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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The workshop » » Waterslide decals (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

gimpy2
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I have a stained wood box/tube. I would like to put some scroll type designs on it to give it an old timey look.

Are there any suppliers with ready made decals out there?

Can you apply these over shelac?

If I print my own,whats the best paper to use?

Any info would be helpful as this will be a new venture for me.

Thanks, Gimpy
Spellbinder
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Print out your own decals with your computer printer:

http://www.decalpaper.com/

Get your designs from Dover Press: http://store.doverpublications.com/048640465x.html

The above is only one example of designs available.
Professor Spellbinder

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Bill Hegbli
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Spellbinder, that's for that site info, I use to buy decals from the hardware store, but they went out of business and could not find a resource, I searched the internet and did not find anything on decals.

Now I can get my props decorated again.
Leland Stone
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For what it's worth, I had consistently horrible results using DecalPaper products on a variety of substrates (porous/non-porous) following -- with absolute fidelity -- the printed directions accompanying the product. Edge lifting and graphic running were the most common problems. Perhaps I got a bad batch, but results from several of the leaves tried (out of 50 that I'd ordered) were unacceptable.

For the short run product I needed to do at the time, I switched to LazerTrans, a brand of water slip decal sold by local art supplies dealers (probably available online at Dick Blick, etc.). In my experience, this product was more reliable.

Your mileage may vary Smile.

Leland
Spellbinder
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I defer to the voice of experience. Leland obviously has had more experience in this and I would follow his advice.
Professor Spellbinder

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Ron Reid
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Another option is to buy waterslide decals on ebay. Go to the "tole decals" section in the crafts area. Or better yet, put "Meyercord decals" in the main search window.

Ron
tabman
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Since Ive never used decals on the stuff I make I have a question for you decalmen: Do you clear coat the decals with poly or something else after you apply them? What keeps them from eventually getting nicks and coming lose around the edges? Again, the last decal I applied was on a model airplane 50 years ago but I follow most of the conversations in the workshop and this is interesting.

Thanks.

-=tab
...Your professional woodworking and "tender" loving care in the products you make, make the wait worthwhile. Thanks for all you do...

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Michael Baker
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I find Leland's thoughts on Decalpaper v. Lazertran interesting. I actually prefer Decalpaper over Lazertran. Let me give a little experience history to explain.

I began with Lazertran, and while the images were fairly good, I found the decal itself to be too thick, causing an edge, almost as if the decal was decoupage. In fact, I have applied printed images to objects by decoupage, with less of an edge. However, it was all that I had found at the time. Then, the local art supply stores became very lazy in restocking the product, even by request.

I next began using Testors decal paper, when I found it at Hobby Lobby. Several advantages. It was usually in stock. The paper was thinner, and you could buy it white background, clear, or mixed packs of both. Disadvantage was that it was not cheap, and it only came in 8.5" x 5.5" sheets. The instructions also said that a special Testors spray fixative was required. More expense, and more on that in a moment.

I then did what I should have done all along... check online. This is when I found Bel Decal. They carried the same stock as testors, but in full sheets (8.5" x 11"), and also in oversize for those who have access to printers that can handle the larger stock. They also have other specialty decal papers which I have not tried, but which should have advantages by situation.

ALL inkjet decals must be sealed prior to use. Otherwise the water-based inks will run like a scalded ape when you dip them. You can use clear lacquer, enamel, poly, or perhaps other fixatives. Remember that I mentioned Testors? No need to pay their inflated price. I have found that Krylon lacquer works best for me. The reason is that it remains flexible for a period of time. This is important, as hard-drying clear coats will crack as the decal is being applied (it is common for them to be stretched slightly during application). This will cause either gaps to open, and the inks then prone to water damage, or will results in a cracked image, with fine, hair-like crazing in the printed image (the ink cracks while the flexible paper under it stretches).

The amount of clear coat really depends on the application, and as I have found, the size of the decal. The larger the decal, the more clear coats you may need, as these add strength to an otherwise delicate decal.

Re: Edge lifting - - Common cause of this is over-soaking the decal. basically, the glue is washed away, and insufficient to seal down the edges. Best solution is to dip the decal in water for just a few seconds, and then lay it on a paper towel. This will absorb much o the water, and the decal glues will gradually soften, allowing the decal to slide across the surface of the backing paper.

How long to soak the decal? This depends on a couple things. The warmer the water, the less time it takes for the glue to soften. The larger the decal, the longer it takes for the complete decal to be ready.

Rule(s) of thumb - - Decals will tend to curl when first dipped in water (small decals not so much). When the curl just begins to relax is the best time to remove it from the water. If you notice the edges of the decal beginning to lift away from the backing paper, it is usually too long, and may lead to problems. Lightly shake the water from the decal and lay it on the paper towel (face up). Give it a bit of time (experiement with this based on the decal size), and the decal should begin to slide sideways when lightly pushed. Don't force it, or you'll damage it.

This is the proper time to begin the application process. Don't wait too long, or you'll lose the best glue adhesion.

Application can sometimes be tricky, as careless application will lead to air bubbles underneath. Often, these cannot be avoided, but careful stroking of the bubbles toward the closest edge, will usually eliminate them.

Light wiping with a paper towel will get rid of excess water and also help smooth the decal. Just be careful not to move or damage the decal in the process. Wipe from center to the edge, NEVER the other way. You can put a finger on the opposite free side of the decal to help keep it in place.

Allow the decal to dry good before clear coating your protective coats. Prior to top coating, should you notice any lifted edges, these can be sealed down with clear drying glues. Just be careful not to over apply, and carefully wipe away excess quickly. I've even tacked down edges with clear lacquer, using an X-acto blade to press the offending edge down into the wet lacquer.

I've had good results using different clear top coats, including polyurethane (to answer Tabby's question). I most often use lacquer. These top coats protect the decal from scratch damage, and also help to seal the edges well underneath.

Also, them glossier and smoother the surface you are applying to, the better the adhesion. This may be different with some of the specialty papers I mentioned above, but as mentioned also, I have not tried them.

There are other things that the user will discover through simply doing it often, but for now, this info should get many new decallers started. Smile

~michael
~michael baker
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tabman
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Quote:
On 2009-10-10 15:27, Michael Baker wrote:....I've had good results using different clear top coats, including polyurethane (to answer Tabby's question). I most often use lacquer. These top coats protect the decal from scratch damage, and also help to seal the edges well underneath.....


Wow!!! Makes me want to do something with decals now. Great information and thank you for answering my original question.

-tabman
...Your professional woodworking and "tender" loving care in the products you make, make the wait worthwhile. Thanks for all you do...

http://Sefalaljia.com
gimpy2
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Fantastic Information I will be decaling this week. Cant wait to get everything together and get started.

Thanks for all the great tips ,Gimpy
Leland Stone
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Very good info, Michael, but nothing dissimilar from what I tried with my test of the Bel/decalpaper product (both Websites are for the same distributor). I used a Krylon fixative, as I recall, and removed the decals from the soak as soon as they would slide. Even so, the applied decals lifted as soon as they dried -- "frosting" (developing a milky haze beneath the decal) in the process. A polyurethane topcoat did nothing to remedy this lack of adhesion. I suspected then that the glue was inadequate -- again, perhaps the batch I got was bad -- but I've not gone back to Bel.

Leland
Ray Tupper.
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A branch of my work is called decoupage,basically put,applying paper to wood.
I've been doing this for the last 30 years and never had any problems with residual defects.
The best and most efficient way I've found to do this is to use P.V.A.Glue.
Size the substrate with a thinned version,10:1 water to glue,of the P.V.A.And allow to dry.(it dries clear).
Apply a thinned glue,5:1 water to glue,to the back of the design you wish to apply and position.
Allow to dry.
When dry apply another coat of thinned glue,10:1 water to glue,over everything.
The piece is now ready for polishing.
Due to the fact that the adhesive used is water based and therefore a reasonably malleable(moveable,soft)base,it is best to use an acrylic(water based)clear lacquer.Mixing systems,i.e.water based to solvent based,can lead to reactions during the polishing process and also can lead to crazing(crackling)after any length of time.This is due to a soft movable base being covered by a harder top coat.The use of polyurethane(a soft varnish)is o.k,but it has a yellowing quality,not good for the long haul!
That's why I would recommend the acrylic,as it has U.V.(ultraviolet)inhibiters,which will keep the applied designs cleaner and crisper for a lot longer.
This is a very old practice,akin to gilding,and can give great results if you're prepared to spend the time.
Don't be tempted to lump on heavy coats!The best and most beneficial way is to apply several light coats,abrading with 320 grade paper between coats.
Try this out,it works great with newspaper cuttings,as well as the printed gear you can pick up for free off the net.
Cheers,Ray.
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Michael Baker
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Hi Leland,

I've experienced exactly the problem you are describing. I'll give you my preventative fix in a moment.

First, let me say that I have received a bad batch of decal paper, but the problem manifested itself in the printing process (not sure about the adhesion, because when the decals printed poorly I obviously did not use them). The problem was actually in an entire batch of paper, perhaps 20 sheets.

Secondly, try not to wait until the decal can slide before removing it from the water soak. Leave it in just until the curl begins to relax (just a few seconds with small decals), and lay it on the paper towel to continue soaking. A minute or so later, it will slide nicely, and almost all of the adhesive will still be on the the decal and not washed away in the bowl of water.

Regarding the milky haze, I have definitely had this problem, but believe I have discoverd the cause and the solution. I have found that this is remedied by applying these decal ONLY to highly glossy surfaces. Flat, Satin, or Semi-gloss paints usually result in this milky haze situation. It is still ok to use those other paints, if you are doing so for the color and not the sheen. But before applying the decal, give the piece a few good topcoats with clear gloss. This process not only gives the decal something to cling to, it also makes the decal leaa noticable "as a decal", because the surface of the decal and the surface it is applied to have the same finish initialy.

You should still top coat over the decal after application, for the sake of protection, and although I have not tried this, it may be possible to use a Matt finish topcoat, if that is the finish you desire. (I always use gloss now.)

Depending on where the edges of the decal are, several topcoats (with occassional steel wool buffing in between) will virtually make the edges disappear. I have made several pieces that actually have layers of decals, some with clear back paper, some with white. This is done to get the proper color and opacity desired, but of course it is also desirable to avoid the surface feeling like a sticker on a sticker on a sticker, etc.

Sometimes it can be a long and tedious process, but the experience I've had with these through many projects has resulted in the info I am giving here. Hopefully, this will help anyone wanting to play with these things avoid the frustration and expense of discovering on their own what I have already learned.

Passing it on for what it's worth! Smile

~michael

Edit - - Just noticed Ray's post and want to thank him for his very generous and knowledgable information! I have used decoupage many times, and it is very effective.

The crazing described is actually a process that it sometimes used to create crackle finishes, most often with latex wall paints. There are other ways to accomplish this, too, but the glue barrier is definitely one of the methods that is used.

I would be curious to hear more about the "polishing" process in decoupage. This is something I am not familiar with.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
gimpy2
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So as long as you have a smooth high gloss surface decals will work over stained wood?.... Some of the papers say they are for painted wood.

Gimpy
hugmagic
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I have not tried this but if you are lucky enough to have the Alps printers, you can print on the waterslide paper without fear of it smearing or running. It is not an inkjet but dye sublimination transfer.

I have two of the cheaper MD 1000's.

Here is a link telling about using the alps for waterslide deceals. http://www.jcrocket.com/alpsdecals.shtml.

This was just dumb luck that I had this printer. I liked how it printed color photos but found it was too expensive to use for everyday printing. So it has not been used much. It will probably last forever as long as I can get the ribbons.

Richard
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Michael Baker
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Gimpy,

I have not tried decals on stained wood, but would guess it should work. Since you mentioned high gloss, can I assume this is a clear finish like varnish, poly, lacquer, or similar, and not a waxed finish? These oil or water-based finishes have properties similar to paint. As far as I know, it is the surface smoothness and gloss, rather than the actual chemical that it consists of, although I would have doubts about applying decals to any slow-drying oil finish (Linseed, etc.)

Since there are decals for candles and soap making, it may even work with a waxed finish. This may require one of the specialty papers, though. I do not know. I think experimenting with a test piece would give you those answers.

I do know that Lazertran decals can be applied to wood, using real turpentine to cause the decal to settle into the wood pores. Check their application info here: http://www.lazertran.com/products/lazert......kjet.htm
~michael baker
The Magic Company
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