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White Decals, Part 2


Well, I know this is hard to see, but that’s part of the problem If we had white lettering on a white background, it should be invisible, but it’s not.

Where the embossing powder is thin enough to reveal print detail, it’s thin enough the black ink shines through. Where it’s thick enough to be opaque, it clumps together to obliterate the lettering. It’s tough to get even coverage of the embossing powder. There are places on the decal that there’s embossing powder where there was no ink that I thought the heat gun would blow off.

The Testors decal film reminds me of Champ decals: very thick.

Time to regroup. Investigate refining the method and materials, and talk to others who’ve been successful. There are other options noted in Part 1 I need to investigate. There’s a clinic at next weekend’s Prototype Rails on printing white decals with a laser printer that I hope to learn more.

The artwork took me a long time to create. More than I bargained for, but I won’t give up and let it go to waste!


  1. Fred Swanson wrote:

    I just happened on your site the other day and found it interesting and helpful. This subject interests me since I have about a dozen Ulrich and DA gondolas without decals. I was just thinking that maybe using light grey or another light color would work better? Grey would have less ink on the paper so the white powder will not build up so much and a lighter base wouldn’t need so much to cover it? Another thought was contacting an SP aficionado that’s into Train Sims. I found this while looking for something else. Perhaps they can help with lettering? If you use a commercial decal print service I could use some if a larger order will get them cheaper. I would get a few more Ulrich gondolas then. I stopped because of the lack of lettering.
    Best regards,
    Fred Swanson

    Sunday, March 22, 2015 at 23:01 | Permalink
  2. Arved wrote:

    There’s a very narrow time frame where the ink is wet enough. Too wet, and the powder pulls the ink due to capillary action. Too fry, and there’s no adhesion of the powder to the decal paper. I’ve got both effects going on in my sample.

    I tried the DecalProFX film, but ran into some problems. I’m working with the vendor to resolve them. I need more time in the day.

    The Train Sim crowd might be helpful in generating artwork to be printed, but I’ve already tackled that problem. The problem now is to get white printing, and not anything else.

    I’ve since found that Kadee (the coupler people) offer custom decals, but at $40 a sheet, this isn’t what I’d call affordable.

    You might want to look at Speedwitch media decals. They have a set for SP box cars that might get you along. Especially if you can do without completely accurate “mousetype.” Reporting marks and car numbers should be good, but the 30″ logo might be a problem. So relettering an Ulrich car shouldn’t be an issue (i.e. changing number, or updating to more modern reporting marks) if you can live with the logo and “mousetype” Ulrich provides.

    Good luck, and thanks for visiting!

    Sunday, March 22, 2015 at 23:40 | Permalink
  3. Fred Swanson wrote:

    Just an idea thinking outside the box. I noticed Mountaincow a company that was linked from the Okidata website markets to professional wedding invitation makers. Perhaps one of them local would print them?

    Tuesday, April 7, 2015 at 14:40 | Permalink

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