Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)
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  • #12875
    Gary Albach
    Forum Participant

    We often need gold or white decals but can’t print them on our inkjet printers. Here’s how I made a set of gold decals for my Electrohome Viking restoration.

    Colours printed directly on an inkjet printer are produced by a dithering process which produces translucent letters and lets the background colour show through. When applied to a dark wood background, the inkjet printing can almost disappear. Hence the use of an embossing process.

    There’s a lot of information on a Google search for ‘gold embossing’ because it’s a popular technique for the hobby of ‘stamping’. It’s basically very simple: print or draw an image on a surface, cover the wet ink with a fine gold plastic powder, melt the powder particles with a heat gun which fuses them together and attaches them to the surface. The powders come in a wide variety of colours and are available at hobby craft stores.

    For my letters, I started with a sheet of waterslide decal paper that I bought on eBay:
    https://www.ebay.ca/itm/10-sheets-DIY-Inkjet-Waterslide-Decal-Paper-Clear-Water-Slide-Paper-11-x8-5/302912963275?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

    I photographed the words on the radio and cleaned up the images using Inkscape, a free drawing program. In hindsight, it would have been easier to simply choose a font that was close to the original letter style. I then printed the words on the shiny side of the decal paper, using black ink in my inexpensive inkjet printer (Epson WF-3520).

    Before the ink dried, I sprinkled a fine gold power over the ink and shook the excess back into the bottle. Using my heat gun on a low setting, I gently heated the letters to melt the powder sticking to the ink. The results are gold letters printed on the decal paper. I gently pressed the letters down with a tissue but I’m not sure this is necessary.

    I bought my gold embossing powder at Michaels, but there are many other suppliers on the web. Just Google ‘gold embossing powder’.

    To achieve the black outline around the letters, I ran the decal paper through the printer a second time, printing a black outline image that I had produced with Inkscape.

    Unlike decals printed directly with inkjet ink, these are not water-soluble and hence do not need a protective lacquer overspray before applying them.

    The gold particles that are sprinkled over the wet ink tend to stick to the decal sheet between the letters due to a static cling. This can be minimized by first rubbing the decal sheet with a fabric dryer sheet (e.g. ‘Bounce’) before printing with the black ink. The odd stray fused particle can be popped off the sheet with the tip of a hobby knife.

    I applied a thin coat of lacquer to the radio and let it dry for a couple days before applying the waterslide decals. I let the decals dry for a day then misted them with four or five thin coats of lacquer. These mist coats helped seal the decal before I applied the final finish to the radio, and also helped melt the edges of the decal into the underlying lacquer. If the edges are still visible, I’ve read on forums dealing with guitar construction that at this stage it helps to wet sand the edges of the decal with very fine wet/dry sandpaper, although I’ve never tried this.

    Gary

    #12878
    Gerry O’Hara
    CVRS Member

    Impressive Gary! – I’ll have to give that a try sometime.
    Thanks for the info.

    Gerry

    #12880
    Les Dickson
    CVRS Member

    Thanks for the info Gary, I’m going to give it a try. Did you use slow drying ink, or did it work with regular ink?

    #12882
    Gary Albach
    Forum Participant

    I just used regular black inkjet printer ink. The ink dries slower on the plastic decal sheet than it does on paper.

    #12984
    Les Dickson
    CVRS Member

    So, I’ve experimented with your technique Gary and here are my results:

    1. I printed the letters using yellow ink without a black outline then sprinkled the gold powder and gently heated – looked good
    2. I printed the black outline by re-feeding the decal paper into the printer – fingers crossed
    3. the printer didn’t pull the decal paper through in the exact way it did on step one so – failure – nothing lined up
    4. next I printed the letters with both the yellow fill and black outline and sprinkled with the gold powder and gently heated
    5. I don’t know why, but the gold only stuck to the yellow fill and didn’t stick to the black outline – success – magic?
    #12985
    Gary Albach
    Forum Participant

    Hi Les – amazing, great work! I guess I was just lucky that my printer pulls the decal paper through on the second pass with enough alignment to look registered.
    That is a neat trick to use two separate colours to get an outline. Do you think maybe the black ink dries faster than the yellow?
    Do you have any pictures?

    Gary

    #12988
    Les Dickson
    CVRS Member

    Here are a couple of scans of the results of my experiments. In the first you can see where the alignment on the second printing was off. The colours in the scanned images don’t quite represent accurately. The only reason I can think of for why the black outline stayed black is, as you suggested Gary, that the black ink dries faster.

    #13000
    Gary Albach
    Forum Participant

    Hi Les – how do these decals look on a wooden cabinet?

    I ask because the decals in your photos look quite different than mine. I have attached a picture of one of my decals, which has the gold powder melted over black ink, and then a second pass to print the outline. You can see that the plastic powder forms a thick ‘embossed’ layer over the ink. In your photos, it looks like there are only a few gold powder flecks, and that the yellow ink is showing through. Is this just a difference in photography between your decal and mine?

    Gary

    #13074
    Les Dickson
    CVRS Member

    Hi Gary, I haven’t had a chance to do anything with the gold embossed decals since my last post. The photo you sent is quite different than what my decals look like. On closer inspection – I haven’t put them onto a radio yet – it doesn’t look like I have enough of the gold powder to completely cover the yellow ink. I’m wondering if I didn’t give them enough heat to fuse the particles together, or perhaps I didn’t have enough powder on the decals before heating. I’ll keep you informed on my progress when I get time to get back to it.
    I appreciate your help on this.

    #13078
    Gary Albach
    Forum Participant

    Hi Les – I moved quite quickly to sprinkle the gold powder on the decal sheet before the ink dried, and then really poured the powder on thick over the lettering.before shaking the excess back into the bottle. With your heat gun on a gentle setting, you will see clearly the instant when the individual powder particles fuse together to form a single shiny layer.
    Gary

    #13080
    Gary Albach
    Forum Participant

    Sorry Les, this sounds a bit confusing. I didn’t ‘sprinkle’ the powder on the wet ink, but really poured it on in a big pile. Then shook the excess back into the bottle.before heating the letters.

    #13292
    Les Dickson
    CVRS Member

    Hi Gary. I tried applying the gold embossed decals that I made with mixed success. On a cabinet that is a not dark wood, the decals don’t look too bad, but on a darker cabinet they aren’t great. I know what to try next time I get a chance. This is how it looks on the lighter cabinet

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    #13294
    Gary Albach
    Forum Participant

    Hi Les – yes, I think your earlier observation is correct, that you have to apply more gold powder to completely cover the ink. Then you can print with black ink.

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