Looking for some help with homemade decals

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Bill S

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I've been trying to make some homemade decals for my rocket, and have run into a problem. I'm using Micromark inkjet WHITE paper, with a coat of Krylon fixative, and 2 coats of Krylon UV-resistant clear coat (both recommended my micromeister in a post a while ago). Surface of the rocket is a metallic paint from Tamiya, and seems pretty smooth.

I wet the decal paper and let it sit, then slide the decal onto the rocket, pressing out water/air bubbles with Q-tips, starting from the center and moving outwards. Almost immediately the edges start to curl up, and no amount of pressing back down will get them to stay. So I break out some Microsol, and that leaves a wrinkly mess that still curls up.

Fortunately I had printed several copies of the decals so I can start again, but I haven't been able to find much useful info on the Net about this or how to fix it.

Any thoughts as to how to fix this?
 

Zeus-cat

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I found this:

"The edges curl up or the sheet starts to wrinkle

Interestingly, the spray itself leads to this problem. If you see the edges of waterslide decal paper curling, then it is because too much spray has been applied onto the decal. This problem is easily avoidable by being conscious of how much varnish you're using at the outset."
 

hcmbanjo

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I have no experience with the Micro Mark paper.
I don't think the fixative is needed. (I used to disagree with Micromeister on a few things.)
I use three coats of UV Krylon clear acrylic.
The printed decal paper is turned with each coat (portrait, landscape, portrait)
to be sure I get full coverage. The spray coats are coverage coats, not wet thick coats.

One thing I did agree with Micro on -
No need for a drop or two of dish soap in the soak water.
That could be breaking down the adhesive on the decal.
 

Bill S

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I did not use soap in the soak water; it was distilled water.

I only used two coats of the clear coat. I didn't exactly go heavy on it; I kept the spray moving at maybe 8" from the paper, starting and stopping beyond the edges of the paper. Crud, now I have to reprint them and try again with a single coat of clear coat when the weather warms up enough to do so (maybe Tuesday/Weds).
 

neil_w

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I experienced this problem when I made painted decals (spray-painted decal paper). Could be same reason, but I never did figure out how to stop it from happening.
 

rharshberger

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I did not use soap in the soak water; it was distilled water.

I only used two coats of the clear coat. I didn't exactly go heavy on it; I kept the spray moving at maybe 8" from the paper, starting and stopping beyond the edges of the paper. Crud, now I have to reprint them and try again with a single coat of clear coat when the weather warms up enough to do so (maybe Tuesday/Weds).
My first DIY decals using Bel Decal paper had issues with rolling and tearing the solution turned out to be a thicker clear coat, it took some experimenting.
 

Bill S

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My first DIY decals using Bel Decal paper had issues with rolling and tearing the solution turned out to be a thicker clear coat, it took some experimenting.
You mean you had to put more clear coat on? Wow.
I experienced this problem when I made painted decals (spray-painted decal paper). Could be same reason, but I never did figure out how to stop it from happening.
If I figure it out, I will post what I did to solve it. :)
 

rharshberger

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You mean you had to put more clear coat on? Wow.


If I figure it out, I will post what I did to solve it. :)
Yes, they were too thin is what it seemed to me, and the thicker clear coats fixed that issue, just dont get too much or other issues pop up like distortion.
 

Bill S

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I tried to apply the same decals, one with a single coat of clear coat on it, and one with 3 coats.

The one with a single coat laid down nicely, and didn't curl up. BUT, even though I left about 1/16" of extra decal material all around the edges, it started to bleed color. I did NOT put water on top of the decal; I wicked it in from the bottom only.

I then tried one with 3 coats, which immediately started to lift up on the edges. After some disgruntled comments, I decided I had nothing left to lose and tried to use some MicroSet on the edges ONLY. After letting it sit a couple minutes, I was able to press the edges down and with some additional pressing down they eventually stayed put. The decal is a little wrinkled, but I believe that is normal when you use MicroSet, and I'm going to leave it alone for 24 hours, before covering it with some liquid decal film (Microsol). After which I have to brush paint some acrylic paint around the edges to try and cover the white decal film up.
 
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KSoldier

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OK, this is something I just thought of, and will test it out following my next decal printing session... OK... picture this....

I think part of the problem is that the paper is flat and your are trying to have it adhere to a curved surface.

What if... after clear coating the decal sheet, you slightly "curve" the decal paper while it is still wet so the decals dry on curved paper? The result will be a curved decal being placed on a curved body tube, Voila!

It may not solve the problem, but it may help.
 

Bill S

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Decent idea, Ksoldier. I'll have to try that next time I print up decals (hope its a while). My next set will be on adhesive label paper so as to avoid some of the problems with home-made decals. :(
 

BABAR

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OK, this is something I just thought of, and will test it out following my next decal printing session... OK... picture this....

I think part of the problem is that the paper is flat and your are trying to have it adhere to a curved surface.

What if... after clear coating the decal sheet, you slightly "curve" the decal paper while it is still wet so the decals dry on curved paper? The result will be a curved decal being placed on a curved body tube, Voila!

It may not solve the problem, but it may help.
Good thinking, makes sense. Might not hurt to “overcurve” it just a tad, I.e. custom roll a tube out of a magazine and tape just a bit narrower in diameter than your body tube. In any case, why not just attach use double side tape to affix your decal (backing still attached) to your precurved surface BEFORE spraying any clear coating at all? Apply whatever number of coats you desire, allow to completely dry, THEN remove and apply?
 
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