Re: Decals and Future?

Thomas Birkett


Great discussion. I have some very old and curled up decals that I have been afraid to use. Is there anything special that needs to be done to these vintage decals?

Tom Birkett, Bartlesville, OK

From: []
Sent: Monday, October 16, 2017 8:22 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Decals and Future?


If you are not concerned with how long it takes - from start to
finish (not the time -you- spend) ... I have a process that works
for all brands of decals -and- on all surfaces ... without any
particular care being taken about how flat the surface is. I'm
saying I don't shoot the car with gloss or use any other kind
of surface prep ... as long as the surface is clean and without
any grease (finger prints, etc.) it works. Here it is:

0) Clean surface with mild detergent - rinse with Distilled
Water to get all the soap off - and let it dry fully.

1) Float the decal off of the backing in Distilled Water. I
use the point of a hobby knife to get the decal to
fully separate from the backing. Careful! You can
ruin the decal when using the knife.

2) Pick up the decal on the tip of a hobby knife.

3) Transfer the decal to the model and position - if you
need additional liquid to get it to move use Distilled
Water (I rarely have to do this - usually enough water
comes with it from the floating process). I use the
point of the same hobby knife to "nudge" the decal
into place.

4) I use a small (1/2" square or so) of a 'hard' paper
napkin to wick off the excess water. I hold it in
cross lock tweezers and bring it in to the edge of
the water - it never touches the decal.

5) Set the car aside (or put another decal on the
same side of the same car) and let it fully dry
(usually about 1/2 hour or less).

6) Double check final position. Wrong? Put on some
Distilled Water and move. Correct? Go forward.

7) Using the brush in the bottle cover the decal with
Solvaset. Do not let the brush touch the decal!
(Support that hand with your other hand.)

8) Using more paper squares wick off all of the
excess Solvaset. And let it dry FULLY. This step
"sets" the decal.

9) Apply more Solvaset (same method ... float it
on top without touching decal) and then use
a very fine pointed needle (or sewing pin) and
tap the decal everywhere. I like to use one of
those pins with a plastic ball for the head. Let
it dry fully.

10) Still silvered? Yes - redo step 9 (as many times
as required). No - proceed to last step (11).

11) Clean carefully using Distilled Water.

This process produces perfect decals - every time.
Yes, start to finish it takes about an hour to an hour
and a half for each side of a car. I typically work on
more than one model at a time and so most of the
time I'm not actually waiting for anything.
However - I find that decaling is kind of "tedious"
so if I have to step away from the model while
one step is drying ... that's a good thing because
it relieves the "tension".
I also use an OptiVisor during all of my "close
- Jim

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