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TUTORIAL: How to print decals


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#1 LuxorV

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 04:01 PM

TUTORIAL: How to print decals (using MS Word)

You just fond a super-cool decal and want to use it on your LEGO minifig’s torso or other elements? This tutorial teaches you how to print custom decals using MS Word.

What you need:

1. A decal you want to print (oh well, that’s quite obvious)
2. PC with MS Word
3. Printer
4. Paper (be it normal printing paper, white decal paper, clear decal paper or other)

Disclaimer: this tutorial is made by a MS Word user. All other similar text editors will work well with it, as long as they support the options needed for the basic steps. This is not meant to promote MS programs in any way.

Step 1: Open your Internet browser and surf to the page containing the link to the decal you want to print. In this example, we go to EB MCW and choose one of the recent decals.
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Step 2: Open the link/go to the decal page, and save the decal on your hard disk by right-clicking on the image and choosing ‘Save as’ from the menu.
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Step 3: Open a new document with MS Word. Add the image to the document by selecting ‘Insert/Image from file’.
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Or use the small icon on the Image toolbar.
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Step 4: Browse your hard disk until you find the folder where you saved the decal. Select the right file, and then click on ‘Ok’.
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You successfully added the image!
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Step 5: Bring up the ‘Image Format’ window by double clicking on the image. This is the fundamental passage: most decal makers already set the decal size to the right height and length for printing. Nonetheless, you may want to check it out before you print them.
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Here you can find the right values for printing various types of decals (H – height, L – length; measures in millimetres):

Torso – H. 13 , L. 15.5
Face – H. 5-7 (min-max), L. depends*
Triangular Shield – H. 18.5, L. 15.6
Oval shield - H. 29.1, L. 16.4
Fabuland Torso front – H. 8.5, L. 17
Fabuland Torso back – H. 16, L. 17
1x1 Tile – H. 8, L. 8 (other tiles are just multiples)

Also for non-international scales users, a minifig torso dimensions are:
Hight- .51 inches
Lenght- .61 inches
(Thanks to Macoco for these)


* the L of a face decals depends on the design on it; usually, if you just resize the H, and keep the proportions, it will work good.

If anybody has other info to share on this subject, please post them below and I’ll add them to the list.

Step 6: Print the decal.
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If you want to try making a decal yourself, have a look at our Tutorials section of the Minifig Customization Index.


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#2 Asuka

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 02:58 PM

Thank you very much for that neat tutorial, LuxorV!  :classic:

#3 Millacol88

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 04:53 PM

Thank you very much. My biggest problem whilst printing torso decals is having them come out the proper size.

#4 Admiral Blockbeard

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 03:24 AM

Here is another measurement to add.

Oval shield - H. 29.1 L. 16.4

Regards, Cpt. PB

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#5 Commander Flash

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 04:04 AM

This was a very helpful tutorial. Haha that is the bastila I ordered
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#6 LuxorV

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 08:21 PM

I'm glad you find this tutorial useful, along the others produced by our caring members that you can find in the Minifig Customization Index :thumbup:  (I'll never stop advertising this :tongue: )

View PostCpt. Pegleg Blockbeard, on Feb 8 2009, 04:24 AM, said:

Here is another measurement to add.

Oval shield - H. 29.1 L. 16.4

Regards, Cpt. PB
Thanks, Cpt. PB. Added to the list :thumbup:


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#7 SlyOwl

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Posted 10 May 2009 - 10:09 PM

I've been experimenting with printing decals recently, as part of a Castle project.
I can get them to the right size, and non-pixellated - everything is fine in that regard.

However, when I print them out, all the colours (except black) end up as non-pure - there are little specs of white in there, which make the colour go lighter, and thus it doesn't match normal Lego colours (I'm using Shadows' colour chart). For this project it doesn't matter, as the edges of the decals completely cover the bricks underneath, and are surrounded by other-colour bricks, but it would be helpful for future planning.

I've tried darkening the original image, but the white specs still remain, and make it look odd. I also set the print quality to high (rather than normal), but that didn't help. Any suggestions? :sweet:

I'm using standard A4 paper, and an inkjet printer.

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#8 LuxorV

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 07:55 AM

View PostSlyOwl, on May 11 2009, 12:09 AM, said:

I've been experimenting with printing decals recently, as part of a Castle project.
I can get them to the right size, and non-pixellated - everything is fine in that regard.

However, when I print them out, all the colours (except black) end up as non-pure - there are little specs of white in there, which make the colour go lighter, and thus it doesn't match normal Lego colours (I'm using Shadows' colour chart). For this project it doesn't matter, as the edges of the decals completely cover the bricks underneath, and are surrounded by other-colour bricks, but it would be helpful for future planning.

I've tried darkening the original image, but the white specs still remain, and make it look odd. I also set the print quality to high (rather than normal), but that didn't help. Any suggestions? :sweet:

I'm using standard A4 paper, and an inkjet printer.
That's a common problem when printing on white paper. We even have a discussion topic on this subject by Hinckley somewhere (but it didn't end with a real solution, as far as I remember). Personally, I never came up with a good solution for it :sceptic: . Indeed, darkening the colours should help a bit, but you'd need to calibrate them all. And I'm not sure this would solve the issue, since it is too strongly influenced by the porosity of the paper. The best option (I think :look: ) would be to use high quality photograph paper, if you think the project is worth the expence...


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#9 Matn

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 04:49 PM

My apologies for bumping this topic, but I have a question. I've bought an HP printer today and you can choose various sorts of paper when printing, and I'm not sure if I should use any specific setting? Do the people that print their decals on inkjet clear decal paper use a specific paper setting when printing? There are a few, including: normal paper, other inkjetpaper, photopaper(but we won't need those?) and transparant paper (maybe this is recommended?). There is also a special section including paper that you have to iron on clothing. I guess it doesn't matter if I choose the normal paper setting?  :classic:

#10 Capt. Kirk

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 06:01 PM

@ SlyOwl: Sometimes the white flecks are dirt on your printer... cleaning is an option.

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#11 Joey Lock

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 06:12 PM

An easier way to print decals and my favourite way is to measure a sheet of paper with your PC Screen (Unless you have a small PC Screen), In Powerpoint, It should be the same length and width of the A4 Sheet. Then just minimize it whislt holding a Minifig Torso with no limbs to the screen.
Its turned out perfectly!

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#12 marnicq

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 02:01 PM

It might be a stupid question, but I want to print decals on special paper ... but I don't know which any advices, I want it to come out really smooth, like a plastic-like feel(like lego) and preferably transparant
And when I'm printing on that kind of paper whatever it might be ... what settings do I have to use ...
(I have Epson Stylus Photo 1400, that's quite much of a decent printer)
If someone might be able to answer these questions, that'd be nice ..

#13 Piranha

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Posted 02 September 2009 - 03:23 AM

Helpful topic
I would to add this to it
For us Americans who are not familiar with the metric system  :laugh: I find inches and such much more familiar and MS word uses that format
Here is a simple easy to use converter - :classic:
Click Here

Also using this converter, a minifig torso dimensions is
Hight- .51 inches
Lenght- .61 inches

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#14 Rocky

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Posted 04 September 2009 - 05:11 AM

I was wanting to print off a few torso decals but I never got the measurments right. Thank you for the great tutorial and the measurements. Maybe I'll try to make one or two custom figures now.

#15 LuxorV

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Posted 05 September 2009 - 08:18 PM

View PostMacoco, on Sep 2 2009, 05:23 AM, said:

Helpful topic
I would to add this to it
For us Americans who are not familiar with the metric system  :laugh: I find inches and such much more familiar and MS word uses that format
Here is a simple easy to use converter - :classic:
Click Here

Also using this converter, a minifig torso dimensions is
Hight- .51 inches
Lenght- .61 inches
Thank you; I added the values to the guide :classic:


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#16 Zenox

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 09:11 PM

Finally i found a guide to solve the mystery of decals...Ive been looking for ages a guide about decals.
I was bit suspcious (is that how you spell it ?  :wacko: )
about printing them on a regular paper, but your guide solved it all.
Thank you!

#17 red-dwarfs-chief-legoer

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 03:34 PM

I HAVE AN UPDATE!!
if your usibng windows 7 you need to change the percentage and not the size

#18 It All Ends Here

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 03:32 PM

Thank you very much! But I have one question I have MS Word 2007 are the height and length different then?? (From the Minifig torso).
Ron and Hermione (L)

#19 LuxorV

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 04:33 PM

View PostIt All Ends Here, on 24 November 2010 - 03:32 PM, said:

Thank you very much! But I have one question I have MS Word 2007 are the height and length different then?? (From the Minifig torso).
Pardon me, but I find this question a bit strange. Anyway, as long as TLG do not change the minifig parts, the print size will not need to be modified.


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#20 Stardusty

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 06:44 PM

Thank you for this awesome tutorial, LuxorV.

I can't wait to try it out.
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#21 Scorpiox

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 06:55 PM

Why a bump after so long? :hmpf_bad: I don't mean to mini-moderate you but you should only bump if you have something to say that will benefit the disscussion.

Edited by Scorpiox, 25 April 2011 - 06:56 PM.

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#22 Stardusty

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 07:43 PM

2 reasons:
- now it'll stay on first page for some time, so new member/customizers can see it
- I liked the tutorial and thanked LuxorV for making it

Since this is useful tutorial I think it was worth of it.
Or you want to say that new members/customizers need to open completely new topic to ask where to find
something like this (like I did :blush: )


I don't like to break the rules, and I wouldn't commented it if I was worried that it was against the rules. :classic:

I'm sorry if I broke some rules... :sceptic:
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#23 LuxorV

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 08:25 PM

No big problems with broken rules here and no reason for fighting, please.

I understand Stardusty's reasoning about helping newer members to find tutorials like this, and I appreciate his interest.

I may only remind everybody that we have pinned topics (which stay on top of every forum's page indefinitely), like the Indexes, and a search system to help people find what they need :wink:


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#24 Roodaksta

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 10:55 PM

Nice Tutorial LuxorV! Now I can design some custom minifigures with a customizes torso! And one question, Is it possible to create a decal for the head of a minifig, like it's own customized face? If so thanks for answering.
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#25 chuckie8646

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Posted 12 May 2011 - 11:25 PM

Hi,

I found this very helpful but at the beginning you said that you could use any kind of decal paper. Im guessing that after printing I just need to cut the decal out correct and stick it on? also is it necessary to have a laser printer?

THank you

Charlie



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