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How to apply decals to models

How to apply decals to models

Introduction about How to apply decals to models

Adding decals to your models can elevate their appearance, providing intricate details and a realistic finish. However, applying decals requires precision and the right technique to achieve a professional look. In this guide, we’ll delve into the art of applying decals to models, ensuring you grasp the best methods for optimal results.

Preparing Your Workspace

Creating the ideal workspace before applying decals is crucial for a smooth application process. Here’s how you can set up for success:

Gather Essential Tools and Materials

Ensure you have all the necessary tools at hand, including tweezers, a hobby knife, water, decal setting solutions, a soft brush, and a clean cloth.

Clean and Dry Your Model

Before applying decals, ensure your model’s surface is clean and dry. Any dust, oils, or debris can hinder the decal’s adherence.

Create a Comfortable Work Area

Arrange your tools in a convenient and organized manner to streamline the application process.

Choosing the Right Decals

Selecting appropriate decals is key to achieving the desired look for your model. Consider the following:

Decal Size and Design

Choose decals that suit the scale and theme of your model. Ensure they fit well on the intended surface without overwhelming the model’s details.

Quality of Decals

Opt for high-quality decals that are easy to work with and offer vibrant, long-lasting colors.

Matching Colors and Theme

Select decals that complement the color scheme and design of your model, enhancing its overall appearance.

For more insights on choosing the right decals, refer to this guide on selecting model decals.

Decal Setting Solutions

To achieve a seamless and professional look, consider using decal setting solutions. These solutions help soften the decals, allowing them to conform smoothly to the model’s surface. Explore various decal setting solutions available in the market, such as Micro Sol and Micro Set. Learn more about the benefits and proper usage of these solutions in this guide to using decal setting solutions.

Advanced Techniques for Decal Application

For enthusiasts looking to elevate their decal application skills, delve into advanced techniques such as decal layering and weathering effects. Layering decals adds depth and complexity to your models. Additionally, weathering effects simulate wear and tear, adding a realistic touch. Discover expert tips and tricks in this advanced decal application techniques guide.

Join the Modeling Community

Connect with fellow model enthusiasts and artists in modeling communities and forums. Engaging with others in the hobby can provide valuable insights, tips, and techniques for applying decals. Share your experiences and learn from others in the modeling world. Join a modeling community or forum and enhance your modeling journey. Explore popular modeling communities like Scale Model Addict and Armorama for a vibrant modeling community experience.

Applying Decals: Step-by-Step Guide

Achieving a seamless decal application requires a systematic approach. Follow these steps for best results:

Step 1: Cut the Decal

Carefully cut out the decal you intend to apply, leaving a small margin around the design.

Step 2: Preparing the Decal

Place the decal in warm water for a few seconds until the decal starts to separate from the backing paper.

Step 3: Positioning the Decal

Using tweezers, carefully position the decal on the desired spot of your model.

Step 4: Adjusting and Smoothing

Gently slide the decal into its final position and carefully blot excess water using a soft brush or cloth.

For a detailed step-by-step application process, explore this in-depth decal application guide.

FAQs: How to apply decals to models

Can I reposition a decal once it’s applied?

Unfortunately, once a decal is applied and dries, repositioning can damage the decal or the model. It’s essential to position it accurately during application.

Is it necessary to use a setting solution for decals?

While not necessary, using a setting solution helps decals conform to the model’s surface and eliminates air bubbles for a smoother finish.

Can I apply decals on a painted surface?

Yes, it’s possible to apply decals over a painted surface. Ensure the paint is fully dry before applying the decals.

How can I avoid silvering under the decal?

To prevent silvering (trapped air under the decal), apply a decal setting solution. It softens the decal, allowing it to conform to the model’s surface.

How do I remove decals if I make a mistake?

If needed, gently lift the decal using water and a soft brush. Be cautious, as excessive force can damage the model’s paint or surface.

Can I apply decals to any type of model?

Yes, decals can be applied to various model types, including plastic, resin, or metal, as long as the surface is smooth and prepared.


Mastering the art of applying decals to models takes practice and patience, but the results are rewarding. By following the proper steps and considering the tips provided, you’ll enhance your models with intricate detailing and achieve a professional finish.

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