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Waterslide Inkjet Decal Papers 2021?


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I know there are a lot of threads dealing with waterslide decal papers, but many, well, most are outdated.

I have had some decal paper around for years - "Expert Choice" and "Papilio" and one mystery brand, clear with blue backer. I tried printing some decals out today and some of the paper turned out absolutely horrible - the ink bled and colors were completely muddled. I the photos below, the first is the mystery clear with blue backing. The next is "Expert's Choice" and the final one is the last bit of "Papilio" paper I have. You can see the difference. Problem is, it's all old, I guess. The first two have unacceptable images. The Papilio images are great, however, the decal film is now brittle and crumbles easy.

I am using an Epson ET-2760 printer

So, my question for 2021:

What decal papers are people using to get decent prints on? Please post photos of actual decals if possible - we all have different standards.

Papilio hasn't had their paper in stock in years, so I don't know if they are actually still making it or not.

For reference purposes, the plates are 1/25 scale, so about .48 inches wide.

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Edited by Erik Smith
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Are you sure that the print-side of the decal paper is not covered with a thin protective plastic film?  I have seen that done on certain brands (although I use the laser paper for my Alps printer).   See if maybe yours has the protective film.  If you can't lift it with your finger, stick a piece of tape on one of the corners and see if it will lift the protective film.

The ink beading up seems to indicate that there might be some protective film.  The other possibility it that you might have the laser (not ink jet) paper. If laser paper was used in ink jet printer, I woudl expect the ink to bead up like that.  Ink jet paper has a special liquid-ink-absorbing layer which prevents the ink from beading (that  is why ink jet paper cannot be used in a laser printer - it is likely to melt and ruin the fuser).

I never had any problems with the BMF Expert Choice paper (even old one), but I use the laster paper. Never tried their ink jet paper.  Maybe it is time to get a new batch of Expert Choice?

Edited by peteski
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Thanks for the thoughts Peter. I am not sure about the first sheet above, it was in the plastic zip lock I store all the paper in. I can't discern a protective layer, but the ink doesn't like that paper at all. The second one is certainly Expert Choice for inkjet as it's labeled on the back of the sheet. The old Papilio paper still works, it's just a little crumbly.

I ordered another brand today and I will report back!

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Another thing to check might be your printer settings. I've used the Expert's-Choice ink jet paper (made by BMF) and I seem to remember at one time they recommended that the printer to be set for photo paper (if your printer has such a setting), although I don't see anything about that on my current pack, hmm.

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23 minutes ago, RancheroSteve said:

Another thing to check might be your printer settings. I've used the Expert's-Choice ink jet paper (made by BMF) and I seem to remember at one time they recommended that the printer to be set for photo paper (if your printer has such a setting), although I don't see anything about that on my current pack, hmm.

I usually use the “Best” quality setting, which I guess would be something like the photo paper setting. Maybe not. All three papers went through at the same setting, though, so I do t know why the Papilio (which is older than the experts choice) still produces a usable graphic. 
 

I think the brand I ordered was Hayes? We will see. Maybe just some fresh paper will help. 

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For anybody interested, I received a package of Hayes brand clear decal paper today and did a little test print. Quality shortly after printing is pretty good - you can almost read the tag expiration year on 1/25 license plate, so that seems nice.  
I will let it dry, spray some clear on and see how they lay down. 

812465D6-B8B4-42F7-8AC7-5AD9447CA6CA.jpeg

194DBCDC-2E98-49A3-A2A5-1CC1E2124916.jpeg

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On 1/15/2021 at 1:19 PM, Erik Smith said:

I usually use the “Best” quality setting, which I guess would be something like the photo paper setting.

I'm glad the fresh paper worked out. i've noticed that the older paper gets, the worse this effect is. i think the paper absorbs moisture from the air which affects the printer ink. I think it also picks up oil from your fingers, so avoid touching it.

I use the highest photo print quality setting. when creating the artwork, i use 400 dpi, which is high enough for 1/25 scale decals.

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I bought some clear and white decal paper from a vendor on ebay within the last 5 years. I used a 20 year old HP inkjet printer with pretty decent results. I started with huge file sizes and reduced PRINT size down to as little as 3%. The printer was only 300dpi on the best setting. However, black only on white paper laid the ink heavy enough that it tried to bead up before it could dry. The cracking on the BENDPAK decals shows what I am talking about. Below is a link to my diorama that i did most all of the decals for.

 

Custom decals.JPG

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  • 1 year later...

I was just searching for a thread on using Epson Ecotank (the model numbers start with ET) printers for printing decals.  I am having the same problem as Erik was - I am using MicroMark's decal paper.  I then took the paper to a friend's house where he has an HP printer, and everything came out fine, as it did on my old Canon printer.  So I think the Ecotank ink may be less suited to printing on decal paper.  I am going to try coating the paper with Testor's dullcoat and an acrylic clear flat and see if the ink will work on those papers.  

My other 2 options are to keep buying different papers (looks like I need to find the Hayes paper) or buy another printer for decal printing.  I got the Ecotank since the tanks don't seem to let the ink evaporate like happened with my old Canon, and the ink is better-priced coming in the bulk bottles from Epson.  

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