Freerails Home 
Freerails > Model Railroad Forums > Weathering & Detailing > Building Signs ... Making & Applying To Buildings

Freerails IS ACCEPTING new Members ... To join Freerails ... See how to Register as a Member in the 'Joining Freerails' Forum

 Moderated by: .  
AuthorPost
derailed
Registered
 

Joined: Sat Mar 9th, 2013
Location: East Dubuque, Illinois USA
Posts: 75
Status: 
Offline
Hi everyone,

I had a couple questions about making and applying signs to put on the sides of wooden buildings. I think I have images and resizing them etc figured out, but was wondering.....

when you want to put a sign on a wooden building and you want it to appear as though it was painted directly on the building, what is the simplest process to use? Is it as simple as printing the image on semi transparent paper? Or some special decal paper that sticks to the side? Never done this before but sure would like to learn how....

Thank you...

W C Greene
Moderator


Joined: Fri May 4th, 2007
Location: Royse City, Texas USA
Posts: 8253
Status: 
Offline
Mark-print the signs on clear decal paper (Micro Scale, etc) and apply it just like any other decal. Use plenty of Decal Set, etc. to make it snuggle down into the grain and it will look like it was painted on. Some old signs were painted on sheets of tin and then nailed to the building. I might apply the decal to a piece of thin styrene and then attach that. Does this answer your question?

Woodie

derailed
Registered
 

Joined: Sat Mar 9th, 2013
Location: East Dubuque, Illinois USA
Posts: 75
Status: 
Offline
Sure does Woodie, thanks! Some that you see look so unbelievably real that I wasn't sure if there was one more common approach or several different ways. Also wasn't sure if folks used decal paper or if there was other special papers...but clear decal paper it is, thanks!

W C Greene
Moderator


Joined: Fri May 4th, 2007
Location: Royse City, Texas USA
Posts: 8253
Status: 
Offline
Mark-when you make the decal, be sure to cut it out as close to the printed edge as possible and be sure to use lots of setting solution. You might test all this on something first to get the technique down before doing the final modeling. Good luck, this works...I know.

Woodie

derailed
Registered
 

Joined: Sat Mar 9th, 2013
Location: East Dubuque, Illinois USA
Posts: 75
Status: 
Offline
I'll definately try it out on something not so important first Woodie, I'm usually a bit clumsy first time around!

Lost Creek RR
Registered
 

Joined: Sat Dec 31st, 2011
Location: Wantirna, Australia
Posts: 308
Status: 
Offline
Mark
Another way to put the signs on to brick buildings is to print the sign onto paper. Then carefully sand the back of the sign (paper) until the paper is quite thin. Once you are satisfied that you have it thin enough apply white glue to the brick and very gently rub the sign into the glue at the same time getting it into the mortar. Once dry give it a spray of dull coat and it should look like it has been there for years.
Just one more way to skin the cat.
Rod.

derailed
Registered
 

Joined: Sat Mar 9th, 2013
Location: East Dubuque, Illinois USA
Posts: 75
Status: 
Offline
Thanks Rod!
I'll be honest, I haven't got brave enough just yet to try a brick building, I've just never been good at all on weathering anything, especially brick but I'm getting braver every day :-) I'll definately file that tip away though and will use it some day hopefully sooner rather than later...

B&O GLENNWOOD
Registered


Joined: Wed Aug 25th, 2010
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 92
Status: 
Offline
Not to discredit Woodie my experience with home made inkjet decals the lighter colors like yellow do not show up when applied to a model when printed on clear decal film the colors are to opaque my suggestion is to combine both methods print your signage on white decal film this will give the same results as printing on paper then use it in the same manner as the paper method If you want to age and weather the decal scuff with steel wool or a kitchen greenie pad after it is applied After the decal is made you will have to seal the inks with a clear coat before use I hope this helps and dont be afraid to contact me if you need more information Paul

derailed
Registered
 

Joined: Sat Mar 9th, 2013
Location: East Dubuque, Illinois USA
Posts: 75
Status: 
Offline
I'll definately be trying both ways guys...and looking forward to trying different things. I'm getting braver and braver with this stuff! Hopefully within a week or so you guys will know if I'm successful because if so I'll post a few pics... Thanks!

Last edited on Thu Aug 15th, 2013 11:29 pm by derailed

Herb Kephart
Moderator


Joined: Thu Jul 19th, 2007
Location: Glen Mills, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 5979
Status: 
Offline
The Coca-Cola sign on the side of this building was done with the sanded paper method



Herb

derailed
Registered
 

Joined: Sat Mar 9th, 2013
Location: East Dubuque, Illinois USA
Posts: 75
Status: 
Offline
Herb,
If any sign I ever do turns out half that good I'll be one happy Model Railroader...

Herb Kephart
Moderator


Joined: Thu Jul 19th, 2007
Location: Glen Mills, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 5979
Status: 
Offline
Thank you Mark

Keep at it--believe me- the first time I tried the process it was a complete disaster, followed by liberal !!

Herb

Tim Rose
Registered


Joined: Fri Mar 25th, 2011
Location: Rockwall, Texas USA
Posts: 52
Status: 
Offline
Herb,

What kind of paper did you print it on and what grit sandpaper did you use?

Herb Kephart
Moderator


Joined: Thu Jul 19th, 2007
Location: Glen Mills, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 5979
Status: 
Offline
Tim--

As I recall--and it has been a while back--

I know that it was printed on really good quality paper with an inkjet printer. The paper does make a difference, I found.

The best way to sand is to spread a very thin coat of rubber cement on a flat surface--glass, or  plexiglass  --and let it dry. This keeps the paper from sliding. I used 400 grit "wet/dry" auto body finishing paper---used dry---to start, then finished up with 600 most likely. By using glass or plex you can look through from the back side and see where you are getting thin. If you make a small hole, don't worry--it sort of "improves" the effect.

The below paragraph came from the original post about the store

The Coke sign came off the 'net, and I printed it on high quality paper. Hesitated to use it, because of the siding texture- was it only going to touch the high spots? Covered the back of the sign with some double sided Scotch tape, number 465, that only deposits a film of adhesive once the cover strips are peeled from both sides, and laid it on the side of the store. It stuck, but only to the high points of the siding, and looked phony- so I took a small worn screwdriver and lightly pressed it into the grooves---didn't tear, and came out much better than I had hoped! I have no idea how or why it stretched enough to go down and fill the grooves, but it did, and I ain't complaining!

Had to edit what I wrote here a short time ago, as it was in error --bad memory!  :doh:

Herb

derailed
Registered
 

Joined: Sat Mar 9th, 2013
Location: East Dubuque, Illinois USA
Posts: 75
Status: 
Offline
Hey guys...
I'm back with a few more questions, always plenty of questions, but I sure appreciate your time.

I'm still working on getting the decals down, with very limited success so far but still trying. So far, I'm having the best luck with printing on regular paper, sanding the back and gluing to the surface. I say limited success but not so successful I want to post a photo yet...my images don't want to conform to the siding and when I use anything to try & help that, they tear easily. I must not have that light touch!

On the decal part, I know I have not done the right thing just yet but I will. I looked everywhere locally, could not find decal paper. Closest thing I found was Ink Jet label paper. My twisted way of thinking it seemed it should be the same stuff, but obviously not with my results. With that in mind I am going to order regular decal paper online later today.

Here are my questions today...partly for curiosity but partly because I know I will learn something from your answers...

Does anyone know what the difference is between decal paper and label paper?

I also see inkjet waterslide paper being advertised you can use with a clear acrylic spray, is this true? Same results? Any advantages to using regular decal paper vs "waterslide decal paper".....or is waterslide paper specifically for a different type of image application?

I also tried a sheet of paper my son brought home from school, he said it was "decal paper" but I don't know what kind or manufacturer. I printed my decals, and applied to a scrap piece of wood & then applied Testors "decal set". The ink on the decal washed away immediately. Also, after applying decal set, the decal curled up instead of laying flat. Certain it was not correct paper, still not sure what it was though. Or possibly the decal set was wrong? I have some Micro-scale decal set coming so perhaps that is different?

The regular paper/sanding & gluing method sort of works for me, although my images sure aren't turning out near as good as Herb's Coca Cola sign! I know you guys said to print on heavy quality paper...and then sand. Foolish question, but when you are taking a heavy sheet of paper and sanding which is easy to do, but why not start with a much thinner sheet of paper? I know you have a reason, just haven't figured out what it is...

Lastly, I am fairly certain you will tell me use regular decal paper. Is one type better than any others? How do you tell the difference between regular decal paper and quality decal paper?

Thank you for any help you can give me here...sure looking forward to figuring this out....

Dallas_M
Registered
 

Joined: Tue Oct 30th, 2012
Location: Baltimore, Maryland USA
Posts: 258
Status: 
Offline


Hi Mark --

Here's a sign that I made recently for an O scale structure ... using an inkjet printer, Testor's decal paper, Krylon Matte Finish spray to seal the ink to the decal paper (before wetting or setting!) and Vallejo decal-setting solutions.

More details, including specific product descriptions were posted over on "some other" forum here:

http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=39547&whichpage=10

PS -- Some folks use the term "decal" for any sort of decorative stick-on thing ... whether it's a water-slide decal (which is what we're after here) or just some stick-on thing like a printed label (like the label sheets from the office supply store) ... again, the link above will give you some specific information.  I used the Testor's decal paper described there.  I've also tried another version from Micro-Mark and found the Testor's preferable (IMO).  Good luck, keep trying ... you'll get there!

derailed
Registered
 

Joined: Sat Mar 9th, 2013
Location: East Dubuque, Illinois USA
Posts: 75
Status: 
Offline
Thanks everyone! I have received a couple emails from others telling me their methods, (Thanks Paul!) and thank you too Dallas...what a great step by step tutorial and what a fantastic sign you came up with...the one I'm trying to do is also a General Store sign...

I didn't make the connection before about the water slide decals. In fact I was thinking the opposite, I figured if it was something I was running through my printer, I couldn't have it anywhere near water. The top coat of Krylon though I can see makes all the difference...

It's back to the drawing board for me, with instructions like this I can't go wrong...I'll keep you posted with results in the future...

Herb Kephart
Moderator


Joined: Thu Jul 19th, 2007
Location: Glen Mills, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 5979
Status: 
Offline
Mark--

One other thing-- I used HIGH QUALITY paper--not HEAVY paper.

What you want is the best copier paper that you can get at your local office supply store.

What you're looking for will say "Archival quality" (which means acid free-not particularly important to us, but a sign of high quality) and may have something like "rag content 85%". This is what you are looking for--paper made from rags--not wood pulp.

Of course, this will be the most expensive stuff that they sell, and you will be forced to buy what might amount to 34 lifetimes supply--a pack of 500 sheets. Might be worth asking anyone that you know that works in the museum field--or possibly for a lawyer-- for a couple dozen sheets to try.

Herb

derailed
Registered
 

Joined: Sat Mar 9th, 2013
Location: East Dubuque, Illinois USA
Posts: 75
Status: 
Offline
Herb,
This is why I ask so many questions, when I hear or see answers my brain translates them a whole different way than it should! I'm not sure why, but when I think "quality" I automatically think heavy. If I pick up paper at Staples usually the heaviest is 20#, at Sam's Club it's 24# and seems twice as thick....I guess that's why I missed that.

I'll check that out and pick up some of the good stuff though, makes perfect sense. I think I'll avoid the Lawyers office though, don't want to spread any rumors around town :-)

With a little luck I'll figure out both of these ways of making decals, and you know what, that's two ways I never understood before! Hope to at least get good enough that I can pass on what you're teaching me...pay it forward if you will. Thanks again guys...

derailed
Registered
 

Joined: Sat Mar 9th, 2013
Location: East Dubuque, Illinois USA
Posts: 75
Status: 
Offline
Hi everyone...
just a followup to all those questions I have been asking. I have figured out the decals up to a point I am happy with...but still learning. I am enjoying a little success with both the sanding paper method and the clear decal paper method. What I am curious about is in regards to the two photo's I will post. Using the exact same methods each time, once in awhile you'll get a decal that ends up with somewhat of an opaque background, basically, the background that is meant to be clear shows up alot darker than it should. What exactly do you think causes this?
The following two decals were both done in the same way, using the same sheet of Testors clear decal paper, printed/dried/coated with 3-5 coats of Krylon, used plenty of setting solutions below and above decals, yet as you can see total different results. Your thoughts?...
[img][/img]
[img][/img]

Lost Creek RR
Registered
 

Joined: Sat Dec 31st, 2011
Location: Wantirna, Australia
Posts: 308
Status: 
Offline
Mark
When this effect happens on a plastic model using decal paper it simply means that it has not bonded to the model effectively. You then need to add more setting solution to try and get it to snuggle down into and around rivets etc. I would suggest that you are adding your decal to a porous surface. The idea is to paint an area the size of your sign with a clear gloss coat before laying down the decal, decals will not adhere to flat (dull) porous surfaces.
Try lifting your sign paint the area with a clear gloss coat, let it dry then add your decal with the decal setting solution. The same applies if you are using the decal on a plastic surface.
If you then see any dullness (looks a bit silvery ) under the decal film add more setting solution carefully. You can use a very small pin to make a few small holes where the dullness is to add the solution just in that spot. Do not touch the decal as it will move and all will be lost while it is wet.
Once all clear add a coat of dull coat and it should look hunky dory.
Trust this helps.
Rod.

Last edited on Sun Oct 6th, 2013 03:44 am by Lost Creek RR

derailed
Registered
 

Joined: Sat Mar 9th, 2013
Location: East Dubuque, Illinois USA
Posts: 75
Status: 
Offline
That does help Rod & makes perfect sense because it is such a rough surface.
I'll try that this week...
Thank you...

JawboneFlats
Registered


Joined: Mon Feb 7th, 2011
Location: Oregon USA
Posts: 78
Status: 
Offline
You can use the same sanded paper technique to add logos to your rolling stock, like this example.
Dennis aka JawboneFlats

Herb Kephart
Moderator


Joined: Thu Jul 19th, 2007
Location: Glen Mills, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 5979
Status: 
Offline
Never thought of that, Dennis, Great idea!

Herb

ModelTrainStructures
Registered


Joined: Fri Dec 20th, 2013
Location: North Carolina USA
Posts: 76
Status: 
Offline
I use the same sanding technique on brick buildings, then go back and hand paint some of the bricks. The WILDROOT sign is a simulated 'tin' sign.

D.A.



CNE Runner
Registered


Joined: Sat Jan 7th, 2012
Location: Guntersville, Alabama USA
Posts: 76
Status: 
Offline
This is an excellent thread...some really helpful tips (and those signs are great). As far as I can tell, no one has mentioned INK vis-a-vie the making of decals/signs. Most inkjet printer inks have a problem with color degredation. That is to say they fade over time. [If you have some older photos you printed on an inkjet printer, compare the color density to a recently printed image). The culprit here is a combination of air pollution (easily eliminated with a matt overspray...on both side of the picture) and (more likely) UV radiation (a serious problem if using fluorescent lighting).

There is a couple of ways around this problem: 1) use archival quality ink cartridges or take your laser decal film to a photocopy store (such as Staples) and have them print it on one of their high-end color laser copiers.

Just a suggestion...I enjoyed the thread.

Ray

ModelTrainStructures
Registered


Joined: Fri Dec 20th, 2013
Location: North Carolina USA
Posts: 76
Status: 
Offline
I used the same technique with wood as I do brick by sanding the back of the paper. If the base sign I'm using is wood, I'll use an xacto knife to make vertical or horizontal lines in the Basswood or Balsa.
Thanks for looking,
D.A.

dennischee
Registered


Joined: Thu Aug 30th, 2012
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 323
Status: 
Offline
Very impressive am about to do an old shop will give this a try

Dennis
:thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb:

slateworks
Registered


Joined: Wed Oct 6th, 2010
Location: Twickenham, United Kingdom
Posts: 982
Status: 
Offline
For a different type of sign, I wanted a street banner and discovered (probably everybody except me knew you could do it!) that I could get my old Epson R300 inkjet printer to print on fabric.
I attached ordinary bed sheeting material to a piece of very thin A4 card (heavy grade printer paper would probably work) with half a dozen strips of double sided Sellotape to keep the material from "billowing" and fed it through the printer on "photo" setting. No smudges or smearing and it dried pretty quickly. The banner was then cut to size and hung on the layout.

001 by slateworks, on Flickr

x (9) by slateworks, on Flickr


Doug

Herb Kephart
Moderator


Joined: Thu Jul 19th, 2007
Location: Glen Mills, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 5979
Status: 
Offline
Doug

Make that two people that didn't know. I would have thought that the cloth would get all tangled up inside the printer.

Wonder if you can do tissue--would be more of a scale thickness, and wouldn't have the "grain"(weave) that the cloth has.


Herb

W C Greene
Moderator


Joined: Fri May 4th, 2007
Location: Royse City, Texas USA
Posts: 8253
Status: 
Offline
Herb, I may try this method. Tissue or coffee filter paper (what I like) may be sprayed with some artists' "spray mount" which can be peeled off later. Then put on ordinary paper and then run through the printer and taken off & used. Just might work. The cloth might be stuck with the same stuff also. Worth a try, all I got to lose is a 30 dollar printer!

Woodie

B&O GLENNWOOD
Registered


Joined: Wed Aug 25th, 2010
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 92
Status: 
Offline
This was picked up from a Military Modelers site he prints his signage on cigarette paper then there is no need for thinning the material afterwards This is also worth a try Paul

slateworks
Registered


Joined: Wed Oct 6th, 2010
Location: Twickenham, United Kingdom
Posts: 982
Status: 
Offline
Herb.

The double sided Sellotape (Scotch Tape?) around the perimeter and down the length of the "carrier" card stops the fabric tangling in the printer rollers. I should have said that I folded a length of ordinary one sided Sellotape along the leading edge of the card/fabric to give it a clean entry to the rollers.
I haven't tried tissue or coffee filter paper but with luck the result should be much the same assuming you can remove the printed area from the carrier without tearing it. I'll be interested to see the results of using Spray Mount as a temporary adhesive. It may do the job and be a less aggressive grip than Sellotape.
In my case, I wanted the coarse fabric look as if the sign had been painted on canvas sheeting or the like.

Doug

W C Greene
Moderator


Joined: Fri May 4th, 2007
Location: Royse City, Texas USA
Posts: 8253
Status: 
Offline
Since my stuff is outside, I would need to make the banner, etc. from thin shim brass, painted, and the lettering applied by either dry transfers, hand painted, or decal and then sealed with several coats of Krylon clear flat. I look for ways to make things like this which can withstand (even for a short time) Mother Nature. Indoors, I love these ideas.

Woodie


UltraBB 1.172 Copyright © 2007-2016 Data 1 Systems