Decals (waterslide transfers)
There have been several uses for home printers other than ordinary paper, but decals, or waterslide tranfers, have become quite popular in scale modelling. Specific papers for the two main types (Inkjet and Laser) are available. Then there are sheets for standard prints (clear backgrounds) and sheets for designs that white in them (white backgrounds).
A friend bought a selection of Inkjet papers and gave me a clear sheet to try. My first project was the Belfield Engineering logo - a simple black design (see page header), so a clear sheet was ideal.
I immediately thought ahead - I wouldn't need a whole sheet of them and wouldn't want to wait until I had a whole sheet of designs before printing. It seemed sensible to create a template in Word and force the design to the bottom. This would allow the decals to be cut off in a strip and the paper remained square along the leading edge. The first test had a row of logos from 8 - 15mm. The print setup is specified in the decal instructions, and they came out nice and sharp. The bottom strip was cut off and three layers of varnish were sprayed over it. Finally, one was cut out and applied to a piece of sprayed plastic sheet.
I used a matt varnish, but they recommend using a gloss varnish to create the tranfers and then spraying the whole model with a matt varnish. Further experiments are obviously required, but it opens up a whole new area on detailing.