Bel Inc Custom Decals

Model Decal Instructions

Decal Paper
The main use of this paper is for creating transfer decals for various model trains, planes, cars, etc. that will be placed on plastic or painted/unpainted wood, cardboard surfaces, ceramic, glass, enamel, metal plus various other surfaces.

Create your own model decals for railroad names, stripes, logos, stained glass windows, road racing emblems, aircraft and military markings, signs, and limitless other custom artworks. Copy any pre-printed design or create your own artwork with ink and paper or a computer drawing program. Duplicate your drawing onto the blank, water-slide decal paper using an office copier, laser printer, alps printer, or ink jet printer. For color copies, take the original artwork/drawing and water-slide, model decal paper to your local copy center. This works like any water decal. Simply cut out the decal (printed/copied image), dip in water, and slide it into place. You can use clear decal paper for most lettering. Use white decal paper when white is your background color. (Please note, copiers and printers do NOT print white except for the ALPS 5000 printer*). Each sheet of model decal paper is 8-1/2" x 11".

If you are using ALPS and printing white with your printer then we suggest our blue decal paper (with clear coat) so that the white print will be easier to see on Blue than on white paper.

*The Alps MD-5000 ink-jet printer is compatible with our blank water-slide decal paper; it utilizes dry ink to print single colors or multiple combinations of white, gold, silver and many other colors. However, if you do not have an ALPS printer, you can use our "white" paper that may be used for all artworks that have a white color background.

Creating your own Custom Decals has now become easier than ever to do. All you need is a computer and a laser printer. The only task remaining is the preparation of the artwork.

Creating decals is fun and easy and you can do it using the word processing software already installed on your computer. Once you have the artwork prepared on the computer, you just print it out onto the decal paper.If you really want perfection or precision, then perhaps you would benefit from for example, an illustration software program that will enable you to match (exactly) prototype lettering.

White Lettering/White artwork/White Paper:

In order to print the color "white" successfully you will either require an Alps printer which has the ability to print opaque white, or our high performance WHITE DECAL PAPER. If you do not have an Alps printer, then you may order our white decal paper which is especially made for artwork that has white in it. If you do not own an Alps laser printer, you are not completely out of luck. Now you can use our BEL INC white decal paper and get the same excellent results for all of your artworks that include the color white. You may place your order on our online shopping cart now!


You can choose to use any of the following software for your custom decal creations. Adobe Illustrator, Macromedia Freehand, Deneba Canvas, or CorelDRAW. There are some simpler drawing programs that pack fewer widgets at a lower cost. Some of these come pre-installed on Apple iMacs and many consumer-oriented PCs.

Raster vs. Vector:

Graphic programs are either raster or vector. Raster art is made from a matrix of colored dots, like what you get from a desktop scanner, painting program, or digital camera. Vector art is a collection of data describing the art, like the coordinates of a line's endpoints or the size, font, and location of any text. Raster files are larger than vector files and take longer to print and often lose some clarity when enlarged. It is suggested to use raster art in bitmap or line art mode, where only black and white is used. If your artwork has multiple colors, you will need to create a separate piece of art for each color. If you want to create water slide decal transfers for more complex, full color art, you can scan it and print it onto blank water-slide decal paper.

Coated Paper:

This decal paper is ready to use with your laser printer, color copier, alps printer, or ink jet printer. It already has the soft decal film coated paper. This water-slide transfer paper is already pre coated with our state-of-the-art clear decal material that is soft yet extremely durable.

Our laser paper is specially formulated for use with laser printers like the ALPS printers and many others.Our paper can also be used with several late model personal copiers and laser printers.

Our water-slide decal paper has been used by hundreds of hobbyists and model creators over the past decade. BEL INC provides this paper to most of Americas' largest water-slide decal printing companies. Our high quality model decal paper product has been tested and approved by some of the most well known (and critical) model decal illustrators. The overall performance and end results of our paper are superior to those of any other decal paper supplier. BEL INC water-slide model decal paper will open doors and allow you to maximize on your creativity.

How to Use:

Print onto our model paper using your laser printer (dye sublimation printer) or ink jet printer the way you would any printer paper. Cut out the image and soak the decal in water for 5-10 seconds, then place the entire decal on the model for 30-60 seconds. Slide the film off the backing (discard the backing paper) and position the film where you want it on your surface (model plane, train, car, toy, wood, plastic, cardboard, wax candle, ceramic, glass, porcelain, CD's, computer mouse, etc.). Add water to the surface if you need it. Pat the Decal dry. Decals may be coated with a gloss coat or a flat finish to seal the surface.


How to make your own decals using an Inkjet printer?

Getting frustrated about the virtual non-availablility of VNAF national insignia and other markings I decided to try and make my own. Usually the VNAF decals that are available are not in the right colors, or their dimensions and lay-out are wrong. To make your own decals all you need is the following:

Imaging software that supports the creation of vector graphics (I use Paint Shop Pro 7), and a good printer (I get great results in any field with my HP Deskjet 970Cxi). A computer would be great, too.

The raw material:

Clear and white Inkjet decals sheets, and a spray can of gloss clear paint. I ordered a starters set at It contains a spray can of high-gloss Krylon acrylic paint, and two sets of decals sheet containing four clear and four white sheets measuring 21x14 centimeters each (you figure out how many inches that is; payback-time :o) The package arrived a dazzling three days after I ordered them.

Bare in mind that you cannot print on regular decal paper with an Inkjet printer since the Inkjet-ink is water-soluable and WILL bleed on the surface. Only specially coated Inkjet decal paper is suitable. There are several ways to approach this, each having their own advantages and disadvantages. An inkjet printer cannot print white. Therefor any white areas in your decal will have to be printed on wite decal paper. Let's take a VNAF national insignia as an example.

First, create the insignia as a vector graphic in your imaging-software. Creating it as a vector graphic instead of a pixel-oriented graphic has the advantage that you can re-scale the graphic to any size, from tiny to giant, without quality-loss, i.e. irregular edges. This means that you only need to create the image once and can then print decals of it for models in any given scale. Also make sure "Anti-aliasing" is enabled when you create your graphic. Doing so will result in much smoother edges than with it disabled. Create the design bigger than that they will be printed. You can reduce the size when printing by selecting a percentage in the print-preview screen. This will also add to getting smoother edges. Save your work from time to time to prevent a computer crash wasting hours of work. If you have no clue what I am talking about, do a search on the Net using the words "create vector graphics" as a query. There are plenty of good tutorials out there.

What I did was create a template of the insignia, so just an outline of the shape, and print that on white decal paper with a very thin, very light-gray outline. Next I created the VNAF insignia in the same size and the right colors. I left the white star transparent since I can't print white. You may put a white start in your decal if you want since your printer will just ignore it. You can buy after-market decal sets with plain white stars and circles and dimension your insignia to fit them, this saves you having to cut out the white background decal from a sheet yourself, but it is questionable you will always find the right size star or circle.

The template-decal:

The actual decal which is slid on top of the template decal on your model:

All that remains now is to copy the image you created and paste it into the graphic as many times as you require them and print both sheets. The white outline is of course printed on white paper, and the actual decal on clear paper. On my 970Cxi I print selecting HP Premium Phot Paper Glossy as a medium and "Best" as quality (as opposed to "Draft" and "Normal)" gave best results. I also set the color saturation one notch higher than standard. On my printer these settings give the best result, on your printer it may be nessicary to select different settings. After you printed the sheet and left it to dry for a while (about 30 minutes) you need to cover it with a coat of clear gloss paint. The coat should be as thin as possible, but thourough enough to make sure the inkjet-ink is no longer exposed anywhere. Leave that to dry for a few hours. That is all. The only drawback to creating your own decals is that you have to cut them out of the sheet by hand, which can be tricky with complicated shapes. Especially the white background since it has to be cut out a fraction smaller than the color-decal that goes ontop of the white background so no white edges are visible around the decal. If you don't use a white background for your decal, the underlaying colors of your model (especially darker colors) will shine though because Inkjet decals are a bit translucent and the decal will seem subdued. If you have a very steady hand, print the complete decal on white decal paper and cut it out carefully. That saves you fiddling with two layers of decal on you model. Remember: create the design a bit bigger than the actual decal should be (about 20%) and then rescale the print from within the printer driver / preview screen. If you fail to do so the edges of smaller decals will look blurry, caused by the anti-aliasing.

Contrary to what I said before some people say it IS possible to print on regular decal paper. The extra step this involves is to coat the paper with a thin layer of MATT finish BEFORE you print the decals on to it. The matt finish roughens the paper enough to avoid the inkjet-ink from bleeding. The rest of the technique is identical to the above. Personally, I have not tried this though.

Wichever technique you use or prefer, I think this opens up a new world where modelling is concerned. Now you can finish your model in the most exotic livery, or build that plane you personally fly or flew. The decals I made can be handled and processed like any other decal, and I found nothing bad about the Beldecals set, except for the rather superficial instruction sheet. Enjoy!

Quick reference:

  1. Create the coloured design. If the actual decal should be an inch wide, make your design 1.2 Inces wide.

  2. Create a light gray, outlined shape a fraction smaller than the coloured design.

  3. Print the design printing it at 1 : 1.2 = 83.3% (in this example) of the original design, at the highest possible resolution (1200x2400 with the HP 970CXi). This can all be set in the printer driver properties or in the print-preview screen of your imaging-software.

  4. Seal the printed decal sheets after 30 minutes with a coat of clear gloss paint. Make the layer as thin as possible, but so thick the inkjet-ink is no longer exposed anywhere.

  5. Cut out a white outline precisely and position the decal on your model. Wipe away excess water as usual.

  6. Cut out a coloured decal and place it ontop of the white decal already on your model. When cutting out this decal you may leave a small edge around the decal since it is clear sheet. Again, wipe off the excess water after positioning it on the model.

  7. Seal the model with a coat of clear paint in the finish required (matt, gloss, semi-gloss) and don't forget to mask off clear parts of the model, like the canopy.

Below the result of my work on one of the sheets:

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