Introductory: How-To Make Your Own Decals And Labels

Discussion in 'Tutorials and How Tos' started by REDLINE, Jan 28, 2008.

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    REDLINE longer days, plz? Veteran

    Dec 2, 2004
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    How-To Make Your Own Decals And Labels

    Aight, decals out of your own pocket:

    First off, you have to decide whether or not you want to do LABELS or DECALS.


    1. First off, you need the label paper!
    As stupid and easy as it sounds, a google-search for "glossy paper labels" found me this site:
    In reality, all you need is glossy label paper to make the decals look near-Hasbro professional. MAKE SURE YOU GET LABEL PAPER THAT WILL PRINT TO YOUR TYPE OF PRINTER. If it says they're "inket only," don't buy 'em for a bubblejet printer. It won't work. I've tried.

    2. Design the decals in photoshop or using MS Word or whatever you want.

    3. Print the decals onto the label paper at the HIGHEST dpi resolution you can set your printer to. The easiest way to do this is, when printing, if you click on the "properties" button in most Windows "print" dialog menus, you'll see three options for "fast quality," "good quality" and "Best quality." Click on best and start printing!

    4. Cut and apply.


    Decals are a bit harder, and it's taken me years to get to a point where I feel comfortable doing a good job with them. Still, if you think you know what you're doing with decals, here's what I use:

    1. The paper:
    I use Experts-Choice Decal paper. It's Item No. 122 from their catalog. They're part of Bare Metal Foil Co., in case you're trying to hunt this stuff down. It prints great to inkjet printers.

    2. Design the decals, similar to how I explained above. You'll also want to print the decals out the same way.

    3. Making the decals stick: Pick up some Microscale Industries Liquid Decal Film (Microscale Industry's listing for this product is MI-12.) Once the decals are done printing, apply one coat of this <u>LIGHTLY</u> over the decals. Allow it to dry. If you're real worrisome (like me) you can apply two coats, but MAKE SURE TO DO ONE COAT IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE OTHER. Doing one coat of microscale, letting it dry and then doing another causes your decals to become brittle during the application of them.

    3. Pick up a Testors' Decal Set and Decal Solvent pack at the local Hobby Shop. This is a green card-back, one-brush-and-two-paint-vials package with both Decal Set and Decal Solvent. The instructions on the back of the card are PERFECT for making sense of applying the decals, so I'm not even going to write it here. If you have trouble finding this stuff, let me know and I'll go find more product information on it.

    4. Although a lot of this is duplicated on the Solvent &Set package, I'll put it here too:
    -Cut the decal to exactly the shape you want
    -Put it in water (I usually use a clear glass bowl, so I can find the decal if it spills over)
    -Allow it to sit for at least a minute or so (or until it slides off the paper)
    -GENTLY pick up the decal - still on the paper - and place it on the model kit.
    -THEN slide the decal paper out from under the decal. Looks nice, eh?
    -IMMEDIATELY start blotting the wetness away from the decal with a tissue or napkin.

    Once the decals are dry (wait about a half-hour or so) you can do the final step.

    5. Using Testors Glosscoat (that's my personal favorite, others might use different stuff,) apply several thin spray layers of gloss coating to your decaled surface. This will lock the decal in and make it "one with the paint."

    That's it! Allow the glosscoat to dry, of course.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 15, 2012
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