Re: Epson decal printing

John Hagen <sprinthag@...>



Epson (or HP or Canon or any other inkjet), must have paper designed for inkjet printers. Dye or pigment based, inkjets papers have a coating that will allow the inks to soak in. Microscale paper is not for use in an inkjet so the inks just lay on the surface and may likely not dry in our lifetime. Using a better than normal mode for printing will increase the amount of ink deposited on the paper so even when using inkjet paper the ink will blur and stay liquid for a long time.

The problem with any printer that cannot print a layer of white ink as an undercoat is that the colors will not be opaque. If you are printing black decals or if the surface you are placing the decals on is white, they will be fine. If they are placed on a colored surface, the surface color will show thru and, depending on the surface color, cause a color shift or make the decal just about totally invisible.

Laser printers will print on Microscale paper but will have the same problem with opaqueness or the lack thereof..

BTW, I print decals. Have for over 10 years. I have had several HP’s and currently own 2 Epson’s and did have 1 Canon (hated it, but I do like their cameras). None of them were/are capable of printing decals, except black of course.

John Hagen

OBS-CALS – your source for Obscure DecalS


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

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

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