SlotForum banner

Making Waterslide Decals

5285 Views 35 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  GDSLOT
I bought some waterslide decals recently, and they were complete rubbish. Four of the sheets were really badly printed, the last time I saw colour printing so bad it was done on a 9 pin dot matrix. One sheet was a little better, so I tried to use it only to discover that the printing floated off the decal along with the backing paper and they look terrible on the car. These were from scalextric-car. just to be clear, I have previously bought transfers from PSR and they were great quality.

I decided that I may as well make my own, but couldn't seem to find much information here about it. Has anyone done it, and if so do you have any tips you can share? I have found some paper available locally and checked the instructions, I'm using an inkjet so will need to spray them with a clear topcoat. But I'm sure there are probably some do's and don'ts that I should know. Any tips gratefully received.
1 - 4 of 36 Posts
This is my method..

1) I design set my background resolution in my graphics program to 1200 dpi
2) If your program has them use a separate layer for each image, this makes later edits easier
3) when importing designs or images load to a new tab if you can
4) do any editing and cropping needed and if possible copy this in to a new tab or page
5) change the resolution of this new image to 1200 dpi
6) resize this new image, in mm, to the required size
7) copy and paste this new image to the original page
8) check each image and recolour or paint/fill as required, this is important with imported images. also make sure the background is clear or perfect white, it can also be a colour if printing on white decal paper
9) repeat as required until you have all the decals required

10) do a test print on photo paper at your printers highest resolution, your graphics program my confirm the print resolution.
11) assuming all is well you can print you decal sheet, if any errors now is the time to correct them.
12) set the decal sheet a side for at least 24 hours
13) spray the sheet with 2 or 3 coats of lacquer or clearcoat
14) if you have only printed a part sheet you can use brush on varnish or decal sealer or mask and spray

well that's my method

a few extra tips hints..

If you are printing only a few decals I tend to spread them out as I find, with my printer, I can brush seal and after cutting out I can re-use the sheet without problems. I just make sure I avoid the sealed parts of the sheet when placing the next lot of decals.

If the decals has white parts that have a full colour border I will hide all other layers and then first recolour the white to another colour then if there is enough room I add a think border in the same colour then a single pixel black boarder and then change the coloured part back to white. This is then printed on white decal paper and when ready I cut around the black line. This is then placed on the model first and allowed to fully set before the colour decal is placed on to. If the white part of the image is complicated you can print the full image on the white decal paper and the cut inside the image to produce the base layer. Either will work so long as the base layer is smaller than the top decal, you just need a good eye.
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 3
Frederic, would you not be better of printing from the vector graphics program. I don't use pdf as I am never sure that I am getting the maximum possible resolution. I can save from my graphics program to PDF at 1200dpi but i do not see any advantage in doing another conversion to the graphics. If I was working from scratch I think I would also use vector graphics as they are so easy to resize but would not do any conversions before printing.

Frederic, no seria millor imprimir des del programa de gràfics vectorials. No faig servir pdf ja que no estic mai segur que obtindré la màxima resolució possible. Puc guardar del meu programa de gràfics a PDF a 1200 dpi, però no veig cap avantatge en fer una altra conversió als gràfics. Si estigués treballant des de zero, crec que també faria servir gràfics vectorials, ja que són tan fàcils de canviar la mida, però no faria cap conversió abans d'imprimir.

Dave, I remember doing that back in the day but not always very successfully, even painting varnish on to plain paper then painting trying, normally not very well, a design and then doing the same trick.

GDSlot, you don't need a fancy, read expensive, graphics program as most of the free download ones will work fine. While layers are nice again you don't need them of if available you don't need to use them. The main advantage of layers is that the can save a lot of extra work such as when making my white backgrounds but they are completely optional. Most graphics programs handle text very well and a lot will let you drag to resize so not limited to point font sizes and other effects can be added.

Not having used Word, other than for text based documents, how do you change the output resolution?
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 2
One other, in theory, advantage with most graphics programs is that you can adjust the colour base used so the out put colours can be set to match the on screen colours you see if you have loaded the matching monitor driver files or even match the colours to set printing colour sets used by print shops. I haven't tried any of this yet and have just used sRBG as it seems to be the default for most programs.

GD, give it a go, down load a graphics program and have a play. Nothing to lose apart from a bit of time. The only things you need to know are the maximum resolution of your printer so you can set the page resolution to match, or as close as possible, when creating a new page in the program. 😇
  • Like
Reactions: 1
Hi Fredric,

Real problem have both threads running at the same time.

If they are running Windows then jpg or bmp are suitable formats that they will be able to print from any graphics program or the default windows viewer. The same should apply to Apple although I believe the default option is png.

If you are happy with the results then there is no need to change but are you getting the best resolution from their printer?

Hola Fredric,

El problema real és que tots dos fils s’executen al mateix temps.

Si utilitzen Windows, jpg o bmp són formats adequats que podran imprimir des de qualsevol programa gràfic o des del visor de Windows per defecte. El mateix s’hauria d’aplicar a Apple, tot i que crec que l’opció predeterminada és PNG.

Si esteu satisfets amb els resultats, no cal que canvieu, però obteniu la millor resolució de la impressora?
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 1
1 - 4 of 36 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.