Using our Decals

Understanding how our decals are manufactured may help when applying them. We use Microscale’s high quality decal film exclusively for our in-house printing. Unlike traditional Silk Screened decals, our decals are printed using toner ink. We print on top of the clear film. This makes the decals prone to scratching if not handled properly. Screen Printers, like Microscale and Cartograf, print on uncoated decal paper then apply a clear film over the top. It’s not necessary to clear coat our decals but if you feel more comfortable you may do so without damage. Products like Testors #1261T Glosscote (Testors #9200 Decal Boner is no longer available) or Microscale Liquid Decal Film can be used. Weather you coat these decals or not, do not drag hard objects like tweezers or your fingernail over the surface. Once the decals are applied, a final clear finish over the entire model will help seal the deal. Following the application instructions below will help insure a pleasant experience.

Handy tip: White and yellow lettering printed on light blue decal paper is very hard to see. Makes it practically impossible to cut out small data. Flip the sheet over and color the back with a black Sharpie. This will bleed through the paper and make the lettering show up nicely. It will not effect the decal’s performance.

Instructions for applying our waterslide decals: 

  • Fill a small bowl with warm water ( I use an electric coffee cup warmer to keep the bowl warm.)
  • Carefully cut the desired decal out of the sheet with a sharp X-Acto knife or Scissors. Cut as close as possible to the decal. Some excess film is okay as it will mostly disappear with the final step.
  • Fully submerge the decal into the warm water for about 10-15 seconds while holding it with a pair of tweezers.
  • DO NOT let the decal sit in the water without holding it. If it separates in the water you will have a hard time getting it out of the water without it curling.
  • Lay the decal (still on the backing paper) onto the side of the model.
  • Carefully slide the decal off the backing paper onto the model being careful not to let the edges curl under. Be careful not to scratch the decal surface with the tweezers.
  • Keep the surface of the model wet until you get the decal positioned where you want it.
  • After it’s in position, carefully soak up any water using the edge of a paper towel.
  • At this point you can let the decal set for a few seconds.
  • Next apply one coat of your favorite decal setting solution (I prefer Walther’s Solvaset.) DO NOT apply additional setting solution until the first coat is dry or you will move and/or ruin the decal. (Don’t ask me how I know)
  • Additional applications of setting solution may be required to help the decal snuggle down over details.
  • Be very careful not to touch the model in the decal area until it is dry. (Don’t ask me how I know this either)
  • Once the model is completely dry, it’s recommended to give the entire model a uniform finish of clear coat. Any commercial model paint clear finish will work as long as it’s compatible with the paint on your model.
  • Lastly, the best advice I can give is take your time and don’t rush!

These guidelines will work for most any waterslide decal products on the market. Please let us know if you have any questions.


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