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Tbolt

White Inkjet Decal Paper

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Does anyone have a recommendation for a good quality white Inkjet decal paper?

 

I'm currently using the Experts-choice sheets and the surface doesn't seem to be smooth enough for the ink to give me a good solid colour. I clean the area first with IPA to make sure it is clean but I can't get a nice solid colour it's always slightly broken.

 

The only time I've managed to get a smooth finish is when is when I accidentally got some water on the paper and wiped it off quickly and when I printed on this area the finish was perfect.

 

I'm getting low on white paper so need to buy some more anyway, is there a paper out there with a smoother finish?

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I was a decade-long user of the 'Experts Choice' brand -- had great luck with it over the years -- but when supplies ran low recently, and all the on-line sources seemed to be momentarily out of stock, I needed to finish a project so I looked about on Amazon.

I found a very well-reviewed brand (which I'd frankly never heard of) called 'Kodiak Supplies'...and I took the plunge.

I was gobsmacked. As delighted as I'd always been with the Bare MetalFoil product, the 'Kodiak' results were noticeably sharper and clearer. It's every bit as thin as the other...maybe thinner...but doesn't seem to show the 'Experts Choice' version's propensity to roll and curl when trimmed to small pieces or thin strips. Really good stuff, IMHO.

(The only annoying bit -- which may or may not apply to your situation -- is that at the time it was only available in A4 rather than letter size...so I have to keep adjusting my settings and printer feed when I run my decal projects.)

 

All that having been said...a fairly vast experience with doing home-printed decals over the years leads me to advise that the problem may be your printer rather than the paper you're using. All inkjet printers...even different models from a single manufacturer...are not created equal. I have found that there are certain printer ink formulas that simply do not work well for decal printing, regardless of papers, fixatives and drying times involved. The bad news is that I've never found any way to determine ahead of time which will work and which won't; it's purely a matter of trial and error. [I've used HP printers almost exclusively over the years...each calling for a different ink type...and about 4/5 have been perfect. The rest simply wouldn't yield, despite comprehensive and reasonably scientific experiments with settings and various combinations of materials.]

[My current 'warhorse' is a Deskjet model F4280...still cranking along without issue after nearly ten years, and providing sterling results even using cheaper 'off-brand' ink cartridges]

Cheers...and good luck!

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Thanks for info. I use your previous brand and I completely agree on the curling--it's quite maddening at times!

 

I ordered the white and clear and will give it a shot.

 

BTW, how is the opacity? 

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1 hour ago, dnl42 said:

BTW, how is the opacity? 

About the same, or maybe a scratch better. White inkjet papers always seem alarmingly translucent when you first slide them off the backing paper...but once in place -- and as they set -- they usually 'opaque up' fairly well on low-chroma colors. Against red or yellow, it can be a bit more of a challenge. :rolleyes:

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3 hours ago, thorfinn said:

I was a decade-long user of the 'Experts Choice' brand -- had great luck with it over the years -- but when supplies ran low recently, and all the on-line sources seemed to be momentarily out of stock, I needed to finish a project so I looked about on Amazon.

I found a very well-reviewed brand (which I'd frankly never heard of) called 'Kodiak Supplies'...and I took the plunge.

I was gobsmacked. As delighted as I'd always been with the Bare MetalFoil product, the 'Kodiak' results were noticeably sharper and clearer. It's every bit as thin as the other...maybe thinner...but doesn't seem to show the 'Experts Choice' version's propensity to roll and curl when trimmed to small pieces or thin strips. Really good stuff, IMHO.

(The only annoying bit -- which may or may not apply to your situation -- is that at the time it was only available in A4 rather than letter size...so I have to keep adjusting my settings and printer feed when I run my decal projects.)

 

All that having been said...a fairly vast experience with doing home-printed decals over the years leads me to advise that the problem may be your printer rather than the paper you're using. All inkjet printers...even different models from a single manufacturer...are not created equal. I have found that there are certain printer ink formulas that simply do not work well for decal printing, regardless of papers, fixatives and drying times involved. The bad news is that I've never found any way to determine ahead of time which will work and which won't; it's purely a matter of trial and error. [I've used HP printers almost exclusively over the years...each calling for a different ink type...and about 4/5 have been perfect. The rest simply wouldn't yield, despite comprehensive and reasonably scientific experiments with settings and various combinations of materials.]

[My current 'warhorse' is a Deskjet model F4280...still cranking along without issue after nearly ten years, and providing sterling results even using cheaper 'off-brand' ink cartridges]

Cheers...and good luck!

Thanks for the reply. Yes it's hard to tell if it's the printer or not, but like I said I had an area that accidentally got smoothed a little and it printed perfectly on that part of the paper and obviously when printing on photo paper the image looks perfect so that's why I was wondering of there is a smooth decal paper out there.

 

Thanks for the info about the Kodiak Supplies decal paper, but I can't seem to find it in the UK. I can buy it from Amazon but it comes from the US at a silly price. I guess I'll just have to try some other brands.

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1 hour ago, thorfinn said:

About the same, or maybe a scratch better. White inkjet papers always seem alarmingly translucent when you first slide them off the backing paper...but once in place -- and as they set -- they usually 'opaque up' fairly well on low-chroma colors. Against red or yellow, it can be a bit more of a challenge. :rolleyes:

Yes it's just like a white T-shirt when it gets wet 😉

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@thorfinn, what do you use for drawing? 

 

I use Inkscape, which I also use to drive a Silhouette Portrait cutter. 

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1 hour ago, Tbolt said:

Thanks for the reply. Yes it's hard to tell if it's the printer or not, but like I said I had an area that accidentally got smoothed a little and it printed perfectly on that part of the paper and obviously when printing on photo paper the image looks perfect so that's why I was wondering of there is a smooth decal paper out there.

For what it's worth...those 'uncooperative' printers (or their inks) that I've had trouble with in the past usually tend to have the ink bead up or be splotchy, pretty-much from the get-go. If it lays down a smooth even image to start...then gets wonky later on...the problem is more likely down to drying or fixative problem. [Though I did have one particularly annoying experience where everything was great through printing, sealing, immersing the decals in water and applying them to the model...only to have them start blotching, under the sealant coat, about two weeks after all was done. Fortunately it wasn't a gift or a commission build, so it was just my own frustration I had to deal with.]

I'm assuming you've played with your printer settings a bit, but if you haven't, give it a try. I used to try to use 'photo' settings for decals...assuming the detail would be better...but now have often found that 'normal' instead of 'best' print quality -- and sometimes a 'plain paper' setting -- can often yield better results for decal printing.

Cheers

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1 hour ago, dnl42 said:

@thorfinn, what do you use for drawing? 

 

I use Inkscape, which I also use to drive a Silhouette Portrait cutter. 

I use simple old MS-Paint for about 95% of what I do. It's pretty basic, but over the years I've learned to wring some pretty surprising things out of it.

If I need to adjust color saturation or slightly more advanced stuff like that, I switch over to another freeware program called paint.net. Again, it's pretty basic, but it tends to be more simple and intuitive than 'real' drawing or art programs.

Plus...I'm cheap. Free is good.

 

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1 hour ago, thorfinn said:

For what it's worth...those 'uncooperative' printers (or their inks) that I've had trouble with in the past usually tend to have the ink bead up or be splotchy, pretty-much from the get-go. If it lays down a smooth even image to start...then gets wonky later on...the problem is more likely down to drying or fixative problem. [Though I did have one particularly annoying experience where everything was great through printing, sealing, immersing the decals in water and applying them to the model...only to have them start blotching, under the sealant coat, about two weeks after all was done. Fortunately it wasn't a gift or a commission build, so it was just my own frustration I had to deal with.]

I'm assuming you've played with your printer settings a bit, but if you haven't, give it a try. I used to try to use 'photo' settings for decals...assuming the detail would be better...but now have often found that 'normal' instead of 'best' print quality -- and sometimes a 'plain paper' setting -- can often yield better results for decal printing.

Cheers

I found early on that I had to clean the decal paper with IPA otherwise the ink would bead on the paper, but when clean it isn't too bad just is a little splotchy which becomes obvious in good light or in a photo. I've played with all the settings, for different printing type and paper as I though maybe setting to a lower quality/paper would put down less ink and it would stay smoother, but it didn't seem to improve it. The last time I printed some nose art I ended up hand painted over the solid background colour with some thin paint but I can't do that this time.

 

I've found a UK company selling decal paper so I've order some to see what it's like. My other plan is I've printed the design on white paper and on clear, so I can then place the clear on over the white and it should reduce the splotchy effect, I'll run a test to see what it looks like.

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Inkscape is open source, a.k.a., free, and available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. 

 

It's a vector drawing program, so probably not as easy as a paint program. 

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