Foothill Model Works
Using Our Decals

Important Info!: Our entire decal line has been sold!
P.E. Decals are now available from:
Railway/Traction Miniatures
P.O. Box 283
Ventura, CA 93002
Phone: (909) 783-1235
FAX: (909) 370-2611
Narrow Gauge & S.P. Engine Decals are now available from:
San Juan Decals
361 S. Camino del Rio, #276
Durango, CO 81303-7997
Phone: (970) 259-2832
FAX: (970) 259-1554
web site:
Please contact the above manufacturers for pricing and availability.

While we no longer manufacture decals, we have decided to leave these instructions online as a service to past customers and as an online primer for proper decaling technique. We believe Foothill Model Works made the finest hand-made decals on the market. Our decals are super crisp, accurate, opaque, thin, and flexible. Because our decals are different from any other decals you may have used in the past, we have included this quick primer on using our decals. Using decals properly is an easy task on any modeling material. However, these instructions are an excellent guide to using any manufacturer’s decals. All that is required is right tools, patience, and a little practice.

Tools and materials needed:

Small bowl of clean water; sharp scissors; sharp pointed pin or needle; new razor blade (a used blade can snag your decal); paper towels; small, soft artist’s brush; tweezers (smooth jawed, blunt nose tweezers highly recommended); and a decal setting solution thinned to at least 50% (e.g., Champ or Walther’s Decal Set. Microscale’s Micro Sol and Set do not appear to work with our decals at this time and should not be used.).

Decaling, Step by Step:

  1. Trim as closely as possible to the lettering to be transferred with a sharp pair of scissors.
  2. Allow the decal to soak in water for a few minutes. The film should move easily on the backing paper when ready. Wet the area where the lettering is to go on the model with clean pure water (never ever slide our decals off of the backing paper into a pool of decal setting solution like Microscale Micro Set or Sol!) using the small artist’s brush. Place the wet decal and backing paper face up on the model in the proper location. Be careful not to remove the film from the backing paper yet. Helpful hint: very small decals should be soaked briefly in water and then allowed to soak in a generous drop of water on the model to keep the decal from being lost in the bowl of water.
  3. Slide the decal so that it hangs slightly over the edge of the backing paper. Hold the exposed edge of the backing paper with tweezers. Holding the decal in place with the soft brush, gently pull the backing paper out from under the decal. Do not push the decal to slide it from the backing paper as this may cause the decal to wrinkle, become distorted, or fold.
  4. Use the soft, wet (with water) brush to move the decal into the proper position. Add more water with the brush, if needed, to move the decal.
  5. Remove the excess water with the edge of a dry paper towel held carefully at the edge of the decal.
  6. Blot up all remaining water with the paper towel. This should be done very gently. Blot, do not rub! Check to see decal is still properly aligned. If out of alignment, add water to the decal and model with the soft brush, realign the decal, and repeat steps 5 and 6.
  7. Apply the decal setting solution. Note: Some brands of decal setting solution are very strong and should be thinned with distilled water. For best results, apply the setting solution just after blotting the decals. It is best not to let them dry out before applying the setting solution. Do not disturb the decal while the setting solution is drying. Caution: decals may wrinkle - but do not try to remove wrinkles. The wrinkles will go away by themselves. You will ruin the decal if you move it at this time. Make two or three applications of decal setting solution, if necessary. Allow the decal to dry between setting solution applications.
  8. Use a pin or needle to puncture any air bubbles. Decals applied over scribed siding should be slit on scribe marks with a new razor blade between applications of decal setting solution. Do not slit a wet decal. Allow the decal to dry (overnight) first. Reapply setting solution after slitting or puncturing.
  9. After the decal has dried completely, a coat of flat finish or gloss should be applied lightly to reduce glare and to seal and protect the decal. Spray painting equipment is highly recommended. Do not handle the model until the flat finish or gloss has dried completely.

All text, images, and drawings ©2008, Foothill Model Works.

Rev. 3/28/2014.