Using Your Computer
to Make Decals

  When I was building my '57 Chevy Custom, I wanted to get a look inspired by the wild custom paint jobs from the late 50s and early 60s. I could have taken a couple of approaches, including some rather tedious masking and painting. But I decided to try a different approach; I used my computer to design and print out decals. Here's what I did: (Click on any of the thumbnail images for a larger version.)
  I generally use Corel Draw® for my graphic design work. But most any good graphics program will have similar features. I started out by selecting an image from the clip art file that looked like a good basis for a design. I would normally use just an outline of the image and fill it later with one or more colors, but for this example I've filled it with black so it shows up better.  
  Next I used some of the image altering features of the program to change the shape; in this example I reduced the height. The blue outline shows what the new shape will be. (You'll have to click on the thumbnail to display a larger version to see what I mean.)  
  And here's the result.  
  I used the "skew" command to stretch it out.  
  With this result. You can alter the size and shape of images in this fashion, pretty much at will.  
 
Once I had the shape I wanted, I filled the image with red and added a heavy black outline. You can continue to make changes until you get just what you want.  
  Here I've added a black oval behind the image and changed the image outline to white. Once you've finished creating the image you want, it's time to resize it to fit the area where the finished decal will be placed.  
  I designed some decals for a '32 Ford street rod using this method. After I had the basic designs done and was ready to resize the images, I created a template for the areas where the decals would be placed.  
  Here you see the finished images placed over the template and resized to fit. Almost time to print them out!  
  The last step was to delete the template and print out the image on decal paper. Be sure to follow the manufacturers instructions for printing, preparing and applying the finished decals. A word about decal paper...it's available in both clear and white. If you have light colors and/or white in your images you should use the white. As is usually the case, experimentation is always a good idea.  
  You can use this same basic technique to make decals of just about anything. Find some cool graphics, art work, photos, whatever, resize them in a graphics program and then print them out. The sky's the limit!  

 

 
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