Sticky Printing


Or how I am learning to love decals.

I have spent much of my Christmas holiday break doing hobby-related things – photography, scale model collecting, painting, and computer work. The heading image is just one of many out of the Little Studio to test out new ideas. Note that I refuse to do test shots that are only patterns – I go for a full concept shoot to see what the equipment or lighting will really do – then I have usable files at the end of it.

So, having purchased a packet of Microscale inkjet-printing decal paper, I have had to sit down and decide what I need as decals. As usual, coffee and a good look at the books…and the internet…was time well spent. To my credit I did not look at ladies on the internet – I looked at grain elevators. And RCMP cars, RCAF Sabre jets, and Canadian moving vans. Now THERE’s a fetish…

Well it is all research for my current photo series – Wet Dog , Alberta – and the various automotive scenes thereabouts in 1966. Along the way I intend to illustrate a number of vignettes from history, but do not expect too much drama. I didn’t have a very dramatic childhood. If you exclude the bears and the earthquake…

Back to the decals. The inkjet paper instruction sheet says it can print white, as opposed to the laser-printer paper that is transparent. I think this is an advantage but I am not sure – in any case the AWP elevator signs need to be white so the inkjet it is. The trouble with that is the backdrop of the elevator between the letters is blue, meaning I would either have to make individual letters and line them up on the model – not a prospect that holds any chance of success – or make them in three larger blocks, but incorporate the same blue as the structure around the letters. I’ve opted to do this, tested the concept with plain paper, and started to develop a sheet of decals for it.

One note – the business of making realistic signs and decals is rendered easy by the general layout and graphic capabilities of the simpler photoshop programs, but you come across real-life logos and graphics that defy you. A simple logo from the 50’s and 60’s for Canada was the British American Oil Company ( “Hockey Night In Canada!” ) green/white/red symbol. You can make the letters, but the yin/yang shape of the ground defies easy design. I settled for finding an internet illustration and redrawing it from that.


The final layout of Decal Sheet 1 is nearing completion, and will be printed shortly. Then there are a number of coatings that need to be put onto it as it is stuck down. I hope to show you success.



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