Up until this week I have always hand-painted and drawn all of the details on my customs. But a generous donor sent me some waterslide decal paper to play around with. I have spent a few days getting used to the process, and it has given me all sorts of new ideas for customs. Here are a few of my first tests:
I have at least 30 extra Gollum minimates from a recent ebay auction (Sorry if I outbid anyone reading this!), and it gave me the idea to do Adam and Eve as a test. I removed Gollum’s details with Goof-Off, and found a few hair pieces that would work. I designed the details in Adobe Illustrator and printed them on clear waterslide decal paper. I don’t have one of those special printers that can print white or metallic ink, so their eyes are not white. I can fix that later with a toothpick. I wasted two sheets getting this to print. I discovered I had to tell my printer I was printing a transparency. I made sure to print a few extras, in case I screwed up. And yes, I did screw up every extra piece I printed. The decals on the figures above were the last ones on the sheet.
I had to keep the decals in water for 45 seconds to get a smooth transition onto the minimate. I learned to put the paper right next to the figure, and just slide it over. If I peeled it off with my finger first and then set it on the figure, it got ruined every time. I also used a small brush to get any air bubbles out from under the decal after it was on the figure.
I also printed my company’s logo on this same sheet:
I put it onto the back of a FCBD minimate. I also ruined one decal in this process as well. They are very fragile. I plan on showing this minimate to my boss and see if they want to get some official ones made for giveaways at conferences and conventions. They make a great desk toy. 🙂
Some of the upcoming customs I had planned were the Hellfire Club. I started designing some decals for them and printing them on white decal paper. Here is the chest piece for Donald Pierce:
I got the decal on perfect, but then I made the mistake of touching it about an hour later to see how it was setting. The decal peeled right off. You have to let it sit at least four hours, if not longer.
I am definitely a beginner when it comes to decals. Some of the guys over at the Multiverse have been doing it for ages. But so far I really like the results. I won’t be using them for every custom, but I think they are extremely useful for certain characters. If I learn anything else in the process (and I’m sure I will), I will post it here.
EDIT: I forgot to mention to coat the decals with clear coat before using them, otherwise the ink will run!