Before you start: So, you’ve got 2 small colourful sheets of tiny decals in front of you? You might be wanting to stick these on something but, before you do, it might pay to cast your eye over this guide even if you are a seasoned decal pro:
To get the best out of our decals you’ll need the following :
- A pair of very sharp scissors and/or a craft knife with a new blade.
- A pair of fine-tipped tweezers.
- A 0 or similar brush.
- A sheet of kitchen paper.
- Something to stick your decals on to (I’ll be using Battlefront, Peter Pig and Decors 15mm signs as well as some thin plasticard examples).
Step 1: Find a decal(s) you want to apply. To avoid damaging the other decals on your sheet, it’s easier to carefully cut down the length of the column it belongs to:
Step 2: Carefully trim around the edge of your decal. Take your time doing this so you don’t cut off too much:
Step 3: Dry-fit your decal by place it where you want it to go. Check that it fits the surface area neatly:
This will be fine for maps and documents, but road signs take a little more effort. Trim accordingly. It helps to trim any sharp corners if you’re placing within a resin frame.
Tip: There is no need to gloss varnish or otherwise treat your model’s surface before applying. The relative thickness of the decal and absence of a transparent edge prevents ‘silvering’.
You can mount your signs on thin plasticard or, if you prefer, leave them on the backing paper. If you leave them on the backing paper be advised that is can curl if not adequately sealed with varnish.
Tip: if you’re applying your decal to plasticard try roughing up the surface with fine sandpaper or a nail file. This will give the decal something to adhere to.
Tip: if you’re cutting out a decal stuck on to a plasticard base use scissors rather than a craft-knife as it has less chance of distorting the surface area. If all else fails, a little PVA goes a long way.
Step 4: Once you’ve satisfied yourself that your decal will fit, carefully place face up in the shallow pool of luke-warm water:
Step 5: Allow the decal to soak . If you have to force or push the image off the backing paper it is not ready. Put it back in the water and wait for a few more seconds. Some of the smaller decals should lift off in seconds. The decal is ready when it easily slips from the backing paper:
Step 6: Carefully place your decal on to the surface of your model, ensure that it sits flat and remove any excess moisture with the edge of a piece of kitchen towel:
Step 7: Once dry, apply a small quantity of Micro Sol if you want to soften the decal to make it conform to irregular surfaces:
Remember: once dry, paint a thin layer of matt varnish over your decal to seal and protect it
You can leave it there but you may feel that some signs are a little too white or find others have a white edge is visible, particularly on those with a coloured backgrounds. To address this , you might wish to paint a border around your decal or weather your signs a little more:
Step 8: The following Vallejo Model Color acrylic paints below match the colour of the decals closely: 820 Off-White | 918 Ivory | 989 Sky Grey | 912 Tan Yellow | 122 Tan Yellow | 817 Scarlet | 859 Black Red | 950 Black.
Tip: Run the edge – rather then the tip – of your brush around the edge of your decal to paint in the border. Your decals are laser-printed and resistant to water so if the paint spills over onto the surface gently brush it away with a damp brush.
Step 9: MIG AMMO’s Streaking Grime and Rainmark give excellent results if you want your signs to look weathered. Similarly, oils pigments or simple washes like Citadel’s Gryphone Sepia work very well:
If you’ve got this far, you’re done:
Any questions? Jot them down below and I’ll help you direct or email me through the Contact Us link above:
Last updated: 18/01/16