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Decal tips
goldstandard
_VISITCOMMUNITY
California, United States
Joined: March 29, 2007
KitMaker: 208 posts
AeroScale: 186 posts
Posted: Tuesday, May 01, 2007 - 12:19 PM UTC
Since I haven't seen much activity here, I have decided for the benefit of beginners to post some tips about decaling. I am somewhat new to the hobby myself so these tips are by no means everything there is to know about decal application.

1. Always prepare properly before applying the decals. I always cut up the decal sheet so that each piece is isolated and ready to dip in the water. You want to make sure the surface you apply the decals to is nice and glossy, to help minimize silvering. Silvering is the occurence of small air bubbles under the surface of the decal which ruins the painted on effect you are striving for.

2. Have the right tools. At a minimum this is a container of water, a sharp hobby knife, a brush, decal softener or solvent, (I prefer something mild, it's more forgiving) and Future or Klear, any good acrylic sealer will do. (It helps protect the paint too, one time I used my decal softener on a gloss paint job where I omitted the Future, and it softened the enamel paint as well!) A piece of cloth or paper towel to soak up excess water is handy as well.

3. Allow the decal enough time for the water to soak all the way through the backing, so it slides easily off the paper. When ready, hold the decal in the desired spot over your model, and use a brush to slide the decal into position. A trick I learned to aid final positioning is to slightly wet the surface where the decal will be placed. This way you can more easily slide the decal without tearing it.

4. I usually wait for the decal to dry a bit before applying the decal softener. What I do is take a brush and lightly apply a thin layer over the whole decal, gently pressing the decal into recessed details. It may wrinkle the decal, don't panic this is normal and should correct itself after it dries. If after the decal is dry you still havent made it flush with the surface, repeat the process until you get the desired result. Use a sharp needle for stubborn bubbles, but NEVER ever touch the decal with your finger, it will tear right off.

5. Finally, apply a few thin layers of Future to help even out the surface so the decal looks painted on. Then when you are done apply the final clear coat, and you are done!


Any suggestions about anything I may have overlooked?
_H_Dori
_VISITCOMMUNITY
England - East Anglia, United Kingdom
Joined: November 09, 2006
KitMaker: 295 posts
AeroScale: 276 posts
Posted: Tuesday, May 01, 2007 - 03:35 PM UTC
Brilliant thank you.
I had already done some of those things but not all. I had found that using a brush wan't actually moving the decals but I think it may be because I wasn't leaving them in the water for long enough.
Didn't know about painting a touch of Klear over them when dry either.

Thanks again most helpful

H
goldstandard
_VISITCOMMUNITY
California, United States
Joined: March 29, 2007
KitMaker: 208 posts
AeroScale: 186 posts
Posted: Wednesday, May 02, 2007 - 02:31 AM UTC
Just make sure you let the water soak into the decal while it is on the paper towel, and not in the bucket of water!

Some decals are harder to work with than others, I have noticed. It also helps to use a large enough brush to provide enough contact with the decal to actually be able to move it. With the tiny decals sometimes I just take a brush, move it completely off the backing and then stick it in place.
JPTRR
Staff MemberManaging Editor
RAILROAD MODELING
#051
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Tennessee, United States
Joined: December 21, 2002
KitMaker: 7,419 posts
AeroScale: 3,065 posts
Posted: Wednesday, May 02, 2007 - 05:49 AM UTC

Quoted Text

4. I usually wait for the decal to dry a bit before applying the decal softener. What I do is take a brush and lightly apply a thin layer over the whole decal, gently pressing the decal into recessed details. It may wrinkle the decal, don't panic this is normal and should correct itself after it dries. If after the decal is dry you still havent made it flush with the surface, repeat the process until you get the desired result. Use a sharp needle for stubborn bubbles, but NEVER ever touch the decal with your finger, it will tear right off.



Golden words of advice, Goldstandard. I have tips:

Instead of wetting the area to receive the decal with water, use the setting solution--they tend to be "wetter", slipperier.

Instead of using a brush or whatnot to apply the softener or more setting solution, do not touch the decal at all--use a pipette! Yes, hearken back to our carefree days as kids making soap bubbles! A pipette like you suck paint from the bottles from, have one dedicated to the solution. The trick is to slurp up some solution and then squirt it back into the container--there will be just enough to create a bubble of setting or solving solution at the tip of the pipette; touch this bubble of solution to the decal! You can even "paint" it around on the decal. No contact and friction whatsoever on the tender decal, except for whatever resistance a bubble of decal set will cause.
jam2727
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Victoria, Australia
Joined: June 28, 2007
KitMaker: 171 posts
AeroScale: 113 posts
Posted: Friday, June 29, 2007 - 08:13 PM UTC
Thanks for the tips mate, i havent started decaling my planes so this was a bit of helpful advice before i start to decal.