Decal paper: are there good choices and bad?

Rob Caswell

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2021
Messages
93
Reaction score
186
Location
Western Massachusetts
It's only been the last 4-5 months that I've started doing my own decals, using inkjet output. I've been using Micromark's sheets and they've done "well enough". They may be a bit thick... but I'm not sure as I haven't used any other brands yet. So I'm wondering if there much quality variation in the inkjet decal paper out there? I'd be interested in hearing what folks have been using and how pleased they are with the results.

As a bit of eye candy, here's one of the markings I did recently for an upscale clone of Estes' first RTF offering, the Vampire (from the Estes Firing Line series of the early 70's.

--Rob

VD-trf.jpg
 

neil_w

OpenRocketeer
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jul 14, 2015
Messages
14,539
Reaction score
8,058
Location
Northern NJ
I started off using the Expert's Choice paper from Bare Metal Foil... it was fine. Then I tried the Sunnyscopa paper available a bit cheaper on Amazon. And I have found it to be fine as well, and will stick with it for now.

I wonder how much difference there really is between the different inkjet papers.
 
Last edited:

GlueckAuf

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2016
Messages
282
Reaction score
291
Location
Sterling Heights, MI
I’ve had pretty good luck with both the white and clear inkjet decal paper that Sirius Rocketry markets. Based on the printing on the back of the sheets, it seems to be the same product as what Testors sells, but available in letter size sheets (8-1/2” x 11”). The only Testors sheet size I’ve found is half that at 5-1/2” x 8-1/2”— too small for some of my larger rockets’ graphics, so the larger sheets from Sirius are more versatile.

The only issue I’ve had with either brand is the tendency to curl sometimes, making it hard to flatten the decal on the rocket. This seems to be associated more with the clear coat one must apply after printing, though, so more experimentation is needed. Daubing the excess water away during positioning seems to mitigate that.
 
Joined
May 8, 2020
Messages
3,142
Reaction score
3,000
Location
Oahu, Hawaii
The only issue I’ve had with either brand is the tendency to curl sometimes, making it hard to flatten the decal on the rocket. This seems to be associated more with the clear coat one must apply after printing, though, so more experimentation is needed. Daubing the excess water away during positioning seems to mitigate that.

This happened recently with white decal sheets on my Sidewinder clone. I had to use thick CA to keep some of the edges down. When I tried thin CA, it melted the decal paper. Over the past year, this is the only time this has happened including previous usage of the same pack of white decal sheets.
 

smstachwick

LPR/MPR sport flier with an eye to HPR and scale
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jul 29, 2021
Messages
2,325
Reaction score
2,130
Location
Poway, CA
I used the Spin It waterslide paper from We R Memory Keepers on my Estes Goblin after I ruined the stock ones. The decals themselves seemed to be exceptionally fragile but the jury is out on whether this was because of the paper, my clear coat, or my application technique. I’d be curious to see if anyone has gotten really good results with this paper and if so, what the trick is.
 

Rob Caswell

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2021
Messages
93
Reaction score
186
Location
Western Massachusetts
Has anyone ever found a brand of decal paper to be *bad*?

I had problems with both the Sunyscopa and PrinterJack decal papers.... but it was months ago and the shortcomings have blurred in my brain. I think both had challenges with finding a profile that would yield a decent WYSIWYG result... and IIRC, one of them had rather disappointing color density. There were also curling edges which made (one or the other) products maddening to use.

After branching out and trying some alternatives, I went back to using Micro Mark sheets in that they seemed the most reliable (for inkjet). But I'm still open to suggestions. There's room for improvement.
 

Grog6

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jul 18, 2021
Messages
775
Reaction score
651
Location
Oak Ridge TN
I ended up with three sheets from somewhere, that my hp printers' ink refused to dry on.
It was still smeary 3 weeks later. I took a tissue and some iso and wiped the ink off, and still have it. :)
So did I buy some for toner by mistake? :)
 

neil_w

OpenRocketeer
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jul 14, 2015
Messages
14,539
Reaction score
8,058
Location
Northern NJ
I ended up with three sheets from somewhere, that my hp printers' ink refused to dry on.
It was still smeary 3 weeks later. I took a tissue and some iso and wiped the ink off, and still have it. :)
So did I buy some for toner by mistake? :)
Sounds like. Did it not have a watermark on the back saying what kind of paper it was?
 

Grog6

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jul 18, 2021
Messages
775
Reaction score
651
Location
Oak Ridge TN
No, it's blank.
I'm considering buying a color laser, but the cost of toner is reprehensible; they've switched to the razo/blades theory, and betting you wont change to another vendor until they soak you.
 

caveduck

semi old rocketeer
Joined
Jun 6, 2011
Messages
1,766
Reaction score
473
I haven't heard of it before. What attributes make it good and where is it sold? What other brands have you tried?
The manufacturer's site is duradecal.com. Unfortunately it looks like they are winding down production as most items are listed as sold out, though they will make 100-sheet packs of 8.5x11 on special order. You can also still find it on Amazon. I've used it for years and have a good supply - it had really nice film uniformity, took ink well and came in good packaging. Back when I started inkjet-printing decals I had some Bel brand material which was terrible, when wetted you often couldn't get the decal to slide off without destroying it. You don't hear about that stuff too much anymore.
 
Top