How to Make Decals
Getting ready for printing
The next step now your have your graphic is to print it out.
When I first started out making my own decals the hardest thing that I found was the actual printing. Although you set the actual size when creating the graphic it does not always print out to the correct size. You also need to consider whereabouts on the page it is going to print.
I found that there was very little control if printing out direct from the graphics program as most will just position the graphic in the top, centre or bottom of the page and to the left or right of the page. This is ok if you are printing a photograph as a full page but we are not.
You also need to how many other decals you are going to print. The decal paper is fairly expensive compared to everyday printer paper so you obviously want to get as many decals out of a sheet as possible with very little waste.
I found that by using Microsoft Word I could print out as many decals as possible to maximum effect and as little wastage as possible. I will therefore take you through this process step by step and teach you my secrets.
You will obviously need to have Microsoft Word installed on your computer.
Depending on how you have Word set up it usually opens with a new blank page if it doesn't open a new blank page by clicking FILE > New or the New Page Tab is in the illustration below.
Next click on the FILE Tab and select the PAGE SETUP. This will open a box as shown here where you can set the page margins.
Set the TOP, BOTTOM , LEFT and RIGHT margins to 0 mm.and click the OK button. This will open a warning panel like this -
Click on the FIX button. This will set the margins to the minimum permitted by your particular printer. Click the OK button on the PAGE SETUP window to clear it.
You now have a blank page ready to get as many decals on as possible so lets get started.
First of all open up the folder where your graphic is stored and copy the required graphic (right click on it - select COPY).
Switch back to the Word document
Click on the INSERT tab and select > TEXT BOX
Move the mouse back over the page and you will notice that the usual cursor -a sideways H has now changed to a +.
Just click anywhere on the page and a square with dots will appear on the page.
Right Click inside the box and select PASTE from the menu that appears. Your selected graphic should now appear inside the text box.
You will notice that the box is a lot deeper than the graphic. This can be resized by using the 8 points around the outside of the text box. The 4 corner points will open or close the box diagonally and the 4 centre points will move that particular side. In our case we need to move the bottom of the box upwards towards the graphic so move the cursor over the bottom centre point. You will notice that as the cursor moves over the box it will change to a cross or if put directly over one of the 8 points, will change to double ended arrows. These arrows show the directions that you can move the outline of the box.
Left click and hold down the mouse button on the bottom centre point and slowly move the base of the box upwards so that it is just under the graphic and let go of the button. Your page should now look like this -
One point to mention - if you have clicked on the page anywhere outside of the text box it will change to a solid lined box. To get back to the edit mode just left click on the outline pf the box.
By placing the cursor on the box (so you get a +) the box can be dragged to any position on the page. Drag it up to the top left of the page.
As a final check the size of the actual printed size of the graphic can be checked by right clicking on the actual graphic inside the text box. This will bring up a menu. Select > FORMAT PICTURE from the menu.
This will open up a box
Click on the SIZE tab.
Make sure that the Height and Width size figures are the sizes that you require if they are wrong put the correct sizes un the boxes.
If you are using a graphic that you have copied and saved, this can also be resized here although the actual sizes may differ slightly.
You will sometimes have to compromise either the height or width size especially if the Lock Aspect Ratio box is ticked. This box can be un ticked to get actual sizes but the graphic may distort when viewed.
This should not be a problem in our case though as the graphic was created to the correct size and saved in JPG format.
We now have our first decal ready to be printed but, are we ready yet. Most models will require more than one decal and in our case we need 2 - one for either side of the model.
Once we have the first one it is easy to duplicate as many as we want.
Place the cursor on the line of the text box so that it changes to a +. Right click and select COPY from the menu. All you need to do now is right click anywhere on the page and select PASTE from the menu.
This will paste an exact copy on the page.
Note: I have found that sometimes the graphic is dropped directly over the top of the existing one and it looks as if nothing has happened. You can check to see by clicking on the edge of the box and moving it - you will then see both.
Drag the second and subsequent boxes so that they line up along the top of the page. In the example below I have made a number of copies and lined them up. I have also added more decals that I need to be printed.
Now, before you go any further SAVE the Word document. The last thing you want is to lose all this work.
The page is now ready for printing which is the next Section - Click Here