DIY Future decals

There is a picture on the binary page and I will add a post there showing another project using this method.

Using an acrylic emulsion to transfer an image has been discussed here before. The first poster said to use an acrylic varnish found in art supply stores, but this is not necessary. It costs too much.

I have found that the best acrylic emulsion to use is Minwax's clear Polycrylic. I paid $4.87 at Home Depot for a small can and Polycrylic doesn't dry up in the can.

But, I wondered?, Future is acrylic, will it work? It does as the photo shows. However, Polycrylic is a stronger emulsion and I highly recommend it.

The basic idea of this method is that you glue a laser printed image face down on a surface and when it's dry, soak the paper with water and rub off the paper. I learned this method back in the early 1960s when a student in my art class accidently stumbled on to it.

Today it is called the acrylic transfer method and it can have a place in model building. If you can find a place that will print on laser decal paper, you are lucky. Staples, Kinkos and three independent places have refused to run the paper through their machines for me.

The paper you use is very important. Regular laser paper will work, but removal of this paper is more time consuming. Staples has a paper they call "business gloss" and Kinkos has a similar paper. This is NOT photo paper. It is shiny on both sides and is the same thickness as regular laser paper.

Using this paper and Polycrylic makes for a slick easy transfer.

IMPORTANT - When you glue an image face down and remove the paper you will be looking at the back of the ink. This means a reverse image. Print your image in reverse so it ends up positive.

IMPORTANT - For a full color image you must add a very thin coat of acrylic white paint to kill the transparency. Cheap white acrylic will do. Here are the steps to follow;

1 - Give the image a coat of Polycrylic. Let dry.

2 - Thin the white paint some and put it over the Polycrylic. Let dry. All you want is just enough paint so that you see white. This adds practically nothing to the thickness of the decal.

3 - Use Polycrylic to glue the white painted side down on your surface. The important thing is not to have air bubbles. Have a damp rag ready to wipe excess Polycrylic away from the decal. For larger decals like I do on radios I use one of those small wooden wheels that wallpaperers use to roll seams.

4 - I let it dry overnight and then soak and rub the paper off.


Reply to
Stewart Schooley
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I was a bit concerned because the shop- an independent copy shop- that ran decals for me went out of business. I went to the local Kinkos, holding my breath, but they printed them with no problems. I use the decal paper from Micro Mark, the laser printing version, not the ink-jet version. This paper says right on the back "laser printing", and that seemed to convince the Kinkos folks.

Reply to
Don Stauffer in Minnesota


Your response points out what I and other radio restorers have found out. You never know what you'll find when you go in these places.

For instance, the Staples near me has a Xerox copier/printer that is customer operated. You don't know how the previous customer has left the settings. You can check the settings, but you have to run something through it to be sure what color you are getting. You can't take a chance using decal paper first so that means paying for an extra copy, or more, to be sure your decal print will be color correct.

They also have a Canon copier/printer, but it is operated by the store clerk. Often, they are busy copying other work and you have to wait for your turn or fill out a form and leave your decal paper with them and pick up your prints at a later time. Say a prayer if you do this.

And there is the problem of the training and knowledge of the clerks. Some are good and know what they are doing, some don't.

BTW, I have Microscale's laser decal paper, but none of the places I went to would even read what the directions said. The guy at Staples said that if I put the decal paper in his copier I would have to agree to pay for any damage it caused. I passed on that.

I posted so that this group would be up to date on the acrylic transfer method. You never know when an oddball decal situation may come up and this method could be a useful alternative.


Reply to
Stewart Schooley

Just press the "clear" button ,that sould remove any previous settings.

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If companies are going to go to the trouble of developing the paper, you'd think they go to Kinkos and Staples and get a clearance from them so the clerks know they won't lose their jobs by feeding it in. It's a moneymaker for all sides--you think Kinkos WANTS to turn away business?

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