### Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

#### jdud

##### Well-Known Member
I was wondering if anyone else has ever experience the following problem. This has happened a couple of times now.

I print my decals for a clone I am working on, let them sit around for a couple of weeks, then clear them with Krylon; again, let them sit around for a few weeks to fully cure. Then, when I finally finish the project and apply the decals, the clear coat seems to crack and the colors either chip or smear/run. If do this exact procedure over a couple/few days, no problems.

I guess the Krylon clear is not very flexible once it fully cures. I always thought it would be better to let the decals and clear fully cure since I would be dipping them in water.

Does anyone have better results with other clear coat materials?

#### stantonjtroy

##### Well-Known Member
I use the Krylon Crystal Clear on all of my custome made decals and I've made hundreds in this fasion. I use an HP all in one deskjet and Micro-Mark decal paper for inkjet only (they make a multi use as well as a laser print paper). I useally print, let that dry for an hour or so. Apply the clear in two light coats about 5min apartand let that dry for an hour or two. Then cut and apply. For those times when I want to print days in advance of actually applying them I'll print and not clearcoat until needed.
This has work consistantly for me without fail
FWIW

#### tbzep

##### Well-Known Member
As an additional precaution to prevent cracking, don't let the decals curl up when you put them in water. Hold them straight until they relax.

#### jdud

##### Well-Known Member
Great tips. I'm using an Epson inkjet with inkjet decal paper (Bel Decal). I think my problem is letting them sit around too long after I clear them.

Also, has anyone used Micro Sol with this type decal paper? Micro sol seems to work great on factory decals; however, the Bel Decal paper seems thicker and the Micro sol tends to curl and/or wrinkle as it dries.

#### hcmbanjo

##### Well-Known Member
Over the past year, I've learned a lot when making my own decals.

The first set I made was only clear coated once. I let it dry for a few hours and had the images lift, bleed and break apart. At a dollar a sheet, I wasn't happy.

One the second try, I did four clear coats. No problems now.

Even though you set your printer for a "presentation print" the finished decal is not as opaque as I would like.

Last year a post said something to the effect of: "Home printed decals are a different animal."
They are a great tool for custom or cloned models but not as good as a silk screened decal.

#### MarkII

##### Well-Known Member
I have often read that Krylon Clear is not at all kind to decals. I'm surprised that Troy gets away with it. Testor's Dullcoat supposedly works much better, but it is known to impart a slight yellowish cast that may get darker with age. I sprayed one coat of Dullcoat on the decals for my Wizard three years ago to toughen them up a bit before I cut them out and applied them. (I had also brushed on a single coat of Microscale Liquid Decal Film beforehand and a couple of coats of Future afterward, while they were still on the sheet. These were waterslide 70's-'80's style Wizard decals from Excelsior, not the vinyl peel 'n stick type that are in the current Wizard kit.) Yes, there is a very subtle yellowish tone to them, but you have to get up very close and look really hard to see it. After I applied them, I coated them with more Future (a k a Pledge with Future Shine). They have held up perfectly, with no cracking or chipping, and the yellowing has not darkened or changed in any way. Maybe the overcoating with Future has had something to do with that, but I don't know. I believe that the only reason that the yellow cast from the Dullcoat is even visible at all is because the decals are applied over gloss white paint. If they were applied over a darker background color, I doubt that you would be able to see it at all.

But beware of applying more than one coat of Dullcoat. I also have a set of Apogoon decals that I never got around to applying (mainly because the Apogoon has been covered just in primer for the past four years ). A few years ago I gave the set three coats of Dullcoat. They have sat in their light-proof envelope ever since, but in that time these decals have significantly yellowed to the point that they really aren't usable anymore.

So one coat of Testor's Dullcoat sprayed on one set of my decals was OK, but three coats sprayed on another set darkened them so much that I will have to replace them. Just a bit of info FYI.

Note that in the attached photo, the flash caused the camera to pick up and emphasize the yellowing in the decal. If you look at the real thing, the yellow is nowhere near as apparent.

MarkII

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#### powderburner

##### Well-Known Member
Great tips. I'm using an Epson inkjet with inkjet decal paper (Bel Decal).
I have an Epson CX5000 (two of them, actually, but that's another story). When I first got it I tried some decals but my print quality was terrible. I chalked it up to the Epson was somehow not good for this task. I haven't gotten around to buying another HP but in the mean time---

Are there settings I somewhere for this stupid thing I should be using to make my decals better color/sharper/etc? Are you using "official" Epson ink cartridges? I have some Testors brand paper from decalgear.com, is there paper that works better? Got any clever tricks to make this thing work better before it accidentally falls through the ceiling?

#### sodmeister

##### Well-Known Member
I have always used Testors decal paper on my HP inkjet and top off with Testors Glosscote # 1261 lacquer spray ,4 light coats ,let dry a couple days.

Cut the decals into individual parts and dip into hot water for 10 seconds ,wet the area where the decal is to be applied and ,using tweezers slide er off ,possition and blot flat & dry.

They turn out pretty nice actually and a final few coats of clear and voila !

But as mentioned ,you cant beat silk screen decals.I`ve done a thousand decals (1/48 scale plastic model aircraft) and aftermarket as well as stock in box can all be different animals in the way they react to the water you soak them in (as in almost has to be boiling) to the decal solvent used to make them settle and suck down into details.

Future as a solvent is one of my favorites !!

Paul

#### MarkII

##### Well-Known Member
I have an Epson CX5000 (two of them, actually, but that's another story). When I first got it I tried some decals but my print quality was terrible. I chalked it up to the Epson was somehow not good for this task. I haven't gotten around to buying another HP but in the mean time---

Are there settings I somewhere for this stupid thing I should be using to make my decals better color/sharper/etc? Are you using "official" Epson ink cartridges? I have some Testors brand paper from decalgear.com, is there paper that works better? Got any clever tricks to make this thing work better before it accidentally falls through the ceiling?
Can you set it to print in Photo Quality? In the Print Dialogue for my HP, I can specify the type of paper that I am using. If I tell it that I am printing on photo paper, it will set itself to print at a much higher resolution than it uses even on the "Best" setting. This works even if I am not actually using photo paper. Also see if you can tell the printer that you are printing on transparencies; that might work better, too.

MarkII

#### MarkII

##### Well-Known Member
Also, I only use the printer's own brand of ink cartridges (in your case, powderburner, that would be Epson) if I want the printer to actually work like it is supposed to. IOW, all the time. I tried using a knock-off version of HP cartridges in mine once, and they leaked all over the inside of the printer. And even before they leaked, the print quality with them was noticeably inferior.

I save quite a few bucks by buying my HP printer cartridges at Sam's Club.

MarkII

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#### stantonjtroy

##### Well-Known Member
Keep in mind Krylon makes four or five different kinds of clear. I use the Krystal Clear for decals. I've even used it to thicken the flimsy thin decals Estes sent with my intercepter.
I'm printing on an HP 1350. Set paper type to transperencies. This will keep the image sharp and opaque.
FWIW

#### tbzep

##### Well-Known Member
I've used both Krylon Crystal Clear and Krylon UV Resistant Clear with great results. Both are acrylics.

#### Samuron

##### Well-Known Member
I have an Epson CX5000 (two of them, actually, but that's another story). When I first got it I tried some decals but my print quality was terrible. I chalked it up to the Epson was somehow not good for this task. I haven't gotten around to buying another HP but in the mean time---

Are there settings I somewhere for this stupid thing I should be using to make my decals better color/sharper/etc? Are you using "official" Epson ink cartridges? I have some Testors brand paper from decalgear.com, is there paper that works better? Got any clever tricks to make this thing work better before it accidentally falls through the ceiling?
I have an Epson R300, and I had a tough time getting it to work right; it would look fine right after printing, but would degrade rapidly. I think the ink was beading up on the Testors paper.

This has produced reliable results for me: print with the Epson set on "plain paper" and "photo"; immediately dry with hair dryer, and give a light coating of sealer. When that is completely dry, apply two heavier coats of sealer until sheet has a smooth coating.

#### rokitflite

##### Well-Known Member
Personally I would not let the clear coat dry more than overnight so that it may still have SOME flex to it when you handle the decals.

#### jdud

##### Well-Known Member
I have an Epson R300, and I had a tough time getting it to work right; it would look fine right after printing, but would degrade rapidly. I think the ink was beading up on the Testors paper.
I use an Epson R200 and had the same problem with the Epson brand inks - I believe they are formulated to be used with Epson brand papers. I ordered some much cheaper off/brand ink from ABCink.com - no more beading, great color matching. This is contrary to some of the other comments regarding off/brand ink.

I also have a much newer Epson all-in-one printer (can't remember the model number as I'm not at home right now) that does a horrible job of color matching. What you see on the screen is not what comes out of the printer - reds are pink or maroon etc.

#### snuggles

##### Well-Known Member
MIcroscale liquid decal film is what you want.
Print the decals, brush the product on, let dry throughly, cut as close to the colors as you can and apply.
Works slick.
You might try searching by the model railroad area of the hobby shop for it.
It works on old decals too.
Good luck
Mark T

#### rokitflite

##### Well-Known Member
MIcroscale liquid decal film is what you want.
Print the decals, brush the product on, let dry throughly, cut as close to the colors as you can and apply.
Works slick.
You might try searching by the model railroad area of the hobby shop for it.
It works on old decals too.
Good luck
Mark T

Seriously? Liquid decal film is alcohol based. You have had good luck brushing this over inkjet printed decals? It never worked that way for me.

#### snuggles

##### Well-Known Member
I had some decals printed by a friend,I do not know if they were inkjet printed or not. Worked OK for me.
Sorry for the confusion.

#### MarkII

##### Well-Known Member
Ink-jet printed decals require the application of a sealer before they can be used in any event. Otherwise the ink will simply dissolve away when you dip the decals in water. You must do that already on your ink-jet printed decals, right? Liquid decal film just thickens the decal slightly and makes it tougher and easier to apply, and keeps it from disintegrating so readily. The decal medium on decal paper is extremely thin and notoriously fragile. At least it is for tyros like me, anyway; I use plenty of liquid decal film (3 coats at least) because I need all the help I can get.

MarkII

#### jdud

##### Well-Known Member
I think I may have figured out my problem with the decals. On Thanksgiving evening I tried again with a fresh set of decals - printed and then clearcoated with Krylon Crystal Clear the day before. No cracking this time, however, my colors were still bleeding - ruining the decals. So I was frustrated and packed everything away - I had officially given up.

This morning I was thinking of my technique and what I might be doing wrong. I sometimes put a squirt of soap in the dipping water and thought this may have been dissolving the acrylic clearcoat, so I tried again w/o soap. the remaining decals went on perfect. So, I'll reprint the decals that were ruined and see if I can get my Orbital Interceptor clone completed. I'll try to post an image if everything turns out.

#### Pat_B

##### Well-Known Member
Sometimes it helps to cut the decals prior to clear coating them so that the edges also get coated. Helps prevent the water from getting in sideways and dissolving the ink.

Some hobby shops have also had their decal paper sitting on their shelves for too long and the old decal paper is more prone to cracking.

All in all, there are a lot of variables between decal papers and printers and clear coats. It'll cost a little bit of money in experminting before it works out well.

#### dpower

##### Well-Known Member
Seriously? Liquid decal film is alcohol based. You have had good luck brushing this over inkjet printed decals? It never worked that way for me.
I've used microscale decal film over my canon inkjet printer decals a few times, and its worked fine. Its a photo printer, so maybe the inks are a different formulation than other injkets?

#### stantonjtroy

##### Well-Known Member
Archival Inks will improve the overall life and fade restance but those suckers are expensive!:eyepop:

#### Stymye

##### Well-Known Member
nobody has mentioned the age?quality of the decal paper.
this will also be a cause for wrinkling or "flakey" decals

oh btw.... hi everyone

#### rokitflite

##### Well-Known Member
nobody has mentioned the age?quality of the decal paper.
this will also be a cause for wrinkling or "flakey" decals

oh btw.... hi everyone
He's Alive!!!

Hey Stymye!

MarkII