Author Topic: Waterslide decal problems...  (Read 4310 times)

Justus

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Waterslide decal problems...
« on: January 11, 2015, 02:32:20 PM »
I've tried putting a waterslide decal on a box a couple of times now.  Here's my process:

1. Box is drilled and powder coated flat black with powder from Harbor Freight.
2. I printed a black decal on white waterslide decal paper (entire top of the enclosure) with light-colored lettering.  I got the paper from eBay, here: Waterslide Decal eBay auction
3. Cut out the decal, submerged in lukewarm water with a splash of distilled white vinegar (decal softener) for 30 seconds, and then slid the decal off onto the box.  Smoothed it out, and let dry overnight.

The first time I did this, after it was dry, I pressed lightly on one of the drilled holes to see where I'd need to cut the decal, and the decal moved.  Then it very easily peeled off the box, like there was nothing making it stick at all.  Take two, I let it dry longer without touching it.  Then I sprayed a coat of gloss clearcoat paint on them (Valspar brand from Lowe's) and the decal started looking like it was bubbling up a bit.  When I touched it, it was very loose, and then it peeled right off the box just like before.

Anyone have any ideas what I'm doing wrong, or what I can do to get better results?  I thought once you put on a waterslide decal and it dried, the thing would be STUCK.  I'm at a loss here.

bcalla

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Re: Waterslide decal problems...
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2015, 03:07:57 PM »
There are only 2 differences from what I do.

1. I have never used vinegar as a softener.  I use a product called Solvaset available from Walthers model railroad catalog, though I'm not sure a softener is even necessary.  I brush it on the surface of the enclosure and on top of the decal once it is in place.

2. I use a different brand of decal.  I get mine here: http://www.decalpaper.com/category-s/3.htm  I'm not saying there's anything wrong with your stock, but I have seen posts in the forums where that has been a problem.

And to clarify, when you say "Smoothed it out" what exactly are you doing?  It is important to work all of the air and water out from under the decal.  I use a wet paper towel and gently work outward from the center to the edges while anchoring the decal with one or two fingers.  The decal will move while you are doing this so you have to frequently shift it back into position.  Before I am done with this process it is already becoming hard to move as it adheres to the enclosure.

Justus

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Re: Waterslide decal problems...
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2015, 03:25:29 PM »
To smooth it out I just kind of squeegeed it with my fingers and a silicone spatula.  Then let it dry.

I've also had some problems printing on the decal paper I've been using, like the toner won't stick sometimes at spots (printer roller marks all down the length of the paper).  I've found that printing on a plain sheet of paper just before printing on the decal paper has helped in this regard... something about making sure the printer is already warmed up.  Laser color printer, laser decal paper, so there should be no problems there.

jimilee

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Waterslide decal problems...
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2015, 06:49:49 PM »
I have used that decal paper before, it's pretty cheap Chinese stuff.. These guys have laser also, I just don't have the link to that auction. ok at this on eBay:

http://pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=item.view&alt=web&id=110659741304

10 sheets Inkjet White Waterslide Transfer Decal Paper
Also I don't use softener, I soak the enclosure in the same temperature water I soak the decal, goes on and drys evenly.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2015, 06:52:03 PM by jimilee »
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Jabulani Jonny

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Re: Waterslide decal problems...
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2015, 09:26:41 PM »
I have great luck with Papilio Clear Waterslide and White Waterslide paper.  I don't use any softener and I've used it on painted enclosures, powder coat and unfinished.  You can find the Papilio stuff on Amazon or on their site.  Pretty sure on Ebay too.  It's this stuff:  Papilio Clear Waterslide

What I do is print using the Glossy Photo paper setting in my printer dialog and choose the highest resolution or fine, whatever your printer dialog gives you.  Let the paper dry for  30 minutes or so, then spray with the Papilio Decal Fixative here:  [urlhttp://www.papilio.com/spray%20clear%20flexible%20decal%20fixative.html]Papilio Decal Fixative[/url]

Spray with that, two coats, about 10 min apart.  Let it dry and you're good to apply the decal.  Make sure the enclosure is clean with no fingerprints, etc.  Put the decal in warm water for about 30 seconds, move it around to get the edges to start to lift.  Sprinkle some water on the enclosure and use both hands to slide the top edge of the decal off the backing.  Put the top edge on the enclosure, hold and pull the backing down and from underneath the decal, allowing the decal to lay on the enclosure.  Flip the backing over on the adhesive side and actually use that to rub out bubbles, while straightening the decal. 

Let it dry over night and either finish with clear coat or envirotex.  Bam.  Done. 

In fact I'm getting ready to do 3 enclosures tomorrow night.  Got the decals printed and sprayed with fixative, just waiting for the time. 

Hope that helps. 
« Last Edit: January 12, 2015, 12:41:37 PM by Jabulani Jonny »
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Re: Waterslide decal problems...
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2015, 10:40:34 AM »
In my experience, the Harbor Freight powdercoat doesn't leave the smoothest finish.  If you are applying a waterslide over a rough surface, you may have problems with adhesion.  If you are determined to go this way, you may want to look at getting some "Micro-Sol" decal softening solvent to help get the decal really embedded into the finish.  The MicroSol helps the decal conform to surface imperfections.

You will need some sort of clear top coat to ensure the decal stays on.  Rattle can clear is OK however many users on this forum prefer using Envirotex.  Juan and Cleggy have a great tutorial on the subject and the results are superb.



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Justus

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Re: Waterslide decal problems...
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2015, 11:03:54 AM »
My powder coat is pretty smooth, and the decal lays flat.  No bubbles or anything.  It looks really good, honestly, except the failing to adhere with any force whatsoever thing.

I did some research on the "Micro-Sol" solution and that's why I went with clear distilled vinegar (model forums say it's the same thing, but WAY more economical when sold as vinegar and not as "decal softening solution").  I've got another decal ready to try again, so I'll likely try it without the vinegar at all, and use just water instead.  If that doesn't work, then I'm thinking it's cheap paper.

flanagan0718

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Re: Waterslide decal problems...
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2015, 12:03:14 PM »
 I've done a few WS decals and have never used a softener. I have no idea where the decals I have came from, Cody (selfdestroyer) gave them to me. I did follow a tutorial I found on YouTube and it worked every time. Below is the video.
 I noticed that the link for the WS decals you're using is for inkjet. Are you using an inkjet printer? I believe if you are using a laser printer with inkjet decals you might be damaging the decal with the heat from the laser printer. The laser printer might be heating the adhesive on the decal paper and making it less effective. I could be wrong tho, just a thought.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2X_HL-4F90" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2X_HL-4F90</a>

peterc

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Re: Waterslide decal problems...
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2015, 12:31:33 PM »
The waterslide (Lazertran) I have used before can be heated and melts onto the surface.

Here is a tutorial for Lazertran, maybe your decal would react in the same manner?

http://clacktronics.co.uk/diy/lazertran

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jball85

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Re: Waterslide decal problems...
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2015, 12:36:32 PM »
I stopped using water slide decals. I could never get good results. Vinyl decals work better for me all around. Here's a link to the paper I use, it's great.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/INKJET-Adhesive-Glossy-Vinyl-Decal-Paper-Thinner-More-Flexible-2-Sheets-CLEAR-/351265362065?pt=US_Printer_Paper&hash=item51c90c1091

Justus

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Re: Waterslide decal problems...
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2015, 01:39:10 PM »
I noticed that the link for the WS decals you're using is for inkjet. Are you using an inkjet printer? I believe if you are using a laser printer with inkjet decals you might be damaging the decal with the heat from the laser printer. The laser printer might be heating the adhesive on the decal paper and making it less effective. I could be wrong tho, just a thought.
The eBay auction I linked is for laser decal paper (what I bought) and I'm using a color laser printer.  I ended up getting the best results from using the "plain paper" setting on my printer - the instructions that came with my paper mentioned possibly using the "transparency" setting, but that was a mess.

AntKnee

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Re: Waterslide decal problems...
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2015, 04:35:20 PM »
x2 on the Pappillio brand. I've tried several others, and this one works best for me. I use an inkjet, though. I get great results. I do not use any softener.
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