Jump to content

Water Slide Decals


Recommended Posts

I've decaled only one EF team so far, but they turned out pretty well.  I've been a model builder for 40+ years so I have LOTS of experience with waterslide decals.  There are a couple issues one has to watch out for with waterslide decals.  The first is the thickness of the decal.  Some are very thin and some are thick.  The thin ones settle into curvesand corners nicely, but can be delicate to work with.  Thicker decals are easier to work with, but don't like settling into curves - which brings me to the second issue - decal setting solution.  Most videos you see on decaling EF teams talk about using a decal setting solution.  What decal setting solution does is soften the decal so it bends easier and adheres to curves, bands, etc.  It comes in varying strengths so you have to gauge it to the thickness of the decals you have.  If it's very strong and your decals are thin and fragile, the setting solution can turn your decal into a bunch of goo.  With the team I decaled recently I started out using Solvaset as my setting solution, but it turned my first decal into mush, so I then switched to Micro-Set and that worked a lot better.

The process of decaling is fairly simple.  Make sure the surface you're applying the decal to is clean and smooth.  Cut out the decal as close to the edge of the visible portion of the decal (i.e. cut off as much clear film as possible) as possible, place it in water for a few seconds (the time you want to keep it in the water can vary depending on the decal brand) , then once the decal slides off the backing paper, slide it onto the figure and position it.  Make sure to keep the surface of the figure slightly damp as that makes it easier to move the decal around.  Once you're happy with the placement use a paper towel to soak up any excess water.  Make sure to press out any air/water bubbles that are under the decal to make sure it is sitting properly on the figure.  Apply a small amount of decal setting solution (I use a small paint brush) and if everything looks good, leave it alone until it dries.  After it dries come back to make sure the decal is completely adhered to the figure.  Sometimes edges won't adhere so if that's the case wet that part of the decal with setting solution, press it down, and let it dry again.  Once you're happy with your decal job, apply a coat of gloss glaze (I use something I bought at Michaels called Dura Clear High Gloss) over the surface of the figure to seal and protect the decal and you're done.

One thing to do is before you start try practicing using a decal from the same sheet you're going use that you don't mind messing up.  That way you can perfect your process before you start using decals that you might not be able to replace.

I hope this helps.

Kirk 

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just finished "decaling" my defense using the Tudor decals, and I would offer some observations to Kirk's advice, which is spot on.

 

First, I never trimmed the flash from my figures before painting, which left the legs a little bumpier than I would have liked for the stripes. TRIM.  Socks too!

My first batch was done without any decal set, and while they went on, they also didn't seem to take as well--one stripe fell off when I began my second round of decals--so I'm glad I didn't get too far.

I only was able to get my hands on Testors decal set, but it worked a charm.  I brushed it on before and after each decal, and they look great.  I didn't use a dish of water, rather, I used a wet sponge, which worked great, especially for the sock stripes, which I curled before I put them on the sponge, making the application much easier.  I didn't need a q-tip or anything to absorb the added water, because they weren't soaking...the brush helped them into place.

I gotta finish my offense, then figure out these face masks!!!  Good luck!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am new to painting and decaying figures. Now with nothing to do because of the virus would one of you be so kind to email me a template for making names and numbers for water slide decals. Thank you and stay safe.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some good advice above.  I've decaled many teams and learned a little along the way.  Here's a list that's by no means exhaustive.

1.  Clean up the figure with a nail file before you start.  Use it to remove any burrs or ridges particularly along the shoulders.  It'll make applying the decals easier.

2.  Paint the figure (except for the base) but don't worry about being perfect because you'll go back and clean up the lines after the decals are applied.

3.  Apply the decals - Sleeve stripes are the hardest, followed by sock stripes because the surface isn't completely flat.  Numbers, names, and helmet logos are easy.  Precut decals will make the job easier and faster.

4.  I put the decal in water.  Some use a wet sponge.  I use an x-acto knife to pick it up and a toothpick to maneuver the decal onto the figure.  Don't force it off of the backing.  If it doesn't come off easily then put it back in the water.  Keep a cloth handy to dab up any excess water once you get the decal positioned on the figure.

5.  Once the decals are dry they're very fragile so try not to touch them.  At this point you may want to apply a little solvaset to get them to lie flat.  Just a touch will do it.

6.  Once that's done I go back and clean up the paint lines particularly along the sleeve and sock stripes.  This is usually when apply the skin tones.

7.  Once everything is done, paint the base.  The reason for doing this last is because that's where you handle the figure and the oil from your fingers will screw up the paint.

8.  The very last thing I do is apply a sealer.  I use Martha Stewart High Gloss Finish and coat the whole figure.  This will protect the decals and, in my opinion, make them look great.  Once it's dry you can handle the figure and not screw up your decals.

I hope that helps.  Patience is the key.  Take the time to paint clean lines and apply the decals and you'll be happy with the result.  I've applied thousands of decals and still screw them up sometimes.

 

20150814 - My Workbench.JPG

2006 Chicago Bears (10) - Special Teams.jpg

2006 Chicago Bears (18) - Special Teams.jpg

  • Like 5
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, Jerry said:

I am new to painting and decaying figures. Now with nothing to do because of the virus would one of you be so kind to email me a template for making names and numbers for water slide decals. Thank you and stay safe.

Hi Jerry,

We have NFL licensed official waterslide decals here.

We also sell sheets of waterslide Letters here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Electric Football Hero said:

The first team I put decals on was Steelers in their home jerseys, and it was very difficult to see the white numbers on the light blue/nearly white cardstock. I had to wear reading glasses and hold the sheet up at an awkward to a bright light source, and even then I couldn't read the numbers; I had to resort to blowing up a picture of the away team (black numbers) decal sheet and blindly assume the numbering was the same. Lots of counting rows and columns. The next team I decaled was Steelers in their away team jerseys, and it was far easier because I could actually see the decals.

Except for helmet logos, I've found the rest of the decals to be of limited use to me personally (impossible for me to get them off the paper without them curling up and being ruined), so I just paint stripes myself. As far as the numbers go, the front and back jersey numbers are not a problem, but the shoulder numbers can be difficult, even with fine tweezers.

I'm not sure what kind of decals you're using, but when they curl up, drop them back in the water and they'll usually straighten out.  Then I pick them up with the broad side of my xacto blade and slide them onto the figure with a toothpick.  

I too have a hard time seeing the white numbers and names on the blue cardstock.  I suggest wearing a headlamp in addition to reading glasses.  It makes a big difference.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My 2 cents. Get a sponge. When you soak a decal in water, it's easy to lose track of how long it's been in the water. The decal can slip off and you can lose track of it. Also, they can flip and you can end up putting the decal on upside down. Using a sponge lets the decal loosen from the backing paper, but it will stay on that paper until you are ready to slide it off. 2nd tip. Be very careful using Solvaset. Depending on who or how the decal was printed, Solvaset can be too strong and the ink on the decal can run off, ruining a great paint job. If this happens, you can do 1 of 2 things. Try Micro-sol. If I remember right it isn't as harsh on decals as Solvaset. Or, you can water down the Solvast. Dip the brush in the Solvaset, then dip it in a little water to dilute it and then spread in over the decal. Sometimes you have to add the Micro Sol or Solvaset 2 or 3 times if the decal is really stiff before it softens enough to form to the figure

 

As for setting the decal on the figure, someone gave me a tip about using an old t paint brush ( make sure it's clean with no old paint in it) .Pick up the decal with the bristles, then gently roll the brush letting the decal roll into place. Using a toothpick or tweezers can accidentally cut the decal, but the soft bristles on a brush won't. Sometimes it can be a bit tricky, but after you do a few it's pretty easy.Using a toothpick to gently move the decal once it's on the figure is ok, just be sure to nudge the edge of the decal, not put the tip on the main part of the decal  again, just my 2 penny's worth.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't had problems with damaging decals with a toothpick.  Of course being patient and careful is the key.

As for toothpick vs. brush, I know most people use brushes but I use a toothpick for everything.  I've tried many brushes and none if them really worked for me so I don't use them at all.  I find its easier to apply paint, decals, and sealer with a toothpick.  They're cheap, easy to use, and require no cleaning.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just finished decaling my whole team, and I used my exacto knife--the back end--to lift and drop the decals, then the brush the form them into place.  It's not the best job ever, but it works.  I like the flat nature of the razor's point.  Makes it so much easier to place the decals.

 

I used the Testors decal set, which, while it won't harm the paint, is not as "aggressive" as other formulas.  When I had a decal that still wouldn't lay flat, I spread my brush over it for 30 seconds, and it dropped right in.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One more thing I just remembered. For anyone new to decals, when you put the decal on the figure, it may bow up with water under it. Take a tissue or small piece of paper towel and gently put it near the decal but not on it. The tissue will absorb the water leaving the decal to lay flat on the figure. After you have the decal set, very gently put the Solvaset on it but be careful that the decal doesn't move. Don't put too much on as the decal might bubble back up and slide around. If it does, use the tissue again to absorb the excess Solvaset.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

Posting Guidelines

Please follow the Rules to ensure that the forums promote fun and productive conversations. We value the free flow of information. We can't offer that in what we believe to be an unsafe or illegal environment. See the section on "Selling Unlicensed Products and/or Services". Failure to comply with these rules may result in a ban from the forums. 

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Please review our Terms of Use.