Re: Epson decal printing

Garth Groff <sarahsan@...>

Mike and Friends,

While snooping around a local hobby shop last week I discovered Testors Decal Paper No. 9201. It is a package of six 5.5 x 8.5" sheets. I paid $11.25. I also purchased a 3 ounce can of Testors Decal Bonder Spray No. 9200 for $5.25.

I tried this "paper" in my Epson Stylus Photo 1400 which uses Claria "inks". The decals printed very well when the setting was for "plain paper" and quality set at "normal" per the instructions. One sheet was printed with the "glossy photo paper" setting, and the lettering came out fuzzy (I couldn't change the setting for some reason, but later copied the file and appended it to another already set correctly and it worked fine the second time). I let the ink dry for 24 hours, then shot each sheet with two coats of the Bonder Spray (laying on and laying off). There's enough in the can to do about eight sheets with two coats.

Except for the one software failure, I am pleased with the results so far. As I don't have any of the models planned for these decals ready, I haven't yet applied any. I will experiment with them shortly.

For comparison, I printed one sheet of Microscale TF-0 clear trim film and experienced the same problems of the ink not drying. Into the trash!

If I experiment further, I will test other types of coatings such as Testor's Dullcote or Krylon to see how they will react with the inks, and whether decals treated with them will hold up during application.

I'm also going to try having my files printed with a laser printer on the Microscale paper by a local copy shop/printer I've used for other special jobs. Our planned acquisition of a laser printer at work didn't happen.

After poking around on the internet, I found some interesting information about the Epson "inks". Epson Claria "inks" are not inks at all, but dyes. They don't have the same drying properties as HP, Lexmark or Cannon inks. That is why you can't generally print with an Epson in color on photo paper or other media from manufacturers other than Epson. The only non-Epson photo paper that seems to work is Office Depot's house brand which I can no longer get in my area (our OD store closed, and the closest is 75 miles away in Richmond). My earlier Epson 440 worked just fine in color on almost any paper. This machine used real inks.

And by the way, I used a light yellow-orange color for decals for my Sacramento Belt line, a fictional Western Pacific subsidiary. This is similar to what the WP applied to most of their new and repainted cars starting in 1955. Decals intended for my Virginia Midland equipment were printed in a very light gray which approximates silver. It will be interesting to see how these look. I also did some in black, including lettering for a gray Detroit & Mackinac boxcar I've always wanted.

Yours Aye,

Garth Groff

On 9/1/15 12:23 PM, Mike Bauers mwbauers55@... [STMFC] wrote:
[I opened a new thread for this]

I have that article now.

It’s… Painting with Decals, MR June 2003, by John Socha-Leialoha, page 84-86

For media, he used WHITE ink-jet decal paper. [you likely know why I stressed white….]

He used an Epson C-80 with water-resistant Durabright inks. He writes of how the inks dried slowly and gave him a problem until he changed the printer settings. At first the inks ran together in the default setting. That reads just like the problems you had.

He adjusted the amount of ink used and the paper setting in the print drivers.

John wrote:

“…….The best setting for decal paper on my printer was ‘premium semigloss photo paper.’  On other printers, look for a setting designed for semi-gloss, photo-quality paper”

“I also discovered that I got better results if I set the printer driver to a higher contrast and reduced brightness. Without adjusting these settings, my first attempts resulted in decals that looked faded.” [which I think might be handy for certain weathering effects…mb]

I hope that these settings will make your future decal printings a success.

In a few days, I’ll be trying the same with a Canon Photo-printer I have to set-up. I’ll give these settings a try as well.

Best to ya,
Mike Bauers
Milwaukee, Wi

On Sep 1, 2015, at 11:00 AM, Mike Bauers <mwbauers55@...> wrote:


I'd need to tell you that an article in MR about 1999 where they used an Epson photo printer to full body decal a BN caboose with copious amounts of photo captured graffiti was completely successful.

You may need the printer setting they used in that article to successful print decals on an Epson photo printer. They custom set the print setting on it.

I can pull it up from the MR DVD if you'd like to have those directions and try it with a small test decal.

On Sep 1, 2015, at 3:36 AM, "Garth Groff > wrote:


No, not all printers can made decals. Epson ink-jet inks never dry on decal paper, at least not on Microscale's paper, which is the only one I had access to when I tried. It make a sticky mess that ran all over the paper and got on the rollers in my machine.

Other brands of printers might have worked, but since I needed this expensive printer for photographs, I couldn't simply replace it for a few decals.

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