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How to apply wet-slide decals? Answered

Passing this question along for a friend:

i have been experimenting with wet-slide decals, to do complex graphics, but can't figure out how to make them work. They are essentially a piece of thin plastic on paper backing. You print on them, using a printer, then immerse them in water to get the paper backing to come off. Then, you slide the decals onto whatever surface you have. finally, you use a softening agent, to get them to meld onto the surface without edges. i have spent 10+ hours, trying to make a 3"x2" decal. No dice. And none of the guides online have worked for me.

I have a couple of problems:
1. can't get decal to not lose its proportions—i.e., stretches when i seat it
2. can't get print not to bleed (ink-jet version) or flake (laser version)—even when i use a fixative
Also, if i try to cut decal to just dimensions of surface i am applying to, the edges tend to curl up and refuse to flatten out—without further causing 1 and 2 above.


Wet slide decals have to be soaked in water for 2-4 min in a dish leave it in the water until the backing comes off

the ones i have done that sound like this always had two pieces of backing with the decal sandwiched in between. you would spray down where ever your going to put it with soapy water then peel the backing off of the sticky side of the decal with the other backing to still on it to keep everything in place. Then you would put it on the soap, slide it around until you had it where you wanted it, then wipe it down with a ran and then the edge of a hard piece of plastic (credit card) to get the bubbles out and then (carefully) remove the other backing

Try printing onto a thin (like cereal box) piece of cardboard so when it comes out, you can just blot or wipe or whatever the excess ink (just a suggestion, not sure if it will work) also try different types of ink, I'm sure there is some type of ink out there that will work. As for the stretching maybe you could take that into consideration first, like maybe purposely change the proportions so that when it stretches, it stretches to the size that you want it to be. In my experience with decals (generally the really small ones that come pre printed) sometimes you have to apply another small dab of water to the surface with a paintbrush (just a little) and possibly hold it there until it sticks well enough to leave it be. You might want to use a cloth or the paint brush itself to hold it down, so as not to ruin it. When it is dry and flaking, again you may want to apply a dab of water with a paint brush, then lay it down again. As it is drying you may want to apply a little bit of paint the color of the decal. Not only will this act as a small adhesive, but it will blend in. Also you need to immerse them in water for probably forty seconds for a 3"x2" decal. But you don't want to leave it in for to long, otherwise it will dissolve, tear, or both. However if you take it out to soon, it will probably tear, and or flake, this will also increase your chances of getting air bubbles.

~draconis out~


7 years ago

From my esperience, decals fit well only upon really flat surfaces.
If you want use them upon your car or moto (my case) you need to prepare them before with some plusses.
With common paper glue stick (where I live a famous brand is pritt) place a layer (don't put too much glue it must be a flat layer) of glue on it and let it dry.
Clean the target surface, then use fine polish and clean again, then dry the surface and if possible maintain it warm (a phon might help)

Place your decal as usual and when dry spray it with a transparent paint, it might be enough.

My decals was placed in this way (but I put them mirrored) then I've paint the entire piece with transparent paint, it still endure.

it depends, are u using [roper water slide paper, an what are u putting them on?

model cars i remember those days good times for sure.

yeah i used to work in a auto shop in a crappy part of town and it was funny to see these 200 dollar decals look like total crap because of improper setting and bubbles

yeah i see people applying decals and then they complain that they have the air bubbles its funny to hear

i also add on to what hitman227 said you need to take a flatside of a ruler or something and run over the decal once it has been set

I don't have experience with gundam models, but with other models I've built this is what I would do. Wash the plastic in water with a mild soap and let it completely dry. Then apply the decal. When the decal drys you can seal it with a gloss coat or dull coat model spray to protect it. This will also help hide the lines of the decal. Force Factor

I am not too sure of the type of decals you are using, but when I had a friend print some decals for my shop window we sprayed the window with soapy water, pealed the backing off and put the sticker onto the soapy surface. We then used a cloth to squeeze the soapy water from under the sticker. Once this was done we left it to dry overnight and it was set fine. Cause it was such a large print out, 1m by 1m, it did deform a bit when we took it off the backing but it wasn't really noticable. Hope this helps.

I can help u

Please, tell me which brand of decals you are using.

This may not help much, but I vaguely remember reading something in a model making magazine about making decals because they couldn't get the exact ones they required to replicate particular models they were building.
Perhaps searching some model making sites (particularly military types if my memory serves) could help your cause.

I've tried to make them also.

They work MUCH better on flat surfaces.
Soak them only enough to get them to release.
Try to find a water proof ink for your ink jet.

In the end, I just paid a service to print my decals for me.  I was building a Scale R/C plane and the decals were the detail I needed.