wrinkles all over them which had me disturbed, and any efforts to smooth them only served to "de-position" the decals.

    After they dried for awhile, I put microsol on them, and after 10 minutes or so the decals had pulled down nicely and the wrinkles are gone.

    Special efforts have to be made to do white, as was mentioned in a post above, due to the inkjet not printing white ink. Testors makes white decal paper and clear decal paper. I used clear for the black lettering, and white for the seagull logo. To do the white seagull, I basically outlined it in orange, approximately the same color as the car. This was done in Microsoft Photodraw and Microsoft Word. I'll have to use some paint to blend the orange decal outline into the carbody. I'm not sure how this stuff could be used to do a lot of white lettering, except to design the white lettering over a textbox that is the approximate color of the car, and then blend it into the car body with paint.

    I'll take some pics sometime soon. So far, I am happy with the results.
  7. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Okay, I'm doing three cars, just finished one side of each car. I figured out to put plenty of water on the spot where the decal goes, that made it much easier to slide the decals around into position.

    So far, so good, I'll let them dry overnight and do the other sides tomorrow.
  8. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Glad to hear its working out Gary. Thanks for the update!
  9. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Update on decals:

    Here is a shot of the boxcar I lettered using the Testors decal paper. I'm pretty satisfied with the results. Now I will finish weathering it and call it good.

    Using the Micro-sol is a must, plus I sprayed dull-cote over it after it was done. This definitely helped hide the decal edges.

    I enjoyed the process and intend to do some more oddballs like this one.

    Attached Files:

  10. trainnut65

    trainnut65 Member

    Very cool. And i am gald it worked out for you it looks good. Now what program are you useing to make the decals.
  11. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Thank you for the kind words. It obviously doesn't look as good as factory lettering, but once I get it weathered, I figure it will be satisfactory.

    As for software, I used Microsoft Photodraw for the seagull and Microsoft word for the lettering. I found a photo of a Galveston Wharves boxcar, opened the pic in Photodraw, then "drew" along the outline of the bird. I put an orange outline around the seagull, then I copied and pasted that into Word. The seagull was printed on white decal paper. The black lettering was printed from Word on clear decal paper. The boxcar data came from a microscale decal sheet.

    The seagull was a bit transparent once it went onto the car, so i touched it up with some white paint. I also blended the orange outline into the carbody with the paint I used on the car.

    Doing white lettering may be difficult.
  12. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Here's a couple I just did, still need dullcote to blend in the decal edges and then some weathering.

    It is pretty fun doing these things, since mine RR will be freelanced, I can come up with railroads that never existed. If you haven't tried it, you should.

    Attached Files:

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