How to properly apply decals on a model automobile? Decal solution for models.

When you reach the conclusion of a scale model project, you are often faced with a few choices — should you choose for a polished finish or a more worn appearance? Maintain the standard color palette or experiment with something more beautiful and unique? And do you use the included decals, or do you paint your own designs on it, or do you keep it clean?

how to properly apply decals on a model automobile
how to properly apply decals on a model automobile?

If you are a traditionalist and your model kit has a variety of decals, odds are you will utilize them. And with justification. Decals provide a lovely touch of color, detail, and authenticity to your model, which is particularly crucial for historic aircraft and legendary Formula 1 racing cars.

Essential Decal Tools

Essential Decal Tools
Essential Decal Tools

Before you apply decals, you’ll need to have your workspace cleaned and all the essential equipment on available. Here is a list of the tools you’ll need:

• Varnish or Klear
• Sheet of decals
• Scale model you will put decals to
• Cutting mat
• Bowl of water
• Dishwashing liquid / soap
• Decal solutions x2 – one for underneath the decal, and one for on top after it has been put
• Sharp pair of scissors (ideally tiny) (preferably small)
• Hobby knife
• Small paint brushes x2
• Tweezers
• Lint free cloth
• Towels papier

Preparation of the Model Surface

preparation of the model surface
preparation of the model surface

Once your final paint work is complete, add one or two thin coats of varnish or Klear to achieve a gloss or semi-gloss surface before applying any decals.

While a matt or flat paint finish may look best on your model, it decreases the decal’s points of contact and may leave tiny pockets of air underneath the decal. Ensure that this varnish coat is fully dry before proceeding with the decal application instructions below.

Types of Self-adhesive Decal

Types of Self-adhesive Decal
Types of Self-adhesive Decal

There are two kinds of self-adhesive decals: ‘wet’ decals and’sticker’ decals. Each of them is applied for in a somewhat different manner, as stated below.

Self-adhesive Decals ‘Wet’

This is a somewhat unusual sort of decal and should not be confused with water-slide or vinyl self-adhesive decals. Wet self-adhesive decals have an adhesive on the back of the decal that, when dampened with water, enables the decal to be pushed into the desired position before carefully wiping away any remaining water.

This causes the decal adhesive to permanently adhere to the model. A few drops of dishwashing liquid added to the water can assist the decal in sliding more easily until you are satisfied that it is in the proper location.

Self-adhesive Decals ‘Sticker’

Generally, this style of decal is printed on a vinyl sheet with a backing. If the decals are not already pre-cut, you will need to cut around the shape and peel off the backing before applying them on the model.

Self-adhesive Decals: How to Apply

Begin by carefully picking the decal that will be applied to your model. Cut as close to the artwork/lettering as possible using a new hobby knife blade, leaving little or no of the clear vinyl on which the self-adhesive decal is printed. You can cut off the decal using scissors, but you may find that a hobby knife is more suitable for the job.

Assemble the model on a dry/clean surface that is free of dust particles or fingerprints. After cutting and peeling the decal off its backing sheet, carefully arrange it on the model and gently push into place, pressing out any air bubbles as you go. If an air bubble persists, delicately “prick” it with a thin pin, needle, or the tip of a sharp knife blade, then press the decal down firmly to release any trapped air and secure the region.

Double confirm that the decal is in the exact position and orientation before applying it to the model; otherwise, once done, it may be very difficult to remove without damaging the decal or the model’s paintwork.

For any tight curves or non-flat regions where the decal must adhere, you may apply a little amount of heat using a hairdryer set to low (so as not to distort or melt the decal or model part). Once the decal is in place, gently warm the area with a hair dryer to soften it and allow you to press out any wrinkles or bubbles that have formed.

Decals for Water-slide

Decals for Water-slide
Decals for Water-slide

Water-slide or transfer decals are quite popular. They consist of a decal, a water-soluble adhesive, and backing paper. When submerged in water, the decal virtually glides off the backing paper, allowing for relatively easy application to the surface of your scale model.

Appropriately Apply The Water Slide Decals

1. Using a sharp hobby knife or scissors, cut the first decal off the sheet.
2. Using the tweezers, place the decal on the water’s surface; it will most likely curl or sink, but this is OK.
3. Using the tweezers, remove the decal from the water and place it on a paper towel to absorb any excess moisture.
4. Using a clean paintbrush, apply the first decal solution to the scale model in the region where the decal will be applied.
5. Using the paint brush, move the decal away from the backing paper and onto the region of the model where you previously applied the decal solution. If necessary, you may use the brush to reposition it. To prevent damaging the decal, move the backing sheet away from it rather than repositioning it excessively.
6. Once you are pleased with the placement of the decal, dab it with a paper towel to absorb any extra water.
7. While this is often sufficient to hold the decal in place, if required, you may use another clean paint brush to apply a second layer of decal solution over the decal. This will securely secure it in place.
8. It is critical that you allow the decal to dry.
9. Now that the decal is properly sealed, you may add a thin coat of Klear or varnish and let it to completely dry.
10. After the previous decal has dried, repeat the preceding instructions for each subsequent decal.

How To Correct Any Model Kit Decals Issues

How To Correct Any Model Kit Decals Issues
How To Correct Any Model Kit Decals Issues

Occasionally, a bubble can form or a little amount of color will show through the decal. Several solutions to these issues include the following:

If the decals must be chopped to fit around irregular surfaces, cut them into smaller pieces and apply them individually.
If bubbles begin to form on the decals, pierce them with a pin or the tip of your hobby knife and apply more setting solution.
If the decal becomes wrinkled, avoid touching it at all costs. At the moment, there is nothing you can do. Allow it to dry and the creases should diminish or disappear.

F.A.Q: How to properly apply decals on a model automobile?

How are decals applied to a model car?

Place the decal in the desired location. With a brush, apply mild pressure to the decal. And then lift the decal paper from underneath.

How should decals be applied?

Apply Your Sticker With Confidence
Tip 1: Begin With A Spotless Surface.
Tip 2: Use During Moderate Temperatures.
Tip 3:Use Masking Tape as a third option.
Tip 4: Employ The Wet Method.
Tip 5: Take Care Of The Transfer Tape.

How are model decals sealed?

Prior to sealing the decals with a clear coat, you must apply a setting solution such as MicroSol or Solvaset (both are available in hobby shops). Read the directions written on the envelope containing the decals. Without a setting solution, the decals will not adhere effectively.

Are you looking for a decal setting solution?

The Decal Setting Solution is used to adhere decals to panel lines and protrusions, enabling them to stretch and adapt to uneven surfaces. Additionally, Setting Solution enables you to reposition the decal after it has been applied to the surface, allowing for precise placement. As specified in the instructions, apply decals to the model.


When properly placed, decals may really elevate your model to the next level. Perfecting this approach is critical to the success of your job. Utilize the procedures above and just get a model and begin.

Occasionally, it’s beneficial to have an additional model car body or aircraft fuselage on hand to use as a practice piece for the various sorts of painting and decals you want to apply. Always keep in mind that practice makes perfect. answer how to properly apply decals on a model automobile?

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