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Waterslide Decal Paper

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Waterslide Decal Paper

Old 02-28-12, 06:52 AM
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w98seeng
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Waterslide Decal Paper

For those who want to repaint a bike frame, there is a product that works with any color ink jet printer to make decals for your bike (Or anything else). It's called Waterslide Decal Paper and it can be found at a lot of places, and this place is just one of them.

Basically, you take a picture of your old decals, or get a good one online and using a paintshop type of program print out the decals onto this paper. Then you apply a clear coat of paint over it to protect it and after dipping it in water (like the old model decals) apply it to your bike. Then just clear the whole frame and you have great looking new decals for cheap.

Ian
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Old 02-28-12, 07:14 AM
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One big problem is that most printers do not print white or metallics. My Schwinn could use a couple of new decals and that is the one obstacle I am facing.
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Old 02-28-12, 07:23 AM
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The big problem with inkjet is they use dyes instead of pigment-based inks. Opacity can suffer.

Those vintage Alps printers have metalics. Hard to believe you can get $500 for a 10-15 year old printer.
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Old 02-28-12, 07:32 AM
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My father-in-law had an old printer that did white and metallic that he used to make t-shirts. I asked him if it was still around, unfortunately the answer was no. Probably got donated or trashed

I'm going to take one of RHM's suggestions and give it a little twist. I'm going to try painting the missing decals. I'm going to print my decal on a sticker but cut it as a mask, apply it where I want and paint.
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Old 02-28-12, 08:19 AM
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I tried some white waterside decal paper to duplicate a white logo. It worked OK; however, the paper was quite thin an semi-opaque, letting the color of the frame show through.
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Old 02-28-12, 08:49 AM
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Printer water-slide paper will work, but it has significant limitations.

First, all the decals must be cut from the carrier film. This isn't a big deal for simple shapes, but complex shapes, hollow areas in the design, or objects perfectly round might be a problem. Commercial water-slide decals are an ink transfer, silk-screened directly onto the water-based adhesive, there is no carrier film to cut. The ink transfer just lifts off the paper when you wet it and carries the adhesive with it. If you have the technology, the decal paper can be run through a cutter/plotter with precision cutting results.

The colors on commercial water slide decals are mixed from ink (paint) and are usually a solid color. Colors from a printer are a combination of small dots. Sometimes this can affect the color or the design.

Some ALPS printers are designed to print decals. They use a cassette tape cartridge and the plastic "ink" is melted off of the ribbon onto the paper. This is how they can have white, metallics and even gold and silver foil colors. The color dots can still be an issue, but the ALPS experts print in single colors using a layering technique. It's cool to watch an ALPS printer work, it prints the colors, changes it's own tapes and moves the paper in and out of the print feed until the project is done and all the layers are applied. Alps ink decals are very colorfast. Alps printers are almost obsolete, I had to connect mine to an old desktop to get it to work properly, it won't work well on any operating system newer than Windows XP.
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Old 02-28-12, 08:59 AM
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All colour printers use a 4 colour process of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. Its because the process colours are non opaque that you can print full colour, but this only works on a white background. Originally decals would be screen printed, mirror image with solid inks, or if they were printed in process inks, a solid white background was applied at the end.
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Old 02-28-12, 09:31 AM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by iab View Post
Those vintage Alps printers have metalics. Hard to believe you can get $500 for a 10-15 year old printer.

Wow, I still have one, and lots of ink supplies! I haven't used it since I changed operating system, but I have an older computer I could hook it up too.

I just printed some from my inkjet on white waterslide, simple enough to cut to shape by hand.
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Old 02-28-12, 09:31 AM
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An ALPS printer can do white underlay printing and produce pretty good looking decals, but it takes a little skill to do it properly. The metallic inks are opaque and don't stick well to white. So if metallics are also used in the decal, creating the white underlay mask can be tricky. Also the process colors produced by an ALPS printer are printed at 600 dpi. Under high magnification, the color dots can be seen. This is usually not a problem for most decals.
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Old 02-28-12, 09:58 AM
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My ALPS uses the 4 process colors, and silver, gold and white. It is a little tricky to print good, usable decals. The inks also tend to be transparent.

I would lay down a silver, then 2 coats of white before applying the color to build density, and even then they were not totally opaque. FWIW, I never had problems mixing the white and silver. You could also print the colors over the silver for a soft, foil effect. The ALPS originally only printed from Photoshop, so the files became quite large when layered. Later they offered some RIP software that I never installed.

Its quite tedious to build and print the files. As someone said, you're best creating individual mixes for each color: red, for instance would be solid red, solid yellow: solid yellow, solid blue for green. But they print on a clear base so they're easy to cut out slightly oversize and apply. They are VERY fragile. Even wax will remove the color.

I used to have a painter who would spray my frames a solid Imron color, I'd take them back, do the secondary colors and decals, and return them for a clear coat. They came back not quite as good as a professional would do, but certainly as good as they were originally. But he closed up over the regulations nonsense.

I keep threatening to hook it up again. But I think using one requires a bit of a graphics background and understanding, which may be why it failed.
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Old 02-28-12, 10:03 AM
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sounds like a cool idea in theory.
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Old 02-28-12, 11:24 AM
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So what makes the ink stick to the frame?
And do you have to print it reversed?

Inquiring minds want to know.
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Old 02-28-12, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
So what makes the ink stick to the frame?
And do you have to print it reversed?

Inquiring minds want to know.
Water slide paper is a thin film on an adhesive sheet of paper. Soaking it in water allows it to slide off to where you want to attach it. Clear coat certainly helps it hold up better. Same thing as model waterslides for our kid days, except those were inks screen printed on the paper, encapsulated in clear. The inkjet or ALPS version requires the film to print on, and to be hand cut to shape. Here's some I printed yesterday, on white, so they have to be cut to the edge of the color before applying. I sprayed with 3 coats of clear enamel so far.
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Old 02-28-12, 11:55 AM
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Oh you clear cut the decal? I thought from an earlier post someone applied the decal and then clearcoated the whole bike.
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Old 02-28-12, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
Oh you clear cut the decal? I thought from an earlier post someone applied the decal and then clearcoated the whole bike.
Well, inkjet ink is water based, better coat it with something before you dip it in water... They sell a solution, but I'm trying spray.

Yeah, should be clear coated on the frame too, ideally.
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Old 02-28-12, 12:50 PM
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Been there, done that and wrote an article about it. This is what a decal I made for my Carlton Flyer looked like over chrome...


That same decal, applied over the blue painted surface became almost invisible. Here is what jet black looked like over the blue...


And even though there are products that say they will seal the Ink Jet ink from clear coats, and water dipping, be forewarned. Without knowing what you are doing, the ink will run or blur, a little or a lot...
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Old 02-28-12, 02:24 PM
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Though they are probably a little thicker, I think you can print directly onto clear or white sticky film and overspray with fixative. I tried the water slide decal paper a few years ago and it was a definite bust.
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Old 02-28-12, 02:40 PM
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These decals were made with an ALPS using clear waterslide paper and white underlay ink.


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Old 02-28-12, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by dck View Post
These decals were made with an ALPS using clear waterslide paper and white underlay ink.
Those look great!
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Old 02-28-12, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by dck View Post
These decals were made with an ALPS using clear waterslide paper and white underlay ink.


They do indeed look good. I've tried inkjet onto vinyl sticker paper but have had trouble getting really vibrant colours on the matte surface. Clearcoat brings the colour out a bit but not enough to look really professional.
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