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Desertdrover's "Homemade Custom Decals"

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  • Desertdrover's "Homemade Custom Decals"


  • #2
    I use the Testors Sure Thing Decal Maker program Standard Edition I got for $9.95.
    There is also a Basic Edition software for $6.95 but you don’t have all the custom decaling abilities.

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    It's a good program. It comes with program install CD, a can of decal bonder and sheets of both clear and white backing decal paper 5 ½” x 8 ½”. I found that the white backing paper is good for making signs for structures, and the clear decal paper good for decals to use on Locomotives, Rolling Stock and Vehicles. I will be using the Mini Metals HO 1:87 IH R-90 undecorated Cab Van #30178 for this custom decaling project.

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    For this how-to I will be using the clear decal paper, for lettering a meat delivery vehicle for my layouts steer ranch. You can scan images directly into this program. You can import images from your computer files. You can use it to size images as you want and add text as well. I use Adobe Photoshop CS2, but any graphics program can be used. You can also use Paint Shop to work on images and paste them back and forth between the two. The picture below shows the Decal Program with the three Steer Heads I will be using for this project, in the lower right side of the paper template.

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    I use the Testors and Micromark inkjet decal paper because I use an Epson Photo 820 inkjet printer. I've had good luck with both. You can also get paper for laser printers. If you have a specific design, you can take the image into a paint program and work on it and then paste it as an object into the decal program. If you have a photo of what you need you can scan it in. When printing the decal I set my printer to print on Best quality and glossy photo paper. I always print out a test run on regular paper until I am satisfied with my design. Since I work in HO scale, I usually make two sets of decals for each project on the same sheet in case I screw up a decal. Don’t ask me why I know this. Also, I add other decals to the sheet so the decal paper isn’t wasted for just a few decals. I let the decal sheet dry for a couple of hours after I make it. Then I spray the decals with Testors Decal Bonder that comes with the kit, and can also be bought separately at your LHS, and let that dry overnight. A light even coat of the Decal Bonder is all that is necessary. If you spray the Decal Bonder on too thick, it makes the decal too thick and stiff, and then it won't let details show through. It's easy to spray on too much with a spray can. I shake it really well. Then I spray one pass each way while keeping the can moving. That is what I have found to work best. Decals have been cut out of the sheet, now ready to trim around the image and place onto the vehicle.

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    When applying the decals I dip the decal in warm water for 2-3 seconds and set it on a paper towel. I use the Microset Decal Setting Solution on the vehicle first. After the decal has set for about 20-30 seconds I pick it up with a pair of tweezers and slide it off the backing onto the location where I want it with a soft brush. I use the soft brush to position it exactly where I want it. Sometimes you may have to use the soft brush very gently to work out any tiny air bubbles that may be trapped underneath a large decal. If you see any "air bubbles", prick them with a needle. And, I use a decal blotter, with a soft sponge tip that looks like a paint brush, to remove excess water. If you need to use a decal softener on your type of decals, I have found that the Walther's Solvaset is too strong for them. It makes the decal shrivel up and the colors run. I have had much better results with the Microsol Decal Softening Solution. I let the decals dry overnight and then seal them with Dullcote. Or, you can use a gloss coat if you wish. Now, Mr. and Mrs. Gomes can deliver their home grown Beef with a nicely lettered delivery truck.

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