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Decal storage and restoration

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Hello all,

I wonder what people do to preserve decals. I once tried to apply a decal from a Tamiya kit that was about 10 years old and I just could not get it to slide off the backing paper. It was as though the decal had become permanently stuck to the paper. No matter how long I soaked it, it would not come off. Since then, I keep all decals in a zip-lock type plastic air-tight bag. I wonder if this will help. I have some kits that have been in my stash for well over 10 year (more like 20!), and I'm worried that when I finally get round to building them the decals will be trash.

I recently saw a product called Micro Liquid decal film. Has anyone used it and would it help restore old decals?

Please share any tips you may have on decal storage.

Sonny Q

 

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Often times, when a decal from an older kit won't release from the paper backing, the cause is moisture damage. Long term exposure to excessive humidity is usually the culprit. I store my kits on a shelving unit in the basement, but the humidity gets a bit high in the summer months. A couple years ago I noticed some kits stored on the bottom shelf (where circulation is poor) were showing signs of moisture damage to the decal sheets. The damage appears minimal, and in some cases undetectable, but in many cases I will likely experience the same issues you are facing. I bought a couple boxes of small, medium, and large freezer bags (the zip seal type), and went through every kit (of about 570), inspected the decals and like you, placed them in the sealed bags. I now automatically place the decals from all new purchases in bags. This should be quite effective at keeping humidity and other moisture away from the decal sheets.

I have not tried the Micro decal film, but I imagine it will not help with water damaged decals. I believe it's primary purpose is to save decals that would otherwise break up when immersed in decal water, as some old (and some not so old) decal sheets will do.

Edited by Bainford

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I have stored my decals in a loose leaf binder with acid free clear pages where the decals can be slipped into the pages like an envelope. The binder is stored on my bookshelf along with all my reference books and this seems to work well as when I'm looking for a decal or decals I can just flip the pages like a book.

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I store mine in a tupper ware type container. Inside there are individual envelopes, some made of paper, and some made of wax paper, and some plastic baggies. Also, I try to avoid  allowing the decal surfaces rub each other. Storing them back to back helps. 
 

Ive used the Micro film on really old decals, and it kept them together so they could be applied. In my opinion, the stuff works. 
 

I recently had the same issues with some older Thunderbolt decals, not wanting to come off the backing, unless it soaked for a while. Try using hotter water to dip them in. This worked for me. 

Edited by Brutalform

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On 1/15/2020 at 11:05 AM, High octane said:

I have stored my decals in a loose leaf binder with acid free clear pages where the decals can be slipped into the pages like an envelope. The binder is stored on my bookshelf along with all my reference books and this seems to work well as when I'm looking for a decal or decals I can just flip the pages like a book.

This is an excellent idea.

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Here's a couple of pics of the album that I use to store my decals...............................................

image.png.b0b3e4fda7a9733a06d719ea16d5734a.png

image.png.85477d8ca7e53e0ec2550104f75b9322.png

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Yea, I have to definitely do that! It gets annoying going through a stack of decals just to find the one I need. 
 

Do you keep them in any particular order? 
It would be a huge improvement for me just to keep all the Mopar, Ford, GM, and race stuff separated. 

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No I don't keep them in any order and it works for me, however if it would help you to do it that way then go for it.

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I store mine in a folder, like High octane,which works out real good. I don't put mine in any kind of order put I do have a separator between the cars pickups and big trucks. I do go a little i make a copy of the decal sheet and mark on it whats it's from and keep it in another folder. That way if the decal turns to dust, i can make a new sheet from the copy. Just kind of a backup I use than I don't have to worry about trying to find a matching sheet.

                                                           Jeff

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4 hours ago, Cornpatch said:

I store mine in a folder, like High octane,which works out real good. I don't put mine in any kind of order put I do have a separator between the cars pickups and big trucks. I do go a little i make a copy of the decal sheet and mark on it whats it's from and keep it in another folder. That way if the decal turns to dust, i can make a new sheet from the copy. Just kind of a backup I use than I don't have to worry about trying to find a matching sheet.

                                                           Jeff

Jeff, if yo make a copy of the decal, then you scan the copy to make a new decal, that is a 3rd generation copy (quality will be degraded).  To me it would make more sense to scan the original decal into a non-lossy graphic computer file format (like TIF or PNG, or even BMP) and keep the file on your computer for when it is needed. No JPGs. Of course also make a backup of that file.

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I store them in an old photo album with the clear magnetic pages. It keeps them airtight, and doesn't seem to damage them in any way. It's also very easy to flip through to find what your looking for.

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20 hours ago, peteski said:

Jeff, if yo make a copy of the decal, then you scan the copy to make a new decal, that is a 3rd generation copy (quality will be degraded).  To me it would make more sense to scan the original decal into a non-lossy graphic computer file format (like TIF or PNG, or even BMP) and keep the file on your computer for when it is needed. No JPGs. Of course also make a backup of that file.

I don't about doing any of that stuff on the computer, I'm not computer smart) I make the copies on regular copy paper and when and if I need another copy of the decal, i take the copy I have made and run it thru a Lazer Jet copier, copying it onto decal paper. I don't see any difference in the color.   That's what works for me, because that's what I have always done. 

                                                                            Jeff

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Each decal sheet in its own zip lock bag stored in a Tupperware container & kept in a dark cool place. 

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I store decal sheets in gallon size zip lock bags with a silicone gel packet added to absorb any moisture. I have 40+ year old Microscale sheets which are as good as the day I bought them.

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I keep mine in tupperware  in a desk drawer where it’s cool and dark no problems so far. Been doing it for 20 years!

Edited by slusher

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