Homemade Custom Decals

wpsnts Feb 4, 2020

  1. wpsnts

    wpsnts TrainBoard Member

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    I would like to try my hand at designing my own decals. In particular I would like to creates logos and curved text.
    Would anyone know what computer programs I should consider for Windows? Something simple is preferred as I am not very computer savvy.
    Any help and input is appreciated.
     
  2. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    I only know how to use Corel Draw for making my decals. They have a student and home version that is cheapers than the full blown version.

    That said, you can use pretty much any "Vector Drawing" program like Inkscape, Illustrator, etc.
     
  3. Akirasho

    Akirasho TrainBoard Member

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    You might be able to find the fonts you want in some form of Adobe (or like).

    Train - Model-DSCN1978.jpg
    Train - Model-DSCN1974.jpg
    Hand drawn oversize then resized.
     
  4. ddechamp71

    ddechamp71 TrainBoard Member

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    Do you know guys any program that allows to create naked eye visible size decals, then reducing it to smaller scale ? I'd like to create roadnumbers for my 1:220 scale locomotives and rolling stock, but I've no clue of how to do on my own computer..

    Dom
     
  5. wpsnts

    wpsnts TrainBoard Member

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    Dom,
    I've made road number decals using a free program called Open Office. It has a word processing program that will do what you want to do. Depending on your printer it might be hard to get quality prints for Z scale. You won't know until you try. Let us know
     
    ddechamp71 likes this.
  6. Akirasho

    Akirasho TrainBoard Member

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    Oh, and the decals on models!

    Train - Model - NSX-DSC_2582.jpg
    Train - Model - Crane-DSC_2547.jpg

    Train - Model - NSX 384-IMG_1728.jpg

    Train - Model - NXS Van-DSCN1626.jpg
    << giggle >>
     
  7. wpsnts

    wpsnts TrainBoard Member

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    Akirasho,
    How did you design your logo?
     
  8. Akirasho

    Akirasho TrainBoard Member

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    Mmmmm, I am a fan of the "wet noodle" so I doodled the design, drew it up oversize, scanned it in to Elements to clean it up, then resized and printed mocks before decal stock.

    I have used Elements to mock alternatives.. using "layers"

    Train - Model - Shell Color Tests 00X.jpg Train - Model - Shell Color Tests 00X (1).jpg

    Hope is helps.
    Oh and NXS stands for In Excess Sytems
     
    gmorider and Kurt Moose like this.
  9. dalebaker

    dalebaker TrainBoard Member

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    I have used MS Publisher in the past to create custom decals. I size the page to fit my decal sheet and then use a letter size sheet with double-sided tape as a carrier sheet for the decal sheet. It has worked fine.
    For signs, I also use Publisher and 4x6 Glossy photo paper or matte depending on how I want the sign to look. I make road signs, company signs, placards for the rr fascia with directions for operators.

    It works pretty good.
     
    RGW likes this.
  10. wpsnts

    wpsnts TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you for all of the input. I am ordering Corel Draw. One of the more popular custom decal printers said that they will accept Corel files. Now I just have to learn the darn thing. Oh boy.
     
  11. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    With Corel draw, you can design decals, etched brass frets, laser cut structures, and design kit box shots, write kit instructions with 3D exploded parts diagrams. It's almost everything you need unless you are going to make 3D rapid prototype stuff.
     
  12. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    Here are some Z Scale decals I drew with Corel Draw, and printed on my Alps:

    1.jpg 2.jpg
     
  13. wpsnts

    wpsnts TrainBoard Member

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    Without infringing on a copyright can I scan an existing decal shape into Corel and then use it as art to create an etched metal template?
     
  14. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    I'm no copywrite lawyer, (there's plenty of them on forums, but I would never take anyone's warnings or advice, rather I would consuld a lawyer personally for such stuff) but with Corel you can physically take a camera photo of a prototype car side, email it to yourself, import it into Corel, use Bitmap Trace to create a detailed logo, and shrink or grow it to any size you want.

    That's what I do for logos and railroad hearlds.
     
  15. wpsnts

    wpsnts TrainBoard Member

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    Is Bitmap Trace a function within Corel? Is it difficult to trace curves? How do you keep the lines smooth?
     
  16. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    Yes, the bitmap trace is in Corel, It makes smooth lines, but you can click on "Nodes" and stretch or shrink the arrows which makes curves bigger or smaller as needed. You can also do text to curves, where you write text, and click a circle or oval, and the test will curve around the circle, then move it inside or outside of the circle. It's a learning cureve, but there are lots of free youtube videos, which is how I learned to do everthing in Corel.
     
  17. wpsnts

    wpsnts TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you Robert. You're helping to make it feel less intimidating.
     
  18. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    Would you have a link to exactly which Corel Draw you are using. Looking online I see it anywhere from less than $100 to $500 for full version and then there is the Home/Student version. It looks like some people who have used Corel Draw professionally for years are not happy with it.

    I've used the free paint.net for years to edit photos and such and love it and have donated a couple times but don't think it is capable of producing the quality needed for N/Z size decals.

    Thanks,

    Sumner
     
  19. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    I'm using the expensive full version of X4 on Windows 7. Mine don't work with Windows 10, and it was cheaper to buy a new old stock windows 7 pc than to upgrade to Corel X9. I bought the full Corel Draw 9 for $500 in 2003, then upgraded to Corel Draw 11 in 2006 for $200, these were Windows XP days.

    Then I built a new Windows 7 computer and had to buy a compatible version, so got Corel Draw X4 for $500, and a few years later upgraded to Corel X6 for $200, but X6 changed the layout of everything too much.

    In fact, and I loose productivity for a few months till I get used to any new version. Also they don't add enough new features to make it worthwile to upgrade. So after I moved to my retirement home, and had to get a computer to run my laser anyways, I found it cheaper to stick with Corel Draw X4, and buy an old stock but brand new Windows 7 PC to run everything. I don't have to relearn Corel, and I save money.

    Just recently I discovered my Laser will not run on Windows 10 anymore anyways. They changed something in one of their annual windows 10 updates that makes my Laser Engraver driver not work. That's $15,000 for a new laser. Mine is a professional quality metal tube type, not the cheap Chinese glass tube type.

    If all you want to do is make decals, AND you have to learn the program anyways, you might as well go with Inkscape. It's an open source vector drawing program, and I'm sure it's learning curve is about the same as Corel Draw, and it's free. It's been around many years, so I am sure it can do everything you need it to.
     
    Sumner likes this.
  20. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    Lots of good advice there Robert, thanks. I'll take a good look at Inkscape, never heard of it before,

    Sumner
     

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