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  Help with white-colored space model decals

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Author Topic:   Help with white-colored space model decals
SpaceDust
Member

Posts: 94
From: Louisville, Ky USA
Registered: Mar 2006

posted 10-24-2012 09:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceDust     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I created a set of decals of white letters and numbers. The decals look great on the decal sheet, but once on the model they become almost transparent. The white decals hardly show up at all.

I used Microsoft Paint to create these decals with a transparent background and bold fonts. They were printed using a laser printer.

Can someone tell me why white decals come out so dim to almost transparent and how to correct this problem? I need bright, vibrant, white decals and not getting them.

tetrox
Member

Posts: 92
From: London England
Registered: Jan 2008

posted 10-24-2012 10:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tetrox   Click Here to Email tetrox     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To make your own white decals you need to ensure the decal paper you are using is white and not transparent (both are available).

White does not normally print as a colour on a laser printer and relies on the background of the decal paper.

On transparent paper only black and colours will print and white areas will be transparent relying on the surface they are placed on to be white.

There are some very specialised printers which will print using a white cartridge such as the now out of production ALPS unit but these can be very expensive.

I suspect you are using transparent decal paper and this is the problem, however have found that some white backed papers can be a little thin and you will need to place a second decal over the first to stop the background colour showing through, especially against reds.

SpaceDust
Member

Posts: 94
From: Louisville, Ky USA
Registered: Mar 2006

posted 10-24-2012 02:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceDust     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for your quick reply.

You're correct, I was using transparent paper and what you've said makes a lot of sense.

I understand everything you're saying, but now I have two questions.

  1. How do you make plain white text on white paper using Arial fonts? Sounds kind of like a polar bear in a snow storm to me.

  2. Once the decal is made, how does the center of the letters "A, B, D, O, P, Q, R" become transparent if the paper is white? Will I have to cut the center portions of these letters out? If so, this could become very hard to do for very small print.
Thanks again for your reply. You've been very helpful.

tetrox
Member

Posts: 92
From: London England
Registered: Jan 2008

posted 10-24-2012 03:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tetrox   Click Here to Email tetrox     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How you approach the problem will depend somewhat upon the size of the decal you wish to produce and the surrounding colours.
I would strongly recommend using a vector drawing program to produce decals as this will give you the best results. Simply put, a vector graphic can be enlarged and reduced as you wish without any loss of quality and retain perfect sharp edging ,unlike Microsoft Paint which I understand is bitmap and not quite as flexible.
I use Coreldraw which suits me but there are other great programs and there is a free basic version of Serif Drawplus which can be obtained legitimately from the company.

If the white decals you wish to produce (on white decal paper) are small I would normally produce a small rectangle or whatever shape in the drawing program slightly larger than the letters you wish to print and fill it with the colour from the paint pallet as close to the background colour on your model as you can get.
I would then produce the letters or graphic in white over this background colour .You fill the centres of the letters you mention again in the background colour.
when you print the decal the white will now stand out against the surrounding colour and with a matt or gloss clear coating varnish should work nicely (test coating varnishes on a scrap piece of printed decal first to check suitability).
Large decals can be produced in the same way but the outline may be more noticeable,and you may wish to cut them out directly from the decal paper or airbrushed from a stencil.
Im sorry if this sounds convoluted but is very straight forward when you get used to a particular drawing program and its fun (in a masochistic way) when things come together.
Others, Im sure, will have more expertise and advice to offer.
Good luck

SpaceDust
Member

Posts: 94
From: Louisville, Ky USA
Registered: Mar 2006

posted 10-24-2012 08:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceDust     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for your reply and suggestions. As soon as I get to the hobby shop this weekend to get the white paper I’m going to give your suggestions a shot. Thanks for your help. I appreciate it a lot.

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