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  While I'm waiting for an order from Highball Graphics, my wife saw these at Hobby Lobby today, and I was wondering if they produce decent results.  I'm not a rivet counter, and would only be printing graphics for railroad owned trucks, buildings, and possibly derelict rolling stock.





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Tom

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I tried a similar product that I purchased on Amazon with mixed results. The key is to apply gloss coat after the print.  The first few I did  had the colors bleed through into the water. Then i applied more coats of gloss coat and those seemed to hold color better, but the decals were far more fragile than normal ones. After tearing a few apart, I realized I needed to over saturate them by letting them soak at least three minutes. That allowed me to slide them off easier. The last few I did worked out ok, but it’s still hit or miss, since they’re so delicate. I also realized that small,  darker colored print works best. Fine detail with lighter colors come out much worse.  

This is the one I’ve been using - https://www.amazon.com/Sheets-...611356112&sr=8-6

I've printed with the Micro-Mark inkjet printer decal paper.  Works great.

HOWEVER....

What Jlm1973 sez is correct....lighter  colors will disappoint.  Take yellow, for instance...very transparent...almost like a yellow gel.  Not aware of how to correct for that...except, maybe, double decaling...which you would only want to do if you glossy sealcoat the first decal before laying the second.  And then the film thickness will be that much more apparent...a downer for many.  Never tried it myself, but I've read of that suggestion a couple times.

This project was lettered (simply black) using the M/M clear film paper in our printer (sealed after printing, of course.)...

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If you try the Hobby Lobby paper, let us know how it goes.

KD

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I use the Bare-Metal Foil Experts Choice ink Jet decal film picked up at my local hobby shop. It comes in 3 sheet packs letter size. I print with an older HP color ink jet printer. Same notes as above posts on the darker colors. After printing I let it dry for a long time then coat it with Tamiya for plastics spray paint, this dry's really fast.  I use semi gloss clear first a light mist coat, let it dry then a bit heavier coat, then when dry a fairly thick coat. I let it soak in water for about 20 seconds let it sit for a while till the decal moves off the backing sheet. Just be careful when mounting keep it flat and not let it fold over or the image will split. It does not work well over a rough surface like big O scale rivets. I apply Micro scale decal setting solution to get it to sit well on the model and when dry give it a coat of Tamiya clear. If you have to go over doors cut it to fit either side of the indentation of the door. It will not sit well trying to get it lay in the line of the door edge. I have made a lot of decals like this over the years. It has worked well. I had some custom decals made up from a local decal shop with white ink in the logo design with other colors 1 sheet with the custom set up cost over a $100 so when I can I create my own decals. If you need white behind and make it work you can use the white decal paper as well. There is also laser paper as well but you need a good machine that will do photo quality printing and of course are limited to black and or colors. A friend was able to special order a white laser cartridge and uses this in place of the black cartridge to print white lettering and logos.

I have also used inkjet paper for decals.  Dark colors work, light do not work well.  Tried yellow lettering for a project, it was a fail.  Even tried getting laser printer decal paper and had it printed with a laser printer, fail on that.  I have had success with black print on clear decal paper and some colors on white decal paper. The boxcar is black print on clear decal paper, the Alco herald is printed on white decal paper. The MOW truck decals were printed on white decal paper, fortunately the white background blends in to the white paint.

DL 2008 ADL 2014mow11mow12

I have used Testors decal bonder overspray on some of these, later ones where just a krylon clear overspray.  Both seemed to work well.

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     Thank you everyone for your replies and experiences.  To be honest, the results I'm seeing in your included photos look fantastic... Especially when you consider that all the photos are close-ups, and still exhibit a finished and/or commercially manufactured decal look.

I'd be quite happy with a home brew solution like this working out so well.  For $11 minus their 40% off weekly coupon, it seems to be a win win situation!

Tom

Since people are warning you over light colors, thought I would provide a real life example.  This is yellow printed on cheap Amazon clear decal sheets next to some professional decals.  I will look into high quality paper in the future, as the cheaper decal sheets are too thick compared to professional decals.

Needless to say, I removed it and used professional decal number and letters.  The yellow custom logo is printed on white decal paper.  It shows upuch better.

Have fun.

Ron

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A white decal paper is also available for those designs that need white.  As a few people mentioned, light colors, especially yellow, are very pale.  I use Word to setup my decals; just import your jpg into a frame then you can easily size it using the rulers in Word.

I always print a test on plain paper to check the size, colors and details.  Most important, do not forget to spray your finished decal sheet with matte, or glossy, clear BEFORE you cut and apply it.  If not your colors will disappear in the water.

Last edited by Danr
@Danr posted:

A white decal paper is also available for those designs that need white.  As a few people mentioned, light colors, especially yellow, are very pale.  I use Word to setup my decals; just import your jpg into a frame then you can easily size it using the rulers in Word.

I always print a test on plain paper to check the size, colors and details. Most important, do forget to spray your finished decal sheet with matte, or glossy, clear BEFORE you cut and apply it.  If not your colors will disappear in the water.

I used the white paper for the one Genesee logo with the white background.

Dan, I think you left out a word.

I have used them in the past.  My biggest challenge was that they don't work quite the same way as other professionally printed water slide decals.  I modified my placement technique and they ended up turning out pretty good.  I will second that the background color can ghost some through lighter colors.  I did this before Bachmann or MTH offered these in their catalogs.

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Last edited by GG1 4877

I’ve gotten really good with these, completing a few projects this morning.  A few tips - lighter colored decals over white surfaces look great. Darker colored decals over darker surfaces like brick look like the decal has been aged into the surface for a nice effect. Using four coats of gloss coat really prevents the decals from breaking or loosing color and over saturating them (three minute soak) prevents separation tears. Here are a few from this morning

This is the light color over dark surface look I get. The clear part of the Peter Luger sign was really a pinkish/light brown -

29115C3F-E69D-4C5A-B243-13509C5DB535DD9C4D66-471D-4CED-B984-EB00577D32F9





This is the look of dark color over a white or lighter surface -

AC356C03-E42F-46A3-8633-C945146C5C5D

Over all,  water slide decal paper really opens the hobby up for us to some great projects.  Different brands may have slightly different tolerances. For the one I use, four coats of gloss coat (thoroughly dried with a blow drier between coats) and soaking for three minutes works best.

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Last edited by Strap Hanger

   I'm truly amazed at everyone's results.  Well, except yours Ron...that's how I picture mine turning out!   All kidding aside, it appears there's a difference in the thickness with the various (I'm assuming) brands shown here.  I could see thicker being easier to work with, but thinner material blending in better.  The weathered and aged look on Strap Hanger's brick building look as well done as anything I've seen from commercial graphics, I'm guessing that's a very lightweight & thin sheet of decal material.  Actually the same goes for everyone else who contributed...if these photos were displayed without divulging they're homemade, I would've never known.  

  In the early '70s building Monogram & Revell model airplanes, I remember warm water slightly increased the elasticity of a decal, and even seemed to have an effect on the glue.  They seemed to bond better.   Has anyone had similar results with the DIY decals?

Tom

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