Clear cast decals, also known as resin decals, are custom-made stickers with a clear, domed resin coating that gives them a three-dimensional and glossy appearance. These decals are often used for branding, product labeling, or as decorative elements. Creating clear cast decals involves a multi-step process, and it requires specialized equipment and materials. Here’s a general overview of how to make clear cast decals:
Materials You’ll Need:
- Clear casting resin (epoxy or polyurethane)
- Decal paper (inkjet or laser)
- Clear adhesive vinyl sheets (optional)
- Resin molds or doming trays
- Mixing cups and stir sticks
- Precision scale (for accurate resin measurements)
- Digital images or designs for your decals
- Printer (inkjet or laser)
- UV light source (for curing)
- Safety gear (gloves, safety glasses, and a well-ventilated workspace)
1. Design Your Decals:
- Create or obtain digital images or designs for your decals. These should be printed on decal paper. Ensure that the images are the appropriate size and resolution for your intended use.
2. Print the Decals:
- Print your designs onto the decal paper using an inkjet or laser printer. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific decal paper you’re using.
3. Prepare the Resin:
- Mix the clear casting resin according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This typically involves combining two parts of the resin (resin and hardener) in the correct ratio.
4. Apply Resin to the Decals:
- Place your printed decals onto a clean, flat surface. You can optionally apply a thin, even layer of clear adhesive vinyl to the decal paper to help seal the ink and prevent bleeding.
- Carefully pour a small amount of mixed resin onto each decal, making sure to cover the entire surface of the decal. Use a stir stick to spread the resin evenly and remove any air bubbles.
5. Dome the Decals:
- If you want a domed or three-dimensional effect, place the resin-coated decals into resin molds or doming trays designed for this purpose. These molds or trays will give your decals a curved, rounded appearance. Make sure to position the decals as desired within the molds.
6. Cure the Resin:
- Cure the resin-coated decals under a UV light source. The curing time and intensity may vary depending on the type of resin you’re using, so follow the manufacturer’s instructions for curing.
7. Trim and Finish:
- Once the resin has fully cured and hardened, carefully remove the decals from the molds or doming trays. Trim any excess resin or paper as needed to achieve the desired shape and size.
8. Apply the Decals:
- The clear cast decals are now ready to be applied to your desired surface. Simply peel off the backing and adhere them to your product or object.
9. Allow to Set:
- Give the decals some time to adhere firmly to the surface. This can take a few hours to a day, depending on the type of adhesive used on the decal paper.
Creating clear cast decals is a skilled process that requires precision and attention to detail. Be sure to follow safety precautions when working with resin and work in a well-ventilated area. Additionally, practice on a small scale before attempting larger production runs to ensure the best results.