Water-slide decals are also referred to as water transfers, transfer stickers, & racing decals – not to mention the fact Hot Wheels call them tampos!* It’s all rather confusing really so I thought I’d take some time out to give you the dummies guide to waterslide decals and custom car decals 🙂
*The term ‘tampo’ refers to the process Mattel use to apply their factory ‘decals’
But before I go all wikipedia on you allow me to share my version of what waterslide decals are and how they work – cause my version is way more better… er.
Water-Slide Decal Paper – A Temporary Explanation
Whenever I explain to someone what my decals are printed on and how it works I simply tell them they are kinda like and yet sort of exactly the same as those temporary tattoos you used to get at fairs and school fetes and the like. You know the ones where you have to hold the butterfly or Spiderman picture against your skin whilst applying a wet sponge over the top – and then you’d have to hold it there pushing hard for like a minute and then when you removed it the paper peeled away revealing the image tattoo’d onto your skin? Yeah well waterslide decal paper works in much the same way. 😀
My Custom Car Decals – Permanently Cool Decals
At the risk of sounding more like Wikipedia than My Custom Hotwheels allow me to share a more detailed and somewhat scientific explanation of what waterslide paper is and how the process of printing my custom water slide decals works:
- Water slide decal paper contain a dextrose corn sugar residue that when mixed with water gives the decal (racing graphic or image) the ability to slide off the paper and onto the surface of your die-cast or plastic model car/RC.
This is (obviously) where the name ‘water slide’ comes from
- The paper also contains a layer of glucose film (added prior to the dextrose layer) which gives the decals their adhesive properties that bond the racing graphic/image to the surface of your diecast car or plastic bodied model car/RC.
- The layer of film on which the decal images are printed is available in either a clear/transparent backing or a solid white background. See This Article Here for more details on white vs clear waterslide decals and the advantages and disadvantages of both.
- The final layer is the inkjet paper on which your permanently cool decals are printed. (See the below image for a visual explanation of water-slide decal paper)
How To Apply Water Slide Decals
As a quick bonus I have included this quick photo guide (credit and shoutout to Becky-Customizer for putting this together) on how to apply your waterslide decals to your custom model car. Note that there is a much more detailed guide as well as a video that you can find on the FAQ page. Simply follow the link 😉