Custom printed decals

Discussion in 'General Modeling' started by Army, Oct 10, 2018.

  1. Army

    Army New Member

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    As the title states I'm looking for someone or a company that offers custom printed decals (I have a photo of the decals I'm wanting I'm just needing them sized to fit a 1/48 aircraft) any help would be much appreciated. Thanks

  2. Jimmer

    Jimmer Well-Known Member

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    I have been meaning to research this further, but I once searched and it is possible to buy sheets of water slide decal printer paper.

    That was as far as my research went, but you might look into that. You could possibly scale your image to correct size and print it yourself.

    That is as far as my knowledge goes, I'm actually going to research further after typing this as to quality, etc., but something to look into.

    If I find anything promising I will post a link. Although you may be wanting to bypass that much hassle.

    Good luck.
  3. jake88

    jake88 Sr Member

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    Its pretty easy to use water slide decals. Just print your images from MS power point or any picture program where you can size it with a ruler on the screen. I print mine from a cheap HP ink jet printer at the highest resolution. Just remember to spray them with a clear coat. Testors works. The only drawback is you will not be able to print white. So you have to get creative. But most can be done. If your model is white the sky's the limit.
  4. memyselfi

    memyselfi New Member

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    As mentioned by others you can buy clear or white backing water slide decals sheets. Several listing on ebay, from various seller depending on location ( US, UK, ETC ). I prefer the laser printer type. I dont have a laser printer, so I do all the scaling, placement etc, in photo program, test print on copy paper, transfer to disk, and go to local office supply store. Staples charges under a dollar per sheet to print.

    Here is a link to US based seller
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
  5. Britcinescribe

    Britcinescribe Active Member

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    What do you use to fix or topcoat it with afterwards?
  6. nkg

    nkg Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    There are hobbyists who nurse the few remaining and now-discontinued ALPS printers capable of printing white as well as metallic silver/gold. Unlike water-soluble inkjet inks, which require coating, these are dry thermal printers. Ideal for making water slide decals.

    There are a few such folks who do custom decal orders based on whatever art you supply. I’ve never used any of these folks, but if you do a web search for “alps decals” I’m sure you’ll find some.
    edge10 likes this.
  7. TazMan2000

    TazMan2000 Sr Member

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    Or you can do a search for "custom waterslide decals". When you find thes companies, do a little research on them for customer service on websites such as this. Many members here have had problems with a few out there, so it is best to be informed. The Testors (or whatever brand name) print at home decal kits are useful, but can't do everything. Plus there rather expensive for what you get, and results vary.

  8. jake88

    jake88 Sr Member

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    I like the Testors 1260 gloss clear coat spray. I put on about 3 light coats. This seals the ink in.
    Britcinescribe likes this.
  9. Britcinescribe

    Britcinescribe Active Member

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    I have Mr Hobby. Can I use that?

    - - - Updated - - -

    I have Mr Hobby. Can I use that?
  10. DonS

    DonS Active Member

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    The simplest method has been mentioned, sizing the images to your needs then printing them yourself on waterslide decal paper. This will give you decals, but the results will likely be subpar, mainly because resizing a bitmap image often produces a somewhat blurry result when printed. Quality decals are made by drawing the markings in a vector-based drawing package like Adobe Illustrator, which will result in crisply printed objects. Secondly, the quickie DIY decal will be somewhat transparent...quality custom decal printers will print a white base layer under the marking, with the colors printed over that in a second pass. This will cause the decal to be opaque, making the colors pop. This can be done using ALPS printers, as mentioned above, or certain expensive models of OKI laser printers that print white ink.

    It may help to work with a custom decal printer. I've been working with Bill Brillinger at

    He will print decals, but I don't know if he offers vector drawing services.
  11. jake88

    jake88 Sr Member

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    Give it a try on a test decal. Couldnt hurt
    Britcinescribe likes this.
  12. rbeach84

    rbeach84 Sr Member

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    If you want to take some time to learn a simple vector drawing software, you can do just about any design. I've had success printing designs that I created using OpenOffice 'Draw' app with my Epson Stylus inkject printer. I used one of several brands of decal paper and just overcoated with the printed output using Krylo (or was it Rustelum?) brand clear acrylic spray coats. Just jump in and experiment a bit and you'll have a very useful tool in your "toolbox".

    Perhaps we need to put together a tutorial? Or is there enough good stuff already out on the web?
    You can also do white designs using 'white' backed decal sheet (instead of clear), just have to be creative on how you provide the boundaries. White decal paper is also good to improve the color density of light colored designs (yellow, for example) and just improve the opacity since inks are somewhat translucent.

    It is even possible, if you get really jazzed, to create your own 'screens' for making decals using the 'silk screen' printing technique - but you're talking about a whole 'nother hobby!
    Be brave! Don't be afraid to "fail" while pursuing something new...

    Regards, Robert
  13. fresha

    fresha New Member

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    Just another option you could look at if you know anyone who has the kit.

    I've got a Silhouette Portrait plotter bought a year or so ago, and use it for various decals as well as Evergreen Plasticard cutting and scoring (yes I flat pack 3d models from Blender into 'paper fold' style plots too).

    The plotter has an 'eye' as well as the cut knife (which is a pivot-and-drag style affair). I've used CorelDraw for photo layers and vector drawing additions then flatten all those to high pixel bitmaps. I also ensure I have 'empty' (no fill no line colour) shapes for my cut lines, and then export all as PDFs ready for the Silhouette software. I print from the Silhouette software too as it has registration markings available for the plotter's eye, and print to inkjet white or clear waterslide sheets, using genuine Epson ink cartirdges (this can really make or break depending on the quality you're after). I let the ink dry off (give it say 30mins to be sure), and then with Krylon Matte Finish I spray the decal sheet (so make sure you get everything you need on the sheet else a lot of wasted space). I give it 2 or 3 coats of the Krylon, and leave that overnight (again could leave it shorter but I usually do this as a last job before lights out).

    By the morning the sheet should look quite flat matte looking, and then I mount the sheet to the carrier sheet for the plotter. Fire up the software again but only go into cut mode. I then cut the decals out and I cut slow so I can get pretty decent detail. Circles never looked so good :D Done this a few times too (into other stuff too and made a 2U guitar effects box unit the same way using Krylon and Silhouette combo which turned out great!)

    So if you know anyone who has a Cricut or Silhuoette rob them for a few hours so you can get high grade decal cuts really well.

    Just what I do here, I'll get some images up later of what sort of thing it can do

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