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Waterslide Decals

Waterslide Decals

Waterslide decals | Water decals
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What are waterslide decals? 

They can be bought preprinted or just on blank waterslide paper to print your own design. This particular type of ‘sticker’ has a water-activated adhesive on the back that will appear after you soak them to remove the backing. 

They are the most popular way of modeling and applying unit markings and other graphics to scale models. In general, most model kits are supplied with their own stickers, but many times we will be interested in changing them, replacing them, or creating our own unique custom waterslide decals

Some types are excessively thick and difficult to work with not lying flat over surface details, or too thin so they easily break during their application, but the Green Stuff World has achieved the right balance between quality, thickness, and resistance in our own production. 

How to Apply Water Decals? 

They are released from their backing paper with water; no solvent is required. You will need some GSW Softener and Fixer solutions to improve and protect the finish on uneven or rough surfaces. 

Application instructions: 

  1. Trim it out as close as you can to the outer edge. For better cuttings, use a brand-new blade in your hobby knife. 
  2. Let it soak in water for about 20 seconds, more or less until it begins to separate from its paper support. 
  3. Using a brush push it around the model.  
  4. Move it over the model while it is wet as it will slide easily. Push with the brush until it is placed in the desired position. 

Do you have to seal waterslide decals? 

Right after printing your Custom Waterslide Decals, both inkjet and waterjet paper must be protected by using some type of non-acrylic varnish to protect the printer's ink and prevent colors from blurring during their placement. 

The fixation mustn't be an acrylic element. The best and most recommended is to use synthetic spray varnish, both glossy and matte depending on the desired finish. At Green Stuff World we have these Protective Varnish Spray to seal it permanently. 

What do I need for waterslide decals? Decal Solutions 

Although Warhammer stickers are intended to stick well to the model, in reality, they only do this in ideal circumstances, such as when there is a perfectly flat surface. Whether the surface has curves or is textured, then they need a little help and this point is where decal solutions come into play: 

The process would have 3 phases, and in summary, it would be like this: 

  1. apply GSW Fixer, 
  2. apply GSW Softener (if curved surfaces or wrinkles) 
  3. apply GSW Fixer (final sealing) 

Before applying any on the model, once is about to slide off the transport decal paper, apply a bit of GSW Fixer to the surface of the model to protect the paint beneath and also smooth the application surface, thereby helping to prevent silvering. 

Use a brush to push it off the transport sheet and onto the miniature. If you find it difficult to move the Warhammer stickers, you can add a bit more GSW Fixer or water will help it to float again on the surface until it is positioned correctly. 

If the surface where you want to apply it is curved, like a space marine shoulder pad to avoid becoming wrinkled, once it is in place, apply GSW Softener. Let the GSW softener react and remove wrinkles, as it adapts to the surface underneath. 

Repeat this step a couple of times until the wrinkles disappear. You can remove any liquid excess of Softener with a piece of paper to avoid any possible damage in unprotected areas.  

At last, apply a final coat of GSW Fixer on the decal and the surface to unify, fix, and finish protecting.  

How long do waterslide decals last? 

These stickers have a shelf life of about 3 years, after that time the glue holding them onto the paper tends to break down, fusing them together with transport paper.  

On the contrary, nothing should happen to any sticker correctly applied to your model in terms of its fixation. However, we always recommend applying a final coat of GSW Fixer as a final finish.

Can the waterslide decal be removed? 

The best way to remove waterslide decals without harming the paint on your model is by using vinegar.  

  1. Get a paper towel and fold it to fit the size of the sticker to remove. 
  2. Soak it in water with a little vinegar. If it is warm, it will work better. 
  3. Let the soaked paper sit on top for about an hour. 
  4. Remove any excess water/vinegar. 
  5. Use some masking tape to finish tearing off.

how to seal water decals on glass?

Waterside decals can be affixed to the surfaces of various materials such as ceramic, glass, resin, or plastic. Therefore, to seal a water slide decal on glass the procedure is the same as explained above. However, certain details must be taken into account. If the purpose is to decorate a glass or other curved or uneven surface, it is advisable to apply GSW Decal Softener once the water decal has been placed on the glass. This product eliminates wrinkles and bubbles that may form when trying to adapt it to curved or uneven areas. To obtain a good result, apply between two and three coats. 

Of course, before and after you can use GSW Decal Fixer: to improve the glass surface before and for sealing afterwards. A final coat of non-acrylic varnish will protect the finish and help it last over time. 

How long do they take to dry?

They should dry out of direct sunlight for 36-48 hours. Depending on the climate where you live they will need less or more hours. In warmer areas, 36 hours will be enough, while in cooler areas it is advisable to leave them for approximately 48 hours. 

If you need to accelerate the natural process you can use the heat of a hair dryer. Hold it about 20-30 cm away from the waterside decal at high temperature for 10 minutes while moving it around the design. This technique is not suitable for all materials, it can be used on ceramic, metal, wood, or thick plastics; but not on other more flimsy ones such as wax on candles, as they will most likely deform or melt. 

In addition, on the most compatible materials, waterlide decals can be cured in the oven to reduce the drying time, always without exceeding 200 degrees Celsius. However, it is preferable not to use this technique because the other products used in the application may not tolerate it. 

On the other hand, it must be taken into account that the waterside decals are not made to withstand high temperatures so, once sealed, it is not advisable to put them in the microwave or dishwasher. If you have decorated a ceramic mug or similar, wash it by hand, and do not use scouring pads or other abrasive products. Also, do not leave it to soak or clean it with aggressive cleaning products.