In addition to a sheet of decals, and a model rocket to apply them to, Excelsior Rocketry recommends the following items or products be used when applying decals:
1) A sharp hobby knife with a fresh blade
2) A steel straight-edge ruler, along with a surface to cut on. A smooth board or self healing cutting mat will do nicely.
3) A bowl of warm water with two drops of liquid dish detergent gently dissolved.
4) A small modeling paintbrush (size #1 usually does the trick).
5) Microscale 'Decal Set' decal setting solution.
6) Microscale 'Micro-Sol' decal solution.
7) Several paper towels, ready for use.
8) Future brand floor finish, and a disposable foam brush.
1) Make sure that the paint on your rocket is dry. Acrylics can be dry to the touch in 30 minutes, and thick gloss Enamels can take up to a week to dry. You should wait an absolute minimum of 24 hours with any paint before applying decals, just to be sure.
2) Using a foam brush, 'paint' the decals with a coat of Microscale Liquid Decal Film. This film will dry a an invisible coating that protects the decals and makes them just a bit tougher. Discard the brush after use.
3) Excelsior decals are printed on a solid sheet of decal paper. In a way, they are one large decal. Decals must be cut from the sheet, close to the design. Use your metal staright-edged ruler and the hobby knife with a fresh blade to cut as close to the desired design as possible.
4) Soak the decal for approx 10 seconds in the bowl of warm water with a drop or two of liquid dish detergent, then set the decal aside on a paper towel for about 30 seconds to allow the decal to become free of the backing paper. It is suggested that you soak one decal at a time.
5) Using your small #1 modelers paintbrush, 'paint' the area where the decal will sit with Microscale decal set. Apply the decal by sliding it off of the backing sheet directly onto the model. As the decals are very thin, it is not suggested that they be removed form the backing sheet and then applied to the model.
6) Position the decal correctly on the model. We find the #1 paintbrush excellent for this purpose. Do not drag the decal with your finger as it may tear. If the decal is realy sticky, or folds on itself, dip the #1 hobby brush in the warm water and apply this to the decal to free it up. Blot any excess decal set or water with a paper towel, but donot touch the decal itself.
7) When you have applied all of the decals and are satisfied with how they are positioned, apply the Micro-sol to the decals according to the instructions on the bottle. It is vital that you do not touch the decals once this solution is applied as it makes the decals very soft so that they conform to the model's surface. Blot any excess Micro-sol with a paper towel. Let the Micro-sol dry overnight.
8) Using another foam brush, coat your entire model with a thin coat of Future Floor finish. This is an acrylic gloss coating that will not harm the decals, and will provide a very shiny protective coat. Some modelers then wipe off any excess future with a paper towel. You may want to experiment ahead of time to see what works best for you.
9) Krylon clear coats are not recommended as they may attack the decals. We have been advised that Testor's Dull-Cote does not affect the decals, but it has a slightly yellow tinge, and may yellow as time passes.