Making Decals

B&O GLENNWOOD Feb 20, 2012


    B&O GLENNWOOD TrainBoard Member

    NEED HELP now that CHAMP is gone and so are the Private Road Name Decals I need a way to print my own Can anyone explain in very simple form how I can do this P.S. I am not very good with the computer so this has to be Idiot Proof I also know that the computer does not print White Please let me know what software I need and the materials needed and how to do this Thank you in advance for any help you can provide on this subject Paul
  2. Nick Lorusso

    Nick Lorusso TrainBoard Member


    B&O GLENNWOOD TrainBoard Member

    I dont plan on having enough equipment lettered to make going to a firm worth the cost So this is something I must do myself But I do plan on doing a number of one of a kind cars for some of my industries So if anyone has done this please help if you can
  4. MisterBeasley

    MisterBeasley TrainBoard Supporter

    Step 1 is to plan ahead with your graphics. Computer printers expect you to use white paper, so all the light colors, yellow, pastel blue, pink and such, are very thin. If you apply a light-colored decal to a dark surface you will be disappointed. For this trolley, I chose a dark maroon shade over a light cream background.


    Next, time for some encouragement. This is the first home-made decal I ever did. It's not rocket science, and it doesn't take a degree in fine arts, either.

    Decal paper comes in either Laser or Inkjet types. Neither will work on the wrong printer, so make sure you match the decal paper to the box on your desk. I found a nearby hobby shop that stocks decal paper, a brand called Experts Choice which seems to work fine for me. While you're at a hobby shop, pick up 3 little bottles from MicroMark: Micro Set, Micro Sol, and Liquid Decal Film. Other companies make similar products.

    I use Microsoft Word to print my decals. You can download a vast number of fonts for free, so look around and find what you want. The trolley is done with Goldrush. When I print, I set the margins very small, and the top margin very high, so that I make maximum use of the decal paper. At least for inkjet, you don't have to use the whole sheet at once. Typically, I only print an inch or two of decals. Then, I take the paper to my wife's paper cutter to get a nice, clean, straight edge, and I can feed the rest of the paper through again. (I'm not an artist, but I am a Scot.) Word can also be used to print artwork. I've downloaded a lot of images of old advertising signs, re-sized them in Word, and printed exactly what I wanted. It's as easy as it sounds.

    OK, you've printed the decals and cut a strip from the main sheet. Next, lay them down on a flat surface and put something on the edges to keep the paper from curling. Wait a couple of hours for the ink to dry thoroughly, and then apply a coat of Liquid Decal Film with a small, cheap paintbrush. Let it dry for a few hours and give it another coat. (These are Inkjet provisions, by the way. Lasers may not need the coating, but I don't know from personal experience.)

    To get a good application, you need a good surface. I used a gloss paint on that trolley, so it was already smooth, but you may need to apply a layer of satin or gloss overcoat to get a good surface.

    After that, you've got decals. Use the MicroSet as a surface preparation to "float" the decal into place. If you're on a rough surface, like maybe a grill or a riveted side, wait until the decal is dry and then use MicroSol to soften the decal and allow it to settle into the uneven spaces. Finally, give the whole thing a coat of satin or Dul-Coat spray to seal the decal on.
  5. Fotheringill

    Fotheringill Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    1. Beasley pertty much summed it up.
    2. You are not going to print white without an Alps printer and ink- no longer available except on e-bay at very high cost or one of the new Kodak or similar $10,000 printers.
    3. I spent an agonizing summer trying to match up decal color to background (model) color and failed.
    4. I compromised and now print in black. My proprietary line uses a raw sienna on its rolling stock and the black shows up nicely.
  6. sandro schaer

    sandro schaer TrainBoard Member


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