How to Make Decals for Diecast

Written by jeffrey brian airman
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How to Make Decals for Diecast
Decals set a diecast vehicle apart from similar models lacking decoration. (sporty model car image by Ray Kasprzak from

You can quickly customised your favourite diecast model cars, planes and trains by creating and applying adhesive decals. Designing and printing decals from a home computer allows you to produce multiple identical stickers to form a racing team or give a single vehicle a symmetrical look. Home-printed decals are inexpensive to make and take just a few seconds to apply. Upgrade a collection of diecast models by decorating them with press-on decals that you constructed.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Graphic design program (Photoshop, CorelDraw, PaintshopPro)
  • Scanner (optional)
  • Inkjet printer
  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Inkjet sticker paper or labels (clear plastic or white)
  • Acrylic sealant spray
  • Cutting board
  • Razor blade knife (X-acto)
  • Tweezers

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  1. 1

    Create a few prototype decals using a graphic design program. Scan in and manipulate hand-drawn decal concepts using a graphics program.

  2. 2

    Print the prototype decals on regular white paper to see them in full colour. Quickly cut them out with a pair of scissors and hold them on the vehicle to see if adjustments to their size or design need to be made before printing the decal.

  3. 3

    Load the inkjet printer with sticker paper and print the decals. White sticker paper decals have a blank white background where no ink is applied. Clear plastic sticker paper decals are transparent in sections without paint.

  4. 4

    Allow the printed decals to dry for 20 minutes before spraying a light coat of clear acrylic sealant spray over the ink. Give the spray another 20 minutes to dry and form a protective layer over the design.

  5. 5

    Place the sheet of decals on a cutting board and use a razor blade knife to carefully cut them out.

  6. 6

    Peel the cut decals from printed sticker paper sheet and position them on the diecast model using a pair of tweezers.

  7. 7

    Cover the positioned decal with a small scrap of blank paper and press it onto the diecast vehicle. Rub in a circular motion from the inside of the decal moving toward the outer edges until it is affixed.

Tips and warnings

  • Heat clear plastic decals with a hair dryer to make it easier to press out stuck air bubbles.

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